I have been looking back over Alexis de Tocqueville’s unfinished masterpiece, The Old Regime and the French Revolution. It is full of piquant observations, for example this from the end of the preface: “a man’s admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.” How much contempt do you suppose emanates from the apparatchiks who inhabit the D.C. swamp and control our lives? How slavish is their devotion to the unfettered prerogatives of the idol they serve, the state?
That dialectic between adulation of the sources of power and contempt for those subject to it may in one sense be perennial, a sentiment captured by the old Latin tag: Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris: “it is part of human nature to hate those whom you have injured.” But Tocqueville translated that psychological characteristic into the realm of politics in which the question of liberty is paramount. Like Edmund Burke, Tocqueville was a supreme anatomist of the ways in which power co-opts the passion for liberty in order to counterfeit liberty’s essence. Describing the habit of “governmental paternalism,” Tocqueville notes that “Almost all the rulers who have tried to destroy freedom have at first attempted to preserve its forms.”
This has been seen from Augustus down to our own day. Rulers flatter themselves that they can combine the moral strength given by public consent with the advantages that only absolute power can give. Almost all have failed in the enterprise, and have soon discovered that it is impossible to make the appearance of freedom last where it is no longer a reality.
Officials from President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice had reportedly been investigating House Democrats for possibly corruption, even going so far as to subpoena Apple for data from several members’ iPhones and other devices, as reported by ABC News.
The claim comes from an aide with the House Intelligence Committee, who anonymously told ABC that members of the committee had been notified of the subpoena by Apple last month. The request for metadata from their electronic devices had first been made back in February of 2018. Apple informed the members that, as of May of this year, the matter has been settled since President Trump is no longer in office.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, demanded on Thursday that an inspector general investigation be carried out to look into the claims. Schiff falsely claimed that “President Trump repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will, and tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media.” There is no evidence to support any of Schiff’s claims.
Facebook announced Friday that former President Trump will continue to be suspended from the platform for at least two years, through Jan. 7, 2023.
“We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, according to Politico.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Clegg said.