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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Proud to be frightened

I admit it. I'm a frightened little coward. There's nothing wrong with that. You can't truly be a patriotic American these days unless you're as frightened as a neocon in a room full of Army recruiters. It's the central organizing feature of conservative politics.

The NRA was built on cowardice. They've become one of this nation's most powerful lobbying groups by fighting such things as trigger locks, armor-piercing ammunition bans, and background checks on the basis that such measures would interfere with a person's ability to defend his or her home against criminals.

Think about that for a minute. How often do home invasions occur? You have to be one frightened puppy to buy into that kind of rhetoric. I am that frightened. That's why I have as many loaded guns lying around my house as I have gladiator movies on my shelves. It may not be rational, but by God, it's Second Amendment patriotic.

Constitutional law professors like Eugene Volokh at UCLA and Alan Dershowitz at Harvard proudly declare their support for torture. Just last week, Dershowitz waxed orgasmic on the value of inserting sterilized needles under the fingernails of suspected evildoers. On Wednesday, Volokh's id was prominantly on display in a post where he suggested that beating people to death could be very satisfying. In an exercise of conlibertarian cowardice rivaling anything originating out of the Executive Office Building, he later backed off after being thoroughly chastised by Beatitude Jesus worshiping Frenchmen.

For nearly four years, we have held an American citizen, Jose Padilla, in solitary confinement without charging him for a crime. Those who have spoken out against this denial of habeas corpus have been ridiculed and branded as being weak and unpatriotic--they simply don't feel the fear that consumes real patriots like myself.

Five years ago, no respectable person would dare to even think that Americans should employ torture or eliminate due process. September Eleventh changed everything. It turned us into a nation of timid, frightened, but still manly, little bunnies. We have become so afraid of extremely rare acts terrorism, we are now eagerly disposing of our most cherished democratic values.

Yes, I'm frightened, but that's what makes me a better American than you.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.