The Price of Principle

To have strong, unwavering and articulatable Principles are feared by those who lack such things.

Alan Dershowitz, notable lawyer wrote this book in 2022, in response to several things. Most notably, an accusation of sexual impropriety against him, and his fellow Leftists abandoned him for the horrendous crime of not hating Donald Trump.

A lawyer is a unique person. A lawyer retained by a person accused of terrible crimes and knows they’re guilty (pretty much the first question the lawyer asks is, “Did you really do it?”), yet fights the State like they’re Leonidas on the Bridge to protect their client. A regular person would be sickened by the crimes of their clients, and would do their best to help Justice deliver their just reward upon the accused. A lawyer, while sickened by the acts, holds the law and things like presumption of innocence above their own personal beliefs. I know that is a hard thing to do, something that is probably beyond my own ability.

A lawyer will routinely detest and hate their clients who are genuinely guilty. The good lawyers anyway. To know that, to feel that, and yet move forward and devote every erg of ones' physical and mental energy to introducing reasonable doubt into the minds of the jurors well requires strong principles and morals.

Out of all of the “Legal Eagle” TV series that have lawyers in them that I have watched, I think James Spaders’ character Alan Shore in The Practice and Boston Legal to be the best fictional lawyer out there.

As a man, he is cocky, arrogant, offensive, unbelievably sexist, yet when it comes to his legal ethics, he is beyond reproach. He gets the job done for his client. He routinely had to engage in many ethically questionable acts, however in the end he never crossed that ethical line. And you were sure he gave 104% to his client.

I believe Mr. Dershowitz to be a close relative to Alan Shore. When he was retained by President Trump, Mr. Dershowitz gave his best efforts, especially when their objectives aligned, with such acts as moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Dershowitz defended Trump, not because he liked Trump, rather he did so because Dershowitz holds the Constitution and the ideals it holds to be above everything else, and in his eyes, Trump was being unfairly and unjustly accused of things Trumps’ predecessors had done for generations without consequences. “Equal Justice Under Law” as it is written on the West Entrance to the Supreme Court building, and all that.

And the part that weighs heaviest on his heart and soul is being abandoned by people he thought were his friends. For the crime of having Donald Trump as a client, many of his “friends” disowned him. Some publicly and loudly, some apologetically in private. It’s the private ones that hurt the most. I know, I’ve been there. They hurt the most because those “friends” agree with you, however they would rather throw you under the bus than lose the other friendships.

Mr. Dershowitz then goes on to describe several high profile legal cases, such as George Zimmerman, Derek Chauvin, Kim Potter, Kyle Rittenhouse, Gregg and Travis McMichael, Malik Akram, Alec Baldwin and Ghislane Maxwell.

Out of all those, I have only one point of contention, in the section on Rittenhouse.

Mr. Dershowitz writes:

Kyle Rittenhouse is not a hero and should not be lionized. The last thing we need in this deeply divided nation is armed vigilantes traveling to volatile situations to protect property from rioters. That is the job of trained law enforcement officers, not 17-year-old kids with AR-15’s

Rittenhouse should be lionized, for having the guts to stand and protect his community. He did what he could so he didn't have to shoot others. Yet, he responded quickly and appropriately when the threat was lethal and unavoidable. Rittenhouse had every right to be there. His father lived there (Kyle lived with his mother in Illinois) and Kyle’s job was in Kenosha. And it astounds me that Mr. Dershowitz believes LEOs (law enforcement officers) have the “job of protecting private property from rioters.” The job of LEOs is to arrest people who cause property destruction and then submit them to the DA to be tried and punished. That is a reactionary mandate, not a preventative action as Rittenhouse was trying to do. Not to mention he should be very acquainted with SCOTUS rulings like South v. Maryland and Warren v. District of Columbia where it was held the police have zero duty to proactively protect regular citizens.

At this point, I see the rest of the book as filler, as publishers demand a certain number of words before they put ink to paper. The subjects covered are incredibly important, no doubt about it. Attacks against Israel, Roe v. Wade, Voter ID, vaccine mandates, the question over “systemic racism,” unprincipled mainstream media, the lack of principle in academia over teaching students what to think rather than how to think, and lastly a philosophical look at how we now praise partisanship and punish principle, and if we can reverse it or not.

Mr. Dershowitz and I agree on just about every point, with only minor differences. I would be very worried if he agreed with me on everything. ;-)

His book closes with the following:

“The price of principle is high. I am paying that price. I ask no one to feel sorry for me. I chose my way of life. But the punishments for principle-and the rewards for unprincipled partisanship-transcend me and my family. They reflect a corrosive societal trend that endangers the cohesion of our nation under the rule of law. I will continue to fight for principle, no matter how high the personal price.”

I feel exactly the same way. I too have lost friends and acquaintances because they put partisanship over personal relationships. My friendships with those who have remained have grown deeper in response to the loss of shallow people.

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