Law? What Law?

“We have now in our four-year history, and over 100 legal attacks of various kinds, been victorious in all of those matters.” He added, “It’s very important to remember the law is not what, not simply what, powerful people would want others to believe it is. The law is not what a general says it is. The law is not what Hillary Clinton says it is.”

Neither is the law what Julian Assange says it is. As a matter of fact, let’s ask the question our terrorist friend has so readily raised: what exactly is the law? What gives it moral authority? The reason the laws of the United States have any moral force at all is due to one very simple concept: consent of the governed. The Constitution, three branches of government, regular elections, federalism and many other factors combine to give the laws of our republic a force of morality – even when we sometimes disagree with those laws. Various tools exist at the people’s disposal to alter those laws should we object and as luminaries such as Martin Luther King Jr. have demonstrated, civil disobedience to unjust laws can peacefully produce trans-formative change.

What law is Julian Assange talking about? International law? And who consents to the morality of those laws? Certainly the answer is not the governed, since there is no body of citizens that can rightly be described as “governed” by international law. The courts and bureaucracies of the United Nations might be technically described as law and some of those rules have even been “consented” to by the US Senate. Nevertheless, what power have we to defend ourselves should those rules be twisted to abuse us? What recourse do the citizens of the United States have?

Furthermore, presidents from Washington to Lincoln to George W Bush have suspended certain elements of US law when they felt their duty to defend the Constitution comprised the greater good. We can argue forever – and probably will – whether those decisions were right or wrong but the fact is, safeguards exist in the United States to preserve the two most central concepts behind our great republic: freedom and consent of the governed. It’s why we don’t take up arms every time a sitting Congress passes a law we don’t like: because we believe in the system under which we live.

Julian Assange does not live under that system and does not adhere to those laws. In fact, he has demonstrated the utmost contempt for them. Whether or not he can get international kangaroo courts to side with his bogus cause is entirely beside the point. The ultimate irony to Assange’s above statement is that in the sense in which he’s talking about it, he is the only law which he recognizes.

He’s hardly distinguishable from an Adolf Hitler or an Osama bin Laden. You laugh because of course Julian Assange has not committed any kind of mass murder but consider for a moment what makes someone like Adolf Hitler truly dangerous. It’s not evil. There are plenty of people on this planet who might do the same thing or worse given the vast resources Hitler conspired to have at his disposal. The problem is unaccountability. To whom did Adolf Hitler answer for his transgressions? And that is precisely the sense in which Julian Assange is comparable. He does not administrate justice, he defines and inflicts it.

Hillary Clinton, whose resignation Assange laughably calls for, is an appointed official acting as a representative of the people United States by the authority of an elected president. What she says is not the law but she is most certainly constrained by it. Julian Assange is not troubled by such formalities. Law, justice, morality… these are terms for which he alone is the ultimate arbiter and that is most certainly the problem. Hillary Clinton should not resign. Rather, she and the president should use the full force of the government of the United States to bring Julian Assange to justice. American justice.