The editors over at National Review promoted their “Progressive Illiberalism” editorial with this: “The people who like to say ‘You can’t legislate morality’ intend to make their own moral inclinations mandatory.” Nicely said. Below are a few more nicely worded excerpts.
After addressing the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) “with overwhelming bipartisan support and the signature of President Bill Clinton,” as well as the passage of Obamacare, the NR editors write that Democrats are in “a political pickle”:
They passed a law to protect religious freedom, but they do not desire to protect religious freedom when doing so interrupts their risible war-on-women soap opera.
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The prevailing view in Democratic circles is that Americans enjoy constitutional and legal rights when acting alone but not when acting jointly — i.e., not when it matters most to public affairs. Under this model, the owners of Hobby Lobby enjoy First Amendment religious protections, and RFRA protections, when they are kneeling in prayer by their bedsides, and perhaps, with certain limitations and IRS oversight, when they are in their church pews. But if they make a decision together, as a group of business owners with a particular vision of the good life and their own duties as people of conscience, then the Democrats believe that their legal and constitutional rights should be set aside, as though human beings and American citizens acting in concert with one another were less than human beings or less than American citizens because of that act of coordination.
That is morally and constitutionally illiterate, but it is the prevailing view on the Left — especially when it comes to the First Amendment.
The Democratic theory of rights is extraordinarily convenient in that it would concentrate power in institutions such as the media, the unions, and the government bureaucracies — institutions that are controlled by and friendly to Democrats and their interests. But if ordinary people wish to form an organization to work for, say, reform of the criminally abusive agency that enforces our tax code, they will have to ask Democrats’ permission first, and any discourse in which they engage will have to be conducted according to the Democrats’ rules.
There is an ongoing debate on the right about what to call our antagonists on the left. “Liberal” is the traditional word, and one that we still employ out of habit, but the Left is anything but liberal — in the matter of contraception as in the matter of free speech, it is fundamentally and incorrigibly illiberal. The word “progressive” has some appeal in that it does not invest the Left with the merits of a liberalism that it detests, but that term presents a problem, namely the question of: Progressing toward what? If Senators Reid, Murray, and Udall are any indication, the answer is an enlarged state under the management of a diminished intelligence.
Read the entire article at National Review.
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