The tyranny of the majority

Via Hit & Run, this lunacy courtesy of former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork:

The December 19 issue of National Review, marking the magazine’s 50th anniversary, includes a feature in which 10 people offer suggestions on “How to Increase Liberty in America,” to which I contributed a few paragraphs about ending the war on drugs. Sandwiched between Clint Bolick on school choice and Ward Connerly on colorblindness is Robert Bork on censorship. Just to be clear: He is for it.

“Liberty in America can be enhanced by reinstating, legislatively, restraints upon the direction of our culture and morality,” writes the former appeals court judge, now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “Censorship as an enhancement of our liberty may seem paradoxical. Yet it should be obvious, to all but the most dogmatic First Amendment absolutists, that people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free.” Bork goes on to complain that “relations between the sexes are debased by pornography”; that “large parts of television are unwatchable”; that “motion pictures rely upon sex, gore, and pyrotechnics for the edification of the target audience of 14-year-olds”; and that “popular music hardly deserves the name of music.”

Consider me a dogmatic absolutist. Also, Judge Bork might want to re-read this (for the first time?):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s clear that “conservatives” like Judge Bork don’t particularly care about constitutional principles. No idea of liberty or limited government could ever be compatible with the notion that censorship is an enhancement of our liberty. That’s not obvious, no matter the proclamations from Judge Bork. Judge Bork is really saying that courts that give acknowledge rights are activists capitulating to the liberal agenda, while legislatures that restrict rights are society enhancers promoting freedom. Judge Bork believes in principles no more profound than “Everyone must abide by my beliefs.”

It certainly is a shame that he missed out on the Supreme Court with brilliance like that. America is clearly worse off.