Questions we wouldn't be asking in a sane world
By Dan Gardner
I marvel at that paragraph. It would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago. Murder treated as a legitimate option in political discourse? Torture as acceptable government policy? No, impossible. A decade ago, it would have been satire too crude to be funny.
And yet, here we are.
The question in the Commons Wednesday was prompted by the televised comments of Tom Flanagan, political scientist and former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “I think Assange should be assassinated, actually,” Flanagan said Tuesday.
This was the hard-right id laid bare. The day before, Sarah Palin said much the same. Explicitly or implicitly, so did many others, including journalist Bill Kristol, Congressman Pete King, blogger John Hawkins, and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.
Not coincidentally, Flanagan is also prejudiced against Indians. Here's a report on him from October 2004:
The Man Behind Stephen Harper
The new Conservative Party has tasted success and wants majority rule. If Tom Flanagan and his Calgary School have their way, they’ll get it without compromising their principles
By Marci McDonald
Most voters had never heard of Flanagan, who has managed to elude the media while helping choreograph Harper’s shrewd, three-year consolidation of power. But among aboriginal activists, his name set off alarms. For the past three decades, Flanagan has churned out scholarly studies debunking the heroism of Métis icon Louis Riel, arguing against native land claims, and calling for an end to aboriginal rights. Those stands had already made him a controversial figure, but four years ago, his book, First Nations? Second Thoughts, sent tempers off the charts.
In it, Flanagan dismissed the continent’s First Nations as merely its “first immigrants” who trekked across the Bering Strait from Siberia, preceding the French, British et al. by a few thousand years—a rewrite which neatly eliminates any indigenous entitlement. Then, invoking the spectre of a country decimated by land claims, he argued the only sensible native policy was outright assimilation.
But what binds the group is not only friendship, it’s a chippy outsiders’ sense of mission. In a torrent of academic treatises and no-holds-barred commentaries in the media, they have given intellectual heft to a rambunctious, Rocky Mountain brand of libertarianism that has become synonymous with Western alienation.
That neo-conservative agenda may read as if it has been lifted straight from the dusty desk drawers of Ronald Reagan: lower taxes, less federal government, and free markets unfettered by social programs such as Medicare that keep citizens from being forced to pull up their own socks.
There's also no principle that encompasses due process of the law and conservative favorites such as warrantless wiretapping, imprisonment without trial, foreign renditions, torture, and assassination. Any conservative who brays about the "rule of law" while supporting these practices is a goddamned hypocrite.
I ripped into Flanagan back in 2001 for my Stereotype of the Month contest. He was the January-February 2001 loser for this entry:
Ottawa News claims "treaties...have little relevance" today
As I said, it isn't a coincidence that Flanagan hates social programs, tribal sovereignty, and the free flow of information. Indeed, he exemplifies what today's conservative/libertarians believe:
If there's a common theme here, it's that white male Christians have come to dominate the world with tactics ranging from conquest to genocide. Today's conservative/libertarians are dedicated to keeping these people in power. Opposing social programs, tribal sovereignty, and the free flow of information are all part of their agenda.
Wikileaks reveals conservative hypocrisy
I could do a whole posting on what the Wikileaks scandal says about the conservative hatred of America's ideals. To keep things manageable, I'll simply link to the best postings I've read on the subject. Specifically, on conservatives' hypocrisy:
WikiLeaks reveals more than just government secrets
The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics
Foreign Press Says What America’s Won’t: Sarah Palin is a Traitor
And their invention of phony controversies while real problems go unaddressed:
News Flash: 123 Americans Dead, No WikiLeaks Connection
Plus my own snarky contributions to the debate:
I imagine conservative teabaggers are cheering Wikileaks because they hate the US government and its coercive power over people. Right?
Psst! Here's a secret Wikileaks missed: President George W. Bush authorized waterboarding, a recognized form of torture. Pass it on.
Wikileaks = crime against humanity. Preemptive invasion of Iraq, Guantanamo Bay prison camp, legalized torture, Patriot Act...not so much.
For more on the subject, see Tea Party Guide to American History and Tea Party Believes in Taking.
Below: Wikileaks bad, torture good!