Photo credit: Jarek Tuszynski (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Cultures change. There is no doubt about it. But at the same time cultures always change. To raise a complaint, or even a note, about change, seems superfluous. But this change did not happen at the popular level, the level where the average person lives. Entities with other intentions manage these changes. 

We look at court cases, and we think “A sued B and won justice.” That is often true. But it is far from the whole picture. The major court cases that have affected our culture, while not generally fabricated, were anticipated. That’s one of the things think tanks do. They plan strategies. The manage expectations. They anticipate and calculate outcomes.

Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton are two of the big ones. They did not come out of nowhere. For the decade or so preceding Roe, some states had legalized abortion on demand. The outcomes were calculated.

Norma McCorvey stated that she, being the plaintiff, told several lies in the process. That’s something we became familiar with in the case of the Kavanaugh “job interview.”

Obergfell followed the same course. After influencing some states on the matter of homosexual marriage, the movement sought its final resolution with a court of the same mind.

I am not of the illusion that a progressive court would not overrule the conscience of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists concerning the question of life. That was and is the Obama and Clinton doctrine. It may be on hold for a couple of decades, but it has not gone away. We are already in the era of coerced abortion. To think that forced participation is far away is naive. Just a quick google search is all you need for real-world examples.

The questions of life and marriage, both once considered matters of common law. It was the normative understanding that the individual owns his own life and that the government was restricted from taking life without due process. This once shared knowledge has been set aside so that unborn life is now a commodity with parts for sale to the highest bidder.

Marriage was once a private relationship. I could say that my wife was “my wife” not in the sense of owning her person but in the sense that we two both were owners of the relationship. It was not a contract. It was a private covenant. All but one or maybe two states treated it this fashion. But marriage has been nationalized by judicial fiat.

Our history is of course not wholly consistent. The eugenics experiments in the US were pretty ugly and devoid of moral restraint, either by the population at large or by the courts. Our experiments in proactive evolution proved as inhuman as those of the Nazis even though the scale of the problem was less. The matter of progressive white superiority remains as the motivation. The category of the perpetrators of the ideas and activities should not be deconstructed to anything less that “progressive white.” To do so diminishes its Darwinian heritage.

One might point to the positive influence of the courts in civil rights cases. Perhaps. Even though significant progress had been made in the North and west there remained much to be done in the South. The overt racism of the south is theirs. (The North has its problem with classism but, having lived in both areas, the effects are very different.)

This “court as do-gooder” philosophy has also affected the question of pornography. Its “I know it when I see it” perspective works. But, like prohibition, has ended up failing. The Internet and WWW made sure of that.

The do-gooder approach has that statist characteristic. As the state becomes the arbiter of civic morality, it sometimes reaches further to become the arbiter of other things.  Kelo is notorious on this. Eminent domain has changed from being about the public interest on matters like roads to government and corporate benefit on matters such as stadiums. The 5th Amendment has been gutted.

The court has never been an “independent” arbiter. That’s the fantasy of the “liberal” mind which is open to all ideas. Instead, it has always followed a worldview. For the past century, it has been both progressive and statist. It has worked with other governing bodies to move morality from the popular level to the national level.

The progressive era never really ended. It only softened a bit. The trend to nationalization has been a theme of the progressive movement.

While conservatism can tend to be a little too libertarian for my tastes, it’s better than statism. Neither is wholly consistent with Christian theology. But at least conservatism allows for individual conscience.

Cross-post.

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