Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

John Lewis this evening

Rep. John Lewis spoke at my institution this evening. Much of the talk was autobiographical and is familiar to readers of his book.

A few points are worth noting, however. First, he stressed that things are much better than they once were. While this is a truism, it probably discomfits those who are only too eager to lament life in George W. Bush’s Amerikkka. Second, in response to a question about Cynthia McKinney, he cracked, "I told her she should take a course in non-violence." More seriously, he averred that there was never any justification for striking a police officer.

However admirable and courageous Rep. Lewis is, I part company with him on immigration. He wrapped the current marches in the mantle of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and asserted that we were, above all else, "citizens of the world" who should share. No national sovereignty, no consent of the governed, no principles of the Declaration of Independence, which justify the self-government of a particular community. I do not deny that I have a moral obligation to love my neighbor, but I do deny that that obligation requires me to extend citizenship to anyone and everyone who demands it. And lest you think that I would thereby justify denying civil rights, say, to African-Americans, I insist that there’s a morally and politically significant distinction between those who were brought to this country against their wills and those who came, or wish to come, here voluntarily.

When asked what the major current civil rights challenge is, Rep. Lewis said, universal access to health care as a matter of right. If you put that together with the aforementioned claim, there is, according to him, a universal human right to access to American health care. And we worried when the Clintons wanted to commandeer 14% of the U.S. economy!

I’m glad that John Lewis was influential in the past. But the future he envisions scares me more than a little.

Discussions - 7 Comments

"Walking with the Wind" is a masterpiece of the civil rights movement.

Photograph #35 of the book shows John Lewis being brutally beaten by a cop. In light of that photograph, I can’t help but contrast Mr. Lewis’ comment "that there was never any justification for striking a police officer" to Cynthia McKinney’s rants about her incident, and draw the conclusion that people who play the race card in the fashion she did, trivialize the accomplishments of the true heroes of the civil rights movement.

I agree with you. I think John Lewis is wrong headed on several issues today, but God bless him, he’s a true American patriot.

Lewis is just another far-left Democratic fruit loop. Nicer than some, at least occasionally, but way outside the mainstream, to put it kindly.

1. John Lewis is a great man, but too easily seduced by liberal fashion on public policy.

2. On immigration: Read the neglected Orestes Brownson on territorial democracy. Political life has to be somewhere in particular, just like the human mind has to be located in a political body. The very idea of politics suggests natural limits to inclusion etc. (On this, also read MANLINESS about every human assertion of responsibility being political.)

3. That’s not to say Lewis is COMPLETELY wrong on our human responsibilities.

What does "There is never any justification to strike a police officer" mean? Is that serious?

Professor Knippengberg, nice pick up on the universal access to American health care as a matter of right...he doesn’t know he’s fiddling.

Maybe my memory is failing me, but Lewis has a long record in Congress of taking extreme positions and saying extreme things. He comes off as a pompous, self-righteous, ignorant, leftist Democratic party hack.

The fact that he doesn’t convey the raw hatred of, say, Howard Dean isn’t enough. Nor is his role in the civil rights movement 45 years ago.

"Great man," really?

Yeah, ok, Frisky - we get the idea. Maybe your memory IS failing; did you forget that you pretty much covered that ground in comment 2?

And what ground have you covered, other than distorting my name -- a pretty good clue to your mental level.

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