I often marvel at the intellect of our forefathers.
The wisdom, foresight, and intelligence they displayed when writing our Constitution and the arguments they made to the people for acceptance never cease to capture my imagination and amaze me. They obviously had a vision for the endurance of that document and the applicability of those arguments, as both continue to guide our country and provide clarification to our nation’s direction.
In forging the future of our nation, they enumerated for us specific rights granted by what became known as The Bill of Rights.
But through The Federalist Papers, in arguing for a republic, for a federal government with individual state governments instead of individual sovereign state nations or small confederacies of states, they also provided some insight and caution which notes the existence of a line between individual rights and the needs of a nation.
In their time, the argument for individual sovereign states or small confederacies of states was being made, at least partially, on the grounds of the rights of individuals. It was proposed that a republic would deny the rights of individuals, and only through smaller entities would an individual’s rights be preserved. “Scare tactics” of the day were utilized to invoke fear that a republic would strip away the rights they’d just recently fought for.
In rebuttal, Alexander Hamilton pointed out where the true threat to their rights lay, “An over scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people…will be represented as mere pretence and artifice; the bait for popularity at the expense of public good.” And “…a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people, than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.”
He and John Jay went on to describe the “public good” and “firmness and efficiency of government” to include matters of national strength, or in today’s terms, national security.
In this light, their sentiments and observations are extremely applicable today, particularly as they relate to our current national security situation and the positions of the far left and their cohorts at the ACLU.
The radical left used an overly ambitious strategy based on “rights” when attacking the use of military tribunals for suspected terrorists caught on the field of battle and the methods used to obtain information from them. As a result, the courts demanded further legislation from Congress. The Administration then worked with Congress to develop and approve the legislation necessary to satisfy both the needs of the courts as well as the national security needs of the people. Yet Senators like Russ Feingold and his friends at the ACLU attacked this new legislation and poured out doom and gloom for the rights of all.
They continue to exploit the argument for civilian rights and trials of enemy combatants caught on the field of battle. They argue against the interrogation methods that have prevented attacks against us, accusing those who obtain the information and those who protect us of torturing prisoners. They try to make us imagine that our servicemen and public servants are physically harming prisoners, using the most heinous, harmful tactics our imaginations can summon. They argue that moral equivalency exists between stress positions and cutting, cold rooms and dismemberment, loud music and breaking of bones, water boarding and beheading. They do so to scare us into believing our individual liberties are at risk.
They also fought against The Patriot Act, even boasting when they thought they’d killed it. They fight against domestic phone surveillance of Al Qaeda. They argue against tracking the financial transactions of our known enemies. They do so all in the name of guarding our rights and freedoms.
All the while they fulfill the words of Alexander Hamilton. His words are nearly prophetic in this case.
They’ve made vicious attack after vicious attack, disguising these attacks as in the best interest of our rights. Yet their intent is very clear. It is their will to power which drives their position. It is the “dangerous ambition” spoken of so long ago which drives them. All the while they attempt to hide it behind the “mask of zeal for the rights of the people.” The argument is simply “the bait for popularity” in trying to regain power in Washington.
Normally, all of us would be appreciative of someone arguing on our behalf, for the rights we believe are endowed upon us by our Creator. But not so in this case, where the intentions are obviously twisted. If it were for our protection, I would accept the position of Feingold and the ACLU. But the warning delivered to us so long ago allows us to recognize their true intentions. Because they argue against the security of our nation, they actually argue against our individual best interests and the longevity of our freedom.
And where do their positions lead? Where did our forefathers warn us their motives would take us? They tell us that theirs “has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism…and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics the greatest number have begun their career by paying obsequious court to the people, commencing Demagogues and ending Tyrants.”