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Monday, January 10, 2005


the apologists

it beggars decent minds as to how people who claim to love individual freedom in the abstract can find ways to justify torture. but they are all over the place, including reason's hit-and-run blog.

the argument made again and again by the apologists is that torture may save lives. putting aside the fallacy of utility, this is obviously a simple ends-justify-the-means argument that few sensible people would agree with -- but many americans today, in the midst of a full-blown paranoid mania, actively espouse. the very rationale is the license used by every totalitarian state to intimidate millions into subservience.

which is why current events are yet more frightening. as one poster astutely noted:

the torture apologists aren't just average guys... posting on Internet comment boards; one of them's about to be made Attorney General of these United States.

And the Watergate comparison doesn't cheer me, either. When news of Watergate came out, the perpetrators got in trouble, whereas the perpetrators (save a few, generally low-ranking, scapegoats) of various Iraqgates and Gitmogates and otherwise are getting medals pinned on them by the President.

Because of human nature, every country will always have a few nationalistic apologists for evil to be found among its rank-and-file, I suppose. What really poisons a society is when such people reside in the halls of power, and craft the laws to reflect their prejudices.

UPDATE: just when you hoped it wasn't really possible, here's the trial balloon for reinstituting terror squads in iraq -- this time, working for america. comments to follow. and raimondo suddenly seems less angry than prescient.

what ever became of my country?

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