I’m trying to understand the first paragrah of George Will’s column on government arrogance and just can’t wrap my head around it:
A dialectic of judicial deference and political arrogance is on display in St. Louis. When excessively deferential courts permit governmental arrogance, additional arrogance results as government explores the limits of judicial deference. As Jim Roos knows.
First of all, total aside here, I bet Jim Roos actually doesn’t know that, George. I bet he has no effing clue.
Will’s use of ‘dialetic’ is obviously not the normal; OED defines the special usage of ‘dialetic’ as “the existence or actions of opposing social forces, concepts, etc.”. While judical deference and political arrogance are two different concepts, are they opposing ones? Probably not. The next ellucidating sentence doesn’t get me any closer to understanding what dialectic Will thinks is on display in St. Louis, either.
Maybe OED is to blame. WordNet has it “a contradiction of ideas that serves as the determining factor in their interaction.” Ah, got it now. Will means that the relationship between judical deference and government arrogance—adding to the confusion is that Will uses ‘government’ when, like a rectangle/square, the government can include the judiciary—is such that judical deference will result in government arrogance. Still seems more cause/effect than dialectic to me. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to say ‘When the judical branch defers judgement to the legislative branch the result is nearly always legislative arrogance.’
The rest is easy breezy he said/she said stuff. Until the last paragraph:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is considering whether St. Louis can regulate what Roos can say concerning what the government has done to him. This case, which arises from unwise judicial deference to city governments wielding the power of eminent domain, demonstrates the dialectic of courts inciting governmental arrogance by deferring to it. So judicial deference often is dereliction of judicial duty.
I had to reread this bastard to get it, assuming I actually got. You know where I stand on these two concepts as a dialectic so I won’t rehash it. What got me here is ‘this case’ refers to the one before the 8th Circuit who, Will just said, is considering it. Somehow this yet undecided case demonstrates that judical deferral incites legislative arrogance when really it just demonstrates a judical check on legislative power, origins of the legislation be damned. This sentence unfortunatly thwarts the clever point Will really wanted to make about the case, that the court is hearing a case that orginated from a previous court case ipso facto the job never got done (dereliction of duty) the first time around so here another court has to mull it over. The point fails, however, on three fronts a) the supreme court actually did decide Kelo b) the 8th Circuit isn’t the supreme court and c) the case before them isn’t about emminent domain it’s about signage.
If Jim had waken up that day and decided instead to paint ‘abortion is murder’ on the barn the case would still be before the court today.
Will may beg for a judicial hand to uphold the individual’s constitutional right to property, but despise the judical hand that waves off an issue like abortion, hoping instead for deferral to state legislature to decide the issue.
It makes no damn sense; much like paragraphs first and last.