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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

If Lincoln did it, it must be OK!

As the controversy over the wiretapping developed, it was only a matter of time before the “even Lincoln did it” argument would be heard. GOP apologists did not disappoint, reminding Americans that Honest Abe engaged in massive violations of civil liberties while president. But Tom DiLorenzo raises the proper reply to such claims in the form of remarks by Supreme Court Justice David Davis—a personal friend of Lincoln—in the 1866 case Ex Parte Milligan: “The constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.”

As DiLorenzo suggests, if the government were to be given carte blanche during wartime, all that would be necessary to whittle away the people’s liberties would be to concoct—or to provoke—an endless series of crises.


--Thomas E. Woods, Jr. at http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_01_30/cover.html.

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