Tyranny Raises its Evil Face

PatriotPost.USMonday Brief Vol. 09 No. 17 27 April 2009

THE FOUNDATION "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." --James Madison

LIBERTY "In response to an unprecedented expansion of federal power, citizens have held hundreds of 'tea party' rallies around the country, and various states are considering 'sovereignty resolutions' invoking the Constitution's Ninth and Tenth Amendments. For example, Michigan's proposal urges 'the federal government to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States.' While well-intentioned, such symbolic resolutions are not likely to have the slightest impact on the federal courts, which long ago adopted a virtually unlimited construction of Congressional power. But state legislatures have a real power under the Constitution by which to resist the growth of federal power: They can petition Congress for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. An amendments convention is feared because its scope cannot be limited in advance. The convention convened by Congress to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation produced instead the entirely different Constitution under which we now live. Yet it is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel. ...[A] Federalism Amendment would provide tea-party enthusiasts and other concerned Americans with a concrete and practical proposal by which we can restore our lost Constitution." --Georgetown University professor of constitutional law Randy Barnett

INSIGHT "It really is difficult to imagine how people who have entirely given up managing their own affairs could make a wise choice of those who are to do that for them. One should never expect a liberal, energetic, and wise government to originate in the votes of a people of servants." --French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

GOVERNMENT "One of the most important events of our lifetimes may have just transpired. A federal agency has decided that it has the power to regulate everything, including the air you breathe. Nominally, the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement ... only applies to new-car emissions. But pretty much everyone agrees that the ruling opens the door to regulating, well, everything. According to the EPA, greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide -- the gas you exhale -- as well as methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. It is literally impossible to imagine a significant economic or human activity that does not involve the production of one of these gases. Don't think just of the gas and electricity bills. Cow flatulence is a serious concern of the EPA's already. What next? ... Whether or not global warming is a crisis that warrants immediate, drastic action (I don't think it does), and whether or not such wholesale measures would be an economic calamity (they would be), the EPA's decision should be disturbing to people who believe in democratic, constitutional government. ...[T]he EPA has launched its power grab over all that burns, breathes, burps, flies, drives and passes gas." --National Review editor Jonah Goldberg

FAITH AND FAMILY "If torturing terrorists works -- as the Obama administration had to admit grudgingly [last] week -- is it okay? No, of course not, the chattering class proudly concluded. One wonders why. What do they care? Having already accepted abortion and euthanasia -- which are nothing more than the expedient killing of the unborn and the elderly -- why should the expedient torture of terrorists, a lesser evil, trouble them? Oh, that's right: the terrorists are guilty and the guilty under the ministrations of modern liberalism never suffer. Pain in modern life is for the innocent. Terrorists, we're told by pro-abortion liberals, suffer excruciating pain while the ejected unborn and euthanized elderly feel nothing. And even if the latter do suffer pain, say these liberals, that pain is worth it. After all, abortion and euthanasia sustain a pleasant and peaceful lifestyle for the strong. Let the dead bury the dead. ... Obama's liberalism is not an opponent of human rights abuses but an embodiment of them. The CIA restricts itself to methods far less ruthless than those permitted by the platform of the Democratic Party. When will Obama bring his own platform into line with the Geneva Accords? It is a little late in the day for Obama to worry about America's moral reputation. Resisting evil even 'when it is hard' hasn't interested liberalism for at least four decades. It rests on an ideology of expedient evil and crass utilitarianism." --Catholic World Report editor George Neumayr

CULTURE "The debate over the just-released Justice Department memorandums on interrogation techniques ended as soon as they were dubbed the 'torture memos.' ... Rightly considered, the memos should be a source of pride. They represent a nation of laws struggling to defend itself against a savage, lawless enemy while adhering to its legal commitments and norms. Most societies throughout human history wouldn't have bothered. ... If we had a more mature political culture, this and other questions could be examined thoroughly by a special congressional committee. (As it happens, the CIA produced a memo on the benefits of the interrogation program that has never been released.) But such an inquiry inevitably would descend into a hyperpoliticized takedown of the CIA and the Bush Justice Department for 'war crimes.' The frenzied reception of the 'torture memos' is just a preview." --National Review editor Rich Lowry