The return of the Tories
The return of the Tories
Glenn Greenwald sent this via e-mail
I highly recommend the new Weekly Standard article
by Harvard Government Professor (and long-time social conservative hero) Harvey Mansfield. It is entitled "The President and the Law" and makes the case as explicitly as it can be made that the Bush Administration really is claiming that the President has the constitutional authority to ignore and break the law. Mansfield explains why the Constitution allows, and why we should want, all-out Presidential law-breaking
That this argument is published by the most influential pro-Bush magazine in the country really is quite striking, but it's notable only for its clarity, not for its novelty. Dick Cheney, Richard Posner, William Barr and others have been overtly making the same case, with just a little more subtlety, for some time now. The whole article is extraordinary - and I believe that a lot can be done with it - but here are some of the most unbelievable excerpts:
Enemies, however, not merely violate but oppose the law. They oppose our law and want to replace it with theirs. To counter enemies, a republic must have and use force adequate to a greater threat than comes from criminals, who may be quite patriotic if not public-spirited, and have nothing against the law when applied to others besides themselves. But enemies, being extra-legal, need to be faced with extra-legal force. . . .
To confirm the extra-legal character of the presidency, the Constitution has him take an oath not to execute the laws but to execute the office of president, which is larger. . .
Yet the rule of law is not enough to run a government. Any set of standing rules is liable to encounter an emergency requiring an exception from the rule or an improvised response when no rule exists. In Machiavelli's terms, ordinary power needs to be supplemented or corrected by the extraordinary power of a prince, using wise discretion.
In rejecting monarchy because it was unsafe, republicans had forgotten that it might also be effective.
With one person in charge we can have both secrecy and responsibility. Here we have the reason that American society, in imitation of American government, makes so much use of one-man rule.
Much present-day thinking puts civil liberties and the rule of law to the fore and forgets to consider emergencies when liberties are dangerous and law does not apply.
Just to recap: The President is "larger" than the law. The "rule of law is not enough to run a Government." We must remember that a monarchy is "effective" and therefore, in times of "war" (like now), we must embrace "one-man rule." In sum, in emergencies like the one we have now and will have for the indefinite future, the "law does not apply."
I do not believe that very many Americans, once they are made aware that this is really what is being done, will accept it. I posted a little bit about the article here
, but the article on its own makes the case better than anything anyone can add.
So am I to understand that despite a civil war, where the constitution was largely upheld, two world wars where the consititution was upheld, an attack which killed less people than died on the Somme in an hour or in a day at the Bulge means we're supposed to give up our democracy?
Some clever guys living in a cave are supposed to make us give up our freedoms for the ineptitutde of Bush?
Would they like to live in a world where their political enemies could ignore the law at will?
Why don't they call themselves what they are when we first had this argument, Tories. They could even call for the return of Queen Elizabeth as our sovereign leader. If they want a monarchy, why don't they just call for one.
posted by Steve @ 9:48:00 AM