This post comes from a place of deep frustration. The torture debate is on again. Wasn’t this settled? Didn’t Mr. Bush back off the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”? Didn’t he say that, if we did torture we’d wouldn’t anymore? We held an election that included this subject where both candidates espoused the same position: We don’t torture.
I have an inkling why this matter is still front and center. It has to do with release of some memos written by political appointees in the Justice Department who split some hairs, razzled some dazzle and bammed some boozle – nothing up the sleeve, honest.
How poor is our political discourse when a few lame hacks can write gossamer bunkum justifying an odious practice followed by elected officials braying, “See? … Signed off by the lawyers”.
It’s bad enough when twaddle passes for scholarship, its worse when easily identifiable decency gets lost in the double shuffle.
The same hooey went on over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. This one made it to the Supreme Court. It wasn’t even close. All the ink that was spilled making the case those non-citizens held on foreign territory were not entitled to Habeas Corpus never dealt with the obvious – we believe in Habeas Corpus. It is a founding principle of our republic. A high price has been paid for it preservation. The accused has a right to be charged under law, face his accuser and have a speedy trial. We believe in that.
This may be the time to assert that the Golden Rule leaves little room for slick interpretation. You know me. I’m deeply suspicious of the effortless aphorism. The Golden Rule, however, is so tightly wrought and so genuinely intuitive that there’s just no wriggle room.
The scholars call the Golden Rule the Ethic of Reciprocity. It is found in religious texts across the globe, is ancient as recorded thought, remarkably consistent in wording and held as an ideal nearly universally. Why is this so hard?
I’m just sayin’.