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Our Unserious Liberals Lee Harris: We Want More

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Changing the Minds of Judges

by Christopher Chantrill
February 28, 2004 at 7:00 pm


THE DAY AFTER the president’s endorsement of the Federal Marriage Amendment, Rush Limbaugh was livid.  It made him feel powerless, he said, to realize that an unelected court in Massachusetts could change the age-old definition of marriage and the president could do nothing about it.

Sure, Rush said, we can pass a constitutional amendment to protect marriage from the depredations of the left, but “we can’t amend the Constitutions every damn time a rogue court or an out-of-control judge decides to start violating his oath of office.”

But why do the judges do it?  The reason, according to Thomas Sowell, is simple.  Judges want to be liked: not, of course, by the American people at large, but among their legal peers and liberal friends.

The remedy is obvious.  We must change the culture.  We must fill the world with our ideas.  We must create a world in which judges would feel embarrassed to legislate from the bench.  They would fear the disapproval of their friends.  They would fear the arched eyebrows at the next bar association dinner.  But how do we get there from here?

The truth is that we have a little problem.   F.S.C. Northrop in his Meeting of East and West pointed it out fifty years ago.  Wonderful as it is, Anglo-American democracy under the rule of law is based on three hundred year old ideas that cut no ice with modern minds burning with a compassionate rage against oppression and marginalization and a dogmatic demand for relevance.  Who did these modern minds turn to?  They turned to Germans.

It was Kant who took up Locke and Hume’s problems and solved them with his transcendental idealism. It was Kant who first suggested that matter and energy are interchangeable.  His suggestion led to Einstein’s equation.  It was Schopenhauer who first developed a theory of unconscious motivation.  His work led to von Hartmann’s Philosophy of the Unconscious and thence to Freud and modern psychology.

Other German thinkers were just as brilliant, but not so beneficial.  The ideas of Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche are imperishable, but they gave us socialism, communism, fascism, and eventually postmodernism.  We need to develop taxonomy of German thinkers that can differentiate the beneficial from the merely brilliant.  Stable Germans are safe around children and animals, but radioactive Germans should be handled only with care, for as liberal environmentalists have taught us, you can’t be too careful with radioactivity.

Stable Germans are thinkers like Kant, Schopenhauer, Freud, Jung, Wittgenstein, Mises, Hayek, and Voegelin.  Radioactive Germans are thinkers like Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger.  Stable Germans blended harmoniously into the Anglosphere.  Radioactive Germans inspired the insurgents who turned the academy into a left-wing echo chamber.

With the stable Germans we can construct a narrative that starts where Locke and Hume left off and that builds a bridge to the conservative icons of the late twentieth century.  And we can fence off the lefty chaps, the ones that inspired the nuclear explosions of bolshevism and fascism, into an enclosure marked “Danger: Radioactivity.” 

But wait!  How come Freud is in both lists?  Because 150 years after Schopenhauer, conservatives still don’t have a decent psychology, and it is killing us.  We must take Freud away from the left and build our own modern psychology. 

Fortunately, the heavy lifting has already been done.  Americans Clare Graves, Don Beck, and Ken Wilber have devised a developmental psychology that finally makes sense to conservatives.  It is called (unfortunately) Spiral Dynamics.  It says that there are all kinds of people in the modern world, but that principally there are impulsive red victims, purposeful blue believers, creative orange adventurers, and compassionate green communitarians.  It’s hierarchical in that red impulsives grow up to be blue purposives, blue believers grow up to be orange creatives, and orange egos grow up to be caring communitarians.

Here’s a question.  If your caring green communitarians try to cut out the evil orange corporate entrepreneurs and the rigid blue Christian fundamentalists, guess what happens.  The theory predicts that the lefties will regress society back to a red hell of pure power. 

Here’s another question.  If the government operates a welfare state that assumes that everyone is a red victim, a red exploiter, or a compassionate green social activist what happens to society?

Here’s a question.  If judges redefine marriage for the convenience of orange sexual experimenters and kick purposeful blues, who believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, in the teeth, what happens?

That’s what we want the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to think about.

That’s what we want the friends of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to think about. 

So Rush Limbaugh doesn’t get to feel powerless.

And the president doesn’t have to spend his political capital on a constitutional amendment.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Francis Fukuyama, Trust

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“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
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E. G. West, Education and the State

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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