Monday, June 2, 2008

About that Will of the People Thing

The next time I hear a conservative whine about a governor or court circumventing the so-called "will of the people" by supporting gay marriage, I think they should be required to read the statements below by Vice President Cheney. The first set of comments come from an interview a few weeks ago with ABC News' Martha Raddatz, and the second set of which are from an event at the National Press Club this afternoon.


RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s [the Iraq war’s] not worth fighting.
RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?
CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

MODERATOR: Do you wish you had answered that question differently? Does it
matter if the public disagrees sharply with the wisdom of the war?
CHENEY: No, when I said, “So?” the point was, “What’s the question, Martha?” She made the statement; she didn’t ask a question.

To be sure, I am not one who thinks that polls should drive political decisions. Indeed, there is perhaps no one as suspicious of the tyranny of the majority as a libertarian like me. But it seems to me that if the majority should be ignored when it comes to issues like ending a war (and thereby increasing government's respect for individual rights), then there is really no basis for claiming that majority should be listened to when that majority seeks to decrease government's respect for individual rights.

So which is it: should the alleged "will of the people" control or should it not? You can't have it both ways.

H/T: Kathy at CFLF

Also more at memeorandum.