Required to stand for the Pledge?
RJLipkin at aol.com
RJLipkin at aol.com
Sat Sep 11 08:05:31 PDT 2004
In a message dated 9/11/2004 2:09:56 AM Eastern Standard Time,
TCBERG at stthomas.edu writes:
The government "decide[s] what shall be orthodox in
politics" all the time, in the sense of advancing policies and attempting to
convince the public that they are right.
Although, I haven't read the article, I think it is conceptually
inaccurate to conflate what is "orthodox" with "advancing policies and
attempting to convince the public that [the government] is right." The idea of
"orthodoxy," as its used typically in religion (for example, Orthodox Judaism) as
well as in secular contexts, connotes canonical belief that is not subject to
challenge. Advancing policies, etc, as I understand it, carries no such
obligation. I do not see how questions of orthodoxy arise, when, for example,
President Bush asks us to accept the view that lowering taxes is the right policy
choice. Sure he wants to convince us that he's empirically correct in
connecting lower taxes to more jobs, etc, in this context and perhaps in most
contexts. However, the question of orthodoxy or heresy doesn't seem to arise.
The President is not (or should not be) articulating some standard of
fidelity, he's simply saying that he is right about an economic controversy. Indeed,
as I've understood American constitutionalism, perhaps erroneously, fidelity
to constitutional government is not even orthodoxy in the sense that one is
free to argue against its desirability. A particular administration might
declare certain values as the canonical values, but merely arguing for a
particular policy choice doesn't itself entail that the government is doing so.
Sure there will be difficult cases. But the difficulty of deciding whether
certain government pronouncements are attempts to establish orthodox commitments
or merely policy choices doesn't negate the general utility of this
distinction, or so it seems to me.
Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
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