Can the Majority Take Away the Rights of the MinorityMarch 6, 2009
This is from my Facebook posting this morning.
In the Supreme Court of California today, they continue the debate on Proposition 8. The question posed by opponents is this: Should the Majority be allowed to take away rights of the Minority? As Ken Starr pointed out yesterday, the question is not “Can they?” for that is well established in the rule of Law in America. The question is properly “should they?”.
When you ask a “should” question, it is an inquiry into morals and ethics. In order to decide the answer, you must know the basis of a country’s ethical decisions. John Locke, the English politician and scientist, proposed that no rule of law (except one) can exist without a moral consensus. A moral consensus is an agreed upon higher law that all human laws are based. That may be a religious book, a belief in God or in a higher code of law. If you do not have a moral consensus, there is no basis upon which to answer any question of what “should” happen.
After all, who is to say what constitutes a “right”? If it doesn’t come from an agreed upon higher law, then how can anyone say there is an absolute right or wrong?
Locke did recognize that there is an alternative to Moral Consensus: the opinion of the Majority. If you cannot agree as a nation on a higher rule of law, then you must define law by the mood of the public.
In California, that means the majority can decide to limit any rights they choose – especially when those rights are not defined or spelled out.
Therefore, the homosexual marriage lobby is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They cannot appeal to any Moral Consensus for their “should” – no religion or rule of Natural Law accepts homosexual behavior – so they must court public opinion. And at the moment, it is not in their favor.
Or am I missing something?