Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How it happens

So a long-established rightie blog "Newsmax" runs this provocative little piece (reproduced courtesy of TPM) and then withdraws it, perhaps on the advice of counsel, saying "John Perry? Who? Never heard of him." Yeah, right.

The point is to infect the public discourse with this meme of domestic military intervention. This will shortly come to seem like a subject on which reasonable people might reasonably disagree. Do you doubt it? Reflect that at one time (in living memory!) torture seemed an unambiguous evil. The bad guys (the Nazis; assorted Southeast Asians north of armistice lines) did it and we didn't, and back in the day no one suggested that the line was blurry, or that there might be circumstances under which it was permitted to step across even a smudged boundary. Nope. But over the course of the Cheney Shogunate, our political discourse became debauched by degrees, advanced by just such initially outrageous salients, with evil increments creeping behind them. We may accordingly look forward to pieces in the Washington Post along the lines of "Military coups: Obviously not an optimal solution, but hasn't the Obama administration invited consideration of this option?" Then, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer: "Next up, Mark Shields and David Brooks on whether proponents of the armed overthrow of the Obama regime have been a little intemperate in their rhetoric, or whether a few leftist bloggers are just too thin-skinned." Just wait.