The Bikecast Episode #14: This is Insane. This is Monstrous. This is Deeply Evil.
This podcast is the distillation of alot of thought–mostly other peoples’. I hope it’s coherent. I’ll try to supplement it adequately with this post.
This post started with a friend pointing me at a new york times article on the “concerns” some legal scholars had about the president putting a hit out on an American citizen. Read the article if you’re interested in the non-sense logic puzzles that pass for modern jurisprudence. I’d been made aware of the case by Chris Floyd and Glen Greenwald, who provide some moral clarity in their analysis.
20 years of public education has left my mind susceptible to this kind of sensationalism: the american government assassinating an american citizen!? Without due process, presentation of evidence, trial by jury!?! Luckily, my life partner has a far deeper grounding in reality than do I. She pointed out that the state can do whatever it want to anyone all the time. Weren’t people being murdered by the military every day? Did they get trials? Why be more alarmed by a hit ordered on an adult who has declared enmity to the government of the united states than the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of children killed by the last 20 years of US foreign policy?
Then yesterday, I read this story about a seven year old girl set on fire and then shot by police while she slept. This shit happens every day. Really. Every day.
Finally, putting a nice bow on it, are several very recent Arthur Silber articles. Because he’s chronically in tremendous pain, he posts less frequently than he once did. A great use of an afternoon or a month is reading his archives. Anything he writes is not to be missed. In particular, this caught my attention:
Consider again the nature of the subjects under discussion: the immense evil of torture (“Lies in the Service of Evil” might help make the nature of that evil clearer to you), and Obama’s claim that he has the “right” to assassinate anyonewithout judicial process or evidence of any kind whatsoever, simply because he says so . . . be brave enough finally to state the truth, at least in what should be the sacred space of your own mind:
This is insane.
This is monstrous.
This is deeply, unforgivably, irredeemably evil.
It’s deeply troubling that Arthur’s statement is considered radical. It’s radical when applied to one human ordering the summary execution of another. It’s considered radical when applied to entire villages being vaporized. It’s considered radical in reference to little girls set on fire and shot to death by police.
What the fuck is wrong with us that we can’t point to these events and agree that they are insane, monstrous and evil? How sociopathic must our culture be that soldiers and police are cheered as heroes and the institutions that send them on their killing sprees are nominated time-and-time-again as the righteous solutions to all the problems of humanity?
Human progress–real, sustainable progress–relies on the recognition of the monstrosity of all violence. Anyone worth associating with understands the evil of violence between non-uniformed non badge holding humans. What prevents the otherwise morally clear from seeing the exact same evil when it claims the authority of the state?
The time will come when those cheering on violence will be shouted down and the insanity will be seen by a critical mass of people for the evil that it is. Thank you to the vanguard who are shouting now, you are the pathfinders of humanity’s future.