Real Clear Politics features a sharp piece by William Murchison that appraises what the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage means for our country. With this latest turn of events, it is hard to find proof that the majority of our unelected judicial leaders fully understand what the terms “democracy,” “liberty,” and “marriage” truly mean:
We live at an odd and dangerous moment -- one framed only in part by the court's recent extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples. There is much else to flummox and worry us. "Consent of the governed" seems the last thing on the minds of those determined to herd the sheep -- you and me -- to supposedly brighter pastures.
"We know what's good for you!" is their loud, if unarticulated, injunction. Generally succeeded by: "Shut up -- didn't you hear what we said?"
Chief Justice John Roberts posed a broader, sounder question -- "Just who do we think we are?" -- to his colleagues in the marriage case. By a vote of 5 to 4, the court handed to Americans a new, untested definition of human domestic relationships. Old understandings of marriage were off. We needed a new one -- see? -- and we got it.
Justice Antonin Scalia, as is his wont, saw to the bottom of the matter, writing in dissent: "A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy."
You can take all this if you like as a succession of harrumphings by angry losers. Or you can consider, shall we say, the Big Picture: one bigger than the court, bigger than any wedding party, whatever its sexual composition.
The United States of America -- your country and mine -- has for several decades been unmooring itself from allegiance to truths once generally agreed on as essential to human happiness and freedom. Whether we necessarily meant to slip ancient anchors, that has been the effect. The old American vision no longer serves! A new one is wanted! That's been the consistent narrative.
. . .
The victors want to sweep off the table everything that doesn't please them, replacing it with creations of their own design. What's more, by virtue of their patience and persistence, the victors run vast regions of our country, both geographical and intellectual. They'll tell you Alexander Hamilton doesn't belong on the $10 bill and that our president was right to bathe the White House -- the people's house -- in the rainbow colors of gay liberation.
There's just one trouble. Uprooting truth, or that which has historically been taken for truth, requires more than Justice Anthony Kennedy's say-so. Our elitist Supreme Court has guaranteed for us cultural and constitutional headaches for which no pharmacological remedy exists, headaches possibly of the sort that Mike Huckabee forecasts, involving defiance and division.