Thursday, May 14, 2009

Boehner, Torture, and Republican Leninism

Original Link:

House Minority Leader John Boehner just took the Republican Party another big step towards what at one time conservatives would have called totalitarianism when he said: "Last week, they released these memos outlining torture techniques. That was clearly a political decision and ignored the advice of their Director of National Intelligence and their CIA director," He condemned the Obama administration for following the law and releasing the documents after the ACLU sued under the Freedom of Information Act.

Not only is following the law irrelevant to this defender of criminals, Boehner finally used the 'T' word his allies have been tying themselves into verbal pretzels to avoid.

Torture is illegal under American law and international treaties signed by the United States, as well as ALL standards of decency. The techniques Boehner rightly identifies as torture were used by Communist regimes to wring false confessions out of innocent people.

Now comrade Boehner explicitly adopts the Leninist principle "The ends justifies the means."

Believe it or not, after my initial political awakening in the early 60s, I became a conservative, Goldwater style. That was back when pterodactyls still occasionally were seen in the Kansas skies.

A lot has happened since those days, but until the Bushites I still respected conservatives on two issues: the had long argued that the Constitution and rule of law should trump short term political gain. Most liberals had, on balance, a rather looser and potentially more worrisome approach.

Secondly, they reminded everyone the ends did not justify the means. Basic principles of right and wrong took precedence over winning at all costs. To prove the point, conservatives pointed to the horrors of Communist rule, where great crimes were committed in the name of future great gains.

Even as I came to disagree with conservatives on most other points, I still respected them for their sense of ethics, and their reminding the often too pragmatic liberals that the means we used to achieve our ends were a part of the ends themselves.

No more. As a movement, conservatives like the communists before them, subordinate everything, law, constitution, decency itself, to the over-arching goal of winning. Am I too harsh? I predict almost no significant conservative criticism of comrade Boehner. I will be delighted if he is roundly condemned, and also surprised.

Of course they say they are different. But not in the essentials. Like the communists, the God they really worship is power. They just use different incantations to try and serve it.

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