Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Do racists like David Duke deserve representation?

Back when people were still deluding themselves about Trump's impending nomination, the former head of the KKK, David Duke, endorsed The Donald.  How many of Trump's supporters are racist?  obviously not 0 because, well, David Duke.  Certainly not all, so somewhere between 0% and 100%.  Assessing the role of race in Donald Trump's victory is difficult, as I wrote here, but today, a different question:  do people like David Duke deserve representation?  Let's dig into some basic political theory.

Civil rights versus civil liberties.  They aren't the same things, and the terminology is confusing.  A civil "liberty" is a basic freedom on which the government cannot infringe, such as the right to free speech.  A civil "right" is the "right" to be treated equally under the law.  Freedom from discrimination among "protected classes."  Those classes are primarily race, ethnicity, sex and religion, although sexual orientation is sort of in the process of becoming a protected class.  The "bathroom bills" floating around at the state level and federal involvement are about "gender identity" as a protected class.  All of that stuff is about civil "rights."

What civil rights and civil liberties have in common is that we don't leave them up to public opinion or elected officials.  Leaving civil rights up to the whims of the people gets you Jim Crow laws.  The legal question for the North Carolina bathroom law, and similar laws elsewhere, is whether or not "gender identity" goes along with sex as a protected class in civil rights law and principle.  If you work for me, I can fire you if I find out that you hate jazz because jazz-haters, while horrible philistines, aren't a protected class.  On the other hand, I can't fire you on the basis of race because racial minorities are a protected class.  The courts are starting to ask whether or not "gender identity" goes into that realm.

OK, here endeth the civics lesson.  Where does that leave Trump-supporter, David Duke?  Does he deserve representation?  Well, if we accept the basic principles of suffrage and one-person-one-vote and all that mealy-mouthed crap (see my comments here), then yes, David Duke deserves to have his vote counted just like everyone else's.  However, under the principles of civil rights, his representatives are prohibited from actually converting his preferences into law.  That puts us into a ridiculous situation in which we obligate ourselves to give David Duke representation and then ignore his preferences in governance because they are constitutionally impermissible, thereby effectively "nullifying" (so to speak) his representation.  If we allow his vote to be counted and then prevent that act of vote-counting to translate into policy, then what's the point?

The point is... there is no point.  Democracy is a joke, filled with contradictions (see my comments here and here, for example).  So don't worry about it.  To quote "Friend" from Zardoz, "it was all a joke."  So let's end with this...

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