Saturday, April 01, 2006

"Good faith"

Anonymous Liberal points out the newest defense that has been offered for the President's decision to authorize warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

I also want to take a moment to address the emerging "good faith" defense of the President, which is being advanced by Republicans like Senators Graham and Specter who are clearly skeptical of the NSA program's legality. The argument seems to be that while Bush may have acted illegally, he did so based on a good faith belief that his actions were legal, and therefore he does not deserve harsh criticism or Congressional sanction.
A.L. goes on to explain that it is very difficult to say this action was done in good faith.

In the post I wrote about the Founding Fathers I said, "At every turn I find that the administration is answered by the Founders."

So does this new defense hold true to that? Yep.

In The Federalist #25, Alexander Hamilton wrote, "it is a truth which experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger, when the means of injuring their rights are in the possesion of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion."

If you read the Federalist, you'll notice the words "experience", "truth", and "jealousy" appear over and over again. They're part of a recurring theme in the papers, which Hamilton, Madison and Jay were trying to drive home: experience has taught us the truth that men are not to be trusted not to abuse authority, and encroachments of power must be guarded against jealously.

"Experience is the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred," wrote Madison in #20. Well, history has provided us with unequivocal responses, men trusted with power, when given the opportunity, will abuse it, in good faith or bad. Senator Specter and Graham would have you forget this lesson.


Anonymous said...


saw your "Founders.." essay at Glenn's t'other day. good, and tks.

regarding 'defences' there is an item by noam chomsky relating to his new title: "Failed States:" pertinently briefed over at - FYI - under More Chomsky..
mention of Quincy Adams and J.L. Gaddis has a remarkably consistent style with today's incumbent.. could add to your work..

keep up the good work

Hume's Ghost said...

thanks, I'll check that out once I get a chance.