Friday, April 24, 2009

Freedom Questioners

Excerpted from Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard:

As to the morality of the methods used, I don't see anything immoral about smacking around a terrorist or making him sit in the cold or dunking him in the water, but you can argue it either way. Still, I wonder why the same people squealing about the alleged moral indignity to which these monsters were subjected are the same people who want the government to keep morality out of their bedrooms and doctors' offices. Why should the government be forbidden from making a moral judgment about gay marriage or abortion but compelled to make a moral judgment about the treatment of terrorists plotting to murder American citizens?

The link to the blog is labeled "The Freedom Questioners" in the URL, which is apparently the new, palatable way for the right to describe those who were instructed by our leaders to engage in torture. Much like "Freedom Fries," it seems that some people think that adding the word freedom in front of something makes it better and more patriotic. I think the gay rights movement should take a lesson from this and stop calling for "gay marriage." No, they should be calling for "Freedom Marriage." It's not just's freedom marriage. Now the right wing will have to vote for it. You can't be against Freedom Marriage, can you? What's that? You say that you're smart enough to know that Freedom Marriage is just a euphemism for gross and disgusting Gay Marriage? Then stop thinking we are fucking stupid enough to think "Freedom Questioners" and "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" means anything less than torture and those who carried it out. Even "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" is being shortened to the less descriptive "EIT" to further minimize the conjured images.

But back to Goldfarb's blog. In it, as you can see, he tries to equate the question of moral judgment of torture to the moral judgment of gay rights...strongly suggesting that it's a double standard for citizens of a country to demand its government to recognize equality for its citizens, but to also uphold the laws pertaining to torture. I'd like to think the lunacy of this casually-made argument is self-evident but, clearly, to some people it isn't. Goldfarb doesn't seem to get that this moral quandary he describes is the VERY ESSENCE of American democracy. He asks the question, "Why should the government be forbidden from making a moral judgment about gay marriage or abortion but compelled to make a moral judgment about the treatment of terrorists plotting to murder Americans citizens?" The answer is painfully obvious.

First, nobody is saying the government can't make a judgment about gay marriage. In fact, in 46 of the 50 states they have, in effect, made that judgment already...just as slavery was once the rule of law, and just as bans on interracial marriage were once the rule of law. A law, and the judgment to embrace a law, can be wrong, obviously, and that's why it's perfectly fair to ask the government to change its laws. There's a process. And while that process may be painfully slow to those of us who see these anti-gay marriage laws as a wrong which must be righted, we are still a nation of laws. A federal statute allowing gay marriage will not happen by fiat---unless you consider the eventual ruling on this by the Supreme Court to be such.

Another law, both domestic and international, relates to how we treat our prisoners. Those rules have been agreed upon by other civilized nations of the world and they're rules to which we have adhered to for quite some time. If you're someone who believes that the definition of torture should be redefined, or that the use of torture should be dependent upon whom is being tortured, then fine. We've never been a nation who tortures, but if you want to open that door as a legal option, fine, let's have that debate. It's one I'm confident you'd lose, but hey, that's the process when you want your government to change its laws. It is NOT a process, however, to use complete and absolute power to subvert the rule of law because the government thinks it best to do so. What if Obama was a strong proponent of Freedom Marriage and, as such, issued an executive order immediately declaring it legal in all 50 states...after he had told his army of lawyers to find him some legal reasoning to empower him to do so. If you opposed Freedom Marriage, you'd be understandably pissed.

Goldfarb just doesn't get it. He doesn't get that the issue of gay marriage and the issue of torture is all about the rule of law. Gay marriage advocates are working to right a bad law, whereas those offering moral equivocation for the torture we now know took place are advocating in favor of a government's ability to ignore the laws it deems inconvenient. America, fuck yeah!


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