It's nice to see I'm not alone.
As I see it, conservatives should be the most up in arms about government's attempts to muzzle the press with threats of prosecutions for treason. If the best government, and the best leaders — like the current occupant of the White House — should never be fully trusted. The press, constitutionally and otherwise, is one of the institutions best able to serve as a check on the powerful.
Bottom line, it's about freedom and good government.
From Eli Lake, via Robert George:
It was bad enough when the left argued for the erosion of press freedoms, but it's incoherent for conservatives to go down this road. Conservatives are supposed to be skeptical about unchecked power for the federal government. It is one of the principles that binds together a coalition of home-schoolers, federalists, gun owners, and tax cutters - the view that while the federal government may be necessary, its power should be checked at every available opportunity.
Yet if conservatives get their way, enormous new powers will be delegated to the federal government. If the executive branch starts prosecuting the recipients of leaks on a wide scale, then Americans would be trusting the people who make national security policy to determine when the rest of us - without clearances - are allowed to know when they make mistakes. Forget for a moment the problems this poses for the First Amendment. What about the values of good government the congressional Republicans who captured the House in 1994 have all but forgotten?
After all, the people who will be entrusted with declassifying the information that newsmen will be allowed to print without fear of legal retribution are not movement conservatives. They are bureaucrats who have proved all too willing so far in this war to declassify selectively all sorts of information damaging to our foreign policy. A policy of prosecuting leaks would not stop them. It would give an advantage to those leakers who have mastered the classification process.
Andrew Sullivan, who gets the hat tip, says the debate is another front in the fight for the soul of conservatism.
I'll side with Lake against the Malkinites, whose brand of "conservatism" should frighten everyone.