A government looking for witches…

will find them.

Obama, of course, bears his share of the blame for radically expanding the police state that operates on the assumption that citizens are no longer citizens with rights, but suspects subject upon whom Caesar can spy at will. God bless Glenn Greenwald and others working to expose this reckless despot and his accrual of tyrannical powers.

But the way the ball got rolling with this entire mentality was pioneered by Bush conservatives and given a hearty cheer of support by whoring Catholic court prophets who spent *years* arguing for the justice of the use of torture in order to “gather intelligence”.

What torture presupposes is exactly that the Obama surveillance state presupposes: that the victim is guilty and it is simply a matter of prying the truth out of him with either spying (in Obama’s case) or pain or terror (in Bush’s). And Obama has added to this fundamental assumption that our rights come from his royal generosity and not God the notion that he can indefinitely jail and even murder you if his Majesty deems it appropriate. What inevitably happens is that the clairvoyance of Caesar fails and he winds up (as Bush did) torturing and even murdering innocent people. And when he does, he can’t be found guilty of torturing and murdering innocent people. So what does he do? He blames lower level functionaries or, if he can’t get away with that, he lies that the victim had it coming. And since citizens can’t bear to think they live in a country where the state tortures and murders innocents, and they are cowards who are vewwy vewwy afwaid of the bad Terrorists who are coming to kill us all, they behave as court prophets for Caesar and tell themselves and us that Jesus Christ would be thrilled at the brave Just Warriors in DC who are ordering torture to find out if the victims they torture might actually deserve the tortures we are inflicting on them.

That’s the key to the mentality of torture: it is done in order to find out if the person you are torturing deserves to be tortured. And, of course, since *nobody* deserves to be tortured (since torture is intrinsically and gravely immoral), it means that its principal effect is to create a state that *needs* to have a rationale for saying that any person it chooses to treat as guilty and worthy of torture has it coming.

That is the moral and psychological groundwork that Catholic torture defenders labored with might and main to create in their gutless, cowardly, and shameful advocacy of torture during the last decade. And now we will all enjoy the fruits of their disgusting and shameful labors to defy the Church in their panicky attempts to save their skins from The Terrorists[TM]. Because now we have a state that regards *all* of us as suspects who are guilty till proven innocent. Congratulations Conservative Catholic Torture Defenders! Meet the *real* danger you worked so hard to bring to birth: an all-seeing surveillance state that considers you a subject who can be spied on, arrested, detained indefinitely, and murdered if the President so wills it. Good job. You are every bit as much to blame as Obama for the birth of this. Only, if you are Catholic and you defended this filth, you bear a *far* greater responsibility because those to whom much is given, much will be required. Obama has never had the benefit of the Faith. You did. And you even boasted that you were a Faithful Conservative Catholic and looked down on those awful CINOs over at the Reporter, etc. Yet, Conservative Catholics supported torture in percentages greater than the average American and in direct defiance of the bloody obvious teaching of the Church.

Maybe now conservative Catholics will stop looking at themselves as the gold standard of real fidelity and stop talking as though God called us to rescue the Church from the Pope. Our own house need cleaning badly. When the history of this time is written one of the stains on the page will be the spectacle of so-called “faithful” Catholic cheering for torture and the presumption of guilt–and the way that contributed to the erection of the American Surveillance State.

Consequentialism is a Faustain Bargain. You sell your soul and get *nothing* in return.

  • Andy Mason

    Not all of us evil conservative Catholics supported torture, you know. Wanting solemnity and reverence in worship does not mean that you want to waterboard terrorists (in fact, I’ve always observed that hearing Gather Us In feels a lot like torture). Some of us, believe it or not, want both respect for the Real Presence and respect for constitutional rights.

    • Marthe Lépine

      From the article, it does not seem that Mark is assuming all conservative Catholics supported torture. He clearly said that a “majority” of conservative Catholics did, therefore it is clear that there was a “minority” that did not. Good for you if you belong to that minority, and God bless you. But maybe now you are called to be vocal in trying to convert the majority.

      • Andy Mason

        I doubt that you can say that a majority of conservative Catholics supported it, because polls don’t typically indicate the voter’s liturgical inclinations. If he meant politically conservative then perhaps Republican would have been a better adjective. The polls that I’ve seen didn’t seem to separate conservative and liberal Catholics, which means that the person in the pew next to you who is a big fan of On Eagle’s Wings is just as likely to have supported torture as the guy who wishes he could hear some Gregorian Chant. Besides, plenty of liberals accepted torture as a part of the war on terror and haven’t batted an eye about such things since Obama took over so I don’t know if this is a liberal/conservative thing in the first place.

        • chezami

          Yes. A majority of conservative Catholics supported torture. They did so, in fact, in larger percentages than the average American. Torture was (and remains) a *hugely* popular thing among conservatives in general and conservative Catholics and Evangelicals in particular.

          • Andy Mason

            Did the poll in question ask whether the person being asked was a conservative or liberal Catholic, or just a Catholic? How do you know that conservative Catholics supported it and liberal ones didn’t? Plenty of liberals of all religious beliefs supported our government’s actions in the war on terror, and certainly many of the ones who didn’t under Bush suddenly found a reason to do so when Obama took office. Support for torture is not something that you can hang on conservative Catholics without admitting that there were probably a lot of “We Are Called, We Are Chosen” fans out there who did the same.

            • chezami

              Go look at the link.

              • vox borealis

                Go look at the link.

                Wait a minute. I did go look at the link, and there is little to nothing in the data presented to draw the conclusion that “conservative Catholics” supported torture in greater numbers than non-conservative Catholics. The Catholic population (and the other denominations) were broken down only by frequency of mass/service attendance, not by political (if you mean political conservative) and/or liturgical (if you mean liturgical conservative) affiliation or tendency. Their was no breakdown between “novus ordo” v. “TLM” Catholics, or between those who prefer Latin v. the vernacular, and so on.

                In short, your conclusion is tenuous at best. You seem to draw a link between mass attendance and conservative/liberal preference, that is to say, more mass attendance = more conservative. While that is flattering on one level (as a pretty conservative, traditionalist Catholic, I appreciate that you assume my tendency equates with greater fidelity to the Church’s obligation to attend mass each Sunday), it is nevertheless an unsubstantiated assumption, at least based on the evidence presented in the linked article.

                Maybe you can present some actual, direct evidence that indicates “conservative Catholics” (who seem to be playing the role of “reactionary Catholics” in this post—let’s be consistent with terminology, too) supported torture in higher proportion.

                • rob

                  They didn’t poll this conservative…and I don’t like torture.

          • rob

            And a lot of liberals support the tortureof the innocent unborn. I’m conservative and support neither. But I also don’t want terrorists in luxury suites playing xbox.

    • chezami

      No one says all conservative Catholic supported it.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    You don’t think there’s a terrorism threat, Mark?

    You think espionage is admirable?

    • Marthe Lépine

      I am not from Mark’s country, but it seems to that there might have been a terrorist threat at some point. However it also seems to me that that terrorist threat might have been fully exploited in order to introduce a “new societal order” that seems to be much more of a threat than the original terrorist threat…

      • Pavel Chichikov

        No more terrorist threat? How do you know?

    • Andy Mason

      The fact of terrorism doesn’t mean that we can throw our morals out the window. We are supposed to be good guys, not good guys who become bad guys because it’s easier. Using torture to combat terrorism makes us terrorists ourselves, and after all Al Qaeda wouldn’t bat an eye about waterboarding somebody which makes one wonder why we would want anything to do with it. If we sink to Bin Laden’s level to combat his followers, then he wins and we’re monsters.

      • Pavel Chichikov

        I didn’t say I support torture.

        • Andy Mason

          Perhaps, but that is at least partially what this thread is about. Do you support the creation of a massive surveillance network capable of personal data collection and spying on ordinary American citizens? That’s the other thing this thread is about. Torture isn’t the only reprehensible activity a government can engage in for the sake of “national security,” nor is it the only one that our government has engaged in for that stated purpose.

          • Pavel Chichikov

            Why perhaps? I don’t support torture. Full stop.

            I support the ability of our security services to do their work fully and efficiently.

            • Andy Mason

              Perhaps because I have no way of knowing what your opinions are on the subject. That being said, what does supporting them mean, exactly? How much access do our “security services” need to the lives of ordinary citizens in order for them to do their work? Who gets to determine that? What if they need to use “enhanced interrogation” in order to do their work, would you deny that to them if it meant putting our nation at risk? Where does it end?

              • Pavel Chichikov

                I just told you what my attitude towards torture is.

    • JM1001

      I don’t want to speak for Mark, but if someone objects to how we have *responded* to the threat of terrorism, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the person doesn’t recognize terrorism is a legitimate threat. With a few moments of logical thought, one can see how obvious that is.

      A few more points:

      (1) Does a legitimate threat justify engaging in actions that are intrinsically evil to combat that threat?

      (2) Given the relative size of the threat, is constructing a worldwide torture regime and a sprawling surveillance state even proportional to the threat you are combating?

      (3) Are we doing anything that might actually make the threat worse, thereby undermining our own objectives (see #2)?

      (4) And, finally, what are the dangers of approaching such a long-term threat with a war mindset? “No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare” (James Madison). Is there a way to respond to the threat other than with endless war, which, as Madison states, steadily erodes the liberties of the people?

      • Pavel Chichikov

        I am not an advocate of evil.

    • chezami

      Why would you think that?

      • Pavel Chichikov

        If Snowden had remained in the US, as Ellsberg did, while I might not admire his methods I could at least respect his sincerity. As it is, I can’t see that his indictment for espionage violates the principle of probable cause. In fact, he has admitted to deliberate deception and theft of government property in an interview in the South China Post.

        At this point, it seems that the damage he has done to national security is significant. We believe, don’t we, that one must not do evil – and betrayal of trust is evil – to obtain good?

        • Marthe Lépine

          The way I see it, betrayal of trust in order to reveal something evil going on is not evil, and I think Mark explained it several weeks ago: If a person makes a commitment to not reveal some things about that person’s job, and later finds out that some of those things that are not supposed to be revealed are actually evil in themselves, that commitment not to reveal them does not necessarily remain valid and can be broken.

          • Pavel Chichikov

            By his own admission to the South China Post he intended to betray his trust before he applied for the job.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Probably true, but he applied for the job in order to find and reveal the truth, and could not have done that without being on that job.

              • Pavel Chichikov

                We call people like that “spies.”

                Would you swear to keep secrets so as to get a job, and then steal the secrets?

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    I think Mark should have more understanding for the President. Can you imagine what the teahadists would do if there was another 9/11 type event and he DIDN’T have the NSA apparatus in place? Even with it in place, does anyone doubt that they would impeach him immediately for “allowing” an attack on the homeland?

    • chezami

      Bullshit. Stop making excuses for this tyrant merely because he’s part of your political tribe. Greenwald has your number: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/08/repulsive_progressive_hypocrisy

      • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

        Greenwald doesn’t have to worry about being impeached. Now I will say this: Obama has the worst political instincts I’ve ever seen in a president. When this whole NSA thing came to light, he should have immediately appointed a Republican like Rand Paul to recommend changes to the program. Anything happens, and they get to share the blame.

        • chezami

          Unbelievable. So what matters to your is not that Obama claim the power to jail and kill anybody he likes, but merely that your tribe not look bad as he does it. You’ll make an excellent slave.

          • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

            I don’t believe that I’ve let my partisan leanings cloud my judgment on this matter. Having said that, I will take your fraternal correction and pray about it.

    • JM1001

      I see no reason to have such “understanding” for the president. If he really cared to curtail this power, he could make the case to the American people that not only are these powers dangerous to people’s liberties, but that Big Data spying is actually ineffective and makes us less safe.

      He doesn’t do that, not because he’s afraid of what might happen to him if there’s another attack, but for one reason alone: institutional inertia.

      Once these powers have been institutionalized, simple inertia carries them forward; bureaucracies protect their turfs and prerogatives and privileges. The NSA would go into open revolt if Obama (or any president) tried to rein it in; and the president himself loves having such power anyway, as all presidents love and jealously guard whatever powers they’ve inherited.

    • JM1001

      Also, if Obama (and all presidents) jealously guard these powers because they’re afraid of being blamed if Something Bad happens, it’s only because the American people have elevated the president to a kind of superman who must protect us from any and all bad things. (You see this on the liberal side whenever there is a gun massacre.)

      We have lost the ability to rationally think through what policy makes sense to address a particular problem, and instead simply insist that the president and other government officials merely appear to Do Something. Such an environment is ripe for a government that just blindly seizes at any and all powers it can get its hands on.

      Because we content ourselves with merely wanting our leaders to Do Something to address a problem (no matter how ineffectual or dumb), rather than doing the hard work of rationally thinking through what is actually effective and moral and just, then inevitably we will elect leaders who are perpetually scared of the wrath of an irrational public.

      We get the government we deserve.

    • RJohnson64

      One word: Benghazi

      • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

        Exactly! Look at the teahadist freakout over Benghazi vs. the complete disinterest in the following attacks under President Bush. Now tell me that Obama doesn’t have to follow a completely different standard.

        January 22, 2002: US consulate at Kolkata, 5 Killed
        June 14, 2002: US Consulate at Karachi, 12 Killed
        February 28, 2003: US Embassy at Islamabad, 2 Killed
        June 30, 2004: US Embassy at Tashkent, 2 Killed
        December 6, 2004: US Compound at Saudi Arabia, 9 Killed
        March 2, 2006: US Consulate in Karachi, 2 Killed
        September 12, 2006: US Embassy at Syria, 4 Killed
        March 18, 2008 US Embassy at Yemen, 2 Killed
        July 9, 2008: US Consulate at Istanbul, 6 Killed
        September 17, 2008 US Embassy at Yemen, 16 Killed
        TOTAL DEATHS: 60
        OUTRAGED TEAHADISTS: 0

        • JM1001

          Actually, what originally made the Benghazi attack such a scandal was that the administration insisted for a full week — despite evidence to the contrary, and even against the statements of Libya’s own interim president — that the attack was spontaneous and the result of a film:

          http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/white-house-insists-benghazi-attack-was-not-pre-planned-was-all-about-a-movie/

          No one denies that attacks on consulates have happened before, and diplomats serving in dangerous areas are at risk. Perhaps the consulate at Benghazi could have been protected better; perhaps someone missed something. But what made it so scandalous was that the administration insisted for a week that it was because of a film, even though there was evidence to the contrary.

          Such a lie was convenient for the administration, since it inevitably obscured any debate about the effects of our Libya intervention.

        • rob

          That’s it compare people who care about the constitution to terrorists. I’m surprised you figured out how to turn on your computer. You seem really angry…are you a “catholic” Obama voter? If so anger is understandable….but blaming tea party folks is laughable. Hope and change isn’t working out very well is it? Don’t worry it’ll get a lot worse and I guess lib “catholics” will just get angrier. Peace.

          • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

            Wait, what? Who is the one who cares about the constitution and who are the terrorists? This should be interesting.

            • rob

              Umm…what?

          • rob

            ….and I can’t stand Bush so I won’t be defending him anytime soon. We went from bad to worse, that’s obvious for anyone with eyes to see.

    • rob

      Debt just passed 17 trillion…impeach him for that.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I think the term “teahadists” shows that you cannot possibly be serious in having an adult conversation with people with whom you disagree.

  • rob

    I understand…Obama is horrendous. The most “who****” done by the “Catholic court” was done by who voted for him. They thought they would be financially ok if they supported a man who is ok with third trimester abortions. They don’t get the cake so no eating it…maybe some stale bread…if they are lucky.

  • rob

    After the “conservative” witches fall in line then they can concentrate on them pesky faithful Catholic witches…who, as any progressive knows, is the real obstacle to progress. The ruling class will have help though…progressive “catholics.”


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X