The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Monday, January 02, 2006

de minimis curo

I've been running out of stuff to type about. (I think I've typed as much as anyone could type, or care to read, about that Emperor Leo fiasco of the 460s AD.)

There's one essay I've written, but it's one of those essays which loses friends and influences no-one. That essay was about why I use insults to handle Outsider Pre-Human Intelligent Design advocates, or "OPHIDians" for short. (I can't use "IDiots" as a pejorative because "Intelligent Design" is broad enough a category to include humanity as the designer.) But I was just going to end up insulting moderates, so I've been holding back on it.

But I can use this down-time to let loose on one set of moderates who are getting my goat right now. They're the sort who use the term "de minimis" to denote a judicial decision which is wrong but bearable. It refers to "de minimis non curat lex": on minimal things the law cares not.

"minimis" is one of those passive-voice weasel words which our professors always used to tell us not to use. To whom is it "minimal"? Really what they mean is that it's bearable ... to them. It's not so bearable to us; or, even if it is, it comes without a promise to refrain from imposing less bearable burdens upon us in future.

Ditto Eugene Rostow's weird proposition that we already assume an established religion, not founded by Congress, called "Ceremonial Deism". The holy synod of Ceremonial Deism is the US Government; they can define some statements of dogma (one God, masculine, creator of all, approver of state policy) and then the dogma can't be challenged - because, as an expression of Ceremonial Deism, the dogma isn't religious by definition.

Anyway, if this stuff is so "minimal" and "ceremonial", why is everyone making such a fuss when we suggest it be taken out? If being "under God" didn't matter to Congress as of 1954, why did it vote to push it in? If something is meant to be "minimal" and "ceremonial" to party A, yet is so important to party B, it stands to reason that this thing is not "minimal" after all.

It's really important that they get the jizya, but if we object to giving it then we need to lighten up.



posted by Zimri on 19:16 | link | 0 comments

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