Here’s Why Alan Dershowitz is Dead Wrong
His ideas could kill our democracy like they did Russia’s
Alan Dershowitz is a powerful man. He dines with the President. He sits down with his choice of Fox News or MSNBC. Lots of people may hate him, but his words have had influence.
He believes he is a defender of the Constitution. A lot of men of his generation believe that they are. They think this means opening the door to Nazis, Communists, and the KKK is faithful to the Founding Fathers’ idea of a functional democracy, because free speech.
Is is obvious he has never done genealogy. If he had, he would have read accounts of life at the time the Founders were living. Community norms put all kinds of limits on speech. You could haul your neighbor into court for swearing in your presence. The Constitution be damned. As an amateur genealogist, I’ve seen the court records.
Men of his generation are small thinkers. They are called strict Constitutionalists for a reason. They are drilled down on the words. They don’t study the goals the Founders were trying to achieve. They don’t study the history of democracy itself.
People like Dershowitz seem to think the United States is the only time a democracy has ever been tried in human history. For such an educated man, it reflects what economic historian Carlo Maria Cipolla called “stupidity” in his studies.
I am assuming this follows from Dershowitz’s lack of study of authoritarianism. His lack of familiarity with corruption. Perhaps he never heard Et tu, Brute, and understood what was intended by the Senate’s actions in that play.
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Dershowitz demonstrates his stupidity by spending a great deal of his time on the propaganda network set up by a political operative in our country. At this point in our history, the labeling of Fox Entertaining News as “state TV” would be appropriate. The President of the United States is calling one of the network’s hosts morning and night to coordinate their message.
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Dershowitz has definitely never read Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s brilliant investigative journalism in their book, Russian Roulette. He speaks like he is clueless that our country is under an ongoing attack by an enemy that identified their tactics in February 2013.
When General Gerasimov published his tactical article in a Russian military journal in early 2013, Americans didn’t immediately notice it. It doesn’t appear to matter if we had. We’ve never launched a defense. Geramisov proposed that the Arab Spring had put a spotlight on the power of social media. Wars could now be economic, political, military, and informational. Indeed, someone could take advantage of a country’s existing divisions to wreck havoc within their boundaries.
Clearly a mind as diabolical as Putin’s jumped on the idea. He gathered his hacker army, planned an attack of Western democracies, and millions of unsuspecting Americans were duped into electing an unqualified hothead. Or Britons were duped into leaving the European Union the day before they googled, “What is the European Union?”
Putin was just as successful with Brexit, and elections in Italy, Poland, and Hungary. He used his stealth internet technologies to influence populations in Western democracies toward more authoritarian governments. Ideally, if he can put in place white nationalist leaders throughout Australia, North America, and Eurasia, he will have accomplished a Caucasian alliance. A Russian caliphate of a sort.
His ongoing success in the United States is stunning. He has the American President under his thumb. Sanctions? Yes, Vlad? I’m sorry, we don’t mean to upset you. We take those back.
Dershowitz continues to defend a man who won’t release his tax returns. A man who reporters can easily document has done business with sanctioned foreigners. A man who is collecting millions from the federal treasury because he refused to divest his businesses before he vacactioned in them every weekend during his term.
Our own Supreme Court put us into this box with their own “literal” interpretations of the Constitution. They didn’t try to think about whether the Founders of the country wanted a nation free of corruption. Instead, they thought that the Founders wanted corporations to have the right to buy politicians.
The swampiest President to ever serve was supposed to “drain the swamp” because Washington, D.C. was a place swept up by corruption. That focus group-tested catch phrase came from the criminally corrupt Cambridge Analytica who worked together with Steve Bannon, the billionaire Mercers, and untold Russians to elect Donald Trump.
Alan Dershowitz thinks our democracy should just let this go. He thinks we should ignore the attack on our nation from Russia described by their tactician general in a military journal. He thinks we should ignore corruption even suggesting that, “Of course, there are always crimes if you go looking for them.”
Look, Dershowitz, if there are crimes when we go looking for them, that’s a problem. There shouldn’t be. The fact you take that as par for the course shows you have been living amongst corruption for too long. Those of us who live in the heartland have tried to root out our corruption. We don’t take for granted that public officials are breaking the law if we go looking. We go looking if we think there is cause.
Dershowitz thinks we will become like Russia if we allow investigations into our politicians. Sure, they lock up their political opposition over there. That’s a huge issue. But their problem isn’t that they lock people up. It is that they do so unlawfully.
We are a nation of laws. We have always been guided by the rule of law. We have always tried to interpret that law thoughtfully. The most thoughtful interpretation of the law is that it should be applied equally to everyone. This is why Russians fail. And it is why we are failing, too.
Russia is corrupt. We are becoming equally corrupt. People like Dershowitz who support propaganda like Fox “News,” corrupt politicians like Donald Trump, and unequal application of the law (“We shouldn’t investigate corruption because they are elected officials”) are dangerous to our democracy. Considering he is writing books about his thoughts on democracy, this is even more dangerous. He has a lot of influence.
Americans have a choice right now. They can either continue down the road where they allow an erosion of democracy or we can stand up to corruption. The problem is that information warfare makes it hard to know the right thing to do. Maybe Dershowitz’s arguments are convincing and everyone thinks it is too dangerous to investigate public officials? Corruption continues to balloon into the kleptocracy we see in Russia. Republicans already have donations from Russians apparently dictating their behavior.
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But, hey, let’s listen to Dershowitz.