Saturday, August 26, 2006

Truly Repugnant

Wow, I'm in a bit of shock. In the last week, or so, I've sent you to two different sites that I've thought were worth your time (well, more than two, but I'm thinking of these specifically.) One was a non-partisan, positive examination of what the two main political parties stand for, an excellent example of how someone can be objective and fair politically. The other was a painful thought exercise in how to combat terrorists' use of children as targets and shields in their jihad, concluding that it is our love for children that makes them valuable tools to terrorists. It was a discussion of what the most moral approach to this conflict is, to let the terrorists win because we cannot harm the children around them, or to save many more children by eliminating their value as shields and thus, hopefully, leading the terrorists to abandon that strategy. The later wasn't pleasant, and I was uncomfortable with recommending it, but I did because I saw value in what the author was trying to do--find answers to the problem of how we protect ourselves from the people who have declared war on us, while counting the cost of that defense. The post I'm going to send you to today is another thought exercise, but is actually the antithesis of what I found valuable in both of the pieces I already mentioned. It is neither objective, nor fair, and while in a way it purports to suggest answers to some of our problems as a nation, it is willing to consider such offensive means, and is so unrealistic in its conclusions, that its premise seems completely callous, and any morality to this "thought exercise" becomes lost to me.

Let me explain. The author, Russell Shaw, at Huffington Post, claims to pray that America doesn't get hit with another terrorist attack. He says even one life lost to terrorism is too many, but then he goes on to calculate all the political good that would come from such an attack. He trots out all the things that the current administration is doing wrong in his estimation, and figures the mathematical chances that, if we get hit again, enough voters would switch their ballots away from Republicans, making sure the next president isn't from that party. After that, he goes on to list all lives that will be saved, and the things that will get fixed just because no Republican is in the White House. They are as follows: no death by back-alley abortion, hundreds of thousands of lives saved by virtue of universal health care, cleaner air standards so people don't die of heart and lung disease (I'm assuming this is also after they start making us eat healthier), more mass transit to lower deaths from car accidents, gun control that would prevent thousands of deaths caused by crime, stem cell research that would save millions (just by virtue of government dollars--remember, embryonic stem cell research is legal, just not federally funded), raising the minimum wage (essentially to stop deaths by violent crime), less warmongering which costs soldiers lives and causes terrorism.

There are so many things wrong with his reasoning, on so many levels, that I'm having trouble containing my thoughts. He's basically drawing the conclusion that another terrorist attack on American soil would solve all our problems, all of which exist, apparently, because Republicans are in political power. Never mind the fact that every "good" he posits is in itself a debatable issue, with many complicating factors, and moral conundrums. Never mind the fact that Democrats have had their opportunities to enact many of his "goods" and they failed to do so, or, when they did succeed is passing them, the action failed to do what was expected. (For example, raising the minimum wage has never stopped violent crime before. What makes him think it would succeed this time?) Never mind that he uses some cheap tricks like lumping "stem cell research" into one giant category, ignoring that adult stem cell research is funded with federal dollars, just not the kind that uses embryos. What blows me away is how he has this whole list of lives that would be saved, by virtue of eliminating Republican power, if we had another terrorist attack, and doesn't even deal at all with the question of terrorism itself, the fact that, until we defeat them, terrorists will keep attacking, or at least keep trying to. Some of these lives that he's planning on saving once the Reps are out of power may very well be lost to more terrorist attacks, after the one that Shaw's praying against, but can kinda, sorta see the good in.

We are at war with an enemy who wants us ALL dead, not just the Republicans. There is no room for hoping we lose a bit, just so another guy can get elected. That goes beyond petty, in my estimation. It is morally repugnant. We can debate our political differences all we want, and let the voters decide with whom they agree. We can talk about whether universal health care is feasible, and argue over abortion and embryonic stem cell research till we are blue in the face, but we should never, ever, even consider the terrorists being successful in their quest for murder as being a potential political boon. To do so is to show standards so low that he loses all credibility, no matter how worthy any of his other ideas might be. The ends do not justify these means. What he's saying is the equivalent of "If I can't get the voters to agree with me, and do what I think is best, then blow a few of 'em up. Maybe a terrorist attack will bring them around." Truly repugnant.

Hat tip: Instapundit