Abu Ghraib 6-13
I am astonished by the silence of a lot of libertarian types about a lot of things. What a bunch of frauds! If I’m not mistaken, the inexplicably-respected Jane Galt recently signed on to the Bush team (tacitly, by her use of the word “we” in a political context).
Volokh’s shame over his squeamishness (i.e., decency) is rather sickeningly characteristic of our times. In law, philosophy, PR, political consultancy, and advertising, “rationality” is regarded as the willingness to argue for or against any position whatsoever.
I read somewhere (Hannah Arendt??) that most of the anti-Nazi resisters (and shelterers of Jews) were naive, simple-minded people who had a gut feeling that something was wrong. Whereas Eichmann had a Kantian explanation for what he did.
There’s a second factor. The 9/11 attack was not an unprecedented murderous attack on civilians. There were several technically and organizationally unique aspects to 9/11, but the murderousness was normal-range.
The reason that 9/11 is thought to be a world-historical event is that it was an attack on the militarily most powerful nation in the history of the world. It was an attack on someone who was able to retaliate.
At some point the Bosnians, the Salvadorans, the Guatamalans, the Ruandans, the Timorese, and many other have had to learn to forget about murderous episodes which were absolutely much worse, and proportionate to population enormously worse. But these are powerless peoples.
Even the French, the Germans, the Poles, et. al. — larger, more prosperous nations — have had to learn to go on with their lives.
Where does the belief come from that this particular attack is so uniquely horrible that it justifies forgetting about a century or more of attempts to reduce the inhumanity of warfare? As far as I know, it comes from America’s historical impunity. We’ve really been very favored and don’t know how to deal with this.
The secrecy of the adversaries adds to the urgency, but now that we’re focussing on them they have become much less mysterious.
I think that the worst interpretation of what’s happening is the best. The Bush plan is to fight an endless war against a nebulous enemy, and to use the war as a pretext to ram through a lot of programs which are often unrelated to the war, together with an enormously increased police and surveillance powers and much less oversight or Constitutional limitation on the executive.
Libertarians who fail to realize this are pornographic and entirely without redeeming social value and absolutely worthless for any human purpose and should be mercifully put to sleep. Remember, we’re talking about people who are thrown into a rage by the very idea of the unconstitutional Smithsonian Institute and the unconstitutional National Academy of the Arts.