David M. Brown's Blog

July 8, 2016

With respect to the way James Comey let Hillary Clinton off the hook…

Filed under: Ethics,News,Philosophy,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 1:45 am

…Charles Krauthammer writes, “I admit I’m giving Comey the benefit of the doubt. But the best way I can reconcile his reputation for integrity with the grating illogic of his Clinton decision is by presuming that he didn’t want to make history.”

Krauthammer chastises FBI Director James Comey for shabby logic, but the commentator’s own logic is shabby. How is evading evidence because one does “not want to make history” consistent with integrity in drawing conclusions from evidence?

Proposing a minor variant of the widely guessed motives behind Comey’s evasion of Hillary Clinton’s prosecutability, Krauthammer suggests that the director’s conduct is not as ugly-looking if the Krauthammer-preferred rendition of motive, and not some other motive, animated the evasion.

But imagine a case in which another official, also not being physically threatened, recommends prosecution when that official knows–not guesses: knows–the accused person to be innocent. What then? Would the injustice done to that innocent person be somehow more consistent with the integrity of a commitment to justice if Motive A for committing the injustice were operative rather than Motive B? Would assigning one motive rather than the other constitute giving the “benefit of the doubt” to an official who knowingly cooperates in trampling the rights of an innocent person? That it is hard to be just in a particular case is no excuse for being unjust.

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