Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Liberals Do Not Have a Monopoly on Civil Liberties

A quartet of prominent pundits has proposed the following principles:

• End the use of military commissions to prosecute crimes.
• Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture.
• Prohibit the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants without proof.
• Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien combatants.
• End National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping.
• Empower Congress to challenge presidential signing statements.
• Bar executive use of the state secret privilege to deny justice.
• Prohibit the President from collaborating with foreign governments to kidnap, detain of torture persons abroad.
• Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without threat of persecution.

Surely these are a bunch of Democratic presidential candidates? Or maybe it's the editorial board of the New York Times? For sure they're card-carrying members of the ACLU, right?

In fact, the above pledge forms the basis of the newly created group, the American Freedom Agenda, whose principals are Bruce Fein, a former Nixon administration aide who served as deputy attorney general under President Reagan; former Georgia Republican congressman Bob Barr; veteran conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie, and David Keene, the former aide to Bob Dole who, since 1984, has chaired the American Conservative Union.

These men are conservatives in the truest sense: they believe that the power of the state is the greatest threat to liberty, and that the smaller the state, the greater the liberty.