Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Thoughts regarding beheaders

A question’s been raised regarding the constitutionality of actions we might take against those who practice the increasingly popular terrorist sport of beheading. Are they human, sub-human or altogether a another species? How might we be constitutionally constrainted as to how we bring justice down upon their heads? What does the Constitution tells us? Well, I would say, in a direct sense, nothing.

The Constitution assumes an agreed upon universal morality. It makes less sense and provides a weaker governmental framework without this assumption. In today’s post-modern, diverse, politically correct, morally neutered world, a universal morality is not only not presumed, but explicitly denied. Once this abrogation of the underlying moral basis of the Constitution is made, in a very real sense it loses its meaning. If we want a “modern” constitution not based upon Judeo-Christian moral teaching, then perhaps we should adopt the proposed European Union multi-hundred paged tome. But it won’t be our Constitution.

There are specific prohibitions restraining the actions of government contained within the provisions of the Constitution. Some seem not very meaningful from a modern viewpoint such as not quartering troops in a private residence. That doesn’t seem to be a problem anywhere near where I live, but was obviously a habit of the Brits and their hirelings that seriously rankled the colonialist. The granting of the right to bear arms is, of course, constantly being challenged and defended, denied and asserted. That’s a subject for another time. But answers to specific issues are, for the most part, not to be found in that hallowed document.

As I’ve said, the Constitution is primarily a rule book. Specific rights are enumerated to place some rather broad boundaries around the government’s power to enact rules that infringe upon our freedom. But process is the main point. My contention is that if it’s not in the Constitution, it’s not a constitutional question. That principle seems lost on a very sizeable segment of our judiciary including many of our Supreme Olympians.

So, the short answer is no. What, when and how we do to the wielders of the Islamic sword of head separation is not a constitutional question. It is most certainly a moral and a legal question. I leave it at that.

Oh, one more thing. (Isn’t there always?) The West’s widely accepted abandonment of the moral underpinnings that support the Constitution seems to be what most troubles this band of blade brothers. How ironic that we should wonder whether or not our now non-extant moral code would permit us to do unto them likewise. In a very perverted sense, their actions seem more morally justified – at least to them.


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