Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Salem Terrorist Trials

Adam Serwer notes that newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown represents the voices of a growing number of Americans who hate the idea of "due process" getting in the way of "the War on Terror."

Judge Samuel Sewall, who presided over the "Salem Witch Trials," repented (apologized) for the actions of his court, and important legal reforms were put in place to prevent another "war on witchcraft."

One wonders if the junior Senator from Massachusetts will now foment the hysteria needed to set aside due process for the new witch trials. Or non-trials, actually. I haven't heard Sen. Brown comment on the Obama Administration's program to assassinate Americans who are labeled "terrorist" -- executed without any trial at all.

Glenn Greenwald wonders:

A very long time ago, I would be baffled when I'd read about things like the Salem witch hunts. How could so many people be collectively worked up into that level of irrational frenzy, where they cheered for people's torturous death as "witches" without any real due process or meaningful evidence? But all one has to do is look at our current Terrorism debates and it's easy to see how things like that happen. It's just pure mob mentality: an authority figure appears and affixes a demonizing Other label to someone's forehead, and the adoring crowd -- frothing-at-the-mouth and feeding on each other's hatred, fears and desire to be led -- demands "justice."

Ben Franklin is quoted as saying:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Similarly, those who would give up Essential Checks on the government -- like Due Process -- to purchase an illusory "National Security," deserve neither Limited Government nor Security.

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