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Comments about ‘George F. Will: Understanding our divisions: The source of liberty’

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Published: Thursday, April 17 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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USUStudent
Logan, UT

The ironies of this argument. Isn't it the conservatives who are arguing for a democracy? In Utah's same-sex marriage case, the conservatives keep arguing that a majority of Utahns oppose same-sex marriage, therefore the ban should stay intact. But it's the progressives who are making this argument according to him? By the way, the Constitution was created to protect the rights of minority groups. Therefore, it's the conservatives who are trying to "invoke the right of the majority." Poor argument.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Conservatism, especially Fiscal, has a very good and needed message that the country needs to hear.

Unfortunately, it gets drowned out by the voices of the conservative crazies. You know them.

The Birther types.
The "shut down the IRS" types.
The "legitimate rape" types.
The Louie Gohmert types.".
The "campaign with Ted Nugent" types.
The "shoe thrown at Hillary was staged" types.

This is no longer the fringe constituency. It is BECOMING the base. And, sadly, GOP encourages them.
Their "noise" clouds a legitimate message. And it is a huge turnoff to many.

Conservatism is not crazy in the least. But their messengers are quickly getting there.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

On the question of whether the rights of man precede government, the Declaration of Independence is clear:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

Progressives pay lip service to the Declaration, but ignore its plain meaning. The state exists for man, not man for the state. Liberty is our natural right, and democracy our means of protecting it.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Blowhard self-serving sophistry. Seriously, that's what this opinion piece is all about.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Nate said:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

You do realize that as this was written, those truths and rights didn't include anyone but white men with money, so it was just words when written, they sounded good, but it would be over a hundred years before women would fight tooth and nail for one of those self-evident truths.

"To enjoy privilege without abuse, to have liberty without license, to possess power and steadfastly refuse to use it for self-aggrandizement — these are the marks of high civilization." UB

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

“The temperature of today's politics is commensurate to the stakes of today's argument.”

I could not disagree more…
Whatever else you think about this article, the “stakes” such as they are, are small potatoes next to the psychological aspects driving up the temperature.

We are losing the ability to engage in sober dialogue, to be rational, and to place facts and the values we attach to them in proper perspective.

In short, we are becoming a country addicted to self-righteous indignation and much of our media has become the moral equivalent of a drug dealer.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

Another brilliantly articulated exposition of the central problem we have, and probably always will have, as a nation.

I wish more people were capable of understanding root problems as well as Mssrs. Will and Sandefur obviously do. Our nation needs more of that understanding but we seem headed in the opposite direction.

Fitz
Murray, UT

Commentaries on the Constitution gives us incite into the intent of the Constitution. It says:
"Let us never forget, that our constitutions of government are solemn instruments, addressed to the common sense of the people and designed to fix, and perpetuate their rights and liberties. They are not to be frittered away to please the demagogues of the day. They are not to be violated to gratify the ambition of political leaders. They are to speak in the same voice now, and for ever. They are of no man’s private interpretation. They are ordained the will of the people; and can be changed only by the sovereign command of the people."

Some place along the way, our elected political leaders have "frittered away to please the demagogues of the day." Our Constitution is slowly fading into oblivion.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Interesting article. This article reaffirms to me what I have always believed; Liberals believe rights and liberties emanate from the central government and Conservatives believe rights and liberties are God given. Thus the role of government for liberals is much different than how conservatives view the role of government. In all of history the vast majority of humans have lived under despot Kings, tyrants and dictators where the central government told the people what they could or could not do. Along came our founding fathers who thought the people should tell the government what it could or could not do, not the other way around. In all of world history, this was truly exceptional. This is what is meant by American exceptionalism and it is truly a Conservative idea!

airnaut
Everett, 00

And --
Nowhere in the U.S> Constitution does it say CAPITALISM had to be our economic model.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

airnaut. Actually the 10th amendment's commerce clause is CAPITALISM in itself. It certainly isn't talking about socialism, period.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Nate made the perfect argument for same sex marriage. The constitution endows us with inalienable rights, which is to say we can't permit them to be usurped even if we want to, such as in a popular vote.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think this was a pretty good analysis of the two differing philosophies.

I know SOME will hate it... because it's George F. Will after-all...

But I think IF you can pretend you don't know who wrote it, and read it without pre-judging it... you will find it interesting and helpful in understanding both sides.

I can see the position of both sides. And I think we need BOTH sides. Like somebody said... you can't fly very far with only one wing. But BOTH sides need to focus on supporting each other... instead of tearing the other down and suppressing or dismissing people with the differing point of view.

===

Try re-reading it with a totally open mind (not even considering who wrote it)... and see if you can't learn something about the other side... and what motivates them...

I think if we understood some of the stuff he went over here, we could understand each other better and get along a lot better.

Neither side is all good... and neither is all bad. We need both. We should not focus on eradicating either.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

It’s astonishing to see how the right-wingers like to label & caricature those who disagree with them, so let’s clear up a few things.

1.Our rights come from WE THE PEOPLE, exactly as the Constitution implies - Jefferson in the Declaration (not a governing charter, by the way) was simply expressing his Deist leanings. Our rights don’t come from government any more than they come from a bronze-age god.

2.The first three words of the Constitution implies democracy (Breyer is right) and all the writings of the Founders talk about self-government. I don’t know what self-government means if it doesn’t mean a democracy. And for you purists, it’s a Republic simply because most people have day jobs (i.e., too busy to vote on every single issue).

3.Of course the Constitution enshrines basic rights and liberties but it was never meant to create a country that was ONLY interested in individual liberty – that form of government is called anarchy.

Bottom line – the majority does rule and can decide on whatever laws, regulations, economic systems, etc., unless expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

airnaut
Everett, 00

Mountanman
Hayden, ID
airnaut. Actually the 10th amendment's commerce clause is CAPITALISM in itself. It certainly isn't talking about socialism, period.

10:36 a.m. April 17, 2014

========

???

10th Amendment:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

But, if you meant "commerce clause",
that would be found in --

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

======

I still can't see how trade can only mean soley Capitalism, and precludes any and all Socialism.

We trade with other Countries -- Socialist, Communist, -- ect. all the time.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

2 bits.

Good comment. And it applies to many issues in politics As you note, partisanship prevents people from looking objectively at virtually anything ideas, good or bad, from the other side.

They CANNOT give the other side "A WIN" regardless of whether it is good for America.

But, best be careful. You write "Neither side is all good... and neither is all bad. We need both."

Again, I completely agree. And that mentality (which encompasses most of my posts) gets me labeled a LIBERAL.

At a minimum, it would get you labeled a RINO. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I have come to define RINO as a Reasonable Republican.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Tyler D,
It always astonishes you to see how the RIGHT-wingers like to label & caricature those who disagree with them...

Wow... did you not see JoeBlow 5:04 a.m.'s lists of "TYPES" of people?

"The Birther types.
The "shut down the IRS" types.
The "legitimate rape" types.
The Louie Gohmert types.".
The "campaign with Ted Nugent" types.
The "shoe thrown at Hillary was staged" types"....

I was going to comment on his labels and "TYPEs"... but decided not to (Until YOUR comment accusing RIGHT-Wingers of labeling those they disagree with...

Can you show me a similar list of labels from a "RIGHT-winger"??

===

I don't think you can. I haven't seen one here.
But I have from the LEFT-Wingers (LDS Liberal is notorious for his typing and labeling)... but you totally overlook that and claim only RIGHT-wingers do it?

Maybe the blinders didn't let you see HIS list of labels and "Types" for people he disagrees with...

===

Kinda ironic I think... That no right-wingers have done that in this topic, and a left-leaning guy did.. but you're disappointed in RIGHT-wingers for labeling...

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

As usual George F Will is busily conflating ideas and attempting to undue the will of the Founders, which was to give us a workable government. NO George. The Declaration of Independence does NOT “set the framework” for reading the Constitution. They are two separate documents designed to fulfill two very separate functions. The Declaration justified our separation from Britain, and the Constitution gives a plan of governance. Thus, when we talk about government, we ALWAYS differ to the Constitution, NOT the Declaration of Independence.

Who says Progressives are obsessed about majority rule at the expense of Liberty? . . . Certainly not Progressives. Progressives believe in PROGRESS that can be implemented through good governance.

NO George, Progressives don’t play down Liberty. Although Liberty can exist in some cases without government, good governance actually enhances Liberty by promoting and providing for the General Welfare, as specified in the Constitution.

“The argument is between conservatives who say American politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy.” WRONG. Progressives aren’t all that concerned with “process,” they are concerned with RESULTS.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@2 bits

I should have worded that a little better… here’s what I meant:

When George Will caricatures people into an either/or proposition of either believing in liberty or not, or…

When Nate suggests Progressives (does that mean anyone who’s not a dittohead?) believe we “exist for the state” or…

When samhill agrees with Will’s caricature and laments that more of us don’t “get it” or…

When Mountanman says “Liberals believe rights and liberties emanate from the central government and Conservatives believe rights and liberties are God given,” well…

I felt it was necessary to call these out and further make the case that one can think Limbaugh, Beck, et al are nuts and still cherish our founding documents & principles.

I for one do…

I’m just tired of the right-wingers claiming to be the only ones that do, and I’m especially tired of religious conservatives attempting to rewrite history by constantly portraying our founding as establishing a Christian Nation and implying the Founders were little more than divine puppets (this last is admittedly a bit off topic… apologies).

PS – Liked your first comment…

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

@Mountanman

Liberals believe rights and liberties emanate from the central government and Conservatives believe rights and liberties are God given.

=========

I love when people tell me what I believe. I have seen a very prevalent defense of "traditional marriage" on these forums that "Marriage isn't a protected right in the Constitution"

To me it would seem this would indicate the opposite of what you claim.

Regardless, these rights come from the very nature that we are living, breathing, thinking, human beings. They are not given by any earthly power; only protected. The Constitution cannot, and does not grant rights, only ensures their protection; and in return we agree to forego some of our rights. We the People are sovereign; We the people created the Constitution that in turn creates a National Government, which in turn empowers State Governments.

By that logic, any right not expressly surrendered to the National Government, naturally reside with the People, or can be surrendered to the State and local governments, if not already prohibited by the Constitution, or Federal Law.

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