The Weirdest Sister
April 25, 2000
with Madeleine Albright and Donna Shalala, Attorney General Janet
Reno is one of the weird sisters of the Clinton administration. If Macbeth
had met these three stirring their cauldron on the Scottish heath, he might
have run for the highlands.
But of the three, Miss Reno is the one
who really gives people the creeps. When Mother Waco starts talking about
protecting children, the blood runs cold. She looks and
sounds like one of natures inscrutable freaks, and the results of
her solicitude for the kiddies bear out this impression.
In 1993, at Waco, she cited suspicions
of child abuse as the warrant for an unconstitutional
federal siege of the Branch Davidian community. Not only was the siege
itself unconstitutional; so is any federal jurisdiction over child abuse.
Anyway, no such abuse was ever shown; the siege itself was terrifying to
the children within the compound; and most of the kids wound up dead.
Now she has struck again,
what she and Clinton choose to call the rule of law in Miami
by smashing down a household door without so much as a warrant in order
to seize little Elián Gonzalez for Fidel Castro. This time she spoke
of the sacred bond between father and child a
sacred bond no Clintonite has ever acknowledged before
(and the smart money says it will be a long time before any Clintonite
makes use of this expression again). Fidel himself doesnt use it;
one of his underlings has said that Elián is a possession of
the Cuban government, which accurately describes the relation
between any Cuban child and the classic Communist regime which remains
undiluted by the post-Stalinist mellowings of other Red states. (During
the era of perestroika, Castro was infuriated by Mikhail
Gorbachevs betrayal of Communist principles.)
If Clinton and his weirdest sister find
anything objectionable in the Cuban system to which they are eager to
consign Elián, they havent mentioned it. On the contrary, the
Elián uproar has witnessed a sort of reunion of the whole
Hive of progressive-minded souls, liberal, socialist, and
Communist, rallying to Fidel as they used to rally to Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi
Minh, and Fidel himself. Some of them, as per custom, have even-handedly
equated and criticized both sides, but always reserving
their sharpest barbs for the anti-Communists, chiefly the Miami Cubans.
(Nothing annoys a progressive like refugees from
Communism, who give the lie to the Great Socialist Dream.)
During the Cold War, liberals treated
charges of Communist sympathies as conspiracy theories,
as if they were being accused of taking rubles from the Kremlin. But the
chief problem, then as now, was not conspiracy; it was philosophical
In their piecemeal way, liberals have
always pursued the same ultimate goal as socialists and Communists: the
remaking of society. Their conception of government is, in the terms used
by the conservative Michael Oakeshott and the classical liberal Friedrich
Hayek, teleocratic (end-governed) rather than
nomocratic (rule-governed). They see the state not as a
neutral umpire, allowing people to pursue their own purposes freely, but
as a great architect, imposing its own ends on all of society.
On this view, the population is merely
raw material for the state, to be reshaped by the authoritative vision of
the progressive elite. The rule of law under
such a system is merely instrumental to the states ends, rather
than an end in itself. Communist rulers write their own constitutions,
endowing themselves with limitless power. For American liberals, the U.S.
Constitution becomes a living and breathing document, as
Vice President Al Gore recently put it that is, a document whose
meaning can be altered by the progressive elite to serve its goals.
The end result of the
teleocratic style can be seen in Castros shabby
utopia, where nobody has toilet paper but everyone fears his neighbor. As
good progressive teleocrats, uninhibited by a nomocratic
conception of governance, Clinton and Reno see nothing wrong with this in
principle, so wheres the harm in sending a kid to live the rest of
his life there? Like Castro, they regard the law as the instrument of the
state, to be bent as needed to effect the siege, the pre-dawn raid, the
arbitrary arrest, the property seizure.
Small as he is, maybe Elián is
already beginning to get the idea.
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