6.29.2009

Saxby v. Sunstein

"Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) has blocked President Obama’s candidate for regulation czar, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, because Sunstein has argued that animals should have the right to sue humans in court."

Chambliss is holding up Sunstein's nomination after hearing from agricultural lobbyists, and perhaps because he actually disagrees with Sunstein's ideas. This is all well and good, because the whole animal rights idea is as crazy and wrong as Chambliss asserts. But it completely misses the more fundamental reason why Sunstein is not fit for any post in which he has any political power.

His stance in support of animal rights and against gun rights -- the two most commonly cited issues from the conservative side -- are superficial in light of Sunstein's core positions. They are but an outward indicator of his fundamental view of individuals and their relation to the state. In his voluminous writings, we see a man who views individuals as wards of the state, as "tools" and "resources" to be nudged around in service to the good of society.

In essence, Sunstein sees no inalienable right to life, liberty, or property, and no way for jurisprudence to uphold them objectively because there are also no objective truths. Anyone who claims there are is an extremist, and he has advocated actively for such views to be restricted by law. That he has backtracked from that outward position is irrelevant. Instead of openly supporting such ideas, he has taken to surreptitious and indirect attacks on "group polarization" and "extreme views," always stopping short of voicing a "final solution" but leaving the logical conclusion unavoidably obvious.

While I applaud Chambliss for blocking the nomination -- at least for now, because he said he wants to talk to him before lifting his blockade, as "He has not had the opportunity to look me in the eye," whatever good that will do -- because he has not done so in any principled fashion and has picked one of the least substantial and wackier of Sunstein's positions (and thus likely easier to be casually brushed aside as "academic rambling") Chambliss' stand will very likely end in compromise (i.e. failure).

Such is the inevitable outcome of Republicans' inability to understand or stand for individual rights. Unless and until they do, they will continue to fail.

3 comments:

Doug Reich said...

Thanks for updating us on Sunstein's nomination. You hit the nail on the head regarding the Republican inability to think in principle.

Chambliss' claim that he needs to "look him in the eye" is totally absurd and speaks volumes. This is an explicit admission that he is going to rely on emotion rather than logic and principle to evaluate Sunstein.

And Republicans wonder why we are losing our freedom...

brendan said...

I think "look him in the eye" is politico-speak for "see what favors he can do for me" and at the same time "allow him a chance to equivocate".

As one of his constituents, I can say with certainty that Saxby Chambliss is an unprincipled boob. Also, his name sounds like a cheap off-brand champagne. As in:

"The missus and I celebrated our trailer's mortgage approval with a frosty mug of Saxby Chambliss."

C. August said...

Doug and Brendan, I think you're both right about the "look me in the eye" statement. That's what I was thinking too.

And I agree about the man's name. Though I'm envisioning a boxed blush wine, on ice.

"Chambliss on ice... isn't it nice!"