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To Rich Jacobson and his article on hatred (“President Trump is not to blame for hatred,” Nov. 15): Well done, Sir!

As a Jew myself, I have a fair understanding of anti-Antisemitism and am very disappointed by political opportunists including many left-wing Jews who used the tragedy in Pittsburgh to promote petty and unfounded charges against our president. Mr. Trump has proven by both acts and words that he is a stalwart supporter of the Jewish people throughout the diaspora as well as in Israel.

Next, I cannot help but comment on Richard Cannon’s misstatements about “truth” (“Just tell me the truth”). He revealed a couple of real whoppers.

Mr. Cannon first avers as a “fact” the myth that because a judge was appointed by a conservative, his/her decisions could not be the product of a liberal agenda. This muddles the definitions of both the terms “conservative” and “liberal” and completely misses the legal implications of Roe v. Wade.

The legal issue is not whether the result of a given decision pleases either the left or right side of the political spectrum. The real issue is whether the judges are following their constitutional mandate to interpret the Constitution as written or whether they are making up their own laws. The latter practice is called judicial activism, and when judges create new law, they in essence amend our Constitution by fiat rather than by following the clear processes spelled out in that document. In this sense, they are not conserving the Constitution, thus earning a label of being judicially “liberal.”

The power to make new law is a temptation that pulls on both Republicans and Democrats. As Lord Acton eloquently stated, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Judges are not immune.

In Roe v Wade, the problem was that the judges, struggling with the very difficult question of abortion, invented a new constitutional right – the right to privacy – in order to logically justify a very convoluted final decision. While the result (the ends) generally satisfied the political majority the precedent set (the means) was horrific. It essentially allowed judges to make stuff up just for convenience.

Unfortunately, those on the political left have picked up on the use of judges to make laws when the more appropriate legislative channels fail them. This explains how the practice of judicial activism has become a mainstay of today's “liberal agenda.”

Mr. Cannon’s second, and more disturbing, gaffe was in making the statement “Therefore, another essential ingredient of compromise is our acceptance of the concept that a common, shared interest has a greater priority than the interest(s) of any individual or small group.”

I think Mr. Cannon is confusing the American Revolution with the French Revolution, confusing Rousseau with Burke, Locke and Montesquieu. His statement is almost an exact definition of the term “statism,” which is precisely what the founding of our country was not about.

In our Declaration of Independence, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Sherman and Livingston clearly emphasized that all men are endowed with unalienable rights which no government, simple majority or other “shared common good” can take away. For the first time in the history of man, the rights of the individual held primacy over the will of the collective, and the result was the greatest country ever created.

Our Constitution that followed specifically established a Republic with limited, enumerated powers restricting the power of the collective to protect individuals against a “tyranny of the majority.” Mr. Franklin presciently wondered if we would be able to keep it.

In contrast, the French valued equality over individual liberty. The result was decades of the guillotine, degrading into dictatorship and war and ultimately into the demise of a once great country. The contrast could not have been greater.

The statist philosophy continued well beyond France. Germany, the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela and others all promoted a “common, shared interest” over the individual, all with catastrophic results. Such is the history of socialism.

I am sure that Mr. Cannon's comments were made in good faith, and I applaud his plea for open conversation in search of finding common ground among us. But it is not possible to begin such conversations on false premises.

It is a sad day when a poor understanding of America’s founding principles is so widespread. It leads us down a pathway toward repeating the tragedies of the past. We can avoid this mistake. As Lincoln stated soon before his death, "with malice toward none, with charity for all ... let us strive to finish the work we are in ... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

David Forstadt

Napa

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