Not-a-Lemming

Never run with the crowd. They're probably headed over a cliff.

If It's Wrong, It's Wrong

America means something.

 

America is different. It really is. As far as I know, and I don’t know everything – close, but not all – there has never been a situation where a man from a class of people imported as slaves, has risen to be leader of that nation, without a violent rebellion, in just a few generations. My last blog was about that and I stand behind every word.

 

When our forefathers started this nation, they conceived of a place that would be different than the Europe from which they were fleeing. Europe to our ancestors was not a kind place, full of ruthless monarchies in which freedom was virtually non-existent. Mobility between classes was basically impossible. Religious persecution was widespread. And racism was like nothing we’ve ever seen – vestiges of which live in Europe to this day.

 

So they left and started a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. America really did, for most of it’s history, have a stranglehold on the moral high ground. Yes we have our black marks, among them slavery and the genocide of the native peoples. But the very fact that a black man is now president is proof positive that these evils are gone, and even when they were being committed always faced a strong opposition that, unlike Europe, couldn’t be imprisoned for their opposing view.

 

Sadly, America has allowed fear to steal much of the moral credit that we had built up over the years. We have stooped to what the founding fathers felt was one of the most abhorrent of evils – torture. At least five of the amendments in the Bill of Rights was aimed directly at eliminating torture. Why? Because Europe tortured. Nazi Germany was just the last incarnation of a continent overflowing with torture since time immemorial. And while it isn’t torture, you can add denial of due process to that as well. In America, you don’t simply hold people, indefinitely, without due process. Stories of people rotting in castle dungeons in Europe are legion. But Not Here. Because We Are Different.

 

Were different. We torture now, too. And we also confine people indefinitely without due process. And somehow, we justify it. The question goes something like this, “If you could stop the deaths of thousands by torturing, would you do it?” This implies the answer is, “Yes,” but it also exonerates the North Vietnamese from torturing our downed pilots. It exonerates the Nazis for torturing those who they thought might have information of Allied actions. Both of these groups were defending their countries, and while we may not agree with their governments, we seem to have adopted their methods, and in so doing, associated ourselves with them.

 

The most amazing thing about our new found methods, however, is how it has split along partisan lines. The people who are most strongly in favor of torture and indefinite incarceration are on the Religious Right. The very people who should be most concerned about human rights and morality! While the people most strongly denouncing torture are on the Left, which is much less religiously influenced and has a far higher percentage of atheists. And even though I have to count myself as having far more right-leaning tendencies than left, the people on the left are completely correct in this regard.

 

In point of fact, torture is wrong no matter what you use it for. This can be proved through the following simple exercise called, “Where Do You Draw The Line?” Suppose you have a ‘torture’ that doesn’t do any physical damage. Say, waterboarding. Waterboarding doesn’t hurt anybody. It just uses the body’s natural physiological responses to break down will. At least, that’s the argument. Okay, so that kind of torture is alright. I guess rape as torture is okay then, too. Rape doesn’t ‘hurt’ the victim. And used as torture it just uses the body’s natural physiological responses to break down will. Rape a woman, or a man, enough times and maybe they’ll tell you what you need to know. Even you waterboarders have to balk at that. Or, maybe not.

 

So you get a little information waterboarding. But you’re only doing it to save lives. And you know there’s more information. Well, you’ve already said that it’s okay to invade the body of your subject, so what’s to keep you from taking the next step? You know the information is in there. You know people are about to die. Or at least you think they are. Close the door. Turn off the cameras. How is this any different than the methods used by the Gestapo to get information on invasion plans. To save millions. To protect their country. Some of the intelligence gatherers in America actually envy the liberty that other nations have to torture! And send people there to be tortured. Inconcievable.

 

I can’t think of anything more un-American than torture, under any circumstance. But I’d be wrong, because indefinite detention is even worse. We’ve gone all the way back to the Dark Ages now, where feudal lords and caliphs would hold enemies in their dungeons basically for the rest of their lives. Yes, they were enemies of the state. But does this make indefinite detention okay? America was founded on the pretext that it does not.
In fact, by protecting the freedom of speech, we are in effect giving protection to our enemies, who are free to speak out against us in our own country. On the surface this seems insane from an internal security standpoint. But it goes to the very core of what makes America different. The ideas of Freedom and Liberty. America is not about security through silencing her foes. America is about winning them with her shining light. Doubtless some of them will not be won and we may have to fight them. But they should die on the field of battle, looking in our eyes, not rotting in a prison cell wearing a blindfold. That is the act of a coward. Are we not strong enough to survive the ranting of a terrorist? Has detaining them without due process actually helped or hurt our cause?

 

It is time for America to return to her core values. Not the values of family and God. Those are not our core values. In fact, our values of Family and God flow from our core values of Freedom and Liberty for all. It is only when we begin to curtail our most precious values that others begin to suffer. Do we trust the Founding Fathers in their wisdom born of hardship and suffering? Or will we make the mistake of thinking that we, born in luxury and raised in a life of ease, know better? Have not America’s values been the gravity that has attracted immigrants the world over for two hundred years, and kept us powerful and strong? Will we so easily abandon them for a ragged band of terrorists who managed to score one, grotesque victory that will live in history as perhaps one of the most heinous acts of all time? Right up there with torture.

-Futbol Guru