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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Political Views
Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Tom Driscoll
Dec. 4, 2013 12:11 p.m.



I came across another interesting piece from Jack Goldsmith the other day. I’m sure his point is arguable —or else why post it here? —but it has a certain appeal at least to me on an uncertain contrarian level. The popular sport these days is to howl bloody murder about our ever eroding freedoms. To be disagreed with is to have your freedom usurped. Democracy’s apocalypse is always just a day away. Press freedom is just another example with folks like Greenwald and Assange elevated to the status of martyred saint. In the face of all this weeping and gnashing of teeth, Goldsmith counters with an observation and argument:



“…while it is fashionable to say and think that press freedoms are under siege, the opposite is true—at least when it comes to national security reporting. Press freedoms to report about national security matters, including highly classified matters, have never been broader or more secure.”


I’m sure that quote alone will be enough to elicit a canniption fit from some of my learned colleagues here, but I would urge them to read the whole of Goldsmith’s article. One of the things I appreciate about Goldsmith’s take on the subject is that he isn’t resorting to insult and attack on those who might disagree with his assessment —the most avid activists on behalf of press freedoms. He doesn’t tell them to shut up or go away so much as to get a grip and stay the course. This was much the message of his book ‘Power and Constraint’ which we discussed here on the forum a while back. The discourse then devolved into some of the same old silly insult, but I stick by the point Goldsmith is making. All that avid activism isn’t a stance against the system. It is a component part of the system that clumsily and imperfectly just happens to work. That’s his point. And it strikes me as something just possibly within a stone’s throw distance of that elegant paradox, the truth.

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