Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

How To Be Selfish During The COVID Pandemic

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Wear a mask.

Yes, it’s just that simple.

None of this “I ain’t gonna’ wear a mask and you can’t make me, ‘cuz this is ‘Murka and we have FREEDOM!” kind of malarkey.

No, that simply won’t do.

Look out for A-number-one – yourself.

It’s like saying, wear gloves when you go outside, because it’s -30º below zero Fahrenheit. Protect yourself. Gloves only protect the person wearing them.

You see, even though we do have liberties – as good ol’ Justice Samuel Alito – a Bush II-appointed Supreme Court Judge who has been on the court since a 58–42 vote of Senate approval on January 31, 2006 – we also have limits. But Justice Alito doesn’t think so, and, has said as much.

Most recently, Justice Alito addressed the Federalist Society’s 2020 Annual National Lawyers Convention – which, despite its name, opposes a strong federal government – and since their 1982 inception, have been bit-by-bit-piece-by-piece tearing down and destroying the Federal government under guise of promoting personal liberties and freedom.

It was the Supreme Jurists who gave We the People the nefariously infamous and disastrous rulings in:
Citizens United v Federal Election Commission – essentially ruling that money is free speech;
McCutchen v Federal Election Commission – essentially allowing unlimited money to be contributed to candidates/politicians, and;
Shelby County, Alabama v Holder – essentially gutting the Voting Rights act by removing sections 4(b) and 5, which were its “heart and lungs,” whereupon the decision, many states enacted restrictive voting laws.

There are others, of course, but those three are perhaps the most notorious during the oversight of Chief Justice John Roberts.

And that was all in the name of “originalism” and “textualism,” the preferred interpretive modality of The Federalist Society.

So, it should come as no surprise that Alito – a longtime member of the Federalist Society, who said “I have been a member for many years,” and by his own admission has attended every annual meeting for the past 14 years – would sacrifice the greater good upon the altar of “originalism” to the god of individual liberty.

Where in our nation is the sense of shared sacrifice for the greater, common good? That some obviously think that they simply MUST have “freedom” to do whatever they want, when they want, where they want, without regard for anyone else is anathema and contrary to the very idea of a “united” states – e pluribus unum – though many, one. And of course, now, we’re paying for it. For if you’re gonna’ dance, you gotta’ pay the piper. And we’re dancing like mad. But the greatest problem is, eventually, there’s nobody to dance with, and the piper gets sick and dies.

But hey… “You danced like hell, didn’t you!?!,” read no headstone ever.

Of course, the members would recite a quote often misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, though historical researchers tell us that the phrase was in widespread use before Franklin wrote it in letter to the Pennsylvania Governor.

Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, and Robert Siegel, Host of “All Things Considered” on NPR had a brief conversation about the very matter, which aired March 2, 20154:15 PM ET. Their exchange in part went like this:

ROBERT SIEGEL: What’s the exact quotation?

BENJAMIN WITTES: The exact quotation, which is from a letter that Franklin is believed to have written on behalf of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, reads, “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

SIEGEL: And what was the context of this remark?

WITTES: He was writing about a tax dispute between the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the family of the Penns, the proprietary family of the Pennsylvania colony who ruled it from afar. And the legislature was trying to tax the Penn family lands to pay for frontier defense during the French and Indian War. And the Penn family kept instructing the governor to veto. Franklin felt that this was a great affront to the ability of the legislature to govern. And so he actually meant purchase a little temporary safety very literally. The Penn family was trying to give a lump sum of money in exchange for the General Assembly’s acknowledging that it did not have the authority to tax it.

SIEGEL: So far from being a pro-privacy quotation, if anything, it’s a pro-taxation and pro-defense spending quotation.

WITTES: It is a quotation that defends the authority of a legislature to govern in the interests of collective security. It means, in context, not quite the opposite of what it’s almost always quoted as saying but much closer to the opposite than to the thing that people think it means.

As is often said, “context is everything.”

And so, perhaps you’re wondering what the Federalist Society is. Let’s let them speak for themselves. From their “About Us” page we find the following:

“Founded in 1982, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order. We are committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. By providing a forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, law students, academics, and the architects of public policy, the Society has redefined the terms of legal debate. We have fostered a greater appreciation for the role of separation of powers; federalism; limited, constitutional government; and the rule of law in protecting individual freedom and traditional values.”

To even the most casual observer, it should be plainly evident that statement is inherently self-contradictory, for it is impossible to advocate impartially. One cannot be an impartial arbiter AND be an advocate. It’s like having referees in a sports game that favor one team over another. That would defeat the very purpose of being a referee.

And the very first question in their list of “Frequently Asked Questions” is:

Q. What is the Federalist Society?
A. It is an organization of 60,000 lawyers, law students, scholars, and other individuals who believe and trust that individual citizens can make the best choices for themselves and society. It was founded in 1982 by a group of law students interested in making sure that the principles of limited government embodied in our Constitution receive a fair hearing.

So again, from the question above, let’s examine the clause “individual citizens can make the best choices for themselves and society.” Let’s parse the clause to examine if it holds up under scrutiny.

If “individual citizens can make the best choices for themselves and society,” then it’s “every man for himself.” There is no unity. Everyone does their own thing. It is the practical “kissing cousin” of anarchy. After all, the essence of what they’re saying is “one size fits all.” Even though it’s not good for me, it may be good for you, and everyone can have their own way. But even at Burger King, “have it your way” has limitations, and they would not dare think about serving a hamburger to a customer after having thrown it in the floor… even if the customer requested it. Neither would the employees crawl up to the roof to serve a hamburger to a patron. Nor would they spit upon the food – even if the customer requested it. And, I dare say, no franchisee would serve a raw, or frozen meat patty upon an “undressed” bun, which otherwise would be suitable for human consumption. Again, one cannot truly “have it your way,” for there are constraints.

The essence of what the Federalist Society is saying is that, LITERALLY, everyone CAN have it their own way. And that is utterly, and absurdly preposterous.

Again, by their own admission, the Federalist Society is “dedicated to reforming the current legal order.” Frankly, “the current legal order” does not need reform – at least not of the kind which they espouse.

When they write that, “the state exists to preserve freedom,” they never quite come around to acknowledging that it’s literally impossible – legally, and otherwise – for anyone to “do their own thing,” to “have it your way,” to have unlimited freedom.

When they write of “limited, constitutional government,” their limits are proscribed as being anathema to liberty, accusing law as being the enemy of freedom – though nothing could be further from the truth.

And without question, in every case in which they advocate for individual liberty, by the absence of law, it requires increased involvement of the judiciary to determine the parameters of law – the interpretation of law, to determine the intent of the law.

Of course, another dogged problem with the perspectives of the Federalist Society is the false notion of “originalism” and/or “textualism,” both of which are clearly contrary to the very rule of law as evidenced by cursory examination. Clearly, when the Constitution was written, slavery was legal and permitted – if not de rigueur, women were denied the right to vote, 18-year-olds could not vote, and only those who owned real property were allowed to vote – and despite what some would say otherwise, the Constitution has NEVER guaranteed, and still does NOT guarantee anyone the right to vote. It remains the very definition of “discrimination,” and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Yet, somewhere along the way, all those limited government restrictions were eliminated… and not by “conservatives,” but by TRUE liberals, those who wanted to EXPAND liberty and freedom, not by those who wanted to hold to the past, to the bad old days of discrimination.

But about Alito, and selfishness…

It is entirely possible to demand one’s own way to their own detriment. It has happened before. That the unlimited and unrestrained exercise of “liberty” has injured someone is nothing new. As the saying goes,

“Your liberty to swing your fist stops where my nose begins.”

Of course, the Founders have acknowledged – as the Supremes have told us they did, by using their magical “originalist” and “textualist” interpretive doctrine – that there are limits even in a free society, and those reasonable, rational limits have continued to be upheld… which seems rather odd for folks that claim they want to reform “the current legal order,” and those who oppose “Law schools and the legal profession [which] are currently strongly dominated by a form of orthodox liberal ideology which advocates a centralized and uniform society.”

Even within their own self-description, The Federalist Society argues AGAINST a “united” states, and admits advocating UN-orthodox positions (orthodox being defined as “adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional”). Of course, the Supreme Court’s standardized battle cry of “precedent,” which can also be expressed as “We’ve always done it that way!” – a saying attributed to pioneering Computer Scientist and Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, PhD – goes out the window, regardless of how the Court rules. As is often paradoxically and ironically said, “Change is the only constant.”

Again, when The Federalist Society writes that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be,” they are only obliquely denying that judges such as the Supremes ultimately change or make law by their very decisions. And while some deny it, the Constitution DOES acknowledge that The People have rights which are NOT mentioned in the Constitution.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
– Amendment IX, United States Constitution

Again, Samuel Alito prepared an address for The Federalist Society which was delivered remotely because of concerns for spreading COVID-19 disease. In it he made some astonishing remarks, which as a Supreme Court Judge, is alarming. Why? Because they are supposed to be impartial arbiters of the law, rather than advocates.

His address, which may be viewed at numerous sites, as well as verbatim transcripts of the same, was not received well by most outside of The Federalist Society. A brief excerpt of his initial remarks is as follows:

“I’m now going to say something that I hope will not be twisted or misunderstood, but I have spent more than 20 years in Washington, so I’m not overly optimistic. In any event, here goes: The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.

Now, notice what I am not saying or even implying. I am not diminishing the severity of the virus’s threat to public health. And putting aside what I will say shortly about a few Supreme Court cases, I’m not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions. Nor am I saying anything about whether any of these restrictions represent good public policy. I’m a judge — not a policymaker. All that I’m saying is this — and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact: We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive, and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.

Think of all the live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech — live speeches, conferences, lectures, meetings. Think of worship services — churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover and Yom Kippur. Think about access to the courts, or the constitutional right to a speedy trial. Trials in federal courts have virtually disappeared in many places. Who could have imagined that?

The COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress test. And in doing so it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck.”

The obvious irony of discrepancy in what he says – “ I’m not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions” – and the reality, is stark, as he continued enumerating instances in which he thought freedoms were curtailed, which in part, included “live speeches, conferences, lectures, meetings …churches … synagogues … access to the courts… the constitutional right to a speedy trial… trials in Federal courts” and more. Obviously, Judge Alito is a liar – because no such case is now, nor scheduled to be, before the Supreme Court – and he is a hypocrite – because the Supreme Court has continued to hear, argue, and decide cases – including one particularly embarrassing, if not infamous case, in which some unknown individual flushed a toilet.

The very fact that he appears before a blatantly partial organization and castigates the laws, is prima facie evidence, and proof positive, of his bias, and calls into question the veracity of his alleged impartiality as an arbiter and judge of the law.

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