Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shady Dealings

“It is the classic lesser-of-two-evils rationale, the key being that it explicitly recognizes that both sides are 'evil': meaning it is not a Good v. Evil contest but a More Evil v. Less Evil contest. But that is not the discussion that takes place because few progressives want to acknowledge that the candidate they are supporting — again — is someone who will continue to do these evil things with their blessing.”
Glen Greenwald “Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies
"Why Progressives?" I wonder. Haven't Conservatives engaged is just such lesser-of-two-evils thinking, and then told themselves that the "lesser evil" was actually a good? Haven't Moderates given evil things their blessing in return for things that were more important to them? Why should Progressives be any less susceptible to the psychology of Faustian bargains and denial than anyone else? I mean, wasn't this just as much an issue during the Bush Administration? Or was there some strain of Conservatism that found an expansion of government, the demolition of civil liberties and massive deficit spending to be a feature, not a bug? (Although according to one radio news story I heard on the way home, Rick Santorum seemed to be of the opinion that dumping cash into the Money Pit that was Iraq was a perfectly Conservative thing to do, so maybe they didn't have that much of a conflict, after all.)

It seems to me that the United States has never really had a problem with making people unlike us, that we don't like and/or live in faraway places bear the costs for whatever our political class as chosen to bribe us with today. The Atomic Bomb was dropped on Japan not to end the war - the Japanese already knew they were boned - but to force them into unconditional surrender by blowing segments of the civilian population to smithereens and convincing them that we were prepared to annihilate the entire nation - because we found the potential alternatives, a high death toll among American soldiers or a peace with Japanese conditions attached, equally unacceptable. And in the post war period, the United States was very clear about the fact that an anti-American democracy would not be tolerated if a pro-American dictatorship was available. But how many candidates for office ran on platforms of the wholesale slaughter of civilians or the suppression of democracy in exchange for saving American lives or American interests? Once a successful bid for office signaled the end of a need for high-minded rhetoric, people did "what had to be done," the American public said "better them than us" and we about our business.

Perhaps Mr. Greenwald writes these columns every so often, pillorying different segments of the American populace in turn, and I just never found about them until his sort of endorsement of Representative Ron Paul as a Progressive's best bet during a campaign season generated a lot of buzz for this particular piece. But if this is the first, I hope it's the first of many. We've made a series of deals with the Devil over the years, and more are coming. We should be reminded of them regularly.

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