Monday, June 28, 2004

More about War and Civil Liberties

In the previous post I chastised the U.S. Supreme Court for finding that enemy combatants taken on foreign soil have access to American courts, saying that the Court's rulings "give aid and comfort to our enemies." That is the effect of the Court's rulings, it seems to me. But I'm certainly not accusing the Court of treason. (There will be no "Impeach Earl Warren" bumper stickers on this site.)

I am nevertheless irked by the Court's willingness to intrude into matters where it need not intrude. That is why I cited the counter-example of an earlier Court's ruling in the case of the Japanese-Americans who were relocated during World War II.

Some might think that my views on the Court's present rulings are inconsistent with my trashing of Cass Sunstein for his statist views (see here, here, here, here, and here). I see a vast difference between Sunstein's philosophy and mine.

Sunstein proposes a permanent diminution of liberty for the sake of achieving certain outcomes, such as avoiding group polarization (though how this can be achieved by government coercion is beyond me) and advancing FDR's essentially socialist agenda for America (which, to our detriment, has been achieved in the main).

I am not talking about the diminution of anyone's liberty (unless it counts as a diminution of liberty to capture enemy soldiers). What I am saying is this: It is a perfectly legitimate defense of liberty to treat our enemies as enemies when we are engaged in a legal war. When we begin to treat our enemies as mere criminals, and inject them into civilian courts, we accord them a status they do not deserve, and we put ourselves at greater risk of losing liberty, life, and happiness.

For a much longer treatment of this and related issues, click here.