07 November 2006

Why the Republicans deserve to lose



Libertarians such as myself have mixed feelings about Bush and the neocons. Yes, they embody some elements of the free market philosophy. And anti-Bush rants always seem to come from people one dislikes. But it is a pretty dumbed down version of free markets, and there are also distinctly pro-state elements which have been coming more to the fore since 9/11.

I was aware that the Republicans' views on torture were ambiguous at best. But reading the following in this week's issue of The Week broke the camel's back. I realise the Democrats are unlikely to work out any better (look at the anti-libertarian tone of Labour since in power) but my emotional reaction to reading this is to make me hope the Republicans suffer a massive setback in today's elections. Not that anyone is likely to see it as a blow against torture.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has been widely criticised for apparently advocating the use of waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that involves tying suspects to a board, with their feet higher than their head, and pouring water across their faces, so that they feel as though they are drowning. In a radio interview, host Scott Hennen asked Cheney to comment on the proposition that waterboarding was a "no-brainer" if it would save lives. "Well, it's a no-brainer for me," Cheney replied.
As a paid up member of the Grumpy Sod Club, I try to avoid using the d-word, but have to here: this is disgusting. Another sign of the death of free market conservatism, and its replacement by a more authoritarian version. Torture should never be regarded as acceptable.

More about the creeping legitimisation of violence, and why the phrase "no-brainer" should be banned, to follow.