Skip to comments.Steele Slips Again, But America Should not Fall for it - ALAN KEYES challenges Steele to debate!
Posted on 03/13/2009 1:32:40 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
Loyal to Liberty
Once again we are supposed to believe that Michael Steele had a slip of the tongue. This time in an Interview with Gentleman's Quarterly magazine which included the following exchange:
"The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion," he said. "My mother chose life. So I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other."
Interviewer Lisa DePaulo asked: "Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?"
Steele replied: "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice."
DePaulo: "You do?"
Steele: "Yeah. Absolutely."
DePaulo: "Are you saying you don't want to overturn Roe v. Wade?"
Steele: "I think Roe v. Wade as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter."
DePaulo: "Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?"
Steele: "The states should make that choice. That's what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide."
Twice before on this site (look under the topic GOP failure) I have discussed Steele's departure from the pro-life stance. Yet in a way not clearly in evidence before, this interview reveals the insidious character of the argument Steele represents. According to this argument, individual choices are not subject to interference by the Federal government. Rather you state the case for one side or the other, and let the individual decide. The problem is, of course, that matters of justice, of right and wrong, always involve individual choices. The choice to rob, lie, cheat and murder are all individual choices. The choice to rape, kidnap and enslave another is an individual choice. The choice to serve or not to serve someone in a restaurant, on account of their race, is an individual choice. Obviously the real issue is not whether individuals are free to choose between right and wrong. That's been clear since Eve made her fateful decision to eat the forbidden fruit. The issue is when and whether they have the right to choose as they do.
American liberty is founded on the premise that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. This premise is not a statement about human aspirations. It's a statement about right and wrong. An unalienable right can be transgressed by individuals and governments, but the premise of liberty forbids the assertion that those who transgress they have the right to do so. Right is not on the side of government when it commits or tolerates murder, theft and terror against the innocent. Individuals and laws that do so are inherently unjust, and powers used in this way are not lawful powers.
Steele consistently maintains that issues, like abortion, that involve respect for unalienable rights, are properly decided at the state rather than the Federal level. But the premise of liberty makes no such distinction. Respect for unalienable rights is required of human governments at any and all levels, because the just powers of all such governments are derived from the people's exercise of those rights. As the Federal government only has the powers delegated to it by the states, so the state governments only have the powers delegated to them by the people. But the "unalienable" aspect of each person's rights means that such rights cannot be given away, not under any circumstances. What the people cannot rightly give, the states cannot rightly claim.
But the premise of liberty includes the notion that "to secure these rights governments are instituted among men." Though government cannot claim the power to transgress against unalienable rights, the foundational purpose of government entails the obligation to preserve and respect them. No government powers are just except those derived from the only source consistent with this obligation, which is the consent of the people. Clearly however, the idea of consent based on respect for unalienable rights does not mean that the people have the right to do whatever they please, since they cannot rightly do anything that alienates (contradicts or surrenders) their unalienable rights. In this sense, government of by and for the people, is limited government: not only limited by the terms of its constitution, but by the purpose and terms of its institution or establishment. Liberty therefore is not identical with a simply unlimited freedom to choose. Individuals are free to choose actions that violate unalienable right, but they cannot claim the right to do so.
When, in their individual or collective capacity, people choose to violate unalienable rights they transgress liberty. Since liberty is its essential characteristic, this transgression effectively abandons the republican form of government. When an individual commits this transgression, it is a criminal act. When a government commits this transgression, it is an unlawful government. Under our constitution the supervision of this transgression when committed by individuals, has been left to the states. But if and when a state or states neglect this supervision, the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, section 4) explicitly requires that the government of the United States guarantee a republican form of government in each of the states. Like the guarantor of a loan, it must intervene to make good any deficiency in the states' respect for its requirements. Michael Steele's assertion that the states have the exclusive right to decide the issue of abortion is therefore incorrect. They should have the opportunity to decide it (which is one of the reasons the Roe v. Wade decision was prudentially wrong) but if they decide, by action or neglect, in favor of committing or allowing the violation of unalienable right, the Federal government has the Constitutional obligation to intervene. On abortion it may be sensible, after so many years of misplaced respect for the unlawful Roe v. Wade decision, to make this obligation clear to all the states by Federal legislation in some form. This could help to avoid miscalculations that might disrupt our civil peace. For this reason I think that such legislation, including a Constitutional amendment may be prudent. However, our reasoning here makes clear that it is not legally or Constitutionally necessary.
Finally, I think it's time we all stopped pretending that Steele's persistent advocacy of the "pro-choice" position is an accident, or a slip of the tongue. I believe these episodes are purposeful. His actions are meant to assert the fallacy that it is pro-life to be pro-choice. But this means accepting the position that at some level the choice to murder an innocent human being is consistent with respect for the unalienable right to life. Except we embrace the noxious position that right and wrong choices are equally just, this is not and can never be a pro-life view. Except we abandon the whole idea of unalienable right, this is not and can never be a view consistent with American liberty.
I think that Steele and the people he represents have gotten away with this disingenuous effort to warp, distract and mislead the pro-life movement for long enough. This issue is vital to the survival of America's free institutions. People of conscience deserve a frank and purposeful debate about it, not a sly attempt at argument by inadvertence. To that end I challenge Michael Steele to face me in such a debate, in a venue open to scrutiny by the general public. Though the courage to debate is not the test of truth, it may be a test of true conviction. I claim to be pro-life because I have stood that test, against Barack Obama, Alan Dershowitz and others. Why should pro-life people accept Steele's protestations of pro-life conviction if he refuses to do so?
For more current writing from Alan Keyes, please visit www.LoyaltoLiberty.com!
To alienate innocent human life is to show that you have no respect for any natural right of any man.
I agree completely. Steele seems addicted to being in front of a microphone or a TV camera, and like Biden, we get one gaff after another, followed with “what I really meant was...”
The Republicans have a fair chance to recapture the House next year. Steele should be spending his time recruiting strong candidates and raising funds.
Whatever rights arent specifically innumerated in the declaration or constitution just like the founders wanted. RVW should be overturned.
I agree with Steele here - legally, Roe v. Wade violates the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. The feds had no standing to make some blanket ruling on Abortion on behalf of the States.
You want to make a cesspool out of MA, then let them abort all the babies they want. However, give the rest of us who think its murder the opportunity to live and work in states that think its murder.
Translation: "Whoops...I said 'individual'.....uh, I meant the STATES....yeah INDIVIDUAL states...that's it!"
Steele is such an utter moron. I said he was an unreliable RINO, soft on guns, and sounded like a dumb jock when we were considering a new GOP head. I was called a racist. Now, unfortunately, I am being proven right on a weekly basis.
It's obvious that you know little about the Constitution, or that you have ever read the Ninth Amendment with comprehension.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
You sure are intent on making sure the Left has a poster boy for Republican intolerance. The Demorcats are desperate for us to oust this man. You and all the Steele bashers are dupes.
I like your answer!
Such a position is the death of the United States of America, the dissolution of the Union, and the end of liberty in this country.
That includes your liberty.
Ironic, considering the con job he's running on you.
You just made my point, thanks. RvW should be overturned.
You’re also ignorant of what the Tenth Amendment actually says and means. Like so many who hold your position, you’ve failed to give even passing thought to the first clause.
True. I cannot think of any exercise more useless than for the GOP and conservatives to continue to carp about themselves and each other. We lost in 2006. We lost in 2008. We are in the wilderness, folks. Grab a map and join the expedition to get out of the wilderness or shut up.
Funny how none of these questons or other anal probes were used against Mike Duncan. Carville and Begala will get another GOP scalp courtesy of their brothers on this site.
Steele screwed up. He shouldn’t have gotten all “nuanced” in this interview.
There is nothing to be gained by playing dipsy-doodle with the left. He should have used this as an opportunity to instruct the folks on the reality of abortion and why he is opposed to “this choice”.
Now he is going to spend another month off the issues.
Steele’s position destroys the entire moral, intellectual and legal basis for even overturning Roe. You’re deceived.
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, of property, without due process of law
Please tell us where abortion is listed as an "inalienable right"? Certainly not in the Constitution, nor by the Founders, nor by current US law. Five folk in robes foolishly found it as an emanation of a penumbra, but little more.
Secondly, the poster said "MOST things". They did not say ALL things.
Third, the Tenth Amendment is pretty clear. You might try reading it sometime.
Yes, and considering how thoroughly he was clobbered back then it makes one wonder why anyone is listening.
The repubs elected him to this post. Let them smell his stinky ilk and move on with first getting rid of him and second electing a CONSERVATIVE that will move the party forward, not looking for reparation. Obama will take care of that.