:: Thursday, October 02, 2003 ::
Mackubin Thomas Owens discussing Civil Liberties on National Review Online draws a parallel between the Patriot act and some of the measures enacted by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to deal with civilians who acted in support of the Confederate cause.
Lincoln's comment on the difference between times of emergency and times of peace should serve as a reply to President Bush's critics:
I can no more be persuaded that the Government can constitutionally take no strong measures in time of rebellion, because it can be shown that the same could not lawfully be taken in time of peace, than I can be persuaded that a particular drug is not good medicine for a sick man, because it can be shown not to be good for a well one. Nor am I able to appreciate the danger apprehended by the meeting [of the New York Democrats] that the American people will, by means of military arrest during the Rebellion, lose the right of Public Discussion, the Liberty of Speech and the Press, the Law of Evidence, Trial by Jury, and Habeas Corpus, throughout the indefinite peaceful future, which I trust lies before them, any more than I am able to believe that a man could contract so strong an appetite for emetics during temporary illness as to persist in feeding upon them during the remainder of his healthful life.
The means to preserve the end of republican government are dictated by prudence. According to Aristotle, prudence is concerned with deliberating well about those things that can be other than they are (means). In political affairs, prudence requires the statesman to be able to adapt universal principles to particular circumstances in order to arrive at the means that are best given existing circumstances. For Lincoln, as well as for President Bush, preserving republican liberty required him to choose the means necessary and proper under the circumstances. Aristotle calls prudence the virtue most characteristic of the statesman.
In the war on terrorism, as during the Civil War, we face the perennial tension between vigilance and responsibility.
You should read the whole article.
:: Mark 9:08 AM [+] ::