Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama's dangerous African values

What anthropologists call "tribal values" are very widespread in the world: in Africa, the Middle East, Melanesia etc. They dictate ethical relativism. You have different standards of justice and morality towards people according to whom that other person is. Members of your tribe are treated much differently from non-members, for instance. Such morality is wholly antithetical to Western society, however, as Jeff Jacoby explains below.

It could be argued that Mr Obama's elevation of emotion over law is not, as I suggest, African but simply Leftist. It could be argued that what we see in him is the moral "flexibility" that characterizes Leftists generally. But I know of no previous Democrat President who has argued that the rule of law should be subordinated to emotional considerations. And there is a good reason for that. Any such advocacy could cause laws favoured by the Left to be disregarded too. It seems that only Mr Obama is so dumb as not to have figured that out yet -- despite his alleged qualifications as a lawyer. His law degree may be purely an "affirmative action" one

JUDICIAL DISPASSION -- the ability to decide cases without being influenced by personal feelings or political preferences -- is indispensable to the rule of law. So indispensable, in fact, that the one-sentence judicial oath required of every federal judge and justice contains no fewer than three expressions of it: "I . . . do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God."

There are biblical echoes in the wording of that oath -- a reminder that the judge's obligation to decide cases on the basis of fact and law, without regard to the litigants' wealth or fame or social status, is a venerable moral principle.

"You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike," says Moses in Deuteronomy, instructing the Israelite judges. "You shall not distort justice; you shall not respect persons, and you shall not take a bribe." Elsewhere they are reminded that it is not only the rich they are forbidden to favor. "Neither shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute," Exodus firmly warns. Judges may not bend the law, not even to help the underprivileged.

Without judicial restraint there is no rule of law. We live under "a government of laws and not of men," to quote John Adams's resonant phrase, only so long as judges stick to neutrally resolving the disputes before them, applying the law and upholding the Constitution even when doing so leads to results they personally dislike. That is why the judicial oath is so adamant about impartiality. That is why Lady Justice is so frequently depicted -- as on the sculpted lampposts outside the US Supreme Court -- wearing a blindfold and carrying balanced scales.

And that is why President Obama's "empathy" standard is so disturbing, and has generated so much comment.

Time and again, Obama has called for judges who do not put their private political views aside when deciding cases. In choosing a replacement for Justice David Souter, the president says, he will seek not just "excellence and integrity," but a justice whose "quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles," would be "an essential ingredient" in his jurisprudence. In an interview last year, he said he would look for judges "sympathetic" to those "on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless."

When he voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005, Obama declared that the "truly difficult" cases that come before the Supreme Court can be decided only with reference to "the depth and breadth of one's empathy," and that "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart."

But such cardiac justice is precisely what judges "do solemnly swear" to renounce. Sympathy for others is an admirable virtue, but a judge's private commiserations are not relevant to the law he is expected to apply.

If Obama means what he says, he wants judges who can be counted on to violate their oath of office.

"We need somebody who's got the heart -- the empathy -- to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom," he told a Planned Parenthood conference in 2007. "The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."

With such criteria, what would remain of the rule of law? What would happen to "Equal Justice Under Law," which is carved above the Supreme Court's entrance? What would be left of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws" to every citizen?

Lady Justice wears a blindfold not because she has no empathy for certain litigants or groups of people, but because there is no role for such empathy in a courtroom. "Our constitution is color-blind," wrote Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, in his great dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, "and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens." Harlan had supported slavery; he believed whites were superior to nonwhites. He had his empathies, but he confined his judging to the law.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)



AT LEAST 378 CIVILIANS" KILLED OVERNIGHT--NO JOOOOOOS INVOLVED, SO NO PROTEST MARCHES. What the AP story below carefully omits is that the Tamil Tigers are extraordinarily brutal Communist terrorists who make HAMAS look like amateurs and whose chief victims are other Tamils. They have repeatedly undermined all offers of peace. An indication of their mentality: India has a large Tamil population and the Tigers thought that India should support them. They conveyed that message by assassinating the Prime Minister of India. The result was of course the opposite of what they sought. None of that would of course undermine Leftist support for them if it were opportunistic to do so. Witness the past Leftist support for the Soviet regime or their present support for the Palestinian terrorists. Though it must be admitted that Leftists have never seemed much interested in dark-skinned people being ghastly to one another. Their obvious but unspoken attitude is that dark-skinned people are an inferior race from whom not much good can be expected

A massive barrage of artillery in Sri Lanka's northern war zone killed at least 378 civilians and wounded 1,100 overnight, a government doctor said Sunday, calling it the bloodiest day he had seen in the government's offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

V. Shanmugarajah, a physician working in the war zone, said he feared many more may have been killed since some bodies were being buried on the spot without being brought to the makeshift hospital he runs. "We are doing what is possible. The situation is overwhelming; nothing is within our control," he said. Mr. Shanmugarajah described seeing shells fly through the air, with some falling close to the hospital, sending many to take shelter in bunkers.

The rebel-linked TamilNet Web site accused Sri Lankan forces of launching the attack, a charge the military denied. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said it was only using small arms in its effort to wipe out the Tamil Tiger rebel group and that there "is no shelling taking place."

The government vowed two weeks ago to cease firing heavy weapons into the tiny coastal strip that remained under rebel control in an effort to avoid civilian casualties. However, medical officials in the area have reported that airstrikes and artillery attacks have continued unabated, despite the presence of an estimated 50,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the tiny conflict zone.

Reports of the fighting are difficult to verify because the government bars journalists and aid workers from the war zone. U.N. figures compiled last month showed that nearly 6,500 civilians had been killed early this year as the government renewed its efforts to end its 25-year civil war with the rebels.

The government has brushed off international calls for a humanitarian cease-fire, saying the beleaguered rebels would use any pause in fighting to regroup. It has accused the rebels of using civilians in the north as human shields, and Brig. Nanayakkara said the insurgents shot families who tried to escape the war zone Saturday, killing nine people.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils, who have suffered decades of marginalization at the hands of governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority.




The Weasel animal (Wieseltier) does give me a laugh. I have outlined his odious character on Feb. 25 but he still seems to have a perch as "Washingtom Diarist" at TNR. He has literary pretentions so I was amused to note in reading his latest effusion that he seemed to feel a need for an excursion into a foreign language. But rather than Latin, French or Greek, all he could come up with (for no obvious reason) was the Spanish word for "opening": abertura. Poor weasel! The funniest thing about his article was however his condemnation of Hillary Cliton and Obama on the grounds that their policies have no grounding in morality or principle! That the accusation was an example of the pot calling the kettle Afro-American was shown by the fact that the weasel made no attempt to specify what those morals and principles should be! He is as morally bankrupt as they are.

When emotions take over, logic flies out the window: “Here is a paradox in the position being championed by several commentators on a prominent anti-vivisectionist website: If other animals may kill and maim fellow animals, and if human beings aren’t significantly different from other animals, why are human beings derided for killing and maiming other animals just as those kill and maim other animals? All those pictures of animals that have been hurt by people could be matched by pictures of animals that have been hurt by non-human animals. Nature is replete with cases of that kind. Some defenders of non-human animals claim that humans are not all that different from other animals; if this is so, why do they demand that humans treat non-humans so differently from how non-humans treat other non-humans? This paradox is a serious one and it requires an answer from those who condemn human beings for treating non-human animals hurtfully! But there are others, too, that are worth mentioning.”

China recovering: "It is now clear that Beijing was right and global markets were wrong on China's ability to quickly overcome its extraordinary economic collapse in the second half of last year. Last week the closely watched CLSA purchasing managers index, a gauge of manufacturing activity, catapulted into expansion territory, matching an earlier jump in the official purchasing managers Index. While inventory adjustments continue to be wild (electricity generation, a proxy for heavy industries like steel, fell 3 per cent from March to April) the latest official and anecdotal reports are mostly strong. "April was another record for us," the China representative for an international car company told me at the weekend. "Our wealthy car clients are back - they never really went away but they were waiting for the economy to turn - and the new thing is that truck sales are soaring." [And they did it by going all out to encourage business. Obama take note]

The fruit of Leftist moral relativism: "A "decade of yobbery" under Labour has seen the number of persistent young offenders plaguing Britain's streets increase by 60 per cent while the number of crimes they commit has almost doubled. In one police force they account for one in seven offences brought to justice while another saw the number of problem offenders more than treble. A persistent young offender is anyone aged 10 to 17 who is guilty of at least one offence on four or more separate occasions within a set number of years. The figures show the problem is growing suggesting a new generation of serial criminals committing more and more crime. David Ruffley, the Conservative police reform minister, said: "These new figures show that Labour Ministers have presided over a decade of yobbery, fuelled by massive increases in the number of repeat young offenders. "These figures make a mockery of Labour's promises to tackle youth crime. There have been 46 Labour strategies since 1997 to try and tackle youth crime and it's now clear they have failed."

British Labour party response to fraud revelations? A coverup: "A Labour plot to suppress the future release of MPs’ expenses has been uncovered by The Times. As the frenzy over MPs’ claims continues into a fourth day, senior figures from all parties will meet this morning to discuss how to salvage Parliament’s battered reputation and it emerged that the tax authorities are expected to investigate whether MPs have breached the law. Plans to bring in a private-sector company to run the expenses department have raised fears, however, that the move is being used as a smokescreen to suppress future embarrassing revelations."

Gangster government gave Chrysler to the UAW: “So reads the Washington Examiner’s editorial today about how Obama effectively gave ownership of Chrysler to the United Auto Workers Union (which spent millions electing Obama), rather than taxpayers (who have spent billions to bail out Chrysler) or the institutions that lent money to Chrysler based on the legal right and expectation that they would receive its assets before the UAW union would. Veteran political commentator Michael Barone also calls it ‘gangster government.’”

Libertarian accusations: “Libertarians say ‘we have no desire to take from you what is yours’ and are called ‘greedy.’ Libertarians say ‘we have no desire to run your life for you’ and are called ‘arrogant.’ Orwell would be proud of modern political debate because it so closely mirror the doublespeak he wrote about in 1984. Libertarians are constantly accused of saying the exact opposite of what libertarians actually are saying.”

Obama hearts Big Labor: “The Obama administration has delivered a strong message to crooked union bosses everywhere: happy days are here again. On Thursday President Obama, who has pledged to usher in a new era of fiscal responsibility, touted $17 billion in proposed cuts to his $3.4 trillion budget. The media noted that about half of the reductions came out of the defense budget, but lost in most reports is the fact that the administration also slashed funding for the only entity in government tasked with policing unions.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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