Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Libertarians and Liberals

I found this genius piece via (insert name of generic left wing website here): The Real Reason That The Government Tortures Innocent People. I was curious because I wanted to know why our government tortures innocent people. Apparently, our government tortures innocent people in order to frighten the people and maintain control over the population. Which is probably why the government has gone to such lengths to deny the use of torture and keep information on the hows and whys of interrogation secret. After all, what's more scary than a secretive government, that, you know, frightens the people through, uhhhh, fear.

Or not. Here's the thing. Unlike some on the right, I think the issue of how far our interrogation techniques are allowed to go is a legitimate question, although not quite as important as who's being interrogated in the first place. But unlike some on the left (and some in libertarian circles) I have no need to get on my anti-torture high horse in some sort of grand political gesture. But we so have documented cases of some nasty interrogation techniques that were used on individuals who were subsequently released, so it's not an issue that should be brushed aside. But the brief little piece linked to above is about as nonsensical as it gets and it just feeds the delusions of the conspiracy minded types who find evil in everything done by the Bush administration.

This is exactly why sane libertarian types are right and loony lefties are wrong. Libertarians who take a strong stand againast government interrogation policy and torture don't see an evil government at work, but an incompetent one that's probably watched a bit too much 24. The loony left sees evil in everything George Bush and the Republicans do, from war on terror policy to the war in Iraq. Again, where libertarians see multiple layers of incompetence, the loony left sees dark conspiracies afoot.

There are certainly crazies on the libertarian side too (Re: Some of Ron Paul's supporters), but at least such crazies believe that government can do no good. I think pretty much the same way, although I tend to chalk it up more to incompetence and simple economics more than anything else. Perhaps my biggest problem with the left is the strength of their belief that the government can fix all of our problems if we just get the right people in there. What's fascinating about that is that the left tends to apply the exact opposite argument when it comes to corporations- corporations do bad thing because they're a model driven by greed, not because some individuals in corporations make bad or wrong decisions.


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