Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dealing with the Crazies

Matt Yglesias self-narrates:

I was saying the other day that large-scale punishment for the perpetrators of Bush-era war crimes is less important than establishing some form of political consensus that torture is wrong for the future.
After this, Yglesias ruefully concedes the improbability of any such civilized concensus given the presence of FoxNews, the WSJ editorial page, and other outposts of the right-wing scream machine that, quoting Neil Sinhababu, "continually sustain a substantial minority of crazy people."

It would be delightful to live in a world in which people would step back and realize that torture, warrantless searches, and other blatant violations of longstanding law are wrong, counterproductive, and contrary to our best ideals. Likewise, it would be delightful to live in a world in which violent Islamists would step back and realize that attacking non-Muslims is wrong and that enshrining worldwide Sharia is not a worthy goal, either morally or practically.

We do not live in that world. Here on this planet, we have the depraved extremists we have, not the more moderate replacements we would prefer to have. The arguments and reasons have been laid out for all to see, and these have done their share of persuading. Those reasons should continue to be presented forcefully and unapologetically in the good-faith hope that crazy people will find the error of their ways.

Meanwhile, for the sake of those who have already been persuaded and are attempting to live in a more civilized world for all, the unpersuaded fringe of crazies will require harsher measures, beginning with shunning and shaming.

For the more obdurate and clear-cut cases, it calls for their due day in court, or that failing, a bullet through the head.

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