The K-Word's Debut

     Judith Warner, defending late-term feticide in THE 
NEW YORK TIMES, complains that it "could become legally 
risky for doctors to use digoxin -- a cardiac drug -- to 
kill the fetus up to one day in advance of the 

     Well, blow me down! This is the first time I have 
ever seen anyone in the Paper of Record use the word 
"kill" to describe what abortion does. Next thing you 
know, they'll be calling those dead things "babies."

Paul Is a Four-Letter Word

     Speaking of taboos, the allegedly conservative 
WASHINGTON TIMES continues to ignore the one and only 
conservative seeking the Republican presidential 
nomination, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. It appears as 
if the TIMES's Bushite editor, Wesley Pruden, has banned 
any mention of Paul in the paper's pages. 

     Instead, the TIMES goes on slanting the news to 
create the impression that the United States is winning 
the war in Iraq. This is also the theme sung by its 
roster of commentators. 

     Maybe so. Maybe the surge is finally working! But 
all this ceaseless optimism is getting mighty fishy. 
First Saddam Hussein was a serious threat to us because 
of all those nuclear weapons; but once he was toppled, 
democracy was going to sprout irresistibly across the 
Muslim world.

     Well, "mission accomplished," and the Iraqi people 
voted with purpled fingers; and time and again we were 
told that the turning point had finally come; just as 
we're being assured again today that the most formidable 
and expensive military in history is at last whipping the 
stateless insurgents.

     Only Ron Paul is raising the most basic question of 
all, the one even the "anti-war" Democrats won't touch, 
namely, Why should we be in the Middle East in the first 
place? Or, to put it another way, if "we win," what on 
earth do we win? 

     Funny that we never talk about conquest anymore. 
Today it's known as defense. 

What Happened to Our Constitution?

     Regnery's Politically Incorrect Guides, despite 
their coy titles, are an excellent series of correctives 
to liberal propaganda. I'd be tempted to call the latest, 
Kevin Gutzman, one of the most inspired, if only the 
other volumes I've seen weren't so hard to top.

     How to discuss this book without gushing 
superlatives? I find it even better than its advance 
praise announced. I've studied this subject for most of 
my adult life, and I can hardly imagine a better book of 
its kind -- fearless, incisive, going straight for the 
intellectual jugular. 

     Gutzman contends that the American judiciary, legal 
establishment, law schools, and media have completely 
misled the public about the meaning and history of the 
U.S. Constitution, substituting case law -- the 
accumulated opinions of the courts -- for the simple 
truth. Flimsy "precedent" has usurped the place of 
history, fact, reason, and even logic. So precedents take 
precedence, as it were, over the actual words of the 

     The U.S. Supreme Court winds up treating its own 
rulings -- in Roe v. Wade, for example -- as more 
authoritative than the Constitution itself. No wonder the 
public is confused: The whole system is incoherent and -- 
well, "corrupt" is a mild term for it. The Constitution 
becomes whatever the courts say it is. This is a recipe 
for unbridled, arbitrary power, such as we are already 

     Gutzman puts his finger on the key issue: state 
sovereignty. Abraham Lincoln falsely said that the states 
had never been sovereign, even under the Articles of 
Confederation -- a lie plainly refuted by the second of 
the articles: "Each state retains its sovereignty, 
freedom, and independence...." Mark you that: "retains"! 
So much for "Honest Abe." (And he =was= honest, in little 
things. Like Shakespeare's Honest Iago, he saved his 
whoppers for large matters.)

     Unless the states retain their sovereignty, 
including the ultimate right to secede, there is no real 
check on "federal" tyranny. The whim of a Court majority 
can literally mean violent death for millions. If even 
one state had been able to threaten secession over Roe, 
the Court would never have dared to foist such a 
monstrous ruling on us. Yet nobody even proposed 
impeaching those who had usurped the states' most basic 
right: the right to protect innocence from violence.

     Gutzman's conclusion is gloomy, but I find it hard 
to see how he can be accused of undue pessimism; to me it 
seems simple realism. I reached the same conclusion long 
ago and see no way around it, no "solution" except for 
the remote possibility that a stupid and sinful populace 
and its equally depraved rulers will have a massive 
conversion. This is about as likely as President Bush's 
suddenly speaking in Miltonic periods, Johnsonian 
paragraphs, and Chestertonian epigrams.

     When it comes to the U.S. Constitution, idiocy has 
been institutionalized so thoroughly that any hope for a 
return to reason seems like sheer fantasy. Gutzman shows 
that the truth can still be known and uttered, but not 
that it has any hope of prevailing in any future we can 

                                        --- Joseph Sobran


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