I’ve just been sent a link to the Imaginative Conservative website, something that I’m very glad to see, and pleased to bring to your attention. It’s a Kirkean sort of place. Here’s a piece from last month by Brad Birzer, marking the passing by Congress of the National Defense Reauthorization Act, which, as you know, was subsequently signed into law by Obama. Excerpt:
On the 220th anniversary of the ratification of that most excellent common law document, the Bill of Rights, Congress (as the House had already passed it earlier in the week) agreed to hand over some of the broadest powers to the Executive branch it’s ever given away.
President Obama will sign this into law very quickly, if he hasn’t already done so by the same this is posted. Once he signs it into law, the dreams of every progressive president since Teddy Roosevelt will have been fulfilled. The executive will now be authorized by Congress—against a number of vital constitutional provisions—to detain American citizens accused of terrorism indefinitely and without trial.
There’s been very little public debate about this, and the news reports from the major news outlets yesterday mentioned these wide-sweeping powers only in passing. There’s more than a little hypocrisy in all of this, given the way the press responded to the rather heinous Patriot Act (remember how we were promised that would be a temporary measure) under Bush and the Republicans a decade ago. But, the NDAA is even worse than the Patriot Act, and it’s now clear that the Patriot Act was merely one step in the advance of this move toward extreme centralization.
As I wrote at CatholicVote yesterday, I believe it’s very possible that yesterday or the day (probably today) President Obama signs this into law will be remembered by future historians of western civilization as the “official” day the American republic became an empire, in the way historians now regard the murder of Cicero as the last day of the Roman Republic and the first day of the Roman Empire. I know many readers of TIC already believe we drifted fully into an empire, but we’ll all admit, I think, that we’ve been drifting for a very, very long time. As with Rome, we’ve kept the forms of the republic by destroying the essence of it.
Cranky old Ron Paul, let it be said, is the only presidential candidate talking about this.