Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ashcroft - Torture Bad Call but No Biggie

Today for your perusal I offer a selection of disingenuous moral shuffling. Enjoy reading this, it's not every day you get to see someone squirm their way through such an ethical sewer and still think of themselves as squeaky clean. It's rare to see it painted so clearly.

Ashcroft quibbles that he "did not necessarily disagree" with the idea of state sponsored torture, but that the legal argument was flawed. So, rather than admit that he made a mistaken judgment call, he's simply asserting that torture is still an appropriate form of interrogation and that all that is really needed is a more properly worded argument for it. Take a second to let that soak in.

Ashcroft says that torture is good. We just need a better justification for it.

Ashcroft doesn't see the deep moral, philosophical, and political implications of the permissibility of torture. He ignores the same issues of which I have accused Sam Harris of dodging. Or perhaps he does.

Think about that too. What if Ashcroft DOES understand the ramifications of what he is supporting? What if Sam Harris DOES understand the ramifications of what he is supporting? Can you really be secure in granting them the benefit of the doubt on something like this? I mean, seriously, if we're going to give people the benefit of the doubt on something like advocating torture, where do we stop? I mean, once we've said, well maybe we're not clear on all the details, but you're the government so we trust that you won't do bad things, so go ahead and do what you please...once we've said THAT, what's to stop them from revoking the rest of the trappings of civilized society?

Oh, wait....they've started doing that too. Isn't this the same Ashcroft, the same establishment governance that thinks it's also a good idea to spy on American citizens at home, without notice, warning, or reasonable grounds for suspicion. To spy on us JUST IN CASE?

Suspending habeas corpus...oh, yes...of course we have that too. Violating the territorial rights of our allies and their respective domestic constitutions by violating their decisions on torture and due process? Well, there's a reason why "extraordinary rendition" is so extraordinary.

Surely we still have our right to property? Oh, wait a second. We have the IRS, property tax, and the FED to systematically redistribute the fruits of our labor, threaten our right to hold land which we have already purchased, AND to devalue the currency of whatever value remains.

And for what? For the greater good? Tell me, what good does it do when the people who are generating the wealth end up going hungry? The wealth which is being stolen hand over fist to feed those in need who are taking it hand over fist? The wealth that, for some reason that nobody wants to address, was somehow magicked into existence for this mythically privileged class. It doesn't seem to matter that people are automatically condemned for being wealthy EVEN IF they started out poor. As if, by producing that which people desperately wanted was enough to brand one a criminal. The sheer audacity, the reckless suicidal mendacity of such thinking frankly leaves me stunned whenever I encounter it.

So, in this amoral morass of sympathy and equivocation, the final crowning glory of the altruist's inner nature finally bares itself to the world. And what does it declare to the world? It declares that torture is good, but that we just haven't found a good enough way to get away with it.


(for more articles on the ongoing torture debate please check out these blog entries:

Sam Harris and the Fallacies of Torture 4/25/2008

And this is what happens when thugs get moral license... 4/26/2008

Torture: The Madness that Wouldn't Die 5/13/2008

Supreme Court Puts Foot Down on Abrogation of Due Process 6/15/2008

Not Everything that Parades as a Democracy IS a Democracy 7/2/2008

Hitchens Takes One for Reason 7/13/2008 )

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