Paul, The Federalist Society, and Intellectual Integrity

At Powerline, Paul describes the growth of the Federalist Society as From a wild flower to an oak. A phrase popular on this blog was noted:

For Meyer, the key is intellectual integrity. He told the story of an interview in which the reporter asked him for the Federalist Society’s position on presidential power. Meyer explained that, while the Society’s members generally agree on certain broad principles, the Society doesn’t take positions on specific issues. The reporter then asked for the Federalist Society’s position on abortion. Meyer gave the same answer, and gave it again when the reporter asked about gun control. Finally, the exasperated reporter said, “you must take positions or you wouldn’t be so influential.”

But the Federalist Society is influential because it is not result oriented, but instead focuses on promoting broad principles, including fidelity to the written text of the Constitution, and vigorous debate. As Justice Alito put it, the Federalist Society stands for talking about the big issues and for the belief that rational debate will lead to good outcomes. More than anything else, the courage of that conviction explains why the wild flower Antonin Scalia thought he was helping to plant has become, in his words, an oak.

Intellectual Integrity.

In the Bible it is described as avoiding the sin of false witness. There has been quite a bit of discussion lately about BSD and trying to define the hatred aimed at the President. One of the characteristics of that hatred, what sets it apart, is that is can been seen in the lack of intellectual integrity. This is often noted as an irrationality.

“the key is intellectual integrity” – This starts with being honest with yourself. Your emotions, especially the negative ones, tell you that there is something awry. It is one thing, for instance, to ‘hate’ how a person speaks or what they do. It is another to hate the person.

Patriotism is a positive emotion but it has also become twisted. When someone notes an irrational hatred of country or a dissent that is destructive, the response these days often seems to be “don’t question my patriotism.”

Talking points – such as can often be seen as ‘debate’ responses are another example. Take them down, refute them in detail, demonstrate just how lacking in integrity they are – it makes no difference. The points will pop up verbatim again and again. Without intellectual integrity, reality and logic have no purpose and must be dismissed if they do not serve the preferred paradigm.

“the key is intellectual integrity” – One’s ideology must be based on honesty and a proper inspection of values. That is how constructive and meaningful and stron viewpoints on specific issues can be built. To adhere to a viewpoint and then build the values and rationale to support it does not lead towards constructive outcomes.

the Federalist Society is influential because it is not result oriented, but instead focuses on promoting broad principles

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