June 14, 2003
Gratuitous Swipe from the NYT

An otherwise well-written and informative piece from the New York Times on the new European Union Constitutional convention was marred by this swipe at the US Constitution:

The constitution also explicitly bans slavery (which the original United States Constitution did not) and the death penalty (which was never banned in the American Constitution).

Well, considering that the US constitution predates the EU constitution by well over 200 years, it is not surprising that slavery was omitted. Remember, slavery was still practiced in European colonies long after it was abolished in their home countries; slavery was legally practiced in the British Empire until 1843; in Brazil until 1888, and in Mauritania, a French colony, until 1905. In addition, while the British and French Empires banned slavery, they began regulating bonded servitude, which was essentially the same thing. This practice did not end in French Africa until 1947.

As to capital punishment, it has not been banned in the US constitution because the vast majority of Americans support it. Polls taken in Europe seem to indicate the same, although the political elites refuse to listen to their constituents on that issue, much as our media elites here refuse to accept that perhaps they might be wrong.

posted on June 14, 2003 06:43 PM


The Times will never, ever miss a chance to compare the United States unfavorably to Western Europe. The U.S., you see, is filled with yokels who place freedom over other political goals, and think justice is a clear and simple concept everyone ought to understand without a multi-contextual meta-analysis. Quite obviously a benighted and retrograde place in need of a thorough enlightenment by the vanguard elite of left-liberalism.

Try this one on from a Times book review of Rush Limbaugh's bestseller The Way Things Ought To Be:

"[Limbaugh's] appeal is to a part of middle America -- call it the silent majority or the American People or the booboisie."

Walter Goodman wrote that, and the New York Times, that fountainhead of nonjudgmental egalitarianism, published it on February 21, 1993.

Is there any wonder that a paper so filled with contempt for book readers has been found employing reporters who fabricate entire stories from the comfort of their living rooms -- for several years? Is it really incomprehensible that a paper with such a supercilious disdain for the truth that it shields Walter Duranty from his monstrous pro-Communist lies to avoid embarrassment, and contradicts its own printed accounts of Pius XII's heroic opposition to Hitler during the Nazi years because to say a good word about the Catholic Church today is not politically correct, would fail to take the context of two constitutions written 216 years apart into account?

Perhaps it's niche marketing at work. But why the Times would want to limit itself to a market populated by reality-averse, America-hating Manhattan socialists defeats my understanding of the economics of print journalism.

posted by Francis W. Porretto on June 15, 2003 04:01 AM

Perhaps because they are reality-adverse America-hating Manhattan socialists themseleves.

posted by Starhawk on June 15, 2003 01:19 PM

Silly Americans. We also included this weird federalism thing in the Constitution, so that most decisions are resolved by the states, including things like the death penalty.

I mean, Geez, if only we'd had the current raft of Times editors around back then, no doubt we'd have had a strong central government, dictating how things would and should be, rather than this silly devolution of power downwards.

posted by Dean on June 16, 2003 06:54 AM

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