~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Monday, December 26, 2005

More "warrantless search" thoughts

Law professor Eugene Volokh, writing for Slate Magazine a couple of years back, predicted the exact scenario the US News and World Report is now bitching about today.

Volokh in Slate, 2002:

Imagine your least favorite president, from Nixon to Clinton, having powers like this in times of national turmoil. Police states can be built this way, and this isn't just hyperbole.

He's right, of course, that police states can be built this way, but in my opinion he doesn't sufficiently address the likelihood of this method being employed by a ruthless American politician bent on empire. And the phrase "national turmoil" doesn't quite describe America on the eve of 2006 as well as it may have in mid 2002. I submit to you that the only way we could even have this debate is due to a distinct lack of attacks for over four years and a distinct lack of egregious curtailment of our civil rights. The fear is gone (for some) and we've returned to our squabbling ways. That is the essence of democracy. As I've said before, I'm willing to tolerate a little friction in public debate. That's inherent in a democracy.

There's just one hole in the argument of civil libertarians (Left-leaning, like Angel or Right-leaning, like Eugene) willing to die in another attack if it means they can die unfettered by the chains of oppression, and it's this: You're pledging my life and the lives of my family as well. Unacceptable. And again as I've said before, (even I'm getting tired of hearing myself repeat myself, if that's any indication of how tedious I find this business) we are bound by a social contract which has at it's core one simple rule: If you want support from your fellow men, don't murder them. Break that rule and you will reap the consequences, because it's the consequences that make that contract valid in the first place.

In the end it boils down to perceived motive, doesn't it? If you believe Bush is evil, then his invoking of his Article II powers must be opposed. If you believe Bush is simply acting to use every legitimate tool available to him to prevent another domestic attack, then these recent leaks (illegal any way you cut it) also must be opposed.

As much as I dislike former President Clinton, I will give him this. He understood the contract of civilization. He wanted to be liked and accepted by his fellow men and so acted in a manner he believed to be consistent with gaining the approval of his fellow men. So... YES! I would give these warrantless search powers to my least favorite President! In fact I already have. Find me an anti-war liberal who will extend the same consideration to our current, popularly elected president. Bueller? Bueller?

Why? Because I reject the "slippery slope" premise Volokh espouses in favor of the "social contract of civilization" premise that I espouse. I believe the power of this basic contract trumps the complex rules of precedent. If it didn't, there wouldn't even be an America.

Does anyone doubt the wisdom of the precedent we set (now, thanks to Bush, known as our "national security policy") in casting off British imperial authority? If that was somehow a good thing in 1776, then what makes what we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan any different today?

Seriously, I'm asking.

(Via: Powerline)

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