Cultural Revolutions

Flipping History

On February 14, Judge Amanda Wright Allen struck down Virginia’s marriage law as unconstitutional.  She began her opinion by quoting from a poetic commemorative address, then followed by incorrectly claiming that the phrase “all men are created equal” is found in the Constitution.  Thirty years ago, this would have earned Judge Wright the ire of her law-school professors, but, under the current administration, it won her an appointment to the federal judiciary.

To me, though, the most interesting comments came not from Judge Allen, but from Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring: “I’m proud to say today the Commonwealth of Virginia stood on the right side of the law and the right side of history.”

Betraying confusion regarding the duties of his office, Mr. Herring allowed his personal disapproval of Virginia’s marriage law to justify aiding those who would annul the law he was sworn to uphold and enforce.

Still, as bad as it was for the attorney general not to understand which side of the law he was supposed to be on, what was even more troubling was his idea that his state was now on the “right side of the history.”

Why does it always seem like the people who invoke the movement of history actually disdain the value of the past and instead mean to force on us their own peculiar vision for the future?  Indeed, even as Herring...

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