Let’s Abolish Those Presidential Medals of Freedom
The Washington Post is outraged that Donald Trump has sullied one of Washington’s most hallowed honors—Presidential Medals of Freedom. After the White House announced plans to bestow the medals on two Republican members of Congress and a football coach, the Post thundered that “Trump just underlines his own unworthiness when he makes a mockery of the Medal of Freedom….This president cannot be trusted to hand out medals.”
The Post editorial concluded with the obligatory uplift of the season: “Thankfully, the Oval Office will soon be occupied by a president—himself a rightful recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom—who understands and will honor the traditions of the presidency.” Did Biden receive the Medal of Freedom for taking the lead in enacting the 1994 crime bill, which the New York Times reported helped spawn “the explosion of the prison population”? Did Biden receive the medal for helping Barack Obama win reelection in 2012 by telling black voters that Mitt Romney would “put you all back in chains”? No, he simply received it for being Obama’s vice president, pocketing the award shortly before Obama left office. But from the Post’s view, the fact that Biden received a Washington honorific that included the name “freedom” proves that he is honorable.
Presidential Medals of Freedom have long been far more squalid than the Washington Post recognizes—in part because the Post cheered the wars that spurred many of the most tainted awards.
President Lyndon Johnson distributed a bucket of Medals of Freedom to his Vietnam War architects and enablers, including Ellsworth Bunker, Dean Acheson, Dean Rusk, Clark Clifford, Averell Harriman, Cyrus Vance, Walt Rostow, and McGeorge Bundy. When he gave the award to Defense secretary Robert McNamara, he declared, “You have understood that while freedom depends on strength, strength itself depends on the determination of free people.” In reality, Johnson treasured McNamara for his ability to help deceive Americans about how the US was failing in Vietnam. McNamara’s lies helped vastly ex
Article from Mises Wire