While the Obama administration has abused its power with its excessive use of the 1917 Espionage Act to squelch dissent, the deadly effects of unconstrained power can also be seen when any branch of government wields it. Take, for example, the actions of the judicial branch of government in the case of Dinesh D’Souza, who has been powerful and vocal critic of the Obama administration.
About a week ago, after D’Souza pleaded guilty to two violations of campaign finance law, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman sentenced him to eight months in a community confinement center. He also ordered D’Souza to pay a $30,000 fine and to undergo weekly “therapeutic counseling.”
Granted, D’Souza has been a lightning rod, but did the punishment fit the crime? Or, was it a progressive judge’s subtle way of telling D’Souza that if ever wanted to get out of the court’s clutches he would have to change his political opinions?
What, exactly, would therapeutic counseling look like where the rubber meets the road? C.S. Lewis put it this way in his essay The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment: It would mean being “taken without consent from my home and friends; to lose my liberty; to undergo all those assaults on my personality which modern psychotherapy knows how to deliver; to be re-made after some pattern of ‘normality’ hatched in a Viennese laboratory to which I never professed allegiance; to know that this process will never end until either my captors have succeeded or I’ve grown wise enough to cheat them.”
It sounds to me like the kind of justice meted out in the Cambodian re-education camps of Pol Pot or the use of electric shock treatments and drugs like Thorazine to induce chemical lobotomies on political dissenters in the Soviet Union.