Saturday, December 4, 1999

Looking backwards

Ah, the 1990s. What a jolly decade.

I can't wait to read the definitive history of the 1990s -- except I never will. Future historians will look back and say, "Stuff happened. We're not sure what." All the notes, journals and records about anything that matters have probably been destroyed.

Yep. In the Republican rush to judgment of the Clinton era, private journals and notes were declared legal fair game to investigators. (Screw the self-incrimination principle!) Legal counsel to the President was denied executive privilege -- if it's talking about the person and not the politician. (Which you can only decide by making private communication public.) There are no private statements anymore. The only safe assumption? You're always on trial. Everything you say (or write) is now testimony.

From now on, everything you say can and will be used against you.

Basically every new administration is going to put the last one on trial. If you've got enough votes, you'll put your political opposition on trial while they're still in office. From now until the end of time.

Nothing like government by perpetual investigation, eh?

The Founders were adamant that political deliberations should never be criminalized. No one should ever fear jail for giving advice that an opposing faction might punish you for if it gained power.

But what did they know?

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