Sunday, March 13, 2005

JEANNE AT BODY AND SOUL has written a not-to-be-missed piece about doing evil things in the name of fighting terror; about how it affects her emotionally; and about how it affects all Americans when terrible acts are committed in our name, and we deny them, ignore them, or even enjoy them.

Quoting Mark Shea of Crisis Magazine on why torture is a moral absolute (i.e., torturing is always evil and never justifiable), Jeanne says:

A culture of abuse doesn't stay in the box.

In fact, I'd take that argument much farther. The problem isn't just that certain people, already prone to that sin, will be given license to practice it and won't know when to stop. Evil isn't something that exists over there in the other guy, but not in me. Whatever penchant for cruelty exists in each of us will come to the surface. And at some point you end up with a country in which people can look at pictures of abuse, read about men beaten while hanging from the ceiling, or children raped and set upon by guard dogs, and move on, perhaps even find some sick enjoyment in the spirit of vengeance. They won't react to the evil done by their leaders. They won't care. Or worse, they will approve.

Maybe we're already there, in which case this is less a matter of politics than of saving souls. I can't think of any effective political response to this situation. There's no way to "frame" abuse so that people who don't care will care. The only way to talk about it is -- with or without religious language -- as the most important moral issue we face.

This is blogging at its very best, and the answer to traditional media pundits who question what blogs have to offer. Read it. You will be glad you did.

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