Thursday, November 02, 2006

What He Said Dept.

Today's winner of the "That's What I Was Thinking" Award goes to Bill Maher:
The Constitution specifically says you can't torture people, and we can assume they meant: Even if you really, really want to. Because you wouldn't make a rule against something people didn't want to do. The Eighth Amendment protects terrorists. The same way the First Amendment protects Dixie Chicks. The Framers thought protecting people from the government was more important than anything - even than protecting them from a mythical bomb. You can disagree, but that's not what our Constitution says.
I don't believe for one instant that people are "all the same inside." You can't believe that if you're paying any attention. But all people do seem to have one thing in common. They don't like rules that say they can't do something they'd rather do. They like rules that say some other guy can't do something you don't want him doing. Murderers, if they give it any thought at all, think that the laws against murder are oppressive, because, see, there was this one jerk who really needed killing. Well, yes, there are a lot of jerks that probably need killing. That doesn't entitle you to kill them. We have rules about that.

I doubt that there's any real disagreement about whether it's okay to kill people. The only disagreement is in who it's okay to kill. One guy thinks it's okay to kill the crook who cheated him out of a sum of money. Another guy thinks it's wrong to kill somebody over a property crime but okay if it's a violent crime. Yet another guy thinks it's okay to kill Iraqi insurgents and by extension okay to kill whatever innocent civilians happen to get in the way. There are any number of complications you can toss into the mix, until you make the situation just complicated enough so you can lean the argument in the direction you want it to go.

This is where statements of principle can come in mighty handy. And that's what the Constitution is supposed to be.

I'll have to come back and read this entry again later, to see if it makes any sense. If you have an opinion on the subject, I would love to hear it.


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