Monday, May 15, 2006

If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear

Yeah, you've heard that line a lot. It comes up every time someone reveals that the Shrubbery is collecting all of your phone calls. Or something like that. Just one question.

How do you know what's right and what's wrong?

One of the three regular readers of this might be asking, "Whuuuuhhh??!!! I know the difference between right and wrong. I'll manage." (No, I don't know that - I don't know what you all might be thinking and I don't know if I even have three regular readers.)

My response to that - the difference between right and wrong is not your call - it's the president's call. How do I know this is the case today? I know this because of the president's signing statements where he states that the laws that Congress passes and he signs are not binding on his administration. Put another way, the laws are our nation's way of putting out there what is legally right and wrong, and the signing statements - 750 of them - are the president's way of saying that determining right and wrong is his decision.

Let's say that again. Right and wrong is the president's call, not yours, not your elected representatives, and not your judges.

What this means is what you think is right now might not be right tomorrow, based only on one man's decision. The normal term for this is "dictatorship".

MORE: Money quote from Josh Marshall:

Once you set aside the law as your guide for action and view the president's will as a source of legitimacy in itself, then everything becomes possible and justifiable.

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