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Paul also helped kill an amendment that would have permitted the indefinite detention of an American citizen accused of terrorism even after acquittal at trial.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), called the provision “one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime.”
Levin and McCain answered their critics in a Washington Post op-ed, writing, “[T]he administration has broad authority to decide who is covered by this provision and how and when such a decision is made.”
Are we supposed to be comforted by unchecked presidential discretion? As I recall, the American revolution had something to do with an objection to arbitrary power.
“Essentially,” writes Andrew Napolitano, “this legislation would enable the president to divert from the criminal justice system, and thus to divert from the protections of the Constitution, any person he pleases.”
Crime or Act of War?
Should terrorism be handled as a criminal act or an act of war? Those who know government’s inherent threat to individual freedom must insist on the former, if for no other reason than that, under cover of war, government can always be counted on to assume tyrannical powers, as it has since September 11, 2001. Perpetual war—in which America itself is considered a battlefield—is hardly conducive to liberty of any kind.
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare,” James Madison said.
The free market, and the free society in general, cannot be understood without also understanding their indispensable political, legal, and moral conditions. Freedom from government whim is one of those conditions, despite its inconvenience for those who lust after power.
Sheldon Richman is editor of The Freeman, where this article originally appeared.
Editor's Note: This article originally misattributed Rep. Amash's quote to Rep. Ron Paul.