As I have been sitting with my friend Floyd in his last days (check the Religion forum for his story), I have been thumbing through his lefty magazines - as many as I can stomach. I have noticed the following things.
1. An article about Lynndie England's trial began with the assertion that although England was guilty as charged, her crimes resulted from the Bush administration's decision to "suspend" the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The fact is that none of the protections afforded by either body of law apply to unlawful combatants/irregulars - fighters who wear no unifoms, have no established chain of command, and hide among civilians. They can be summarily executed. What the Bush administration did is to apply the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare, but in a relatively benign way. We aren't executing them, just detaining them. Yet, the lefty article started and was predicated on the manifestly false claim of "suspension."
2. An article about Gitmo was thematically premised on the breach of due process allegedly inherent in holding unlawful combatants without criminal charges or lawyers. Again, these are people subject to summary execution - even bin Ladin's chauffer - whom the government has elected to intern rather than kill. Yet, there goes the article, page after page, premised on the nonsensical assumption that these are street criminals - equivalent to shoplifters - held without charge or counsel.
3. An article about the way George Bush and the RNC dupe "workers" (defined as NASCAR fans, military men and military retirees, ordinary salt-of-the-earth types like everybody I know) into thinking that they become "players" when they send $100 to the RNC or Bush's campaign. The theme is that the real players laugh behind their hands at the working stiffs and evangelical Christians who are "tricked" into funding the Bush-led plutocratic takeover of America.
The great part of this article was the unspoken but necessary assumption that a retired CWO who gives to Republican causes is a sad moron being manipulated by others. The article hinges on the "fact" that Joe Sixpack has no idea that there are lobbyists and policymakers with cars worth more than his house who are pursuing goals that he cares nothing about, but might oppose if he knew about them. It ignores the fact that nearly every "Joe Sixpack" you might actually talk to knows exactly what is going on; that nearly every evangelical in America can clearly articulate the tradeoffs involved: "I give and vote Republican. The Rs leave my guns alone, vote against gay marriage, and appoint judges who are inclined to allow religious expression into the public square. They are also doing obscure things about banana tariffs and gourd-farm subsidies that will make a few millionaires into billionaires. That's politics."
The author's solicitude for the misguided evangelicals, hunters, gun nuts, et al. depends 100% on the assumption that they are too stupid to know what's going on, or they'd be "progressives."
4. A piece (as best I recall; eventually my eyes were as glazed as a box of Krispy Kremes) jumped off from "Illegal wiretapping by the Administration working through the NSA" to speculation about "other" threats to domestic liberty posed by the Administration.
The NSA wiretaps are not illegal. Federal courts have held - long before GWB decided to quit baseball - that the President has the inherent authority under the Constitution to conduct warrantless interceptions for national security purposes, and that that authority not only WAS NOT but COULD NOT HAVE BEEN limited by FISA. The President has the authority to spy on people, including Americans, he thinks may be making or plotting war against the US. Shocking, isn't it? The President wouldn't need permission from a judge to tap a phone call between Shahid Amenijihad, an Iranian spook headquartered in Falls Church, Va. and Bill Johnson, a chemist and disgruntled employee of the New York Water Department. He wouldn't need authorization to tap Johnson's call to Manhattan Medical Supply Co. for 700 pounds of smallpox virus and a case and a half of Sarin. He doesn't need a warrant to send a SEAL team to kill Johnson as he tries to dump the crap into the reservoir, either. Oh, the horror.
But that's not the point. The point is that a lengthy and elaborate disquisition on domestic politics and terrorism was predicated on a categorical assumption which is actually wrong, and can certainly be no sounder than any other naked conjecture.
5. In writings and in policy proposals, the left continues to treat textbook Marxist ideas about the necessity of collectivization as indisputable truths of the "water flows downhill" variety. They continue to bleat about "National Health" and a hundred other collectivist schemes as if the 20th Century never happened. If you read what they have to say, it is clear that they have no recollection of Eastern-Bloc political and social repression; they don't know that the USSR went bankrupt; they haven't heard that "Red" China survives only because it has recast itself into an authoritarian capitalist state. As far as they recall, no communist state devolved into a garden variety dictatorship with subsistence-level rationing of goods and services which are abundant in a free-market economy. The 20th Century never happened! All we have to do is pull together (and coerce at gunpoint those who'd rather not); we just need universal rent controls; we just need our heart surgery handled according to the model established by the Social Security Administration and our local DMV. All we really need is to give top-down command economics and social engineering a chance. After all, we'll never know if it works until somebody tries it.
It comes down to this. Left/liberal/progressive argument depends on a handful of assumptions, to-wit:
a. Those who support the opponents of "progressivism" are fools of the worst and most gravely deluded type, or they are active, knowing agents of evil;
b. The law is obviously a vehicle for elevating the principles of leftist social policy, and it means what lefties think it ought to mean, regardless of the words used.
c. "History" is a generally manipulable concept whose primary legitimacy, regardless of the ages and experiences of the analyst, analysand, and humanity at large, is found in its utility as a steady source of accurate, inaccurate, and/or wholly PC illustrations for textbooks and articles. I had hoped to give my niece a fun ride to kindergarten. Instead, I gave her a context for the spinning of tales which convey metatextual truths
b. Laws and treaties are to be understood as setting forth "reasonable" standards. The requirement of reasonableness transcends the text. As long as the actor/purported victim cites the law or treaty in his own behalf and you recognize and honor his victimhood and humanity.
As usual, good analysis.
3. Nascar fans are duped, unlike the Black community that votes 95% Dem.
Bump for comments.