TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, April 20, 2004
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Differences between right and left vast

Ezra Hood
is a junior music composition major from Fort Worth.

Liberals and Conservatives are butting heads louder than usual these days. The presidential election has polarized “right” vs. “left” more clearly than the usual pander-fest for the middle. Democrats will nominate the statistically most liberal senator to run against George W. Bush. Bush is being pulled right by his conservative base. We have, in short, a rich chance to see American politics align with less reservation than usual into “right” and “left” camps.

Who is right? And who is left? Here are two telltale signs.

First, righties trust people instead of far-away federal government to run their lives. For example, a conservative wants to push government out of schools. Texas just passed a law allowing the certification of teachers who don’t have an education degree, but do have a degree in the field they’d be teaching in. Conservatives praise the law, saying it gives principals more choices when hiring and firing, and pushes the state slightly further away from schools. Liberals booed the law, saying the state would have less control over the quality of teaching. This protest was a classic example of leftists trying to wrest control of education (and the zillions of dollars taxpayers spend for it) out of local hands and into bureaucratic cuffs.

Conservatives also try to limit government regulation of businesses. For generations, lawyers and lawmakers have pushed the government’s nose into the details of every industry. Intrusive, counterproductive environmental regulations and oppressive taxation have a stranglehold on American business. The 1990s business drain from California was an example of the effect over-regulation and taxation have on a robust economy. Clinton’s super-leftist tax code similarly suffocated the nationwide boom of the 90s. By the decade’s end, the economy began its downward slide before Bush’s significant tax cuts boosted the economy to significant expansion. Recovering businesses are hiring again — the 2004 Labor Department household survey shows employment at 1998 levels.

Second, righties think that judges should not write laws. For this we elect legislatures! Unelected federal judges began writing new words into the Constitution with Roe v. Wade in 1973. Did you know that the audience in the Supreme Court actually laughed aloud when the litigants argued their case on the basis of a constitutional right to privacy? There is no such right in the Constitution, and everyone knew it. The court’s decision on that basis was all the more surprising.

Since then, the Supreme Court and its lower counterparts have had a heyday inventing rights and writing laws, instead of interpreting them. The Democrats’ obsession with upholding Roe v. Wade is a front for their death-hold on judicial activism; their filibuster of Bush’s judicial appointees is an attempt to keep activist judges on the bench and constitutionally strict judges off it.

When the government finds a new “right” behind an untenable reading of law, conservatives see how our existing rights are shrunk to make room. Hence the “right” to sue in response to one’s own bad judgment is actually an attack on our existing liberties. For example, when a consumer slips and falls outside a business entrance, and then sues the business for his own fall, he increases the risks in a marketplace.

Look for government regulation and judicial activism underneath the issues that rile politics this year — they are sure to separate the right from the left.


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