On this season of Fox’s “24”, Jack Bauer continues to be pummeled for his insistence that torture is a viable mechanism to get vital information out of a terrorist, especially when the timeliness of that information is critical to preventing a terrorist attack.
In last week’s episode, the White House was attacked and the President is taken hostage, all because they chose to stick by their ‘ideals’ rather than continuing a torturous interrogation of a key player who was about to give up the location of the imminent attack.
Characters in high ranking government positions are being forced to ask themselves the question, “Does this betray our American ideals?” and “At what cost of life and property do we hold onto our ‘ideals’?”
Much political hay was made of the CIA harsh interrogation techniques – torture – in recent political campaigns. This significant issue was used often and harshly by Democrats against Republicans who were even remotely tied to President Bush in this recent election. By now, everyone has been beaten down so hard by this issue that they’ve run for political cover wherever they could find it, and the idea that we should do “whatever it takes” to protect America has fallen in the wastebasket of political correctness.
I’m not necessarily making an argument for or against torture… just pointing this out as a prelude to the real meat and potatoes of this post…
Our country is now facing an economic crisis, the enormity of which is still being uncovered, and the question I ask you is: what of our ideals are we willing to compromise to resolve it?
This country has a rich legacy of self-sufficiency, efficiency, and capitalism. We have been the world’s engine of innovation and invention. Even the stuff that was invented or discovered elsewhere has only been successful due to the marketing, packaging, and commercialization of it here in the United States.
Yet we keep pushing our country further and further toward socialism. The federal government is the largest enterprise in the world, with a 16 trillion dollar annual budget. We pay benefits and social programs to our citizens for health care, retirement, unemployment, etc. The taxpayers provide for at least some aspects of almost every American citizen’s daily life.
We have issued billions upon billions of dollars which have been called ‘stimulus’ or ‘bail outs’, but which are quickly turning into government takeovers and socialization of the financial sector of our country. In fact, it looks like it might even become cheaper to just pay the American people directly rather than propping up their failing financial institutions and corporations.
I am the furthest thing from a libertarian. I actually think that there are things only a government can do, that private industry has no business doing (security being the first and foremost). However, I don’t think government can or should do everything. The government was intentionally created to move slowly, so that no despot could come in and make wholesale changes overnight. Ever heard of checks and balances?
So which ideals are you willing to give away to get out of this crisis sooner? Do we nationalize banks? Nationalize the auto industry? What happens in the next crisis then? Who chooses the winners and losers? Everyone seems to go bonkers when we refuse to torture a known terrorist to get information vital to our national security, but we seem to all be fine with selling ourselves, our companies, and our future to a monolithic, proscriptive federal government. Why are we not just a little more hesitant on that?