Tuesday, February 07, 2006
An Evening With Dr. Alan Keyes
An Evening With Dr. Alan Keyes
On Monday evening, the VOLConWife and I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by The University of Tennessee Black Cultural Programming Committee and the NAACP that featured Dr. Alan Keyes, former U.N. Ambassador, Presidential candidate, and candidate for U.S. Senate. I have heard Dr. Keyes speak on several occasions, but it was the VOLConWife's first time hearing him in person. Never one to pass on hearing one of the great orators of our time (as well as one of my favorite conservative politicians), I made sure to clear my schedule at the last minute. Apparently I was not the only one. I estimate the audience at over 500 people, which is certainly heartening for a conservative speaker on a weeknight. In all truth, more people attended Dr. Keyes' address than attended a talk by Senator Fred Thompson a few months back, and in Tennessee, that's saying something.
Dr. Keyes spoke for over 85 minutes without interruption (before taking several questions from the audience), so I do not have nearly the time to reiterate all that he said last night. However, here are a few of the points that he made:
- It is not the parties that are the problem with the political process. It is their understanding of the problems that is the flaw.
- All elected positions in this country require an oath to defend or uphold the Constitution (Article VI, U.S. Constitution). Thus, each elected position is required to defend or uphold the "republican form of government" in each state (Article IV). Keyes implication is that many politicians are violating the oath and, thus, open themselves up for impeachment.
- In what was the key concept from his speech, Keyes admitted that his entire approach to government was based in the sovereignty of the people. He believes in a government that serves Americans, not a government that runs America. In many ways, he stated, the sovereign's head has already been lopped off and new powers now control our republic.
- Keyes expressed dismay that the only way to make it through the Senate Judiciary Committee in an appointment hearing is by saying nothing, leaving the Senators to read the tea leaves in determining whether or not to confirm a nominee. This creates a situation, according to Keyes, where judicial nominees say nothing in the hearings, Senators do nothing except what interest groups tell them to do, and the new judge does whatever he wants for the rest of his or her days on the bench. Keyes finds this quite disturbing since, in his view, it is the judges who run America.
- During a very libertarian bane of thought, Keyes spoke of there being no civil rights in this country without the people acting as sovereign. (This is a long subject line, so I will demur to Keyes' books on the subject.)
- Keyes spoke at great length regarding Justice Blackman's opinion in Roe. One point in particular was interesting. Keyes pointed out that Blackman ignored the Constitution in his opinion, and he wasn't referring to the unwritten right to privacy. No, Keyes was referring to the Preamble, which states that:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
- The highlighted section above is quite interesting. Posterity is defined as "future generations; the offspring of one progenitor to the next." Blackman didn't even address this argument, instead choosing to focus on whether or not a fetus is a person or not. According to Keyes, that argument was irrelevant, because even the unborn have a constitutional right to "the Blessings of Liberty."
- As noted earlier, Keyes sees no problem with impeaching officials who are derelict in their duties. This includes judges. Keyes reinforced his notion by quoting Alexander Hamilton, who believed that impeachment was a vital part of the political process, that it was itself a political process that was a tool for removing those who were irremovable through normal means. This sort of tyranny bothers Keyes, particularly as people discredit Hamilton because he used to own slaves. As Keyes put it: "I would rather listen to some guy who owned slaves than end up BEING A SLAVE!"
- Another topic that Keyes spoke of in a novel manner was the NSA spying issue. Keyes is for full disclosure and examination by the Congress - in fact calling it their duty and obligation to investigate the Administration's practices. However, Keyes also recognized the great powers of the Executive. Citing various texts, Keyes pointed to the one key that makes the debate irrelevant - the Pardoning Power. Keyes stated that Bush could order government officials to break the law in many senses, as he could then pardon them at a later date. Keyes insisted that this was one of the prescribed uses of the Pardoning Power during the debate for its inception.
- On the topic of race, Keyes' views can be summed up in one statement that paraphrased actor Morgan Freeman: "Race itself is the most racist concept of all." Indeed, Keyes went on to speak of days a couple of centuries back (before evolutionary theory) in which race was not an identifying characteristic.
- Keyes also spoke of banning exit polling and repealing McCain/Feingold, as both entities were created to take the people out of the political process. In particular, Keyes lamented that grassroots politics, which should be flourishing with the technology available today, are being strangled by so-called campaign finance reform.
Dr. Keyes talked about several other subjects in his speech last night. I thoroughly enjoyed his thoughts and oration. Keyes, along with Ronald Reagan, Ed Bryant, and Abraham Kuyper, are my favorite conservatives, and it has always been an honor to enjoy their company throughout the years.
Again, thank you for the hosting organizations for their efforts in creating an enjoyable evening.
If I had spoken with anyone from the UT Issues Committee, I certainly would have praised them.