More precisely, I love it when astute individuals find contemporary relevance in historical events and documents.

Via The Editors, I send you to Scott Horton and his contextualization of a very important Edmund Burke correspondence.

The Gavel of Liberty Falls Again


In our national debate on torture and the mistreatment of prisoners, one theme is consistently on the lips of those attempting to advance the president’s agenda. Our situation is, they say, without any historical precedent. I think when I hear these words that a scoundrel is speaking, for they are uttered with a simple object – and that is for civil authority to free itself from the bounds of civilization and tradition, indeed, from the bounds of common decency. This argument is raised with the object of justifying tyrannical rule and specific practices which defy any individual justification.

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