Sunday, May 08, 2005

Two Questions

Question One: why do commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken use the song “Sweet Home Alabama”? That’s lazy, retarded, or both. It’s like using “New York, New York” to sell Chicago-style pizza.

Question two: since when has US law been based on the 10 Commandments? US law is based on English law, which at the time of the Revolutionary War and the drafting of the constitution was a product of Acts of Parliament and Anglo-Saxon tribal common law. Law on both sides of the Atlantic is the product of legislative action, legal precedent, and traditions that date back to the pantheistic pre-christian days of Rome and Greece. Indeed, there is a strong argument that modern US law owes more to Hammurabi's code than the bible.

I think this has been missed in the current brouhaha over so-called ‘activist’ judges (judges are supposed to be fairly activist: that is why the judiciary is a branch of the government in the US). At best conservative critics of the judiciary are ill informed about the historical traditions of jurisprudence and seem to be confusing morality with law. Morality informs law; it is not the source of law. The 10 commandments are not the basis for our laws, and do not warrant a mention in the constitution (the ‘creator’ is invoked in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution but in the context of endowing rights not codifying responsibilities). The 10 commandments are in fact batting .300 when it comes to becoming law; murder, perjury and robbery will land you in jail but coveting, worshipping false idols, and the others won’t result in a visit from the sheriff.

So once again the dangers of neglecting history in schools and lazy or fearful journalism are apparent in our everyday conversations (to describe the dialogue charitably). Too bad you can’t sue people for misrepresenting the past.


Mondale said...

Wasn't David Irving sued for misrepresenting the past?

weasel said...

No he wasn't. David Irving sued someone else and lost, and in the course of the trial had his so-called scholarship of Holocaust denial held up and trashed for all to see.