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January 03rd, 2018 by Patrick Henry

The defining feature of late Republican Rome was prosecuting one’s enemies with crimes. The Republic ended when Caesar was refused immunity from prosecution and decided to take over instead.

The President just called for jailing Huma Abedin.

The Muller investigation looks more and more to be a concoction stemming from the actions of rogue bureaucrats and political opponents.

Ken Paxton.

Sad.

Comments (15)
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January 03rd, 2018 14:31:06
15 comments

John Mansfield
January 4, 2018

A man I interviewed for baptism gave me later as a Christmas gift a volume on the history of Argentina, which he knew would interest me. When I dug into it, I was impressed by the number of presidents of the republic who were either exiled, executed, or assassinated. What a fortunate nation I come from, I thought.


Zen
January 4, 2018

Of course, in practice, the alternative is that these people are not prosecuted at all. Justice only seems to matter if it suits someone purposes.

Neither is a healthy response.


Robert H. Jackson
January 4, 2018

There is a most important reason why the prosecutor should have, as nearly as possible, a detached and impartial view of all groups in his community. Law enforcement is not automatic. It isn’t blind. One of the greatest difficulties of the position of prosecutor is that he must pick his cases, because no prosecutor can even investigate all of the eases in which he receives complaints. If the department of justice were to make even a pretense of reaching every probable violation of federal law, ten times its present staff would be inadequate. We know that no local police force can strictly enforce the traffic laws, or it would arrest half the driving population on any given morning, What every prosecutor is practically required to do is to select the cases for prosecution and to select those in which the offense is the most flagrant, the public harm the greatest, and the proof the most certain.

If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted. With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him. It is in this realm-in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor himself.


Soviet Prosecutor
January 4, 2018

Show me the man and I’ll find the crime.


American Prosecutor
January 4, 2018

No, show me the man and I’ll find the crime.


Another Prosecutor
January 4, 2018

No need to argue, guys! There are plenty of crimes for all of us to find.


Bookslinger
January 4, 2018

What novel was it where someone admitted that was the purpose of so many laws, to make everyone a criminal, and therefore make everyone controllable?

I’m thinking it was along the lines of Atlas Shrugged or 1984.


Bookslinger
January 4, 2018

BTW, Huma Abedin’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (she worked for them, and both of her parents were major figures in the organization) should have disqualified her from any security clearance up front.


Bruce Charlton
January 5, 2018

A similar thing to ‘lawfare’ happens in modern ‘science’ – which is that an inconvenient piece of research is pulled to pieces on the grounds that it was not methodologically perfect. The point is, nothing ever is perfect, and the ‘evidence’ for the opposite view may be (often is) more deeply falwaed – however that is given a ‘free pass’.

To me this emphasises that systems and rules (law, science… everything) are always worse-than useless if true motivations (especially including honesty) are lacking.


Andrew E.
January 5, 2018

The President just called for jailing Huma Abedin.

Well, it’s a start.

What do you think Clinton’s illegal homebrew server was for? Among other things it was to keep off books the selling of up to Top Secret and SAP level classified secrets to the highest bidder in the Middle East via her go-between Huma.

When your political opposition really is guilty of treason and sedition, rather than it all just being grand psychological projection (ie. Mueller witch hunt), it’s imperative that you lock them up. This is what attempting to preserve and maintain a Republic looks like during a cold civil war.


G.
January 5, 2018

@Bruce C.,

Scott Alexander wrote an essay called something like ‘Beware the Isolated Demand for Rigor,’ and boy do we ever get it.


Patrick Henry
January 5, 2018

@Andrew E.,
prosecuting your opponents isn’t necessarily immoral if they’re criminals. Its just a bad sign for the health of your republic. (As far as I can tell, nearly everybody in public life in late Republican Rome had committed crimes).


Jacob G.
January 5, 2018

Perhaps in the late republic ones enemies tended to be extremely guilty, whereas not so much in the early republic. The early romans do not strike me as a forgiving clement lot. Indeed I seem to recall two stories of generals executing their sons for disobeying orders, even victorious.


Bruce Charlton
January 6, 2018

Scott Alexander is one of those people who is fundamentally on the wrong side and unawakened to real-reality and therefore assisting evil overall (!) but – although uncreative – he says some worthwhile things quite well (although I do find him verbose, and I get impatient and skip to the end, nearly always).

Jordan Peterson is another of this ilk. I’m quite surprised that so many Christians recommend him – when he is just an efficiency-orientated liberal/ leftist/ libertarian/ materialist (almost exactly as I myself was from the late 90s to noughties).


Ugly Mahana
January 6, 2018

Bruce – Although it makes perfect sense, I have not previously seen the term you used for the first decade of the new century. I rather like the idea of referring to it as the “naughties.” I just wish we could say that we have left knotty behaviors in the past.

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