Tag: constitutional rights

LGBTQ Rights Are Natural Human Rights

Conner Drigotas | @CDrigs44

2018 marked the 150th anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment. In part, it says that, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

That sentence appears to be pretty clear — not a single individual should be given preferential treatment in the eyes of the law.

Yet, someone recently told me that they believe being gay is a choice, and therefore, sexual orientation should not receive protection under the law. In short, I was asked, “Why should gay people be afforded the same benefits in marriage as heterosexual couples?”

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Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill Could Federally Restrict Abortions

Nate Galt | United States

Last week, Georgia lawmakers passed a bill that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Dubbed the “heartbeat bill,” the legislation would make abortions illegal if the fetus has a heartbeat. The proposal will remain on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk until May 12. The Georgia governor had previously stated that he would sign the “heartbeat bill” into law. However, numerous celebrities and activists are pressuring him to veto the legislation. Many of Hollywood’s elite petitioned to end their work in the state should the abortion restriction become law. 

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Conservatives Must Move Past Donald Trump

By Shiam Kannan | United States

Since his inauguration in 2016, President Donald Trump has governed rather conservatively with bona fides such as last year’s tax bill and the nomination of two originalist justices to the Supreme Court. This has proven popular with conservative voters, and has brought previously skeptical conservative politicians, such as conservative Senator Mike Lee, to see the President in a much more favorable light. Nonetheless, the cold, hard truth remains: Trump cannot be the future of the conservative movement, and American conservatism must move beyond him in order to preserve the values upon which the ideology rests. This may be shocking to hear for many conservatives, given Trump’s record of governance so far. However, when analyzing his effect on conservatism, we cannot only look at his actions as President; rather, we must also take into account his effect on the movement as a whole.

The Redefining of Conservatism

Perhaps the biggest danger Trump poses to American conservatism is the fact that he seeks to redefine it. Conservatism, in the American sense, is built around a core of classical liberalism in the Lockean tradition. It emphasizes natural rights, limited government, and exalts individual liberty above all, while simultaneously recognizing that liberty without moral order is not liberty at all. Put simply, conservatism is merely libertarianism augmented with social traditionalism. Promulgated by such prominent figures as William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, and eventually Ronald Reagan, this marriage of social conservatism and libertarian governance, known as “fusionism,” has been the dominant strain of conservative belief in the United States—until now.

In the Trump era, the American right has been taken in a much different direction, embracing populism over ideology and abandoning many of its libertarian roots. Trump’s demagoguery, vitriolic attacks on the American media, troubled relationship with the truth, lack of humility or restraint, and blustering rhetoric all point towards the same conclusion: Trump is no conservative. He is merely the face of a tumor on American conservatism which has managed to hijack the movement, one which values style over substance and has no philosophy, no ideology, and no guiding worldview whatsoever.

The Lack of a Conservative Foreign Policy

Nowhere is Trump’s lack of a conservative worldview more clearly seen than in foreign policy. The most prominent issue that comes to mind is his trade policy. Trump has openly embraced protectionism, which is antithetical to the conservative belief in limited government and free markets. His misguided belief that trade is a zero-sum game is more in line with the beliefs of Bernie Sanders than those of, say, Ronald Reagan. His trade wars, not only with China but also with allies such as Canada, are an affront to the conservative philosophy, which embraces strong alliances and open trade with allies.

However, it is not only in trade policy where Trump flouts conservative orthodoxy. For all his talk of nationalism and his attacks on kneeling NFL players, Trump himself doesn’t seem like he believes in American exceptionalism. Indeed, he has no problem morally equating America with de-facto dictatorships such as Russia. For example, when asked by Bill O’Reilly why he supported Putin despite him being a “killer,” Trump’s reply was shocking: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” Clearly, these don’t seem like the words of someone who believes that America is a shining city upon a hill, a cornerstone of conservative philosophy.

Trump also rejects conservative principles when it comes to international relations, embracing isolationism over principled leadership. A healthy nationalism, which inspires the people to take pride in their nation, is a good thing and is something conservatives should strive to promote. On the other hand, Trump’s brand of neo-isolationism, masquerading as nationalism, is un-conservative, as it denies a role for American leadership in the world. Instead of affirming America’s unique status as leader of the free world, Trump has turned his back on our allies, even going so far as threatening to pull out of NATO. Trump’s strained relationships with Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron, only further emphasize how he is contributing to the estrangement of the United States from the world around it.

This is not to say that Trump should embrace liberal internationalism, give up on his support for American sovereignty, and promote an interventionist foreign policy. But foreign policy isn’t a binary choice. A conservative foreign policy would assert American leadership on the world stage, strengthening bonds with Western powers and maintaining the trust of our allies, while at the same time being skeptical of unnecessary intervention and defending American sovereignty from entities such as the UN. After all, conservatism is the politics of realism, whereas both unbridled interventionism and isolationism are utopian ideologies: the former in its belief that American militarism can solve all the problems in the world, and the latter in its belief that the world can maintain order, stability, and a balance of power without American leadership.

The Lack of a Conservative Domestic Policy

On the domestic front, Trump has fared rather well on policy, but yet again, has failed on principle. While Trump is responsible for many conservative victories, like the tax cuts passed back in 2017, the way he has gone about pursuing other policy objectives, especially regarding immigration, are not conservative in the least. A conservative President would recognize his Constitutional limitations and defer to the Constitution’s mandate of separation of powers. Trump, however, does the opposite. For example, despite lambasting former President Obama for his liberal use of executive orders to circumvent Congress, Trump has had no qualms about using executive power to advance his own goals. Recently, Trump attempted to unilaterally change the rules for obtaining asylum in the United States, barring illegal immigrants from making asylum claims. While it is certainly both reasonable and conservative to ensure that people seeking asylum enter properly at ports of entry, we cannot forget that Trump is not king, and thus does not have unchecked power to make the law whatever he wants it to be. It is the job of Congress, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution, to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization,” and if Trump were truly a conservative, he would respect Congress’s authority as America’s sole legislative body, and pressure them to pass the immigration laws he supports, instead of abusing the powers of his office.

If Trumpism cannot be the guiding philosophy of the future of American conservatism, then what can? Who will the torch-bearer be? We have many options. It could be Rand Paul, the stalwart defender of the Bill of Rights and unwavering fiscal hawk. It could be Ben Sasse, one of the few Republican Senators who are willing to stand up to Donald Trump. It could even be figures such as Ben Shapiro, who are spreading principled conservatism to a millennial audience. There are many principled Republicans who could run for President in 2024, or even 2020 (if we’re lucky), who could take the mantle of the GOP and restore it to being the party of individual freedom, American exceptionalism, constitutionalism, limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility which it has been for most of its history. However, Donald Trump is not one of them, and if we want conservatism to remain a prominent force in American politics, we must reject him as its standard-bearer.


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Concealed Carry vs. Open Carry: Which is Better?

By Osh | United States

Without a doubt, most conservatives and libertarians can agree: The 2nd Amendment protects both concealed and open carry. However, many will debate on which is ultimately more effective. Though both have their merits, it is clear that concealed carry is by far superior.

Concealed carry, for those who do not know, is concealing a firearm on your person. Concealed carry is my preferred method of carrying, for several reasons. First, I believe that concealing gives someone the element of surprise. If a criminal is trying to harm someone, they most likely will not be expecting an armed victim, especially if the weapon is not visible. Also, it is less likely to agitate a peaceful group of people, who will not know about the firearm.

Open carry, on the other hand is the act of carrying around a firearm in plain sight. This type of carrying is more common among police officers than civilians. I am not a fan of open carry, to be quite frank. First of all, I fail to see the appeal of lugging around a 6 – 7 pound AR-15 . It also may make surrounding people uncomfortable. Some may argue, on the contrary, that an open carry makes it easier to fend off an attacker in a public place, such as a bank robbery. However, in that event, the armed robber is more likely to initially target someone with a visible firearm. If the same person hid it, they would be more able to defend themselves without the attacker killing them.

Clearly, both are constitutional rights, which the state has no right to infringe upon. Despite this, what is legal is not always what is right. Undoubtedly, concealed carry is by far preferable. It may save more lives, while allowing for the public to remain at ease.

(Image from KWCH.com)