One of the things that struck me about this article excoriating Alan Dershowitz for his recent defense (not support, but defense) of Trump is that author Elie Mystal doesn’t actually engage in any detail with the substance of Dershowitz’s arguments.

Mystal’s attack on Dershowitz (and Trump, for that matter) is ad hominem. I assume we’re just supposed to take what the author says at face value. Or perhaps he assumes that if we’re reading him at all, we already agree with him.

That article, and the attacks on Dershowitz and Trump in general, make me think of the Devil speech from “A Man For All Seasons”:

Here’s what Dershowitz has said this past March on the subject of his defense of Trump, and to me it sounds true:

In March, Jeffrey Toobin, a New Yorker staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst, confronted Dershowitz on TV about “carrying water” for Trump. “This is not who you used to be,” Toobin told him. “And you are doing this over and over again in situations that are just obviously ripe with conflict of interest. And it’s just, like, what’s happened with you?”

“I’m not carrying his water,” Dershowitz replied. “I’m saying exactly the same thing I’ve said for 50 years.” He echoed this response when I asked why he thought liberals were criticizing him so much. “There’s such a hyper-partisan passion to get President Trump that anything that’s seen as trying to help President Trump is seen as supporting Trump,” he said.

Although Mystal went to law school, he doesn’t seem to understand (and certainly doesn’t sympathize with) the principle under which Dershowitz has been laboring lately: giving the “Devil” the benefit of law. But even more than that, a tweet by Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe ties in especially well with that “Devil” speech from the movie:

Apparently, Dershowitz has offered to debate Tribe, and so far Tribe hasn’t taken him up on it, at least according to this exchange of tweets:

There’s also this from Dershowitz:

“People can’t just accept that I’m saying what I believe and I would be saying the same thing if Hillary Clinton were president.”

And yet they can’t see it, so eager are they to cut down the law to get after the Devil. Or, if they do see it, they must block it out:

Dershowitz said he “got an email today from a very prominent friend — I’m not going to disclose his name because it was a private email — admitting that I’m right and saying ‘My hatred toward Trump blinds me to your truths.’ That was his email. ‘My hatred for Trump blinds me to your truths. Please stop.’

“And then he said to me, ‘Don’t ever send me another tweet that includes an article that you wrote that helps that son of a b‑‑‑‑.’

I guess it depends what the meaning of “truth” is.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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