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Monday, November 25, 2002

Kesher Conservatism-Part II-The Right is Good on Rights-I promised I'd look at this piece today and look at Ms. Weiss' goals-let's look at the individual rights issue first-I'll hit the just compassionate society part tomorrow. I'd make a good case that the GOP is more the party of individual rights than the Democrats are, who focus on group rights and governmental rights. There is no lasting security for individual rights as long as five Supreme Court justices can rewrite the Constitution, but let's take a look at her subset of individual rights. Freedom of Worship-It's conservative justices that have defended religious groups from intrusion from government regulation, while liberal judges tend to err on the side of state intervention. Freedom of Assembly-At first, this looks to be advantage liberals, I'll give a bit of credit there. However, the cases that come most into play are often gang related, where people hanging out where and when they shouldn't be hanging out can be ACLUed into a freedom of assembly. If this were a Nation of Islam lady talking, she'd have a better case, but the constitutional law in question wouldn't come to play for liberal-leaning Jews too often. However, the conservatives have some points in this area that are religion related. They've defended the right to have home churches or home synogogues against secular zoning laws. Upon further review-call this a tie. Freedom of Conscience-Conservatives tend to be more supportive of people not being forced to do something against their religious beliefs than liberals. Liberals might not like this, for much of the issues have been forcing people to accept a liberal status quo on abortion, homosexuality, safe-sex based sex ed or New-agey meditation/guided imagery stuff in the school/workplace. Liberals will point out a creeping school-prayer issue in some places and some spiritual harassment from the right, but I'll argue that conservatives better defend freedom of conscience than liberals. Freedom of Speech-By and large, liberals have been greater opponents of free speech, especially of personal religious speech. A liberal might point to the "gag order" blocking family-planners from talking about abortion or flag-burning, but I can list a litany of speech codes on college campuses and restriction of religious-base speech on the K-12 level, as well as speech-free zones around abortion clinics. You decide, but I'd argue that conservatives are better defenders of day-to-day free speech than liberals. Based on this, the conservatives go 3-0-1 on the four freedoms Ms. Weiss points out. I'm open to counter-arguments, or addition support for my arguments, but I think you're going to have to point to a lot of niche decisions to make a pro-liberal argument here.

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