I was at a get-together in the last few months where I had a particularly nasty encounter. Because of the presence of an ex-Marine, several of the party-goers felt the need to profess their “love” of the military. I’m not sure that makes any sense, but that’s not the nastiness. The nastiness comes when one such party-goer, let’s call him Bill, starts advocating torture for the purposes of “getting the intel.” After all, if we had had the “intel”, the 9-11 attacks could never have happened. Absurdity, of course. Through all the long debates about torture over the past ten years, interrogators from the military and the intelligence services have both discounted the effectiveness of torture for gathering information from prisoners. Not that this could justify the use of torture – genocide, slavery, cannibalism or rape does not become acceptable when it is proven “effective,” even if for the greater good.
The response of Bill’s friend to Bill’s tirade was, “you can tell Bill’s a bit of a conservative.”
Is he? I find it hard to believe that such sentiments can come to characterize any genuinely political position. The advocacy of torture should not be considered the policy of some political philosophy – the advocacy of torture is evidence of something gone horribly wrong in a human being’s brain, an explicable but yet unfathomable moral degeneracy approaching psychopathy. Whether or not you think torture is permissible is not a sign of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s a sign of whether or not you are a human being.
At the recent Republican Party presidential candidate debates, the idea that a thirty-year old who “refused” to purchase health insurance should be left to die brought laughter and applause. Again, this is an example of a lack of moral character so complete that one wonders if they are of the same species as homo sapiens. Again, this is not a blogpost about the politics of the Republican Party – hideous politics is a cancer that has metastasized across America’s political landscape. This is not some “liberals versus conservatives” thing.
The whole point is, is that some things just aren’t about politics, but merely about being a person.