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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sara Robinson, - 'Moral Clarity'

That phrase "moral clarity" -- conservatives use it a lot. And it always sounds absurd to progressive ears, coming as it does from members of an administration that shredded the Constitution, deprived people of due process, committed horrific acts of torture and lied the country into the worst military debacle in its history.

This was brought home to me over the holidays, when I devoured J. Peter Scoblic's U.S. Vs. Them as part of my vacation reading. Scoblic's book looks at the way the conservative penchant for "othering" (a word I coined to describe their perpetual need for someone to project their own demons onto, and then hate on) has shaped U.S. foreign policy from the beginning of the Cold War through the Bush administration.

Throughout the book, Scoblic traces the roots of this recurring phrase -- "moral clarity" -- and discusses the very specific and narrowly defined meaning it has to conservatives.

"Moral clarity" is why conservatives hate summit meetings; why they've scuttled every attempt at arms control and nonproliferation; why every problem in the world can only yield to a military solution; and why defense is the only valid government expense.


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