Torture and Today’s “Conservatism”
I put myself generally in a category of conservative thinkers on the basis of the absolute nature of our Founding Documents. That means that over time I have engaged increasingly less in supporting GOP rhetoric. In fact, I now isolate myself from supporting GOP positions purely on the basis of party stance, because the GOP is destroying itself with self contradiction.
Correct conservative thought coincides with the concept of individual liberty, and supports only that which which favors individualism and therefore Constitutionalism.
The infliction of torture falls within a pattern of thought which would deny individuals the basic constitutionally defined right to compassionate treatment. It is evil. Torture is one area in which I and the GOP (and the CIA) do not see eye to eye. Torture is pure evil. A right to inflict torture upon the accused is not and should not be a political issue. It is a moral issue.
The 8th Amendment
By the authority of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted upon the accused.
Just so you don’t have to look it up yourself, here are the exact words of that Amendment:
“Amendment 8 Rights of Accused. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Why, might we suppose, did the Founders include this Amendment? Is it possible that certain supporters of the American Revolution underwent cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of King George’s thugs? Is it possible that the roles now might appear to be reversed, but that there is possibly yet another parallel with Original Intent and what is going on politically in the world today?
To anyone who claims that the right not to be tortured belongs only to American citizens, may I point out that the Declaration of Independence clearly states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,….” ?
It says ALL men, and not just Americans. ALL men. And that’s also why they chose the word “inalienable”. Rights belong to your conscious being. Rights are a part of you, and cannot be removed from you any more than your heart or your brain could be removed from you. Your rights ARE you.
To claim then, that human beings who are not American citizens have no inalienable Rights to exercise while on US soil is completely irrational and self contradictory. It is, in fact, to claim that those who are not Americans are not to be classified as “men”, in the sense that the Declaration of Independence uses that word.
One popular false belief that would lead to the conclusion that torture of non Americans is constitutional, is the belief that the Constitution “granted” inalienable rights to men, specifically to Americans. The Constitution did not “grant” rights to anyone. It simply “enumerates” those rights. It spells them out, as they ARE. It enumerates them for ALL men. Don’t forget the meaning of that word “inalienable”. The Declaration itself states that it is SELF EVIDENT that truth applies to ALL men.
If it were true that inalienable rights were granted only to Americans, then foreigners do not count, and have therefore no rights on our soil. But if rights ARE self evidently inalienable for ALL men, as is clearly spelled out in the Declaration, the only way anyone could be excluded from exercising their rights would be for the accused to be counted outside of the grouping called “men”.
We are all Human Beings
Taking this to a logical conclusion, those who support torture have come to the conclusion that its deserving recipients are less than human. I disagree.
If we are all human, it is a self contradictory position that inalienable rights do not belong to some, or that they can only apply at certain times, and in certain locations.
Many are also enraged about the heinous nature of the terrorism carried out by the accused, and appear to be using this as a justification for torture. This is an “eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth” mentality. The heinousness of the accused crime is a totally independent subject from the infliction of torture upon the accused, of whom it is possible may be many innocent parties. The heinous nature of terrorism must never be made an excuse for making exception to the absolute truths in our Founding Documents, documents which recognize that rights can be taken from no man.
No Emotional Fervor Please
Is this the spirit of the American way? Are exceptions to be made to the truths contained in our founding documents because there is great political and emotionally charged fervor driving the feeling?
Emotional fervor lacks principle, compassion, and logic, and can drive groups of human beings to support ad justify evil. Allowing ourselves to be run over by the unthinking emotion of reactionary evil is not befitting of what America’s so-called Christian supporters claims as a Christian nation. It is self contradictory, just like the GOP.