Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bin Laden Delande Est

As a young man, I can't help but be surprised that Evil has been vanquished so many times in my comparatively brief lifetime. Even more impressive is that each display of vulgar triumphalism displayed by the shallow jingoes that increasingly make up the national political class manages to surpass the last one.

The murder (as shooting an unarmed dialysis patient twice in the head was once called) of Osama bin Laden is a particularly instructive case. Capitol courtiers, very much including "progressives" of all stripes, are positively beside themselves with glee due to the death of this man. From The Onion to The New York Times, unrestrained glee at history's most powerful empire pulling off a successful slaying in the outer provinces is the story of the day. The Times's Maureen Dowd goes above and beyond by (glowingly) comparing the 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate to Don Corleone, but she's still very much in line with the dominant theme.

It is an embarrassing sign of the times that I have to point out that I am not a supporter of Bin Laden or Al Qaeda, either the actual man and organization or the bizarre mythical constructs into which they have evolved in American consciousness. But as slurs to that effect are now even coming from self-identified anarchists (who just happen to exult in the violent use of state power -- no contradicton there!), one must be on the record. To put it as succinctly as I can, I do not support the use of violence to achieve one's ends regardless of whether those ends may be justified. I do not support such violence regardless of whether it is practiced by kooky religious fundamentalists with foreign names and silly beards or by suave Harvard-educated gentlemen with whom I can easily imagine sharing a nice snifter of brandy after a Brahms concert.

One just doesn't go around killing people. If, for some reason, said killing is simply unavoidable, one can at least avoid gloating.

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