Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Better than them

 I saw this here
 
 
We are better than them. When all the other arguments for why we can't fight back have been exhausted this is the one that remains in the background presenting our moral exceptionalism as the reason we shouldn't fight to protect ourselves.
"Fight back? But then we'd be no better than them?" If we waterboard then we are no better than the headchoppers and mutilators. If we profile then we are no better than the genocidal jihadists. If we treat our friendly Pakistani and Saudi visitors the way they would have been treated a century ago-- then we would be guilty of being un-American.
But is that really the difference between us, that we treat everyone equally even when they are cutting our throats, and the moment we deviate from the standards of the Trial Lawyers Association then we're no better than the Taliban or Al-Qaeda? Does our exceptionalism derive from our laws, in which case if we compromise our laws then we given up the only worthwhile thing about us and there is nothing more to fight for-- or are our laws the means by which we protect our individual and national exceptionalism?
We are better than they are, is the argument put forward so often by those who do not truly believe that we are, and even when they do they don't understand why we are.  The Bill of Rights did not spring full-grown out of a barbaric culture, nor did any of the same judicial rulings and quotes so often used by advocates of the 10 percent defense plan.
We are not better than they are because we guarantee civil rights to our enemies-- we are better than they are because of Michelangelo, the microchip and universal education. We are better than they are because of Shakespeare, the space shuttle and the World Trade Center. We are better for all the reasons around us, the accomplishments, the achievements, the knowledge we have gained and the society we have built.
Our laws were crafted to protect these achievements, the exceptionalism of the individual from the government, and that of the nation from internal and external enemies. The laws have no individual life apart from the culture of the nation that created them and maintains them. It would be possible to transpose the United States Constitution to Indonesia, Libya or Pakistan and it wouldn’t last a single day there. No mere document can safeguard rights and freedoms that a culture does not value, and no culture that does not value them is deserving of their protection if such protection has the cumulative effect of destroying those same rights and freedoms.

No comments:

Post a Comment