President Gerald Ford once noted, “A government big enough to give
everything you want, is also big enough to take it all away.” Remarkable
insight from an unremarkable president.
As the impeachment trial limps toward an awkward conclusion we have
heard, are hearing and will continue to hear a lot of rhetoric about
Justice, The Rule of Law, Facts in Evidence, partisan myopia, yada,
yada, yada. …
These discussions have both blessed and cursed civilized society for
thousands of years. The central theme in two dialogues of Plato was a
discussion of Justice. He outlined a conflict of diametric opposites.
He explored it as the conflict between the exponents of right:
- between those who think that might MAKES right that justice IS
- and those who think that power can be wrongly as well as rightly
- that Justice, cannot be measured by utility or by what is
While all the talking heads are pontificating ad nauseam over the
“reprehensible … egregious personal behavior” which allegedly “doesn’t
to the level of impeachment,” the unrepentant chief abuser of power
continues to implement his agenda unimpeded.
The hypocrisy of the Clintonistas knows no bounds. “No background
check … no gun” said President Clinton recently. He is seeking to
the requirements for gun show participants seeking to purchase a gun.
background check … no gun.”
The same president, who has made a career of redefining words like
the president who personally could not pass a FBI background check, is
raising the bar for would be gun buyers who still think the Bill of
is valid. The president who has routinely and consistently avoided
background checks for staffers who couldn’t pass a background check
to raise the bar for you and me. Yeah, this is the same guy who provided
Monica Lewinsky with a higher security clearance than a Special Forces
operational detachment commander has.
The president who established a new precedent by allowing his
general designee to be confirmed without a background check, is changing
the rules … for everyone except himself and his co-conspirators.
In the history of war, Plato tells the story of the Melian episode by
of example. Kinda sounds like a Star Trek episode, huh? He dramatically
constructs a conversation between the Athenian envoys and the
representatives of Melos (which was a little island colony of Sparta
had refused to buckle under the aggression of Athens).
The folks from Melos recognized the superior force of the aggressors.
Melians went into the conference with a sense of futility (kinda like
Republicans limping into the impeachment trial). The Melians understood
that if they insisted upon their RIGHTS and refuse to submit, they could
and would anticipate nothing to result from the negotiations other than
war, defeat, and slavery. They understood two key facts: one, they were
right on principle … and two, it didn’t mean Jack without the muscle
back it. “Might MAKES right. …”
The Athenians replied with a frankness that is rare in the diplomatic
exchanges of today (and although implied, NEVER openly articulated in
current national drama). They told the Melians that they would not waste
time with specious pretenses “either of how we have a right to our
empire … or are now attacking you because of a wrong you have done
Why make a long speech, they said, which would not be believed? Instead
they went directly to the point and put the matter simply, or, as we now
say, realistically … an ancient Greek reality check. “You know as well
as we do … that right, as the world goes, is only in question between
equals in power, whereas the stronger do whatever they can the weaker
suffer whatever they must.” THAT is candor. THAT is sad reality. THAT
is what has, is, and will happen. Life ain’t fair! Then again,
notwithstanding lofty philosophical diatribe, most of us never got the
anyway. There was nothing left for the Melians to do except appeal to
expediency. Gosh, doesn’t that sound familiar? “You debar us from
about justice and invite us to obey your interest,” they replied to the
Now here’s the weird part about the previous historical anecdote. The
Athenians were the heavies, but they had the clout to back up their
and needs. The political reality was that it didn’t matter WHAT was
or wrong. … Whomever had the superior force of arms, could and would
prevail. OK, fast forward to the Congress of today … the Republicans
have two advantages in their conflict with the Clinton administration:
they enjoy superior numbers; and two, they have the moral high ground.
They have the “might” and if anyone objectively were to analyze
the facts in evidence and history of precedent … they are right.
notwithstanding superior force, and despite the apparent moral
they are proving unable to win what in any other situation would be a
foregone conclusion. Why?
In my opinion, the might of the evil empire is greater than the
might of the numerically superior GOP. Republicans lack the courage,
principles, or character to do what is necessary, and Democrats are so
poisoned by partisan pettiness they remain in denial of their monumental
In The Republic, Plato has Thrasymachus say, “I proclaim that justice
nothing else than the interest of the stronger. … The different forms
government make laws democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a
to their several interests; and these laws, which are made by them from
their own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their
and him who transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and
unjust. And this is what I mean when I say that in all states there is
same principle of justice which is in the interest of the government;
as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable
conclusion is that everywhere there is one principle of justice which is
the interests of the stronger.”
Clinton and his co-conspirators are stronger than their opponents,
than their critics, and apparently stronger than right.
Despite the partisan nose count, the Clinton cabal enjoys superior
Regardless of whether the might is a function of FBI files, or
of difficult future elections, history will record several items the
co-opted fourth estate has not, and the cowardly Congress will not.
- Bill Clinton’s conduct would have gotten him fired from any Fortune
- Like Nixon before him, the controversial incident(s) were less
significant than the subsequent cover up and abuse of power.
- Republicans squandered an opportunity to help preserve the
- Power corrupts … and absolute power corrupts absolutely.