Tuesday, May 13, 2014

David Barron, Smoky Rooms, and Things That Smell like Tyranny

The entire internet is incensed over President Obama’s appointment to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, David Barron. From liberal-leaning The Atlantic, to the staunchly conservative National Review, Barron’s defense of drone strikes against American citizens has wrought the ire of talking heads from all over the political spectrum, as well as fomented a staunch bipartisan opposition in the Senate.

The trouble isn’t that David Barron is, as the National Review pointed out, a hard-left liberal ideologue with a thinly veiled agenda of judicial activism. The trouble isn’t that David Barron has shown that he believes the Constitution, or at least its Fifth Amendment, to be worth an equivalent amount of toilet paper when it comes to advancing the War on Terror. The trouble isn’t that David Barron is set to continue the redistribution of state powers to the federal government, or that the distinction between public and private spheres of action are set to erode under his watch.

No, the real trouble with David Barron is that the opacity of the Obama Administration has served to render inscrutable his actual positions on certain key issues, and thereby prevent the citizenry, to whom, theoretically, our government is supposed to be accountable, from executing their duty of self-governance. The trouble is that this nomination, whether through David Barron’s mentality of judicial elitism or the Obama administration’s (along with Sen. Leahy’s) snobbery, in its refusal to make key documents available to the general public, has continue the descent of the United States government into an opaque, oligarchic mess. The trouble is, in short, that the administration believes itself to have risen above the need for accountability to its citizenry, thereby detaching itself from its people and demonstrating its incompetence in governing them.

It’s an age-old phenomenon, that cabal of the elite intelligentsia who have delegated to themselves the sole power to steer the government. It’s reminiscent of the Gnostic sects of old, who believed themselves to have attained the secret wisdom necessary in order to escape the cold, hard realities of governance this side of perfection. Undoubtedly the ideologues involved in this vast culture war would find their tasks a bit easier if they did not have to deal with the citizenry when implementing their utopian schemes of governance. They might also find it easier if they didn’t have to deal with the cold hard reality of human beings in their attempts to govern – human beings who have, consistently, demonstrated an amazing complexity and propensity for self-government that continually thwarts any attempt of a centralized power to engineer some scheme for a perfect society.

In the meantime, we the citizens are skeptical of any justice who thinks that the power to extrajudicially execute an American citizen can be wielded responsibly by a centralized power. We are skeptical of blatant violations of clearly articulated Constitutional rights that transition us from a government of laws to a government of select elites. We’re skeptical of anyone who seeks to secure the aims of liberty and self-governance by withholding information from its citizens, and would invite the Obama administration, and David Barron, into a conversation with those people in whom ultimate power finally rests before proceeding with their decisions.

Posted by Nick Barden

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