Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 30, 2012

Secrets                            8/30/2012

As we digest the twists and turns surrounding the matter of US secrets and the people who have made some of them public, we might remember the men who framed the Bill of Rights and the philosophy they enshrined in it.  The devotees of the Enlightenment, like Jefferson and Madison, held that an indispensible feature of any democracy must be that the People know what the government is doing in their name, so as to hold them accountable for it at the ballot box.  By contrast, the Fourth Amendment guaranteed them privacy in their actions, except for the times when there was reasonable cause to belief that they were violating the laws. These two ways of dealing with secrets were intrinsic parts of their framing of the responsibilities that the democratic state and its people owed each other. When Wikileaks told all who were interested about the lies our government told the world about why we were about to go to war in Iraq, Americans ignorant of Enlightenment philosophy screamed for blood, with many crying out for foreigners involved to be captured and tried for treason, a capital offense. But when Hillary, who had stood first in her class at Yale Law School, joined the jackals, I was glad that I had not chosen to ride her bandwagon. What greater function for subtle higher education than to tame the blood-lust of those who imagine that the privileges of their faction is more important than the duties that advanced thinking lays upon learned people in supporting democracy?

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 16th, 2012

Around the world, it seems, the pundits are gathering to say that Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for VP will gain him little and lose him much. I must say that when the opinion comes from The Guardian of London, there is a strong smell of wishful thinking about it. And a similar caveat attends the same analysis when the domestic press reports a similar opinion among the Dems. We must all remember that sort of thinking attending the candidacies of Reagan and Baby Bush.  There was disbelief attending those elections.

Given the effectiveness of the billionaires in buying slick PR for Walker, a man without much to be admired, the cheers of the liberals need to be taken with plenty of salt.  So be careful how casually one might dismiss the salesmanship of a billion dollars of TV time in analyzing the potential attraction of a good-looking young man with the heavy cannons of Madison Ave behind him. Still, I hope that the views of those who won the day for JFK may overcome the ads late in the day that proved effective for Walker.  We may not know what swung the day for that empty-headed young drop-out from Milwaukee. I hope that we will find the way to neutralize the poison loosed in our body politic by those like those from the professional liars bought for the defeat of John Kerry.