Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court last week overturned the state’s 2012 Voter ID law. It seemed a reasonable law, intended only to prevent people who were not eligible to vote from voting. Who could be against that? Unfortunately the state has yet to find a single instance of anyone – a dead person, say, or an “illegal immigrant” – showing up to vote. The law, Judge Bernard McGinley wrote, did nothing “to assure a free and fair election.” On the other hand, there is now evidence that, in its short lifetime, the law inhibited plenty of other people from voting – students and the elderly, poor people and people of color. This was precisely what the law, which passed the legislature without a single Democratic vote, was intended to do. This law, announced the House majority leader after its passage, “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Beware of extremism clothed in reasonableness, particularly when the evidence is slim. Who, for example, could be opposed to applying hospital building codes to abortion facilities, especially in light of “all” those butcher shops we keep reading about? In a nation where the vast majority believes in God, why not teach intelligent design as a possible explanation of the origins of life? Isn’t education a competition of ideas? Who could disagree that the market allocates resources – including health care – more efficiently than government bureaucrats?
We like our extremists to be wild-eyed and ranting, but they’re way too smart for that.
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