Democracy’s Highest Crime and Misdemeanor
In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln reminded Americans that they were uniquely privileged to have a new birth of freedom that was contingent on “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” That was then. What about now?
Every week brings new revelations and details about a cabal in the federal government whose actions border on both sedition and conspiracy. The evidence suggests that specific high level officials in the Justice Department and the FBI colluded to violate the law in unprecedented ways for the singular purpose of subverting the will of the people both before and after the 2016 election.
The United States is now at a defining moment. Will there be a restoration of the rule of law, or will Washington’s elite continue to give cover and a pass to fellow members of the Ruling Class (a descriptive phrase coined in these pages by Angelo Codevilla)?
The question: Is there sufficient decency and courage in the midst of Washington’s swamp to compel the pursuit of justice wherever in the Ruling Class it leads and then to prosecute the lawbreakers — whomever they are?
First, it’s vital to understand that when you give a pass — or worse you give multiple successive passes — to lawbreakers, you not only protect those who violated the law, but you empower and encourage would-be lawbreakers to do the same or worse. Second, when laws are not enforced they cease to have meaning. And that’s when your nation finds itself on a slippery slope of arbitrary and subjective rule and cronyism, which ends in ruin… such as no borders, the hollowing out of protections in the Bill of Rights, and the politicization of government agencies, to name a few.
The importance of the rule of law for civil society can be traced back to Moses in the 13th Century B.C. and the ancient philosophers Aristotle and Cicero. In the Middle Ages the Magna Carta was drafted in England in 1215 A.D. to force the king and all future sovereigns and magistrates to live and rule under the law. Those foundational roots would be carried into the U.S. Constitution, which was given shape by the Bible and the greatest philosophic minds — both political and legal.
In 1644 Samuel Rutherford published The Law and the Prince. Refuting the theory of the “Divine Right of Kings,” Rutherford argued that if the king violated the law of nature, he should be deposed and punished as a criminal. John Locke’s father was a close acquaintance of Rutherford and was a member of the Puritan forces that fought against King Charles I. The impression and inspiration provided by Rutherford no doubt influenced young John Locke, who would later write The Second Treatise of Government in 1690.
While Locke is generally considered to be the chief source in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, the Founders actually cited Oxford legal scholar William Blackstone twice as often as they cited Locke. In fact, Blackstone’s four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in 1765, became more of a sensation in the American colonies than in England, ironically giving justification for the American colonists to revolt against King George. Prior to the Revolutionary War, more copies of Blackstone’s Commentaries were sold in America than in England, which had three times more inhabitants.
America’s Founders were also deeply influenced by French political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu, whose unique contribution was the doctrine of separation of powers — which explained that liberty is best protected when government distributes executive, legislative, and judicial power among three branches of government so no one branch can exercise too much power and control of the other branches and so that corruption and abuse of power is checked.
The fact that the U.S. Constitution (less the Bill of Rights) was drafted in less than four months by 42 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in the heat of a Philadelphia summer in 1787 is a miracle in and of itself—a testimony to the hand of Providence on the debate between disparate contributors from 12 of the 13 original states and on guiding the drafting of the most profound blueprint for successful democracy the world has ever known.
The U.S. is unique in human history being the only nation founded solely on moral ideas and principles and a noble vision of man’s potential for good, but also a recognition of his sinful propensities for selfishness and abuse of power.
America was founded in revolution against oppression, and then tested, forged, and reaffirmed by bloody sacrifice in civil war and successive foreign wars right up to the present — fought to uphold the cause of freedom and its attendant rights and duties inexorably tied to natural and civil law. If we give a pass to a cabal of lawbreakers in today’s Ruling Class, we betray our heritage, our ideals and vision, and the blood of so many patriots.
This kind of law breaking — the attempt to subvert the will of the American people in the 2016 election and its aftermath — is the highest crime and misdemeanor, akin to treason. So what to do?
Boldness is needed and there is simply no more important or cathartic action to take to restore faith in our system, equality before the law, and to rein in cronyism and double standards than the indictment and prosecution of “high crime and misdemeanor lawbreakers” irrespective of position or party affiliation — from the previous administration or in government today.
It’s time to indict and prosecute key figures in the Clinton political crime syndicate and their protectors, which would include those involved in weaponizing U.S. Government agencies to conduct unmasking and surveillance operations against American citizens in violation of their sacred Fourth Amendment right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects…”
Failing to hold Ruling Class lawbreakers accountable is not an option, for the next stage of ruin on that slippery slope we’ve been on looks more like a police state than a country club.
Scott Powell is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at email@example.com