Monday, June 26, 2006

Bill Keller and Glen Reynolds

Instapundit gave an almost sound critique of the ridiculous defense offered by Bill Keller. Keller defends the "get" at the New York Times which detailed a government program that tracks finances of possible terrorists. Bush has hammered the paper, with good reason. However, I'm going to focus on a the word "gave" used by both Glen Reynolds (Instapundit.com) and Bill Keller himself.

Keller says in his defense

The power [of the press] that has been given us is not something to be taken lightly.

Reynolds retorts

The founders gave freedom of the press to the people, they didn't give freedom to the press.

Now, I agree with what Reynolds is arguing. However, the problem is that the Founding Father's did not give Americans anything other than the law. The law, of course, is "the laws of nature and of nature's God" and the Constitution. They did not give, or grant freedoms to anyone. Alexander Hamilton argued as such in Federalist 84:

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?

The freedom to print is a natural right, not given by any government and only given up by consent of the governed. Those are the principles America were built on, and until we consciously deny such principles, they are what we must live up to.

Otherwise, big fan of Instapundit. Good stuff can be found there.

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