Guest post: a response to Skippy

I must take issue with some factual errors presented by Skippy earlier this week:

Once upon a time, Limbaugh was what is considered a “strict construction list,” meaning that if a given right isn’t explicitly enumerated in the Bill of Rights, it doesn’t exist. This was the argument Rush and ilk endlessly offer against abortion rights.

A ‘strict construction list’ is a very useful engineering document. As a Theory of Interpretation of the Law or Constitution, it’s not so useful. In layman’s terms, ‘Constructionism‘ is a theory of interpretation that limits the understanding to the plain meaning of the terms used. Many Conservatives prefer a related theory, ‘Originalism,‘ wherein the interpreted understanding is limited to the original meaning and intent of the terms used.
Continued after the jump…
Joseph Hayyim


The founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence and subsequent Constitution were clear that Natural Rights and concomitant responsibilities derive uniquely from Providence.
They accepted that rights preceded the Constitution. The Constitution was structured in such a way as to grant only limited Powers to government to infringe upon mankind’s rights. The Bill of Rights was a precarious attempt to enumerate specific rights reserved to the People in an attempt to bolster them against aggressive government power. The mere existence of the list often leads to the misunderstanding that rights are therefore limited to those on the list.
It is safe to assume that the majority of conservatives do not consider the Bill as the sum total of Rights.
Conservatives may debate as to the extent of a God-given Right to Privacy. Privacy in a doctor’s office is one thing that’s nearly universally agreed upon. However, Conservatives almost universally agree that the means by which the Constitutional Right to Privacy was enumerated is bad law.
Conservatives generally agree that human life is a gift from the Creator and that life begins at the moment of conception. In this view, it is no longer just “a woman’s body” and a “fetus” but a woman’s body carrying a new human life – with it’s own human rights worthy of protection.
Conservatives generally agree that the Constitution does not enumerate, and that God does not provide, a Right to Murder.
Therefore…conservatives generally agree that the new Constitutional right to privacy is not to be conflated with a right to murder, especially where the new life poses no immediate threat to the mother and where adoption services abound. Conservatives straightforwardly reject the view that one may extrapolate a very reasonable privacy right into permission to murder. This is the point that Rush and his ilk have been making.
I have listened to Rush for almost nine years, and in that time I can not recall Mr. Limbaugh or any Conservative, for that matter, reject the notion of “abortion rights” because it can’t be found in the Bill of Rights [or on a friggin’ construction list.]
When I first started listening to Rush, I found that I was growing mad as Hell. Not at Rush; rather he agreed with most of my principles. I was angry at having been suckered for so many years by media and liars of the Left who had grossly mischaracterized Rush’s message.
As a Conservative it’s against my libertarian principles to tell you whether or not you should listen to Limbaugh (or Levin or Ingraham or or or…) I will say that Rush doesn’t waste my time, even when he’s wrong.

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4 thoughts on “Guest post: a response to Skippy

  1. JH,
    Don’t bother. In case it escaped your attention, Skippy was just as guilty of distorting Limbaugh as he accused Limbaugh of being.
    Oh, the irony of criticizing someone’s free expression as being less than perfectly practiced.

  2. 8B,
    Sir, thanks. The article was a response to only the first of the good Skippy’s paragraphs. His entire rant was unintended humor I don’t have the energy or time to properly fisk the entire piece.
    Note, Skippy’s screed was paralleled by some hysteria from The American Conservative Magazine.
    http://www.amconmag.com/
    Even (the otherwise fine writer) John Derbyshire distorted conservative talk radio’s message and influence. He, too, was dead-wrong on many points about conservative radio’s relationship with the Republican Party and with Conservatives in general.
    If Skippy or Derb had bothered to actually listen to conservative talk radio as a source within the spectrum of news and analysis, they’d find plenty of valid criticisms for the likes of Rush and Hannity. They don’t, they didn’t, and thay both come off as rather silly and provincial.
    Best,
    JH

  3. Concerning “strict construction list” in the original article, I thought it was a sound-alike misunderstanding for “strict constructionist”. A friend of mine thinks there is such a thing as “statue tory rape” for the same reason.

  4. Dom, sir,
    Exactly said. Didn’t know at first whether to wince or to laugh at Skippy’s flub. It’s the sort of naive error made by one unfamiliar with the subject.
    If I may add-lib*: Conservatives have much to criticize in talk radio, especially jobs such as “Savage” Weiner: Lack of candor on fundamental conservative and libertarian values, their failure to support candidates who support those values, and their failure to motivate the base to get off comfy chairs [fetch me the Soft Cushions!] and engage in constructive action. It may be amusing, to a point, having liberals as such easy targets, but that’s negative.
    The conservative message is useless unless it is constructive, motivating and positive. Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham are better on those points than most.
    [* add-lib as in A.D.D.]
    Best,
    JH

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