Thursday, December 27, 2007

Freedom is Slavery

I've not heard of the magazine calling itself The Amercian Conservative before, but for some reason they commissioned an article from Glenn Greenwald. But maybe the magazine means "conservative" in the pre-Bush sense; that is, at least in part, the idea that the government should keep its nose where it does not belong. This happens to be Greenwald's reason for being.

Anyway, their recent issue is dedicated to analyzing Rudy "Benito" Giuliani. As you can see from their cover...

... they don't think too highly of him.

Greenwald, needless to say, shares this opinion. Some excerpts:

As constrained as a mayor’s power typically is, Giuliani never ceased pushing those limits. In a 2001 retrospective on the mayor’s tenure, the New York Times concluded, “the suppression of dissent or of anything that irked the mayor, became a familiar theme.” Giuliani’s idiosyncratic—one could say Orwellian—understanding of “freedom,” expressed during a 1994 speech, reveals just how literally authoritarian his worldview is:

What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

This, you will note, has that Rove-ian flavor of taking reality and then: not skewing it, not spinning it somewhat one way or the other, but turning it exactly, 180 degrees on its head. Like when the public got overwhelmingly up in arms about the Iraq war, and elected war-opposing democrats in landslides, and the Preznit's response was... to escalate the war. Yes, as we all learned back in grade school, freedom is the willingness to cede a great deal of discretion about what you do. In fact, we are the freest when we cede all discretion about what we do. Cede it to whom? you might ask. To Rudy, of course.

Almost uniformly, Giuliani’s presidential campaign has been measured and highly disciplined, but he has had momentary lapses that expose the authoritarian impulses that New Yorkers know so well. In the midst of the September controversy over the ad criticizing Gen. David Petraeus, Giuliani opined that the antiwar group “passed a line that we should not allow American political organizations to pass.”
As you may remember, this political organization took out an ad. In a newspaper. And expressed an opinion that not everyone agreed with. This, citizens, is a line that we should not allow political organizations to pass.

In April, Cato Institute’s president, Ed Crane, asked several candidates if they believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens, on U.S. soil, and detain them with no review of any kind. National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru reported Giuliani’s response: “The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently.”
I suppose that's better than using it frequently. I mean, I smoke cigarettes infrequently. Infrequently, I will drink so much vodka that I drop my glass on the tile floor and puke in the sink. On the other hand, Ted Bundy infrequently picked up young girls, raped them, and deposited their mangled bodies in roadside ditches. You know, just once every few weeks.

If you're curious about life as a U.S. citizen under President Rudy Giuliani, let me paint you a paint you a picture: imagine a boot stomping on a human face, forever.

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