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The Price of Principle
Alan Dershowitz has been exonerated. What’s next for the legendary civil liberties lawyer?
This Sunday I have the privilege to interview the renowned civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz. He’s already written 51 books, and shows no signs of slowing down.
His most recent book, The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth the Consequences (July 2022), takes a broad stance against the dangerous trend of cancellations—both of specific people as well as the very idea of neutral justice. It’s not only right-wingers provocateurs being cancelled on college campuses anymore. Liberal ideas, including some of the most cherished principles of American government, are now being cast aside.
Take the presumption of innocence. It’s the bedrock of our adversarial legal system. We all pay lip service to the idea that everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense. Yet the principle seems to go out the window whenever the person being defended is unpopular, as when Dershowitz pointed out the shaky legal grounds for impeaching former President Trump.
In recent years, Dershowitz himself has suffered the ‘price of principle’ as the latest victim of cancel culture. Former friends like Larry David refuse to talk to him; he’s been shunned from events at which he used to be top-billed speaker. And his principled defenses of unpopular figures like Trump have been used against him in the court of public opinion.
Unlike most celebrities whom the “cancelists” go after, Alan was thoroughly exonerated after his chief accuser all but admitted that her story was made up. Though clearly innocent if you read his account, Dershowitz has found few defenders. He has had to defend himself.
Dershowitz writes that principles have taken a backseat to partisan identity politics. Partisan Democrats forget that his defense of Trump was based on the same principles he had used to defend Clinton against partisan attacks. He argues that too many people abandon their principles in favor of whatever stance benefits their political party or social group, and believes we are heading towards a "dystopia of partisanship and discrimination" if this trend continues.
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We will also touch on his upcoming book Dershowitz on Killing, which examines rules surrounding life and death decisions. Following the principles that have guided his long, distinguished career, he argues these rules should reflect the irreversibility of death.
Don’t miss this Sunday's episode, and learn what mainstream media isn’t tell you.