Terminological inexactitude

Rick Santorum thinks that human beings are things that you’re allowed to break. He cannot therefore properly be called either a Christian or a conservative.

Alleged Christian conservative Rick “man-on-dog” Santorum, explaining the subtleties of torture for the benefit of torture survivor John McCain:

He doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative.

Let’s ignore the morals and the facts here, and concentrate on the language. If you think that human beings are things that you’re allowed to break, you cannot properly be called either a “Christian” or a “conservative.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

21 thoughts on “Terminological inexactitude”

  1. Amen. It can’t be said often enough. Maybe we need to be saying it at the Democrats though?

  2. Yes, indeed they become cooperative. They’ll say anything you want them to say.

    “I’m a witch. My sister’s a witch, too.”
    “I poisoned the wells – that’s what’s causing the Plague.”
    “I sabotaged the Five-Year Plan’s goals for tractor production. With the help of Commissar X – he’s a traitor, too.”

    It’s a great way to get people to talk, as long as you really don’t care if what they say is true.

  3. I just don’t understand, these Republicans keep digging deeper and deeper trenches of hypocrisy for themselves, but someone (the media?) seems to backfill & leave them no worse off in the public eye. Or maybe there’s something wrong with the public eye. It’s exasperating.

  4. Don’t forget, the pro-torture claim du jour is that KSM’s interrogators asked him, under torture, to confirm the identity of Bin Laden’s courier. KSM denied it, which served as confirmation. Clearly, torture works!

  5. The context of the two sentences is remarkable for me:

    The first sentence says that someone who was tortured doesn’t understand torture. The second sentence says that torture works. This man is morally bankrupt.

    Lord! save us from your followers!

  6. The R’s keep promoting torture because the public likes it. It’s the basest of pandering to the lowest urges, plain & simple. When the “bad guys” get tortured, our side wins. The syllogism is quite easy enough for even a 4th grade education.

  7. I particularly like Santorum’s saying that McCain “doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.” Oh really?

  8. I only wish I could see McCain beat the crap out of Slimy Santorum with his dislocated arms.

  9. Henry is right, of course. But you’ve got to give McCain props for coming out forcefully now. He didn’t have to do that.

  10. The purpose of torture is that it allows a certain segment of the population to feel better about itself. It works. More importantly, its use marks victory over the ‘near enemy’ even if it leaves the ‘far enemy’ untouched.

  11. I agree with Pol Foot that we needn’t turn Mr. McCain into a hero on this. McCain is a butthead in a hundred different ways. But, to hear Rick F’ing Santorum yacking that McCain “doesn’t understand enhanced interrogation.” Oy, the mind reals

  12. “If you think that human beings are things that you’re allowed to break, you cannot properly be called either a “Christian” or a “conservative.””

    Good point, which is why no pro-choicer can be called either a “Christian” or a “conservative.”

  13. Bux,
    Depends on what you consider a human being. Pro-choicers pretty much have to be assuming that embryos aren’t human beings. Busheviks pretty much have to be assuming that swarthy types in captivity aren’t human beings. Are you equating the two? I suppose so.

  14. “If you think that human beings are things that you’re allowed to break, you cannot properly be called either a “Christian” or a “conservative.””

    Bad point. Lots of conservatives think that.

  15. The problem with the Allies was that they just didn’t understand how genocide works. Once you kill off a group you don’t like, they’re not around to bother you anymore.

  16. Bux: I am pro-choice, and I do think fetuses are human. They are not “people” though, and more to the point for me, they are inside someone else’s body, and therefore, not properly a subject for legislation or state power. Is that libertarian enough for you?

    And I suppose you support birth contol and sex ed (ie prevention), right? Oh wait …

    And don’t bother responding, I can’t believe I got sucked into this and now I have to go to the office where I can’t post. For the record, abortion is pretty much not worth discussion anymore.

  17. Apropos Dan Staley’s comment:

    Perhaps this is the group to ask about a historical factoid I remember reading as a child, but have been unable to find since then. Back when the inquisition was, uh, putting native americans to the question as part of the larger conversion effort, the story goes that one person was offered the chance to be baptized before his execution. He asked what the good of that would be and was told that if he died in a state of grace his soul would be saved. To which he replied, “Are there more christians in heaven?”

    For all I know it was just anti-catholic propaganda, but if so Santorum is life imitating art.

  18. Have to disagree with Mark here. With his torture statement, Santorum is a Christian conservative, merely one caught in a rare honest moment.

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