Special powers cut two ways

Taragi, Kumamoto

According to his Aug. 30 letter, “Harbinger of the future is here,” Robert McKinney wants an “environmental czar whose word is law.” For the sake of argument, assume that the creation of such a tyrannical position somehow passed U.S. constitutional muster. Now consider the practical effects of such a post.

I assume that McKinney would want such a czar to be appointed by the current U.S. president, Barack Obama. Would McKinney be so comfortable if the czar with unlimited powers was appointed by a hypothetical President Sarah Palin or President Newt Gingrich?

As a former Republican, I was taught a valuable lesson during the transition between President George W. Bush and President Obama. The lesson seems lost on the left: The sword that you help one president forge can be used to run you through when the next president wields it.

I was comfortable when Bush made unilateral war; I should not have been. Those on the left are comfortable with Obama’s executing American citizens abroad; they should not be. Let’s be careful not to be hoisted by our own petard.

When you imagine a power that the government should have, or a law that should be passed, ask yourself if you would be comfortable with that power or law in the hands of the politician you disagree with most.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

joseph jaworski