Monday, June 1, 2009


This regards the upcoming series of posts suggesting compromise positions, intended to bridge the gaps which currently divide the right against itself.

In finding ways around impasses, it is useful to have a decision rule, something external the process of forming opinions and measuring power.  There is no Pope, Supreme Court, or even dean of the modern right.  In the United States, however, we do have our Constitution, and a tradition by which rightists believe it should be interpreted using originalism and/or textualism.

This being the case, an obvious solution to many quarrels among rightists trying to answer the question What shall we do? would be to follow up with the question What does the Constitution allow us to do?  This is important because a combined reading of Article I Section 8 and the 10th Amendment mean, at the Federal level, there is very little we can do.  Hence, we can reduce the number of things to argue about.

For example, I argue that abortion, as an issue, evaporates when originalism shows that the Constitution forbids the Federal government from either legalizing or banning it.  Free trade debates are made simpler when it is shown that the worst forms of protectionism - subsidies to failing businesses - are quite unconstitutional, leaving much less virulent strains of trade restriction to be debated over.  Furthermore, there should no debate over "national health care" in a country whose national legislature has no power over health care.  

Obviously, the Constitution isn't going to clear up all disputes, but it is an excellent starting point to start moving beyond the shallow litmus tests and shouting matches that leave the right divided and weak.

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