Monday, December 6, 2010


I came across the following articles on the Salon online-magazine site. They struck me as interesting especially since this is a site with a significant ‘women’s issues’ bent, although it not a narrow advocacy site.

Glenn Greenwald, the Constitutional lawyer who maintains an acute column on public affairs for the magazine, observes that a number of ‘conservative’ voices – many highly placed – are now seeking to tar Julian Assange the WikiLeaks founder as some sort of “new Osama bin Laden” who can in all good conscience be termed a “terrorist”.*

Greenwald says “to accomplish that they’re actually advocating – somehow with a straight face – the theory that if a single person is harmed by these disclosures, then it proves Assange and WikiLeaks are evil monsters who deserve the worst fates one can conjure … that is what the permanent National Security State has spawned”. He continues then to observe that even the Secretary of Defense “disdained hysterical warnings about the damage caused as “significantly overwrought”.

To many readers – and surely Greenwald has to keep an eye on the magazine’s demographics – this may seem the consequences of an engorged National Security State.

But the SO community will recognize the queasy fingerprints of Victimology all over this type of ‘if even only one’ approach; in order to garner all kinds of support for even the most dubious ‘emergencies’, ‘outrages’ and ‘programs’ the gambit was not to consider how widespread the alleged problem might be but rather how monstrously damaging even a single instance might be (thus justifying the demands for eradication or what-have-you).

As you may well imagine, this results in a bias toward the sensationalistic and the overblown and the manipulative (you have to make even a single instance seem soooooo baaaaad) and away from the deliberative (let’s think about this), the analytical (is this really that bad?), and the prudent (is it actually workable to try to eradicate this?)

This is not to say that the New Left invented Victimology; it was Hitler’s genius, as he slyly ate his way step-by-step through the surrounding countries, that Germany was always cast by the propaganda machine as the victim in the matter: the Czechs were oppressing the Sudeten Germans, the Poles were violently despoiling German nationals (women and children, of course), the Russians were both Slavs and Communists threatening Germany’s Western values, and the Jews – oy – were by their very existence a threat to the integrity and vitality of German-hood.

It actually seems as if Victimology – which got its big boost after World War 2 and as some sort of effort to use the United Nations apparatus as a way of quickly spreading its doctrines throughout the nations of the world – had tried to ‘baptize’ the old Nazi propaganda in a ‘good’ cause.

Which reminds me of the great mistake that was not made when – in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” – representatives of the free peoples of Middle Earth gather in secret conference at Rivendell to decide what to do with the one Ring of Power. There is a temptation to try to use it for their own good purposes. But saner and wiser and more realistic heads prevail: the Ring is evil and answers to only one Master – the evil Sauron – and cannot be used by the well-intentioned nor can it be turned to good: sooner or later, the effects of whatever the Ring might be used to accomplish will prove themselves to be destructive and dangerous and evil. Thus the free peoples cannot use the Ring, tempting as it may appear to be that close to so much ‘power’ that surely must be able to be turned to ‘good’ purposes.

Untruth, I would say, is certainly a candidate to represent what the Ring stands for: tempting as it may seem for people and governments to wield it in ‘good’ causes, Untruth answers to only one Master and can ultimately only produce evil effects; it cannot be ‘baptized’, as it were. Nor is there any human strong enough to overcome Untruth’s essentially evil core-power: it will work its evil consequences no matter how well-intentioned the use to which eager humans try to put it.

Victimology – and surely Saul Alinsky – figured that there was a way for them to deploy the Ring (Untruth) in the service of a ‘good’ intention. So too the New Left and, with the speedbumps and firewalls of public integrity and civic competence and Constitutionality all punctured or worn-away, the jingo Right. Until things have gotten to the point now We are sore bethump’t both by the National Nanny State and the National Security State.

Nor do I apologize for using what is technically classified as ‘fantasy literature’ to shed light on all too real world and national events. Anybody who has read the assorted Findings and assertions that ground the SO Mania Regime knows that in the realm of national affairs – domestic as well as foreign – We passed into the realm of fantasy quite some time ago.

A second piece currently up on Salon discusses recent additions to Idaho’s “rape by fraud” laws. That state is trying to enhance its sex-laws to cover women who are, it appears, tricked into having sex by a person who masquerades as their husband. At present, apparently, it is against state law for a husband to try to somehow trick his wife into having sex, but it is not against the law for a sex-partner who is not-the-woman’s husband to deceive her into thinking she is having sex with her husband.

(Yes, I know – read the article for what further clarity there might be.)

The ‘situation’ that ‘demands’ expansion of the sex-offense laws in Idaho is the first interesting bit in this article: this is what happens when you try to bring the criminal law into the complexities of humans’ intimate relations, especially in a cultural context where you have pretty much assured that the younger and more sexually-driven are assured that all sex is liberation and that there is no morality or integrity except what you want and decide for yourself.

But the second interesting bit is to read the Comments sent in by readers: there is, even on this Salon site, a significant amount of – to put it politely – skepticism about the whole rape-by-fraud initiative. Which gets me to wondering just how many people support the SO Mania Regime any longer.

And lastly, there is on this same site a piece on the dangers of a new type of Barbie doll that contains a small camera and USB port and somehow can be used by owners who want to use the doll as a camera. The FBI, apparently, mentioned in an internal document the possible ‘dangers’ of the doll somehow making it easier for – wait for it – “pedophiles” to … well, to do something.

Decently, the article quotes at great length and supportively a former FBI agent who specialized in these matters to the effect that the threat is greatly overstated and that every new piece of technology, even in toys, could be hypothetically spun as a fresh danger to this or to that.

And again, the Comments are interesting because so many of them are equally level-headed and sober, and skeptical of the ‘threat’ potential.

Straws in the wind – but food for thought.


*This link will take you to a list of his recent articles. Scroll down to the entry for December 1st, entitled “The Moral Standards of WikiLeaks”.

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