Tag: principles

When Loss of Liberty Was Real

I love liberty, properly understood as something that also entails personal responsibility. I’m also alert to attempts to undermine genuine liberty and have been so most of my adult life. Yet I want to clearly differentiate what is a real threat to liberty and what is not. One conservative commentator recently posted this on Twitter: Dropped by a department store to buy a toaster oven. Mandatory hand sanitizer squirt and mask. One way aisles and if you deviate from the… Read more »

Lessons from the Clinton Impeachment

It was February 8, 2000, one year after the conclusion of the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, and I was in the office of Congressman Henry Hyde, the man who had led the House Managers over to the Senate to argue for Clinton’s removal from office. From one perspective, the attempt had been an exercise in futility, but I was there to interview Hyde about the experience and why he had chosen to participate. This was the first of thirteen… Read more »

There Is a Time to Speak

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a message on Facebook saying that I was going to take a break from commenting on Donald Trump. My rationale was that no one is going to be convinced to examine their unalloyed support of a man who doesn’t deserve to hold the highest office in the land. I hoped for a respite. Yet Donald Trump doesn’t give anyone a respite. Shortly after my stated desire to ignore him, he was credibly accused… Read more »

Principle Above Politics: Conscience Is Forever

Bill Clinton was acquitted of impeachment charges in February 1999. The next month, I was in Washington, DC, attending a conference on constitutional history. It included a session in the chamber of the Supreme Court. I was thrilled to be there. Years before, while earning my doctorate at American University, I had worked in the Supreme Court history office and had even sat in on one of the cases presented to the Court. The thrill, though, disappeared as I listened… Read more »

Elections & Integrity

Thanksgiving is now past and, thankfully, so are the elections. There was every possibility that in my home state of Florida we might see recounts go on interminably. The counties to blame for that always seem to be the same ones, election after election. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the requirement that integrity be the basis for our elections—and for those who are elected. Is that really too much to ask? I wonder if there will ever be the kind… Read more »

A Man I Respect

Reposting from my very first month of Pondering Principles back in August 2008. When people say that there are no principled men in government, I must disagree. There are men and women who are living their principles in public life. One of the men I respect most is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. For the record, Justice Thomas does not know me personally and would not recognize me if introduced. I did meet him twice–once at the Supreme Court when the government school… Read more »

Compromises at the Constitutional Convention: Principled?

When is compromise right? When is it wrong? When I look at historical compromises, I try to apply this rule: A compromised principle leads to unrighteousness, but a principled compromise is a step closer to the principle’s ideal. Let’s take the Constitutional Convention as an example. The delegates who comprised the convention that led to our current Constitution had to grapple with a number of controversial issues. The two most prominent were how to carry out proper representation and how… Read more »