Sunday, September 9, 2007

Civil Rights for Minors?

(Note: This post has been expanded to include a couple of items which need to be addressed.)

Lawrence Auster over at VFR has put up an entry involving a discussion that he and I had yesterday concerning a VFR entry from 2006 he had sent me a link to in reply to a message I'd sent him regarding his entry Who and What rules America.

First of all, Note to Mr. Auster: I'm not a sponge! The "brief selection of VFR articles about liberalism" you sent me amounts to, by my calculations, 18 separate articles. It may be a "brief selection" by VFR standards, but it is not a "brief selection" by my standards! lol

Nah, just kidding y'all, I appreciate Auster's willingness to make me aware of, and provide me with the links to these articles. I've actually read several of them now. But to get to the point...

My question to Auster may be summed up in the final sentence of my initial correspondence with him on this topic where I ask:

"On what grounds did this child threaten and ultimately bring this lawsuit against his school?"

Mr. Auster's answer can be summed up in this sentence of his reply to me:

"Once you have turned schools into ideological battle grounds, you have fundamentally distorted them and the situation cannot be made right."

For a fuller understanding of the discussion as it took place, please click on the link to the VFR article, Should minors be allowed to sue their schools, even in a conservative cause?

Thanks to Mr. Auster for indulging me, and taking time to answer my question.


A couple of items I need to address:

First, Auster and I seem to be in complete agreement as to what the only real and lasting solution for the problem here identified is, namely, a return to constitutional government. But this begs for an explanation as to what constitutes, to our minds, constitutional government. If the only real solution is a return to constitutional government, then we need to define in some detail what such a return would ultimately mean, or look like, or involve. I have asked Mr. Auster whether he has ever dealt with this question in a more particular way, and he informs me that he has not dealt with the question beyond the general terms in which he expresses them in his answer to me.

I therefore appeal to Mr. Auster to consider putting his talents to this important task. Some of you already know that my fellow AFBers and I have been working on, and have developed some models of what a return to constitutional government would look like, as well as what we believe the effects would be. Indeed, the whole idea of Balanced Government follows this theme of returning to constitutional government. The authority for the idea, we derive from the founding fathers and their writings on the subject. Particularly, the Federalist Papers, Washington's Farewell Address, and even Mr. Jefferson has something to say in extreme preference to governmental balance. As to Jefferson's preference to Balanced Government, I'm planning on doing a full post on it later on. As to Washington's, I already have a post up dealing with that, though it is by no means his last word on the subject.

But again, recognizing, as I do, the talents of Mr. Auster, I can see where his exploring of this subject in more detail in an article specifically intended to deal with the subject of a return to constitutional government on that level, might have the potential for some very fruitful and productive dialogue.

Second, in one of my replies to Mr. Auster, posted in the comments to the article, I say that this seems to me to be a case of the unprincipled exception. Auster replies to that statement in bold, saying that he's not sure this is a case of the UE. I did reply to his expression of doubt, wherein I explained how that I had concluded this to be a case of the UE. My reply to Auster's doubt is entered below, and italicized:

By the way, my invoking of the unprincipled exception (which I saw that you had questioned in bold) was/is based on the very principles of the unprincipled exception itself as you've defined them, or as I understand them, which state in part that liberalism does not allow for a direct attack on the principles of liberalism. So we end up dealing with the effect, rather than the cause.

This affects the nature of our conversations and our dealing with the problems of liberalism in a variety of ways, one of which, to my mind, is the customizing of our language and our rhetoric so as not to offend people (conservatives included) who are more or less liberal. This can become excessive, or extreme, and the whole point of our challenge to liberalism can be, and often is, distorted thereby. Thus, the message being distorted, the effect of the message results in minimal gains to the conservative cause.

Auster replies that he expressed doubt because I was expressing it (the UE) in an unfamiliar way. That makes a lot of sense because I've been known to do this kind of thing before in order to save space and time, and it usually ends up being a mass of confusion. For an example of what I mean here, go to the comments section of the AFB post, Why Libertarians have it Wrong, and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.