Letter: Principles, Not Law, Matter

To the Editor:

With his latest steps into spying on Americans, President Obama has not, as so many critics maintain, brought us closer to the ground assumed by Hitler and Stalin. He has instead taken us thoroughly inside their territory. We can no longer call ourselves the land of the free.

The voices of the naive will continue to assure us skeptics that all is well for those who follow the rules. After all, our president and senators tell us, the program of surveillance rests firmly in the law. They miss the point. Auschwitz was legal, the Moscow trials were legal, and racial segregation was legal. What matters is less the law than the moral principles embedded in the Constitution by our Founders. Their success, which lasted for more than 200 years, has now come to an end.

If we’re lucky, a new Nuremberg trial will resume operations in the near future.

H. Dean Brown

West Lebanon