Monday, December 19, 2005

Rush: Civil Liberties Don't Actually Matter?

I made the mistake of listening to Rush today. I was wondering whether or not he would call out Bush for this nefarious business about the wire-taps. I hoped that Rush would prove that he is more than a public relations fellow for the Republican Party. I was wrong.

Rather than criticize Bush for acting like a tryant by listening into the telephone conversations of average Americans, Rush actually defended the policy. Since I couldn't remember what he said word for word, I took a quote from his website.

We don't go to war to protect our civil liberties; we go to war to save our lives. Our civil liberties are worthless if we are dead. If we have all assumed room temperature, folks, our civil liberties don't count diddly-squat.

What happened to "better dead than red", El Rushbo? If Bush allows us to become a left-wing utopia to win the war on terror will Rush say anything then? Bush has made winning a war on terror--an impossibility--the goal of his administration. Evidently, Mr. Limbaugh agrees. As long as the terrorists don't win, civil liberties be damned.

There are two major problems with this line of thinking. First, if we lose all civil liberties, we are no longer a country worth defending. It does no good to defeat the terrorists abroad if our government is becoming tyranical at home.

The other problem with Rush's defense is that it is the furthest thing from conservative. It is entirely possible that Bush has only used his wire-tapping privelege to fight terrorism. Assuming this slightly large possibility exists, violation of civil liberties is still an idea that is anti-conservative.

For conservatives are frightful of the government. It is naive to think that Bush--you can hear the cheers from Rush, "he's on our side"--can be given a power and will give it back once the reason for the particular power is over. If Hillary becomes president with Patriot Act powers, it will be interesting to see if Limbaugh changes his tune.

Benjamin Franklin carries the day. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."


troutsky said...

It is not just Rush demonstrating the lack of ideological or intellectual consistency, I have been looking at conservative blogs and they are whining about the leak, making weak excuses about executive priveledge,hating Clinton and the NYTimes, all kinds of crappy apologetics that should disgust true conservatives.If there is such a thing anymore.There is no sense anymore that great principles transcend the issues of our little current circumstances or that history has any lessons for us at all.Hypocricy is the modern religion and affects both parties as you say.( parties are out,movements are in,and I just happen to have a great one if you want to join)

I do want to take exception to the idea in yesterdays post about Iraq that we must "finish now that we are there".This is a rationalization on the same order as "we must give the president unlimited power" because it too is based on a false dichotomy of Win/ Lose or finnish/quit.These are,quite frankly, sports analogies with all that implies, and the only sound option, in my opinion ,based on moral imperatives as well as practical reality is to apologize for our profound ineptness, promise it will never happen again and leave.There is no reliable predictor for exactly what will happen following this action but the idea that chaos inevitably follows is based on no evidence that I can discern.What we do have is knowledge that if our intent was to create a democracy it was incredibly botched, if our intent was to gain energy resources or strategic advantage at the expense of a society it was totally unethical.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

The reason I think we need to try to see the war through is simple. It comes down to a basic analysis of the pros/cons of pulling out versus sticking it out.

I'm not saying we need to stay there in perpetuity. However, if we pull out now, the lesson of Somalia will be repeated. If you hit America hard enough, she will break.

I do not know how likely it is that we will be able to set up a legitimate democracy in Iraq. I do know that now that we are there, it behooves us to hand things over to the Iraqis as soon as possible, and do so in good order.

The war was a mistake, but pulling out now will be tragic. I assume you can see that.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Pat Buchanan has an interesting take on this. He's opposed the war from the beginning, but he still thinks we need to see it through...