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  1. #41
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    First you said I have reading comprehension problems, then you say I erred in taking what she said 'literally'; that would seem to imply that her actual choice of words (whether she meant them or not) mean what I interpreted them to mean.
    To comprehend something literally does not mean that you have completely comprehended what was said or written. Children are taught, for instance, to comprehend things literally until they are able to move on to bigger and better things, like inference and anything else that has to do with taking context into account.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Incidentally, its not just right-wing 'wingnuts' like myself who think that she failed to adequately emphasize the importance of free speech as laid down in the US Constitution, relative to other Constitutions:
    1. David Weigel is a libertarian/moderate conservative.
    2. John Tabin, to whom Weigel refers when he mentions the freedom of speech issue, is also a libertarian/moderate conservative, and he writes for the conservative rag The American Spectator.
    3. The passage from Tabin's article that Weigel refers to, which appears in the conservative rag TAS, reads:

    That she thinks the age of the constitution she's charged with interpreting make it deficient relative to newer constitutions is kind of shocking, particularly in the context of her praise for the rights enshrined in the First Amendment -- rights that, in practice, are protected far less robustly in South Africa or Canada or Europe than they are in the US.
    Weigel says in his own article:

    I'm with John Tabin at the link -- I agree that our freedom of speech protections are the best place to start for any other country, and that Canada and South Africa have done citizens wrong with weaker basic rights.
    They (and you) are saying this in spite of the fact that she says explicitly (and before anything else) that:

    ...the constitution - first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.
    So...I don't get it. Are you just ignoring what she's saying here? Do you think she's being disingenuous, and that she's really advocating for Egypt to adopt something like what Canada and SA have - "hate speech" exclusions from freedom of speech protections - which I assume you (and these authors) disagree with?
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  2. #42
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    To comprehend something literally does not mean that you have completely comprehended what was said or written. Children are taught, for instance, to comprehend things literally until they are able to move on to bigger and better things, like inference and anything else that has to do with taking context into account.

    1. David Weigel is a libertarian/moderate conservative.

    So...I don't get it. Are you just ignoring what she's saying here? Do you think she's being disingenuous, and that she's really advocating for Egypt to adopt something like what Canada and SA have - "hate speech" exclusions from freedom of speech protections - which I assume you (and these authors) disagree with?
    1.) You mean context and inference like listing examples and criteria that includes just about every liberal democratic Constitution except that of the United States? Ginsburg is not a dilettante who is unaware of what her words mean, particularly when obviously choosing her words with great care. She is also not unaware of the differences between the US Constitution and those of most other nations, and the practical implications of dismissing the Constitution as a source.

    2.) So you consider a 'libertarian/moderate' conservative a 'wingnut'? Okay. BTW, Weigel is also rather infamous for his participation in JournoList and is now a commentater on MSNBC. The former in particular is not exactly characteristic of a far-right 'wingnut', even if one chooses to interpret the latter as a conservative version of a 'Fox News Liberal'.

    3.) In the first place, opposition to 'hate speech' exclusions is not only a right-wing concern, in the American context support for such laws is pretty much limited to the far-left (i.e. to the far left of the ACLU, its often considered the main thing that mainstream right and left still have in common within the United States). And yes, I consider 'free speech' with 'hate speech' exclusions as pretty much the same thing as religious freedom with 'blasphemy' exclusions; a contradiction in terms and a tool for state suppression/persecution. If she was not disingenuous (like I said, she is an extremely smart and very knowledgeable person-there is no way she is unfamiliar with anything I have mentioned), then she had a complete and utter brain fart. More likely, she viewed anything worthwhile within the US Constitution as adequately covered within other Constitutions, and anything virtually unique to the US Constitution as either a defect or an irrelevance-its not like the authors of other Constitutions believed that they were acting contrary to things like free speech; they simply believed they were balancing it with other concerns.

    I don't really care if people on TypC don't share my opposition to the details of her statements, but I don't think the level of disdain directed at my interpretation of her statements is really warranted when the best rebuttal offered is that I am taking 'too literally' the statements of a smart, knowledgeable woman accustomed to speaking in a way that is calculated to convey specific and distinct legal points.

  3. #43
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    1.) You mean context and inference like listing examples and criteria that includes just about every liberal democratic Constitution except that of the United States? Ginsburg is not a dilettante who is unaware of what her words mean, particularly when obviously choosing her words with great care. She is also not unaware of the differences between the US Constitution and those of most other nations, and the practical implications of dismissing the Constitution as a source.
    I mean context and inference like the fact that she was talking about human rights when she made the statement, "I would not use the US constitution in the year 2012." SA and Canada, by contrast with the US, have a much more specific list of rights protected by the government - "positive" rights, like you mentioned in one of your earlier statements. For reasons that are not exactly mysterious given her political leanings (and really, given common sense and even the basest knowledge of Egypt's history), she thinks that Egypt would need something more like SA or Canada. Hell, she probably even thinks that our own constitution could use such updating (I wouldn't know - the only decision I've ever read from her was one about some copyright law, but I do know that she is very much a "liberal" with a particular interest in human rights issues. Hell, she worked for the ACLU.) Even if that's the case, such an opinion is worlds apart from "implying that the US constitution is worthless by comparison with those countries'."

    Now, you're free to disagree with her opinion on this, but to be self-righteously upset because she "dissed" our constitution by way of one relatively uncontroversial, indirect criticism is at best misguided and at worst fanatical. If you're simply failing to understand what she meant, then you're misguided; but if you're seriously suggesting that voicing a gripe with a single aspect of our constitution (which happens to be an aspect that would have great pertinence to Egypt, since one of the first things they would want to do is take serious, positive steps towards ending the rampant religious violence and the persecution of religious minorities, end of female genital mutilation, etc.,), even while explicitly praising a different aspect, is somehow disrespecting our country or constitution, then you are definitely fanatical and do not deserve to be taken seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    2.) So you consider a 'libertarian/moderate' conservative a 'wingnut'? Okay. BTW, Weigel is also rather infamous for his participation in JournoList and is now a commentater on MSNBC. The former in particular is not exactly characteristic of a far-right 'wingnut', even if one chooses to interpret the latter as a conservative version of a 'Fox News Liberal'.
    Considering how the political center is quite a bit further to the right when compared with most of the rest of the world, I'd say that it would not be too crazy to consider US-brand libertarianism and "moderate conservatism" worthy of the "wingnut" label. This hardly matters, though, since I only used that term for rhetorical effect in the first place, because some of the most vocal people about this whole debacle have been people who say shit like this:

    If Ginsberg is arguing against the superiority of American Constitutional law over other systems she is not committed to it's success. She is in essence openly admitting she is working against the Constitution in her deliberations (confirming what we already knew).
    And they are real, unambiguous wingnuts.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    3.) In the first place, opposition to 'hate speech' exclusions is not only a right-wing concern, in the American context support for such laws is pretty much limited to the far-left (i.e. to the far left of the ACLU, its often considered the main thing that mainstream right and left still have in common within the United States). And yes, I consider 'free speech' with 'hate speech' exclusions as pretty much the same thing as religious freedom with 'blasphemy' exclusions; a contradiction in terms and a tool for state suppression/persecution.
    I'm not necessarily in disagreement with you here.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    If she was not disingenuous (like I said, she is an extremely smart and very knowledgeable person-there is no way she is unfamiliar with anything I have mentioned), then she had a complete and utter brain fart.
    Does this statement not compute for you?

    ...the constitution - first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.
    This only contradicts her statement that she "would not look to the US constitution in 2012" IF you interpret it literally. That is, if you think that she categorically meant that she would not recommend any aspect of the US constitution to Egypt in the drafting of their constitution, then sure, that would contradict her previous statement that free speech should be protected like it is in the US constitution. To resolve this contradiction by completely ignoring her statement about freedom of speech, however, is not a good way to go. You need to show other reasons besides a literal take on one statement in order to justify ignoring what she said about free speech. Otherwise you're telling us more about your political biases than anything true about Ginsburg.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    More likely, she viewed anything worthwhile within the US Constitution as adequately covered within other Constitutions, and anything virtually unique to the US Constitution as either a defect or an irrelevance-its not like the authors of other Constitutions believed that they were acting contrary to things like free speech; they simply believed they were balancing it with other concerns.
    1. It's not necessarily true (indeed, the opposite seems to be the case, judging by THE WORDS THAT CAME OUT OF HER MOUTH) that she's recommending SA or Canada's freedom of speech provisions in particular.
    2. Even if she does think that the US-unique aspects of the constitution (as opposed to those shared, nay, modeled after the US by SA or Canada or wherever) are irrelevant, so what? That's been my point all along. She's saying that there are more relevant things in other, more modern constitutions that would be useful to Egypt in particular. What is wrong with that? It's entirely pragmatic. Even Weigel appeared to agree with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I don't really care if people on TypC don't share my opposition to the details of her statements, but I don't think the level of disdain directed at my interpretation of her statements is really warranted when the best rebuttal offered is that I am taking 'too literally' the statements of a smart, knowledgeable woman accustomed to speaking in a way that is calculated to convey specific and distinct legal points.
    The problem is that it doesn't seem like you have concerned yourself with the details of her statements to a very high degree. If you had, you wouldn't be interpreting her one statement (out of an entire interview, a lot of which has been cut from the version you linked us) as though it were the only thing she said, or as though she were giving a legal argument (she was speaking casually.) Context is important!
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  4. #44
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    The problem is that it doesn't seem like you have concerned yourself with the details of her statements to a very high degree. If you had, you wouldn't be interpreting her one statement (out of an entire interview, a lot of which has been cut from the version you linked us) as though it were the only thing she said, or as though she were giving a legal argument (she was speaking casually.) Context is important!
    I guess the crux of the disagreement is that I don't think she was speaking so casually; she wasn't using legal language, but I think she chose her words with great care to convey her nuanced opinions on the matter. This is the stuff to which she has dedicated most of her life, and she was speaking in the role of an expert opinion on an important matter; I don't think her responses were either casual or careless.

    As for my political biases, they've never been hidden; I've even stated several times that my votes for President and Senate are basically determined by Supreme Court nominations. I freely admit its a rather uncommon focus on either side of the aisle.

  5. #45
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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  6. #46
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Yeah, I read that last night; I think the most revealing aspect was the author's emphasis on so-called 'positive rights' (i.e. entitlements, such as public transportation *over political and civil rights and his portrayal of individual rights in the Canadian Charter as 'more expansive and less absolute' in nature.

    *I suspect giving equal legal weight to the 'right' to travel at taxpayer expense as to the 'right of locomotion' of Habeas Corpus, and similar lack of prioritization, is liable to produce unpleasant consequences down the line.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Yeah, I read that last night; I think the most revealing aspect was the author's emphasis on so-called 'positive rights' (i.e. entitlements, such as public transportation *over political and civil rights and his portrayal of individual rights in the Canadian Charter as 'more expansive and less absolute' in nature.

    *I suspect giving equal legal weight to the 'right' to travel at taxpayer expense as to the 'right of locomotion' of Habeas Corpus, and similar lack of prioritization, is liable to produce unpleasant consequences down the line.
    We must have read two completely different articles then.

    Oh, and it says "right to travel" (as in freedom of movement) not "right to public transportation at taxpayer expense".
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  8. #48
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  9. #49
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    Oh, and it says "right to travel" (as in freedom of movement) not "right to public transportation at taxpayer expense".
    Fair enough, it seems that the right to public transportation is an issue that some have advocated for on the basis of an expansive interpretation of 'freedom of movement', but its not actually mandated; the error is mine

    I would like to point out, however, that freedom of movement (in details rather than through that specific term) is fully protected by the US Constition, contrary to the author's implication; I allowed that discrepency to lead me into an assumption about the interpretation of the term within Canada based on faulty memories of advocacy articles, and that was extremely intellectually lazy on my part.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Yeah, I read that last night; I think the most revealing aspect was the author's emphasis on so-called 'positive rights' (i.e. entitlements, such as public transportation *over political and civil rights and his portrayal of individual rights in the Canadian Charter as 'more expansive and less absolute' in nature.

    *I suspect giving equal legal weight to the 'right' to travel at taxpayer expense as to the 'right of locomotion' of Habeas Corpus, and similar lack of prioritization, is liable to produce unpleasant consequences down the line.
    Well I do think that the world has reached the point were its feasible, if it so chooses, to focus on social goods rather than simply protecting private wealth and legacies from theft from any quarter, Galbraith wrote about this a long time ago.

    Although I still maintain that the "problem" the US constitution provides in a modern context is that it is fundamentally pre-modern, it was written with certain key assumptions and a vision which were not perenial. In a certain sense I'd defy any constitutional framer to come up with a universally valid and perrenial constitution because I believe it can not be done and was probably the best conservative critique of constitutionalism in that day.

    I dont think that a constitution should enshrine entitlements or positive rights, its part of the reason I found adds campaigning for a bill of rights in NI and the UK which lead with a story about pensioners freezing to death in fuel poverty to be just so wrong headed.

    Where I have a problem is when a constitution prohibits directly or indirectly those actions which are requisit by any state performing a role in a modern economy to provide prosperity through things such as demand management, full employment policies that sort of thing, and benefits, until a better means can be devised (I'm all ears to that), are often part of that since small redistributions from millionaires to the welfare dependent have a big impact on the money circulating in the economy, millionaires save and the poor are often spend thrift.

    I just dont see how or why anyone would want a return to the sort of pauperised agrarian economy which the founding fathers visualed as a steady state.

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