Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In the interest of liberty

This in response to the once-again-surfaced issue of the rights of detainees in the War on Terror, and America's ghoulish to-torture-or-not-to-torture question:

Some might wonder why some people defend the rights of the people at Guantanamo Bay — considered by many to be terrorists, even though few have been convicted or even tried for anything. Well, I think our friend Tom Paine — he of "Common Sense" fame — summed it up well (Courtesy of Glenn Greenwald):

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

It's the same idea that guides the thinking behind the First Amendment. Or, to paraphrase that famed First Amendment-user, pornographer Larry Flynt:

To protect the speech you love, you must also protect the speech you hate.

Hear, hear.

1 comment:

Craig J. Bolton said...

I have never heard of Tracy Press before, but if this the quality of commentary you generate you will [hopefully] soon be replacing those numerous commentators- without-a-brain who today dominate "the media". Really excellent.