Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ezra Klein misses the point, but then--hey--isn't that what he's there for?

He writes thus about health insurance reform protesters:

What we're seeing here is not merely distrust in the House health-care reform bill. It's distrust in the political system. A healthy relationship does not require an explicit detailing of the "institutional checks" that will prevent one partner from beating or killing the other. In a healthy relationship, such madness is simply unthinkable. If it was not unthinkable, then no number of institutional checks could repair that relationship. Similarly, the relationship between the protesters and the government is not healthy. The protesters believe the government capable of madness. There is no evidence for that claim, which means that there is no answer for it, either. That claim is not about what is in this bill, or what government has done in Medicare and Medicaid and the VA. It is about what a certain slice of Americans think their government -- and by extension, their fellow citizens -- capable of.

It is perhaps worth reminding Mr Klein (or at least those of his readers to whom some semblance of history is important) of:

The US government's culpability in the Tuskegee Syphillis Experiment.

The US Army's LSD experiments and the US military's intentional exposure of troops to radiation during atomic testing.

The US government's role in the involuntary sterilization of thousands of Native American women in the 1970s.

The US government's conscious decision in the late 1800s to kill off all the buffalo herds in North America to force Native Americans onto reservations because they would starve if they did not go.

The US government's role in overthrowing the legally elected government of Guatemala and the assassination of Chilean President Salvadore Allende.

The US government's continuing war on drugs which now has our country having a larger percentage of the population incarcerated than communist China.

The US government's clandestine programs to help former SS officers and other war criminals from Nazi Germany to enter this country illegally, assume new identities, and avoid prosecution for war crimes.

The US government's illegal expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos.

The US government's direct military support of regimes that tortured and killed their peaceful political opposition in places like pre-revolutionary Iran, Honduras, and South Vietnam.

The US government has repeatedly, throughout American history beginning in 1798, attempted to curb freedom of the press and even freedom of speech at pretty much the drop of a hat.

I could go on, but you get the point and--unfortunately--Mr Klein never will.

For all the Truthers, Birthers, and Deathers out there I generally have intellectual contempt. Why? Because they believe the government capable of almost flawlessly executed multi-layered conspiracies that are carefully hidden for decades if not longer.

The truth is this: government malfeasance is normally exceptionally venal, poorly conceived, and badly hidden.

Klein's idiotic statement-- In a healthy relationship, such madness is simply unthinkable. If it was not unthinkable, then no number of institutional checks could repair that relationship--bespeaks a complete failure to understand the curbs on and protections against government power built into the US Constitution.

In Mr Klein's sparsely inhabited intellectual world, there is no need for a First Amendment, because to believe that the government would attempt to suppress dissident political speech is unhealthy.

In Mr Klein's PeeWee Hermann fantasy world, there is no need for a Fourth Amendment, because to believe that police officers would ever conduct illegal searches is to be in a state of mind that requires medication.

In Mr Klein's rather limited view of the US government, the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, and the torture of prisoners are apparently my own paranoid delusions, because only the mentally unhealthy would ever believe that agents of the government could do such things.

Such is the quality and intellectual power of the one of the best-known Statist apologists.


Hube said...

One correction: Salvador Allende was the Chilean president, not Argentinian.

Steve Newton said...

Oops. Corrected.

Bowly said...

You forgot slavery and Jim Crow, among others.

I've never understood how Klein rose to the level he's at. He's always struck me as worse than a fool. There's even been a term coined (not by me): "Klein boggle". I hope it catches on.

townie 76 said...


You forgot one point on why government can never run a conspiracy, no one in the government can keep their mouth shut!