When reading a piece by Joseph Ellis on the founding of the US, American Creation, I came upon an insightful saying. I am not sure if this is a common saying and/or if I have heard it before and it just didn’t click. Whatever the case may be, it caught my attention.
The context in which Ellis wrote the phrase, “Unbridled democracy in action,” was concerning the gradual removal of Native American tribes by the expanding United States. However, is it not the case that we see unbridled democracy in action, perhaps even more than ever, in America today?
Here I am not necessarily referring to the destruction of a people as an exercise of liberty, although addressing that may be apropos. I am talking about the extension of liberty at the expense of morality and justice. While we all stand firmly on the preservation of liberty, is this not the very principle people use to justify all kinds of deeds?
One such deed is abortion under the guise of “procreative liberty”. This is portrayed best, perhaps, in the mistaken ruling of Roe vs. Wade delivered by Mr. Justice Blackmun:
“The principle thrust of appellant’s attack on the Texas statutes is that they improperly invade a right, said to be possessed by the pregnant woman [Doe], to choose to terminate her pregnancy. Appellant would discover this right in the concept of personal “liberty” embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause; or in personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy said to be protected by the Bill of Rights…” (Section V)
The ruling did two dangerous things: 1.) Extended the rights of woman based upon an abstraction of the language of liberty in the constitution (I understand Blackmun cited case precedence also), and 2.) Usurped state’s rights.
The first is true because of a soft/fluid interpretation of the constitution. And despite the claims of Mr. Justice later in his delivery of the opinion of the court, the second is true because the ruling made abortion legal nationally, which demolished standing state legislation across our nation without legislative due process.
Not to mention that this ruling negated the foundational facet of a three-faceted ideal: the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to the pursuit of happiness. What about life?