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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Ever Present Siege

US Constitution

Power flows from power.

A tautology, yes, but we all know this. Post-Enlightenment history is largely about wrestling down just where power is truly vested - are we satisfied with outcomes from Darwinian power-struggles, ceding authority to those with the ambition and wherewithal to grab the most marbles? The answer to that is an unequivocal "no" - while there are cynics with a conservative bent who accept the "power = power" tautology as is, the march of history shows that this is a highly unstable, and violent, arrangement. People get tired of cake, as it were, sooner rather than later.

(Jonathan Schell, in his excellent book, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, argues that the horrible upheavals of the 20th Century are testaments to this.)

In short, the march of history led to the American Revolution and the penning of the U.S. Constitution, the penultimate* word on the Rule of Law over the Rule of Men.

Of course, The Ever Present Siege against enlightened ideas like this goes on. Even here in the United States of America (!), we are familiar - nay, downright comfortable - with the idea that the wealthy and the powerful (a redundancy in Capitalist America) have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the application of the instruments of Justice. Sure, once in a while one of the big boys go down, but perhaps only after thoroughly and publicly stankifying his relationship with his colleagues.

Cynics may shrug, but these things require vigilance, or so I've been told.

Looks like our chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, is a shrugger (h/t Steve Benen at Crooks and Liars):
Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday that the Department of Justice would not pursue criminal charges against former employees implicated in an internal investigation on politicized hiring practices.

"Where there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing, we vigorously investigate it," Mukasey said in a speech at the American Bar Association. "And where there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we vigorously prosecute. But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime."
He didn't say "power = power" - that would be indelicate - but that's what he means.

Keep it up, is all I can say. History shows that these fools will have their reckoning. It is sad, unfortunate and lamentable that so many will suffer on the road to that reckoning.


[*OK, I'm an optimist. One would think that after the shredding that my beloved Constitution has gone through, the next iteration, the next revolution, will produce an even more enlightened set of civil protections. And it will be the last word. And it will be reverently observed. Yea, right - The Ever Present Siege and all...]

Update:Looks like Ecuador is on it?

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