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Does Anyone Read the Legislation?

Over at the Week, Ryan Cooper has written two posts disparaging the Georgia legislature for the”voter suppression” laws. We want to consider his description and assessment on faith, just because he takes it on faith that the New York Times fairly represented that the laws. Stars and politicians alike have denounced the legislation as”Jim Crow 2.0″ or, in one memorable instance, as”Jim Eagle.”
An individual could say with almost complete confidence that one thing the majority of the critics have in common is that they did not really read the legislation. Georgia legislation SB202 has become a game of telephone. Composing articles at the Times about the law reveals that the Times hyperlinks to additional articles they’ve written about the legislation, although not to the law .
For the record, I have read the Georgia legislation since I attempt to commit myself to two basic principles of translation: to not have interpretive judgments regarding things I haven’t read, and not to assume that the trustworthiness of others’ interpretations. How can we possibly understand if somebody’s interpretation is legitimate unless we could hold it up against our very personal reading of the record ? Others may help stabilize the text, open up its meaning, and draw attention to items we’ve overlooked or our own mistakes, but only in a dialectic using our very own reading. They may also willfully misread the text, then bring into a set of philosophical or philosophical preferences that distort its significance, reevaluate its mistakes while overlooking its virtues, or otherwise lead us astray. Indeed, they may willfully misread for functions of defeating enemies and progressing their own electricity.
After he went for a few minutes I looked at him and said”You did not really read the novel, did you?” Sheepishly, he admitted he hadn’t. “Well then,” I replied,”I really don’t care what you think.” I’d told my students that their first responsibility as readers was to understand the text and only afterward to render judgments on it. But I found then that I’d misspoken; our first responsibility as readers was to–you know–really read.
It would be unthinkable to attempt to teach a book one hasn’t read. Professors can see quickly the students who have read the read and people who haven’t. Most people have sufficient self-awareness to not have opinions about movies or books they haven’t read; or, if they do, to qualify such opinions by saying”I’ve heard it is good” or”I’ve heard it stinks.”
Just in politics, it appears, are we not only allowed but encouraged to have opinions regarding things of that we have no direct knowledge. Truly, the further mediated our knowledge is, the more powerful are our opinions. This state of affairs is contrary to your democratic ethos and will only lead to a deepening of our branches.
Aquinas noted that the law is that the principle of reason promulgated by a legitimate authority, so that when law is not properly disseminated and clarified, it loses its validity. There are various ways of obscuring such promulgation. The laws could be written so theoretically and abstrusely that no ordinary citizen could be expected to comprehend them. The number of laws could be proliferated so that it’s simply impossible to keep up with them all. The makers of this law can become so remote from people under the law’s influence that the latter lose all track of what is happening to them. Walter Lippmann described democratic taxpayers as deaf audiences in the rear of a theatre who had a vague sense of what is happening, but could never really make sense of everything. They felt their lives to be at the forefront of forces that they could neither feel nor control.
The Georgia legislation is not the catastrophe; rather, the controversy within it points to the deeper, underlying meltdown of republicanism and federalism.The collapse to promulgate the laws properly is a serious problem within a democratic culture, especially a democracy on the scale. Justice Thomas said a sharecropper had a right to understand what his Constitution supposed, which Justices were bound to explicate in a manner that such a person could understand. Where taxpayers can’t be reasonably expected to know or understand the law, they can’t be reasonably expected to obey itand at which legislators or bureaucrats compose laws no one reads, the rulemakers cease to be answerable. The gap between lawmakers and taxpayers gets filled by a moderate, by the press, with the result that democracy becomes dependent on a trustworthy media because it performs this critical function.
No critical person in our present world could assert that the media really are all worthy of their confidence. We expect politicians both to pass and interpret laws in a manner that rewards their political and cultural pursuits. You’d have to be naive to not think so. Does the hyperbolic hysteria among the Democrats result from their electoral interests? Again, you would have to be naive to not think so. This is fundamental politics and is neither unexceptional nor especially alarming, despite a few people being shocked–shocked! –to discover politics happening here.
But one would hope that somewhere in the mix someone could actually read the legislation and do this in an fair-minded and fair manner. Such hopes go unfulfilled. Many commentators, Ryan Cooper for instance, are thrice removed from the endeavor.
1 basic principle of representative government is that most people are too busy living their lives to bother themselves with the daily operations of government. Moreover, in our federalist approach, we must concern ourselves mainly with the legislation of our state. The controversy within the Georgia law is not only a matter of legal hermeneutics, but reveals a central crisis of both the republican and the federalist principles. To what degree needs to Georgia’s voter laws be of concern for anyone not living in Georgia? To whom are the Georgia legislators liable? What’s the connection between legislative acts as well as the public who votes in these legislators? How can the connection between rulers and Republicans get distorted when the interpretive medium is occupied by bad-faith corporate actors motivated by ideology or profit? Truly, the businesses demonstrated a callous disregard for how their actions would affect the typical voter. Rather, they served an ideological curiosity or tried to gratify the caterwauling of a different set of elites attempting to optimize their power. Have we reached the point Lippmann recognized, called, and bemoaned some 90 years past of having a functioning public in any respect?
I will do that in a different essay. I write since the Georgia legislation is not the catastrophe; rather, the controversy within it points to the deeper, underlying catastrophe of republicanism and federalism. This crisis does not admit of easy fixes. How we respond to this Georgia statute might point the way to your restoration not only of republican and federalist principles, however, the principle of law . Public and private actors might want to start with a simple hermeneutical principle: never have a political opinion about a legislation you haven’t read. And they might want to supplement that with a rule: don’t get riled up by something which does not concern you. Plato recognized polypragmosyne (busy about several things, or even a species of not minding your own business) because a form of injustice. We’d all be much better off if federal officials, celebrities, pundits, and businesses ceased meddling in Georgia’s events. Indeed, we’d be a lot better off still if they ceased using race so cynically and ceased putting forth specious thought to advance their own endings. We might even replicate their echo chambers. “You did not really read the law, did you Mr. Cooper? Well then, I really don’t care what you think.”