Saturday, June 02, 2012

Is John Cole The Dumbest Person On The Internets?

Granted, there is a lot of competition out there, but when you read pig ignorant crapola like this you have to think we've got the new king of stoopid:

Democrats tell us that photo ID requirements disenfranchise minority voters, who, inexplicably, have limited access to photo IDs. Yet, at their own convention, they insist that all delegates provide a photo ID to even have access to the convention floor.

I guess they don’t understand the concept of the basic right to vote and how that differs from being one of a very few delegates to a party convention.
Uh, sorry to break it to you John but there is no "basic right to vote." Never has been. Its not a recognized "right" in the English common law tradition; its not a recognized "right" in the Natural Law tradition; its not a "right" in the liberal democratic tradition.

In order for something to be a "basic right" it has to be inalienable (or unalienable if one wishes to echo Jefferson.) Thus, if John Cole were to become a convicted felon, and we can only hope one day he manages to do so, he could lose his ability to vote. In other words, his vote is alienable and therefore not a right.

On the other hand, John Cole's right to liberty and free speech means he has the inalienable right to go on the Internet and make an ass of himself.

And aren't we all lucky?


Zut Alors! said...


One observation and one question for you:

Observation One: the title of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 suggests that there are rights involved in the matter of voting at least in the context of the modern U.S.

Question One: How can free speech be a "basic right" when it is routinely alienated in the U.S. and the U.K.? You can't threaten to kill the president, you can't joke about having a bomb when you board an aircraft, etc. in the U.S. The U.K. has even greater restrictions on free speech. There is no absolute right to free speech. Even Thomas Jefferson did not believe in that. He was a strong proponent of the doctrine of seditious libel and favored the state (rather than federal) prosecution of Harry Croswell, editor of the New York City Wasp for reprinting James T. Callender's (true) charges that Jefferson fathered several children with his slave Sally Hemings.

Please explain.

Perhaps the concept of basic rights has changed over time?

Rich Horton said...

This is part of the problem with what has been called "loose rights talk." For example, the old saw about "you do not have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater." Well, of course you have the right, as long as the theater is actually on fire. So what is being curtailed is not "free speech," it is the ability to cause a panic and potential harm/injury. The right of free speech has never contained the right to cause a panic.

Second, there is a difference between calling something a fundamental right and making/defining something as legal/illegal. They are often erroneously used as synonyms, but they are not. For example, in Wisconsin they have just passed a law making it legal to take homebrew out of one's home to be consumed at another venue. This was illegal last year, now its legal. Some people might claim "Now I have the RIGHT to take my homebrew with me..." but they are wrong. The legislature is free to make it illegal again next year if they feel like it.

Now, voting is something which has historically always had restrictions - property requirements (being a "freeholder" as it was called - being the most common. Now, this was changed NOT by the Supreme Court declaring a fundamental right to vote, but by changing the LEGAL terms of voting. The cases against such Jim Crow era mechanisms such as literacy requirements were deemed unconstitutional NOT because of a fundamental right to vote, but because of violation of due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Without the 14th Amendment, and the body of law associated with it, the Voting Rights Act wouldn't even apply to the states. But even then the 14th Amendment recognizes that a persons vote is alienable. "But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state."

There is also, of course, the Constitution itself which gives wide latitude for "time, manner and place" requirements for all Federal elections. Having a photo id would be a "manner" requirement.

Cole is shockingly ignorant of the legal, philosophical and historical nature of rights (or is pretending to be to make his usual partisan hackery - which to me is much the same thing in the end.) As such he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.