Scott Horton Interviews Nat Hentoff

Scott Horton, March 04, 2010

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Nat Hentoff, senior fellow at the CATO Institute, discusses the Elizabeth Cheney and William Kristol-backed Keep America Safe ad that implies Attorney General Eric Holder is a jihadist, widespread contempt and ignorance of protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, Obama’s “looking forward not backward” anti-prosecution policy that validates Richard Nixon’s thoughts on presidential impunity and why the Constitution can’t be preserved without an active and informed citizenry.

MP3 here. (24:42)

Nat Hentoff is a senior fellow at the CATO Institute and one of the foremost authorities on the First Amendment. His column, Sweet Land of Liberty, has been distributed by the United Feature Syndicate since 1992.

Hentoff has earned numerous awards and is a widely acknowledged defender of civil liberties. In 1980, he was awarded an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. In 1983, the American Library Association awarded him the Imroth Award for Intellectual Freedom. In 1995, he received the National Press Foundation Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism, and in 1999, he was a Pulitzer finalist for commentary.

Hentoff was a columnist and staff writer with The Village Voice for 51 years, from 1957 until 2008. A jazz expert, Hentoff writes on music for The Wall Street Journal and Jazz Times. He has lectured at many colleges, universities, law schools, elementary, middle and high schools, and has taught courses in journalism and the Constitution at Princeton University and New York University. Hentoff serves on the Board of Advisors of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (F.I.R.E.) and is on the steering committee of the Reporters’ Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

17 Responses to “Nat Hentoff”

  1. Holder has a past. There was no reason for Hentoff to be naive about him because he gave a good speech once. Democrats have proven themselves again and again to be adept and utterly cynical, when running for some office, about telling progressives what progressives want to hear. And then somehow progressives are equally adept at failing to hold them to anything.

  2. if everyone in every government has been a criminal for longer than anyone now living has been alive, even by their own terms, when can we be allowed to conclude that the rule of law has only ever been a cover and extension of tyranny?

  3. "Chutzpah!" Indeed.

  4. The missiles to be deployed on ships in the Black Sea in Bulgaria and on land in Romania and Poland by 2015 are a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike – - to shoot down surviving Russian missiles which are launched in retaliation according to former Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-http://www.plrc.org-. According to Bob Aldridge the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously. Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 D5 obtain an accuracy of 30 meters or less, enough to destroy any hard target. Bob Aldridge resigned because an unanswerable first-strike capability leads to Launch On Warning.

  5. The missiles to be deployed on ships in the Black Sea in Bulgaria and on land in Romania and Poland by 2015 are a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike – - to shoot down surviving Russian missiles which are launched in retaliation according to former Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-http://www.plrc.org-. According to Bob Aldridge the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously. Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 D5 obtain an accuracy of 30 meters or less, enough to destroy any hard target. Bob Aldridge resigned because an unanswerable first-strike capability leads to Launch On Warning.

  6. God in heaven! When will you ever quit with your weary off topic burbling? Sweet Jeebus!

  7. The U.S. Government is a failed government. It doesn’t have any regard for its organic law, the Constitution. Our sole party–the DemoPublican Party–is worthless. What does it give you? Wars, lawlessness, disregard for Constitutional protections, ad nauseam. It’s only a matter of time before this country implodes. . . .

    To Nat Hentoff: I like the way you stand in there!

  8. [...] Antiwar.com, Scott Horton interviews Nat Hentoff on the death of the Bill of Rights, and James Lucas writes about how the U.S. destroyed [...]

  9. Personally I do not like the CATO Institute since their henchmen have been instrumental in sustaining neo-fuedalism/neo-liberalsim/Washington Consensus. However I enjoyed this interview. Scott has really improved and I enjoyed his interaction with Hentoff.

  10. The Cato Institute? That's the "states' rights" propaganda mill that ignores the debates in Congress of those who WROTE the Bill of Rights — which make unequivocally clear that the Second Amendment has nothing whatever to do with "individual" anything. As ANTI-Federalist Elbridge Gerry summmed up the issues of that debate:

    "What, sir, is the use of the militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty." Creating the Bill of Rights, Veit, et al., at 182.

    In other words, the Framers opposed standing armies because they saw them as a threat to the gov'ts they established; so they chose for defense the militia, because they didn't intend that the militia "defend against" gov't/rule of law. Which is why, also, the commander in chief of the militia is, when Federalized, the President; and when not Federalized, the states' governor — neither of which is going to "defend against" himself.

  11. The first draft of that which became the Second Amendment proves the foregoing point: the the Second Amendment has nothing whatever to do with "individual" anything —

    "The right of the people [PLURAL, as in, "We the people"; it is not, "We the individual," or, "I the people"] to keep and bear arms [as MILITIA] shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia [NOT "individual"] being the best defense of a free country [NOT "individual"]: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms [in the MILITIA] shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY] to render military service [in the MILITIA] in person." Id., at 30.

  12. New technology has made the oceans and even the ground under our feet, transparent to the eyes of the military/cia..

  13. "widespread contempt and ignorance of protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights"

    Like the Obama/Democrat rejection of the 1st, 2nd, 9th and 10th amendments ???

  14. Actually, if you read the preconstitutional writings, you find that the whole focus of "we the people" was the individual, not the government.

    The 'militia' of the time was 'the people'.

    The 2nd Amendment was written with the intent that it allowed Americans to keep themselves armed as a protection against government…

  15. [...] In our time we’re lucky enough to still have with us two firebrand literary octogenarians, Nat Hentoff and Gore Vidal, to teach us what we are on the verge of losing, as they denounce the slow [...]

  16. JNagarya:

    If, as you claim, the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, then why was it included in the Bill of Rights whose purpose is to enumerate some but not all individual rights? Even if your assertion that the 2nd Amendment pertains to militias only is correct, so what? None of the powers enumerated in the Constitution allow the Federal government to regulate individuals' firearms, and the 9th Amendment recognizes that individuals have rights in addition to those listed in the Bill of Rights. This would certainly cover the right to keep and bear arms.

    Most of the founders were very well educated in history and therefore understood that a disarmed individual is a subject at the mercy of government and not a citizen in control of his life.

    Why would the enlightened founders even bother with a Bill of Rights for disarmed subjects knowing that they would ultimately have no means to demand that it be respected? Are the disarmed subjects supposed to write letters to their representatives respectfully requesting that rapacious officials be curbed? How well has that been going lately? An armed citizenry has the means to demand that their rights be respected! That is why throughout history, dictators have striven to disarm the populace.

  17. "The Cato Institute has turned into a powerful institution based in the American federal capital. What used to be a group against the State’s excesses has turned into an organization in defense of private interests and against all social responsibility. This is the reason why its president and founder, Edward H. Crane, fired the Californian hippies of 1968 and bought an expensive office in Washington."

    What's the deal Nat?
    http://www.voltairenet.org/article30090.html

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