13 February 2016

Antonin Scalia (1936–2016)


A
ntonin Gregory Scalia (1936–2016) has slipped from the realm of life to take his proper place as an irrelevant historical footnote, a man whose blistering dissents will long be quoted as examples of the foolish and demented views held in bygone times. The living embodiment of the crazy old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn—except that in Scalia’s case the kids were mostly imaginary as well—Scalia celebrated the oppression of minorities, the suppression of unpopular views, and the use of the machinery of government to enforce religious conformity. Finding himself living in a country he no longer recognized, dazed and bewildered by the current of popular opinion sweeping past him, he hissed and struck like a serpent caught in a flash flood. He ranted of sodomy and of the courts usurping the lawmaking power and of how there was just once race in America—and he understood very well which race that was. No minority citizen had any rights that a heterosexual Christian was bound to respect. He and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would have understood one another well, past their skin-deep theological differences.
So farewell, crazy old guy. Whether as fool or object lesson you will not be forgotten by posterity. You will receive the usual tributes of the position—your words will be cited to show what idiots we all were in these benighted times, and your thoughts will be intermingled with equally inane things you never said. Your face will be the malignant face of our age, and our cultural descendants will spit on it, and us along with it. It’s too bad—but then, we should have known better than to elevate a guy like you to a position of authority. We probably have it coming.
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