|VOL. 9, NO. 4||March 30, 2007|
The Courts and the Culture War, I.
By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
Basic philosophical musings are not the sort of activity in which Americans have historically engaged. No Platos, Aristotles, or Hegels appear in the landscape of American intellectual history. Americans do, however, have a well-documented penchant for adapting abstract philosophical ideas to the practical bits and pieces of everyday life. But now is the time for us to dive deeply into philosophy more deeply than ever in our nation's history in order to understand our philosophical roots and defend them if we are to salvage the honorable qualities of our practical, everyday life as a nation. Some American leaders with more philosophical inclinations than most of us have recognized the inseparability of a prosperous and peaceful practical existence and the deeper philosophical levels of American life. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who held many notions dangerous to American life, was nevertheless on point when he declared that "Theory is the most important part of the dogma of the law, as the architect is the most important man who takes part in the building of a house." And our early great American lexicographer (and also an attorney) Noah Webster agreed, stating that "next to theology, the study of jurisprudence (i.e., the 'dogma of the law,' our basic 'philosophy of law') is the most important and useful to man."
Reconstructionist (i.e., Humanistic) judges are rewriting our Constitution and revolutionizing our culture through their injection of their "below-the-surface" philosophical views. We Constitutionalists can recapture our Constitution and culture only if we become superior to our foe in understanding both our worldview and theirs. In this, and later Briefings, we shall arm ourselves for the battle by defining and describing both the Judeo-Christian and Humanistic worldviews as they pertain to our jurisprudence and constitutional theory and by defending the Judeo-Christian worldview as the superior paradigm.
We begin this philosophical boot camp training by understanding that a "worldview" is a comprehensive set of views and values about all of life. A "Culture War" is a climactic battle between opposing worldviews involving every dimension of a society's worldview. As it pertains to law, a worldview consists of five realms of thought, forming the structure shown below.
Level #1: "Theology" concerns God His existence, nature, etc. "Religion" concerns man's view of that which is supreme in his life and his relationship to that supreme entity.
Level #2A: "General philosophy" addresses such questions as reality and existence, origins, truth and knowledge, man and society, purpose(s), and values/principles/morality.
Level #2B: "Jurisprudence" ("legal philosophy") and "political philosophy" address the issues of law and government - their nature, source(s), fundamental principles, relationship to other societal institutions, etc.
Level #3: "The Constitution" includes the text of the document plus the constitutional theory which one brings to his/her consideration of the document, plus the body of court decisions interpreting the document ("constitutional law").
Level #4: "Specific issues and cases" of today includes issues such as evolutionism v. creationism, the life issues, religious freedoms, and homosexual rights.
Level #4 is the only portion of a worldview/law structure than most Americans understand to any significant degree. But lest we make the dreadful mistake of assuming that the other four components of a worldview are too abstract to be of concern to "everyday Americans," let's consider how Reconstructionist judges have attacked America's Judeo-Christian foundations in each of these realms of thought.
Level #1: In Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's case defending the Ten Commandments monuments in the Judicial Building in Montgomery, the federal district judge deciding against Moore and the monument declared that he lacked "the expertise to formulate [the court's] own definition of religion" [this wasn't the court's business in the first place]. (Glassroth v. Moore) Therefore, the court rejected as "unwise and even dangerous" any effort "to put forth, as a matter of law, one definition of religion under the First Amendment." Judicial involvement in defining "religion" is as deep a court involvement in Level #1 as can be imagined.
Level #2A: In the Supreme Court's signature case on evolutionism v. creationism (Edwards v. Aguillard), the Court put its imprimatur on the public schools' teaching of evolutionism only (no creation science could be mandated). This puts the Court squarely on the side of the worldview argument that men are, by nature, animals. The nature of man is a central issue of general philosophy.
Level # 2B: In the Casey decision upholding Roe v. Wade and Roe's "undefinition" of "person" ("the word 'person' . . . does not include the unborn"), (Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pennsylvania v. Casey), the Court's plurality opinion devoted copious space and obvious mental energy to pontificating that even if Roe were wrong, the Court couldn't reconsider it because Roe is an unassailable precedent. Only if the Court leaves intact such unassailable precedents, will the Court retain "its legitimacy" and its position as the ultimate spokesman of America's values. Court decisions become the ultimate law of our legal system, a central issue of jurisprudence.
Level #3: In Lawrence v. Texas, the Court read the right to homosexual conduct into the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause (specifically the term "liberty" guaranteed by this Clause). This Reconstructionist attack on the clear meaning of a constitutional provision typifies Humanistic assaults on America's constitutional theory.
In the early years of the Reagan era, columnist Joseph Sobran wrote that conservatives were losing battles because they were "philosophically incompetent and intellectually unsophisticated." Would Sobran's characterization fit us Constitutionalists today? We Constitutionalists rise above this description when we understand the law and worldview truths of this and later Briefings.