Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Oceana’

GOP: Laws Do Not Apply To POTUS Trump

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 30, 2019

Where in America can you, I, or anyone, go to be immune from the law?

It’s a “trick question,” or… is it?

And yes, it’s a VERY serious question; in fact, it is an argument of which – believe it, or not – Federal Appeals Court Judges are considering the merits.

POTUS John Adams (1735-1826) c.1800-1815, painting by Gilbert Stuart (175-1828)

One simply can’t imagine the notion – that in our nation, a nation of laws, and not of men, that anyone could be above the law – and yet… here we are.

In February 1775, John Adams published a collection of essays entitled “Novanglus” – popularly known as the Novanglus Essays – where the idea that foundling nation which became “The United States of America” was a nation of laws, and not of men – was first known to be expressed.

James Harrington, oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1635, on display at Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley

Historians argue that the idea, or thought, was almost certainly derived from James Harrington (1611-1677), an English political philosopher, whose most renown work, “The Commonwealth of Oceana” (1656) was owned by Adams (3rd edition-1747), contains his signature on the title page, and is found in The John Adams Library of Boston Public Library, and may found online here:
https://archive.org/details/oceanaotherworks00harr/page/n5

On page 38 of the work, in the essay entitled “Oceana,” Harrington wrote in part that,

“Government, according to the Ancients, and their learned Disciple Machiavelli, the only Politician of later Ages is of three kinds: The Government of One Man, or of the Better Sort, or of the Whole People: which by their more learned names are called Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy. These they hold, though their proponents to degenerate, to be all evil. For whereas they that govern, should govern according to Reason, if they govern according to Passion, they do that which they should not do. Wherefore as Reason and Passion are two things, so Government by Reason is one thing, and the corruption of Government by Passion is another thing, but not always another Government: as a Body that is alive is one thing, and a Body that is dead is another thing, but not always another Creature, though the corruption of one comes at length to be the Generation of another. The Corruption then of Monarchy is called Tyranny; that of Aristocracy, Oligarchy; and that of Democracy, Anarchy. But Legislators having found these three Governments at the best to be naught, have invented another consisting of a mixture of them all, which only is good. This is the Doctrine of the Ancients.”

So it seems almost certain that Adams derived that idea from James Harrington, but it was Adams’s use of the phrase which popularized it. Of note, Adams also wrote the clause “government of laws, and not of men” in the Declaration of Rights drafted for the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780.

Continuing…

In pertinent part, Adams wrote in Novanglus Essay No. VII, that,

“If Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a republic was,
the British constitution is much more like a republic than an empire.
They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. [emphasis added]
If this definition be just,
the British constitution is nothing more nor less than a republic,
in which the king is first magistrate.
This office being hereditary,
and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives,
is no objection to the government’s being a republic,
as long as it is bound by fixed laws,
which the people have a voice in making,
and a right to defend.
An empire is a despotism,
and an emperor a despot,
bound by no law or limitation but his own will;
it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy.
For,
although the will of an absolute monarch is law,
yet his edicts must be registered by parliaments.
Even this formality is not necessary in an empire.
There the maxim is quod principi placuit legis habet rigorem,
even without having that will and pleasure recorded.
There are but three empires now in Europe,
the German or Holy Roman,
the Russian,
and the Ottoman.”

George Santayana

The aphorism written in 1905 by philosopher/author George Santayana in The Life of Reason, vol. 1: Reason in Common Sense, seems apropos here:

“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”

And so, that begs the question…

How could we have possibly gotten to this so very corrupted point?

Samuel Johnson

Again, let the words of the wise guide us, because when ideas or thoughts are repeated, it re-emphasizes their importance.

Renown lexicographer Samuel Johnson (1709–84) expressed that idea as much in Rambler No. 2 (24 March 1750) when he wrote in part that,

“Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”

It is of unimaginable necessity that it is incumbent upon us to recollect this saying made by a GOP Presidential nominee candidate upon the campaign trail heading toward the Republican national convention:

“I could
stand in the middle of 5th Avenue
and shoot somebody,
and wouldn’t lose any voters…
okay?
It’s, like, incredible.”

POS45

–– Donald J. Trump, then-candidate for the Republican nomination as President, at a campaign rally 23 January 2016 at Dordt College, in Sioux Center, Iowa

On October 23, 2019, William S. Consovoy, an attorney defending Trump against a suit filed by the House of Representatives seeking his tax returns, told the three-judge panel (en banc) of the Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals that Trump was LITERALLY immune from ANY type of prosecution.

Judge Denny Chin asked Mr. Consovoy, “What’s your view on the Fifth Avenue example? Local authorities couldn’t investigate, they couldn’t do anything about it?”

Mr. Consovoy replied, “I think once the president is Read the rest of this entry »

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