- - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a one-man wrecking squad against the Constitution.

Among other things, Mr. Trump has taken up arms against the Eighth Amendment prohibition of torture, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment requirements of due process, the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom, the Article VI prohibition of religious test oaths, the Article I, section 8, clause 11 proscriptions of presidential wars, and the War Crimes Act of 1996 that implements international law.

But candidate Mr. Trump reserves his nuclear arsenal for freedom of speech. He would close down the Internet because some evil people might be influenced by its content to commit terrorism. (According to the FBI, terrorist crimes in the United States constituted .00005 percent of all violent crimes in 2015). Under that standard, the Bible should be banned because some might be influenced to imitate its many grisly narratives of mass violence or ethnic cleansing. The Scarlet Letter should be banned because some readers might be influenced to commit adultery. A Tale of Two Cities should be banned because some might be influenced to resort to the guillotine. Indeed, virtually all great works of fiction and non-fiction should be banned because of a conceivable influencing on a bad deed.

Mr. Trump sneers at defenders of free speech as “foolish people.” He insinuates that the world would be much better off without it. We would still believe in the geocentric theory of the universe and in the four bodily humors. We would still burn women as witches and practice slavery. We would still salute monarchy in the United States and Writs of Assistance. We would still sentence thinkers like Socrates to death. We would still use trial by ordeal in lieu of jury trial. We would still use the rack-and-screw for interrogation instead of Miranda warnings.

For Mr. Trump, life is not about thinking. It’s about gratifying every reptilian instinct befitting a nation of savages.

Would you let your daughter spend an evening with him? If you invited him to dinner, wouldn’t you keep your silverware under lock and key?

Mr. Trump unwittingly fuels the international terrorism that he purports to deplore by his staccato of religiously bigoted fulminations. He vows to torture Muslims far beyond waterboarding. He vows to murder the girlfriends and families of suspected Muslim terrorists. He champions surveillance of mosques in the United States and the establishment of a data base for Muslim citizens. He would prohibit any Muslim immigration or visitation.

Let him read the words of Faisal Bin Ali Jaber, a Muslim counterpart to Anne Frank, published as a letter to the editor in The New York Times (February 25, 2016) to understand the danger he has wrought along with many other benighted bedfellows:

“I have lived the reality of drone warfare. In 2012, drones attacked the wedding celebration in Yemen of my eldest son. I survived; two of my relatives did not. My brother-in-law Salem was an imam. Days before his death he preached against Al Qaeda’s hateful ideology, as he had many times before. My nephew Waleed was the village policeman, keeping our townspeople safe.

…Our village was no war zone….

I traveled 7,000 miles to the United States hoping that someone would explain how this happened and would apologize. White House officials met with me, but no one could explain why my relatives needed to die…

The drones have ripped our communities apart. They have spread hatred and fanned extremism. They have driven young men into the arms of militant groups, and so make all of us less safe.”

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