The Manichean Battle Over Sonia Sotomayor

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A recent editorial in The Washington Times, “A Judge Too Far,” concerning President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court perceptively observed:

“Judge Sotomayor seems to think that inherent racial and sexual differences are not simply quirks of genetics, but make some better than others. Consider her 2002 speech at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she said. “I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”

“She also accepted as potentially valid the idea that the “different perspectives” of “men and women of color” are due to “basic differences in logic in reasoning” due to “inherent physiological or cultural differences.”

The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, mentor of Congressman Ron Paul and economist/historian Murray Rothbard, discussed this Marxist nonsense in his magnum opus, Human Action, under the category of polylogism.

This is the bogus idea that the logical structure of the mind is different based on one’s class, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual preference, etc.

This skewed Marxist concept lies at the root of all “politically correct” notions of cultural relativism and multiculturalism fashionable in academia, the elite media, and critical legal theory circles today.

And if President Obama has his way, upon the highest court in the land.

This is more than the widely-accepted idea that our various life experiences shape our world view, or influence our value judgments in making ethical and moral decisions.

Again, polylogism specifically holds that the logical structure of the mind is different based on one’s class, race, nationality, gender, sexual preference, etc. There is no objective reality independent from these fixed determinative factors of causality.

The notion of a Constitutionally-driven independent judicial temperament or impartiality becomes impossible.

All we have left is “sociological jurisprudence” which was (is) an attempt to get away as far as possible from the Framers’ original intent of the Constitution, and to adopt the doctrine of “the Living Constitution” shaped by socioeconomic causal factors.

It was one of the bogus concepts to come out of the so-called Progressive Era a hundred years ago and has eroded our legal system in ways beyond belief.

Another way to look at it, it’s the old Marxist concept of “the sociology of knowledge” applied to law and public policy.

Marxism as a rationale for state aggrandizement and empire (as in the former Soviet Union) may be dead but as an ideological prop it is very much alive in such widely-accepted notions as multiculturalism, “cultural imperialism,” sociological jurisprudence, and environmentalism.

Here is an article by a prominent “Progressive Democrat” who precisely articulates in his defense of Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor all the things I mention above.

He sees the “conservative” attack on Sotomayor as an attack on Obama, upon the social concept of “empathy” at the heart of progressivism, upon the notion of “sociological jurisprudence” as the basis of progressive legal theory (although he doesn’t employ the specific term) as opposed to “strict construction” or the original intent of the Framers in formulating the Constitution.

This author uses all the pejorative Bogey man names (Dick Cheney, G. Gordon Liddy, Newt Gingrich, etc.) to stir up progressives to see this battle as a Manichean struggle between the angelic forces of light and the satanic forces of darkness (in a sanitized, secular humanist sense, of course).

But he can’t let outdated “God language” tarnish his post-Enlightenment, modernist or progressive exposition. Only reactionaries resort to such antiquated terminology.

There is much more to this fight than whether Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed.

Her nomination is a key battle in the on-going Culture War which lies at the heart of what America is all about.

Charles A. Burris [send him mail] is a history instructor in an American high school.

Charles A. Burris Archives

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