Does Anyone Read the Law?

Over at The Week, Ryan Cooper has written two posts disparaging the Georgia legislature for the”voter suppression” legislation. We are to consider his description and evaluation on faith, just as he takes it on faith that the New York Times rather represented the legislation. Meanwhile, the Delta Airlines, Major League Baseball, Will Smith and his movie business, Coca-Cola, and many others have responded to the”voter suppression” by threatening the country using boycotts or other forms of financial punishment. Stars and politicians alike have denounced the law as”Jim Crow 2.0″ or, in one memorable instance, as”Jim Eagle.”
Georgia law SB202 is now a game of phone. Reviewing articles at the Times in regards to the law reveals that the Times hyperlinks to other articles they’ve written concerning the law, but not into the law . SB202 is a bit of writing, such as the Constitution or even the Bible, about that everyone has an opinion but few have actually read.
For the record, I have read the Georgia law since I try to commit myself to two basic principles of translation: to not have interpretive conclusions concerning things I haven’t read, and to not assume that the trustworthiness of the others’ interpretations. How can we possibly know if someone’s interpretation is valid unless we can hold this up from our own reading of the document ? Others may help illuminate the text, open its own meaning, and draw attention to things we’ve overlooked or our own mistakes, but just in a dialectic using our own reading. They might also willfully misread the text, then bring in a set of philosophical or philosophical preferences that distort its meaning, reevaluate its mistakes while overlooking its virtues, or otherwise lead us astray. Really, they might willfully misread for functions of defeating enemies and advancing their own power.
Sheepishly, he admitted he hadn’t. “Well ” I answered,”I truly don’t care what you think.” I had long told my students that their first duty as readers was to comprehend the text and just afterward to render judgments on it. However, I saw then that I had misspoken; our first duty as readers was to–you know–actually read.
It would be unthinkable to try to teach a book one hasn’t read. Professors can identify quickly the students who’ve read the assigned reading and people who haven’t. Most people have sufficient self-awareness to not have comments about movies or books they haven’t read; or, when they do, to be eligible such remarks by saying”I have heard it’s great” or even”I have heard it sucks.”
Only in politics, it appears, are we not just allowed but encouraged to get opinions concerning things of that we have no direct knowledge. Really, the further conducive our knowledge is, the more powerful would be our opinions. Often we compensate for ignorance with passion. This state of affairs is against your democratic ethos and will only lead to a deepening of our divisions.
Aquinas noted that the law is the rule of reason promulgated with a valid authority, and so that when law isn’t properly disseminated and explained, it loses its legitimacy. There are different methods for obscuring such promulgation. The legislation can be written so technically and abstrusely that no normal citizen could be expected to comprehend them. The number of legislation can be proliferated so it’s simply not possible to keep up with them all. The manufacturers of the law can become so remote from people under the law’s influence the latter lose all track of what’s occurring to them. Walter Lippmann explained democratic citizens as deaf spectators in the rear of a theatre that had a vague sense of what’s going on, but may never truly make sense of everything. They believed their own lives to be at the forefront of forces they could neither sense nor restrain.
The Georgia law isn’t the crisis; rather, the controversy within it points into the deeper, underlying catastrophe of republicanism and federalism.The collapse to promulgate the legislation correctly is a severe problem in a democratic culture, especially a democracy on our scale. Justice Thomas said that a sharecropper had a right to know what his Constitution meant, and that Justices were bound to explicate in a manner that this kind of person could comprehend. Where citizens can’t be reasonably expected to know or know the law, they can’t be reasonably predicted to obey itand at which legislators or bureaucrats compose legislation nobody reads, the rulemakers stop to be accountable. The gap between lawmakers and citizens gets filled by a moderate, from the media, with the result that democracy becomes dependent on a trustworthy media as it performs this vital function.
No serious person in our present world could assert the media are worthy of our confidence. We expect politicians both to pass and interpret legislation in a manner that rewards their political and cultural pursuits. You would have to be naive to not think so. Can the hyperbolic hysteria among the Democrats result from their electoral interests? Again, you’d have to be naive to not think so. This is basic politics and is neither unexceptional nor especially alarming, despite some individuals being shocked–shocked! –to come across politics going on here.
But one would expect that somewhere in the mixture someone may actually read the law and do so in a fair-minded and fair manner. Such hopes go awry. Many commentators, Ryan Cooper for instance, are removed from this endeavor. He is translating the New York Times’ interpretation of the New York Times’ coverage of this law. And that coverage, everyone knows, not just consistently progress the interests of a specific party, but also puts everything in the context of race.
1 basic principle of representative government is that the majority of individuals are too busy living their own lives to bother themselves with all the everyday operations of government. Moreover, in our federalist system, we must concern ourselves primarily with the legislation of our own state. The controversy within the Georgia law isn’t simply an issue of legal hermeneutics, nevertheless shows a fundamental crisis of both the republican and the federalist principles. To what degree should Georgia’s voter legislation be of concern to anybody not living in Georgia? To whom will be the Georgia legislators liable? What’s the connection between legislative acts as well as the public who votes in these legislators? Can Major League Baseball have a valid interest at stake? How can the connection between rulers and Republicans get distorted when the interpretive moderate is occupied by bad-faith corporate actors motivated by profit or ideology? Really, the companies exhibited a callous disregard for the way their actions will impact the normal voter. Rather, they either served an ideological curiosity or tried to gratify the caterwauling of a different set of elites attempting to optimize their energy. Maybe you have reached the point Lippmann identified, predicted, and bemoaned some 90 years past of having a working public whatsoever?
I will do that in another essay. I write since the Georgia law isn’t the crisis; rather, the controversy within it points into the deeper, underlying crisis of republicanism and federalism. This crisis doesn’t admit of easy fixes. How we respond to the Georgia statute may point the way into your recovery not just of republican and federalist principles, however, also the rule of law . Public and private actors may want to start with a straightforward hermeneutical rule: not have a political opinion about a law you haven’t read. And then they may want to supplement with a rule: do not get riled up by something which does not concern you. Plato identified polypragmosyne (busy about several things, or even a species of not minding your own business) as a kind of injustice. We would all be much better off if national officials, actors, pundits, and businesses ceased meddling in Georgia’s affairs. Really, we’d be a lot better off still if they ceased using race cynically and ceased placing forth specious interpretations to advance their own ends. We may even deaden their echo chambers. “You didn’t actually read the legislation , did you Mr. Cooper? Well then, I really don’t care what you think.”