I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Harvey and the moron

Digby and Glenn Greenwald have both discussed Harvey Harvard Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield's May 2 Wall Street Journal essay “The Case for the Strong Executive”. William Norman Grigg also looks at this shocking op ed today in
Neoconservative Fascism
Mansfield, who unblushingly admits that the alternative to the rule of law is "tyranny," insists that the "defects" of our system of liberty under law suggest "the need for one-man rule."

Seriously. He really wrote those words. And he apparently meant them.

He likewise maintains that the rule of law "is inferior to the living intelligence of a wise man on the spot."

This presumably would be true of our incumbent tyrant, an individual who displays no symptoms of either intelligence or wisdom.

To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, Mansfield – who is making his bid to become the neo-conservative Giovanni Gentile – is the first American public intellectual of consequence to offer the unflinching declaration, by way of an op-ed in a prominent mainstream periodical, that the rule of law is disposable – and that the “executive power” supposedly embodied in the president exists apart from the law.

Mansfield refers to the struggle between “the strong executive and its adversary, the rule of law” – a formulation that cannot co-exist with the constitutional mandate (which is also cited by the professor) that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” If the executive is an adversary of the law, how can he carry out the function of enforcing it?

Like John C. Yoo and other exponents of unlimited executive power in the Bush Regime, Mansfield believes that the president draws his power not from the Constitution but from “Necessity” – or, as Machiavelli (whose dubious authority the professor repeatedly invokes) puts it, la necessita che non da tempo (“the necessity that allows no time”).

In times of crisis, therefore, the president, as head of the “energetic” branch of government, can exercise plenary power, at least according to Mansfield's model. In this he would certainly be in agreement with the energetic chief executive who seized extraordinary powers to February 28, 1933 to deal with a crisis precipitated by the burning of Germany's Reichstag Building.
As if Mansfield's opinion wasn't shocking enough it is even more shocking if one looks at the incoherent babbling moron he would have be the tyrant. Eugene Robinson attempts to document just how moronic Mansfield's would be tyrant is in
Lost in the Fog With Commander Guy
That Ohio appearance generated so many new Bushisms that it's hard to know where to begin. Asked about the polls showing the unpopularity of the war and his own low approval rating, Bush said, "I've been in politics long enough to know that polls just go poof at times." Asked about immigration, Bush said, "There are jobs Americans aren't doing. . . . If you've got a chicken factory, a chicken-plucking factory or whatever you call them, you know what I'm talking about."

Um, sure, Mr. President, we follow you. All the way to the chicken factory.

Those in the crowd at Tipp City also learned from the president that Iraq is definitely not another Vietnam. But the president added, "There are some similarities, of course -- death is terrible."

Okay, I know that most of the president's off-the-wall locutions are dangerous only to the English language. But to the extent that carelessness of speech reflects carelessness of mind, much more is at stake. The Commander Guy's rationale for sending more U.S. troops to fight and die in Iraq is as elusive as his reason for starting the war in the first place. He says his goal is victory, but he can't explain coherently what victory would look like, much less how to get there.


Speaking to the contractors' group Wednesday, the president elaborated: "Either we'll succeed or we won't succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that's what we're trying to achieve."

What is the man talking about? What "parts of our own country" experience violence remotely comparable to that in Iraq? Is he serious?

President Bush now says that even after "success" in Iraq -- after more American and Iraqi deaths -- there will still be sectarian violence and there will still be suicide bombers killing innocent civilians. Which is the situation right now. So why stay in Iraq even one more day, except to validate the unwise decisions of our ineloquent Commander Guy?
OK Professor Mansfield, is this really the one man rule you want? Do you really want this moron to be above the law?

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