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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Democratic totalitarianism

By Hume's Ghost

"... there is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods ... These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won’t stop at Fascists." - George Orwell, The Freedom of the Press

The strength and importance of How Would A Patriot Act? as a polemic is that it lays out a clear and easy to follow case that the Bush administration, acting on radical legal theory developed by John Yoo, has claimed for itself unlimited executive power to prosecute an indefinite "war on terror." Glenn develops this central premise by going through various administration scandals - the use of torture, imprisonment of US citizens without due process, NSA domestic surveillance in violation of the law, etc - and relating how they follow logically from John Yoo's belief that nothing, not Congress, nor the Courts, can limit the president's power to act in the name of national security.

Yet, despite this being, frankly, clear as day, there are still many who just don't see a problem with it. These are the people who believe in democracy in principle, but in practice, not so much. They are able to rationalize the administration's totalitarian methods of prosecuting the "war on terror" for two reasons: 1) they lack sympathy for anyone designated a terrorist target and 2) they fail to see the use of totalitarian tactics as a threat to themselves, they see it as a kind of benign, virtuous act necessary to defend democracy.--------------
read the rest here...Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Democratic totalitarianism


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