Tag Archives: self defense

The Right to Self Defense (as reserved to the States Respectively, or to the People)

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

“Amendment X” is one of the most important sentences of English ever written. While Amendment IX obviously does not create federally enforcable rights and Amendment XI corrects a Supreme Court powergrab on technical grounds, Amendment X works to directly limit the power of the national government. This passage protects our federal experiment from interest group tyranny, from some powerful sect enacting their morally pure laws throughout our land.

It is in this context I am excited about Eugene Volok’s words on the right of (medical) self defense (hat-tip to NRO’s Bench Memos):

Volokh’s bright but controversial idea–which is soon to be published in the Harvard Law Review and was recently presented at the American Enterprise Institute–is that there is a constitutional right to what he terms “medical self-defense.” The basic concept is that the government may not throw substantial obstacles in the path of medical treatments that might protect against death or serious harm. If accepted by the Court, this would mean that the government could not prevent a sick individual from using an experimental drug not yet deemed effective by the Food and Drug Administration. It would also invalidate the federal ban on payments for organ donations. And, of course, it could be applied in any number of other circumstances, limited only by the inventiveness of lawyers and the imagination of judges.

I agree with this completely. But at the same time, such an right to medical self defense should not give judges the right to legislate from the bench. We have states governments to experiment, to try this and that, to come up with the best solutions through an evolutionary process.

The Iraqis

I like Eddie and his two blogs, Live from the FDNF and Hidden Utilities, a lot. He is one of my friends on shelfy, and (as he served and I did not) he is both braver and stronger than I am. However, one of his comments over at Coming Anarchy illustrates almost everything that is wrong about typical American opposition to the Iraq War:

At a noticeable level, [the execution of former Iraqi PM Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti] was quite like [al Qaeda’s] executions, considering the Sadr militias are guilty of mass murder in the form of ethnic cleansing of innocent civillians, whereas AQ is guilty of mass murder in the form of terrorism (and Saddam guilty of it in both forms as well as systematic rape and indiscriminate use of WMD against civilians). While various forms of evil are certainly not equal, it is the height of hypocrisy for the US to demean and betray itself aligning with one, especially the Mahdi militia.

I’ll concentrate on his accusation that A,erica demaned and betrayed itself by allowing members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s political party from participating in Saddam’s execution.

Excluding supporters of al-Sadr’s party amounts to political blacklisting in a friendly democracy. Among other reasons why this is a terrible, terrible idea:

1. “Blacklists” against members of political parties are in general a bad idea
2. “Blacklists” against members of political parties with elected seats in a national legislature are in general a bad idea
3. “Blacklists” against members of political parties which are part of a democratically elected governing coalition are in general a bad idea.
4. “Blacklists” against allies in the war against Baathism and the war against Qaedism are in geeneral a bad idea

The lack of basic respect for the Iraqi and Iraqi democracy shown by many anti-Iraq-War commentators is astounding.


A Friend, Not a Colony

For nearly a century the majority of Iraqis have suffered from tribal apartheid under a small Sunni clique (comparable in size to the white supremacist government of South Africa). In recent decades the Sunni Arab supremacists escalated the war against their own people to genocidal levels, using mass executions of entire families (such as Mr. Sadr’s), poison gas attacks (such as those against the Kurds), and other tools. After the American libration of Iraq, the Sunni Arab surpemacists responded with terror bombings that the American occupiers either pretended didn’t exist or blamed on the victims.

And once the Iraqi peopl became aware that the American strategy hinged on appeasing terrorists rather than defending civilians or supporting her friends, many (including anti-war commentators) prompted blamed the Iraqi people again for their heroic defense of their families, their communities, their nation. These commentators may or may not believe there is a right to self defense, but apparently not for the Iraqi people.

Too bad.