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January 05, 2009

Yawn: Lefty Law Professor Bemoans Israeli Dictatorship, Blames Bush

I wouldn't bring it up, since it's nothing we haven't heard a thousand times, but sometimes you need to shine a light on these cockroaches. If you were wondering why law students sometimes come out the ass-end of law school confused as to which way is up, I present for your ridicule: Deep Thoughts by Professor Sandy Levinson.

This may simply underscore the point that all political systems, including those we justifiably label as "democratic," contain within them aspects of "dictatorship" as well, in which decisions of life and death are made without prior approval by the demos. At least the Israeli leaders will indeed be submitting themselves to the judgment of their electorate, which is more than can be said for George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, who for 15 more days will be able to exercise whatever legal powers they possess secure in the knowledge that they will be not be accountable either to the electorate or, it appears, even the application of relevant federal statutes.

Far from continuing my standard critique of our Constitution, I confess that I see no magic solution to the problem of de-facto "dictatorial" aspects of modern government. Post-facto accountability is better than no accountability, etc., but we should always be aware of the awesome power we put in the hands of our political leaders based on little more than trust and confidence that they will use it wisely. The "rule of law" really is reduced, in important ways, to "the rule of a relatively small group of men and women" when situations are perceived as crises.

He's probably confused and distressed because he's forgotten the difference between direct democracy and representative democracy. The whole scheme, which is apparently missed by this so-called "Professor of Government", is that a small group of men and women are elected or selected to make decisions for the rest. By design, there will always be decisions of life and death made "without prior approval by the demos". The are good policy reasons for that design. Professor Levinson may want to start a short review here. He also labels the failure to get prior approval of the people an "aspect of dictatorship", which just goes to show that you can define down anything these days.

He continues the de rigeur (for the Left) Bush blaming:

If this is correct, and there is certainly no good reason to doubt it, then the responsiblity [sic] for the devastation in Gaza can be placed on our Constitution and the stupid hiatus between election and inauguration. Mr. Bush is neither gone nor forgotten, and lives are being lost as a result.

Shorter Levinson: "Stupid Constitution! How dare you wait to allow Congress to count the electors' votes before installing our next Dictator!" In case you were wondering, the electors' votes will be counted tomorrow and a winner will be declared.

Of course to any reasonable person, primary responsibility for the actions of Israelis and Gazans rests with...Israelis and Gazans, rather than a piece of parchment or a man who, to the best of our knowledge, did not order the Israelis or the Gazans to act. But what the hell do I know? Blame Bush! All the cool artards are doing it!

Finally, I think it has come time to recognize that Professor Levinson is possessed of awesome powers of extrasensory perception. How else can we explain this:

It is hard for me otherwise to understand the decisions that Israeli leaders have made, given the foreseeable failure to eliminate Hamas as a political force in Gaza.

If only he had told Israel that its one and only goal for Operation Cast Lead is to eliminate Hamas as a political force. His prediction of complete failure could have saved us all some trouble.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:25 AM

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