I’ve been thinking lately about when justice calls out for retribution against political players. Two events this year have especially pushed me so to deliberate – the IRS targeting scandal and the overthrow of the Morsi regime in Egypt.
First I should state clearly that it is best of all if all political differences be settled by lawful political means. And I am convinced that the U. S. Constitution is the best framework ever devised by man to do just that. History is full of times in which differences were settled by violence or by the whim of one or of the few. Our Founders rightly strove for a United States in which differences were settled by lawful political means with the consent of the governed.
So, as I said, it is best if bad policies and bad guys in politics are defeated by political means.
But what if the bad guys again and again refuse to respect the rule of law, refuse to play by the rules? And what if they deal with political adversaries with a “punish your enemies” mentality, including using the power of government to punish them and muzzle them? And what if they, when they don’t get their way by lawful political means, disregard and even tear up the law of the land to get their way? And what if they also unlawfully rig the political process itself with various forms of election fraud? What if they even nullify elections and referendums that don’t go their way?
If such episodes were exceptional and not systemic, the good guys would probably be wise nevertheless to stick to political means to contest political issues. Retaliatory justice might feel good but would serve only to sharpen divisions and increase the odds that the good guys would be the target of retaliation in the future.
But what if the more-or-less good guys have restrained themselves, stuck to lawful political means and avoided retaliatory justice while the bad guys have thrown off lawful restraint and gone after the good guys anyway? And what if the bad guys’ conduct endangers the rule of law itself, including constitutional political processes?
In such a situation, I think the bad guys must be made to pay a steep price for their unlawful behavior otherwise they will do it again and again and again and thereby erode the political process and constitutional freedoms. Political defeat alone likely will not suffice.
That we are so stinking wimpy in this country about making political bad guys pay has contributed to our problems. Very few ever go to jail for election fraud. So guess what is a big problem in our elections? Very few blatantly unconstitutional and even anti-constitutional judicial rulings get defied. So they continue (and will surely get worse without the next president making excellent judicial appointments). Personally, I think it is sad that not a single state told the Supreme Court to stuff it after Roe v Wade.
Now about the right response to the IRS targeting scandal. I’ve been very open that I want people in prison over this. And that not just because of my anger, but because there has to be a steep enough price to pay for it that future bad guys, and the IRS in particular, will think twice before trying anything like it again. (I also think the IRS is so unreformable that it should be abolished, but that is another topic.)
While I’m at it, if Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder is guilty of half of what he seems to be, I want him in prison. Does that seem over the top? A number of Nixon Administration officials, including his Attorney General John Mitchell, went to prison. And neither that administration nor Mitchell did half of what the Obama regime has done.
There should have been a price to pay for the enormities of the Nixon Administration. And there sure as heck should be a price to pay for the predations of the IRS, of Eric Holder, and of the rest of the Obama regime. This is another time when politics is not enough to deal with the bad guys.