Monday, April 13, 2009

Dean Harold Koh and American Values

Watching President Obama apologize last week for America's arrogance - before a French audience that owes its freedom to the sacrifices of Americans - helped convince me that he has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions. His nomination of former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh to be the State Department's top lawyer constitutes further evidence of his disdain for American values….Let's set aside Koh's disputed comments about the possible application of Sharia law in American jurisprudence. The pick is alarming for more fundamental reasons having to do with national sovereignty and constitutional self-governance….Koh calls himself a "transnationalist." He believes U.S. courts "must look beyond national interest to the mutual interests of all nations in a smoothly functioning international legal regime. ..." He thinks the courts have "a central role to play in domesticating international law into U.S. law" and should "use their interpretive powers to promote the development of a global legal system."…The Elephant in the Room: Obama vs. United States, Rick Santorum, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/10/2009

Did you think this kind of stuff was just a joke? Think about the following scenario. The Supreme Court decides that, in light of the fact that most of the world feels that women should be in a subservient position to men, such matters as equal pay for equal work, or freedom of expression, or freedom of movement and association are irrelevant considerations. The world has decided differently. Who are Americans to disagree?

That’s an extreme case, but what’s the difference between that and accepting the anti-semitic ravings of Islamic courts as appropriate considerations in American law? What exactly is going on here?

Among the deeper hallucinations of the globalist vision is the idea that everybody is more or less the same, that all national yearnings, or cultural affectations, are just manifestations of the same thing. The writer is sorry to disillusion you on this, if you’re a true believer, but such universalist conceptions are fabulist at best, and pathologically cynical at worst. We are not the same.

Slavery ended in the United States and Great Britain because people imagined that they were not the same as the Arab and Spanish slave traders. Women achieved the vote and the right to education and to work for a living in America because people imagined that it was not necessary, as most of the world seemed to think, to waste half the intelligence of the human race on the single skill of motherhood. A stunning technological remaking of the way we earn a living was created in America because it was less important to preserve the past than to build the future. The first industrial age’s ghastly slavery of workers reduced to functions in a mill was held, by American labor unions and by political visionaries, as offensive to our very humanity; and, after a fifty year war, the inevitability of that kind of reduced life was ended. For all of the failures we have experienced in our pursuits of a better world, Americans are different. Our law’s precedents, as our law’s ultimate arbiter, the US Constitution, are a direct reflection of that moral conception of our existence as a nation. Those who deny this are not our sophisticated intelligentsia, yearning to breathe free, but the enemies of freedom itself, the fifth columnists of tyranny.

Stop listening to these sophists. They were lying two hundred years ago and they have not changed their stripes. Justifying the “cultural” norms of a sick society as applicable to our own is no different than believing in the pro-slavery rhetoric of John Calhoun. The pathology of societies that still trade in human flesh, that still believe that women are by fate determined to fulfill only one role, and that still think there are special people who can decide all questions, moral, political, and practical, is only curable with the precedents of our law. To abandon this, as Justice Ginsburg and Dean Koh would do, is to abandon our history and our reason for being.


No comments: