Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, June 10, 2016

How Authoritarianism Starts


Some conservative and libertarian legal scholars have warned that electing Trump is a recipe for a constitutional crisis.

Trump said, that he would “loosen” libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations, and has encouraged rough treatment of demonstrators.

His proposal to bar Muslims from entry into our country tests the Constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom, due process and equal protection.

More recently, he attacked Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the Federal District Court in San Diego, who is overseeing two class actions against Trump University.  Trump accused the judge of bias, and claimed Judge Curiel was Mexican.  Actually, the judge was born in East Chicago, Indiana, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University, and Juris Doctor from the Indiana University School of Law.

David Post, a retired law professor who writes a conservative-leaning law blog, said: “This is how authoritarianism starts, with a president who does not respect the judiciary.  You can criticize the judicial system, you can criticize individual cases, you can criticize individual judges.  But the president has to be clear that the law is the law and that he enforces the law.  That is his constitutional obligation.”

Senator John McCain insists: “Our institutions, including the press, are still strong enough to prevent” unconstitutional acts.”

However, David Post believes, that McCain’s view was too sanguine, given the executive branch’s practical primacy.  He explained: “The president has all the power with respect to enforcing the law.  There’s only one of those three branches that actually has the guns in its hands, and that’s the executive.”

Richard Epstein, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution note: “I don’t think he cares about separation of powers at all.  President George W. Bush often went beyond what he should have done.  I think Obama’s been much worse on that issue pretty consistently, and his underlings have been even more so.  But, I think Trump doesn’t even think there’s an issue to worry about.  He just simply says whatever I want to do I will do.”

Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid, opposition to abortion, homophobia and anti-gay legislation is high.

Theodore Roosevelt said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.”

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