The lynch-mob mentality

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Contessa_Sharra, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    The lynch-mob mentality

    By Glenn Greenwald
    Salon

    If I had the power to have one statement of fact be universally recognized in our political discussions, it would be this one:
    The fact that the Government labels Person X a "Terrorist" is not proof that Person X is, in fact, a Terrorist.
    That proposition should be intrinsically understood by any American who completed sixth grade civics and was thus taught that a central prong of our political system is that government officials often abuse their power and/or err and therefore must prove accusations to be true (with tested evidence) before they're assumed to be true and the person punished accordingly. In particular, the fact that the U.S. Government, over and over, has falsely accused numerous people of being Terrorists -- only for it to turn out that they did nothing wrong -- by itself should compel a recognition of this truth. But it doesn't.

    All throughout the Bush years, no matter what one objected to -- illegal eavesdropping, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, denial of civilian trials -- the response from Bush followers was the same: "But these are Terrorists, and Terrorists have no rights, so who cares what is done to them?" What they actually meant was: "the Government has claimed they are Terrorists," but in their minds, that was the same thing as: "they are Terrorists." They recognized no distinction between "a government accusation" and "unchallengeable truth"; in the authoritarian's mind, by definition, those are synonymous. The whole point of the Bush-era controversies was that -- away from an actual battlefield and where the Constitution applies (on U.S. soil and/or towards American citizens wherever they are) -- the Government should have to demonstrate someone's guilt before it's assumed (e.g., they should have to show probable cause to a court and obtain warrants before eavesdropping; they should have to offer evidence that a person engaged in Terrorism before locking them in a cage, etc.). But to someone who equates unproven government accusations with proof, those processes are entirely unnecessary. Even in the absence of those processes, they already know that these persons are Terrorists. How do they know that? Because the Government said so. Even when it comes to their fellow citizens, that's all the "proof" that is needed.

    That authoritarian mentality is stronger than ever now. Why? Because unlike during the Bush years, when it was primarily Republicans willing to blindly trust Government accusations, many Democrats are now willing to do so as well. Just look at the reaction to the Government's recent attempts to assassinate the U.S.-born American citizen and Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Up until last November, virtually no Americans had ever even heard of al-Awlaki. But in the past few months, beginning with the Fort Hood shootings, government officials have repeatedly claimed that he's a Terrorist: usually anonymously, with virtually no evidence, and in the face of al-Awlaki's vehement denials but without any opportunity for him to defend himself (because he's in hiding out of fear of being killed by his own Government). The Government can literally just flash someone's face on the TV screen with the word Terrorist over it (as was done with al-Awlaki), and provided the face is nefarious and Muslim-looking enough (basically the same thing), nothing else need be offered.

    That's enough for many people -- including many Democrats -- to march forward overnight and mindlessly proclaim that al-Awlaki is "a declared enemy of the United States working to kill Americans" (if you can stomach it, read some of these comments -- from Obama defenders at a liberal blog -- with several sounding exactly like Dick Cheney, screeching: "Of course al-Awlaki should be killed without charges; he's a Terrorist who is trying to kill Americans!!!"). Even now, beyond government assertions about his associations, the public knows virtually nothing about al-Awlaki other than the fact that he's a Muslim cleric with a Muslim name dressed in Muslim garb, sitting in a Bad Arab Country expressing anger towards the actions of the U.S. and Israel. But no matter. That's more than enough. They're willing not only to mindlessly embrace the Government's unproven accusation that their fellow citizen is a TERRORIST ("a declared enemy of the United States working to kill Americans"), but even beyond that, to cheer for his due-process-free execution like drunken fans at a football game. And the same people declare: no civilian trials are necessary for Terrorists (meaning: people accused by the Government of being Terrorists). Even more amazingly, the identities of the other Americans on the hit list aren't even known, but that's OK: they're Terrorists, because the Government said so.

    More at Title Link...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  2. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    And some people just don't want to deal with elephants in the room! It really is amazing, especially for one this big!
     
  3. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Fearmonger much? One of your political compadres has just tried to say there's nothing to worry about in thread's companion piece.

    Do y'all have a clue what to believe?
     
  4. Lonestar_logic
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    Lonestar_logic Republic of Texas

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    And some people can't think for themselves. I submit the OP as proof.
     
  5. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    Are you feeling threatened here? Your response is awfully "personal."
     
  6. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Threatened? That you inundate this board with mindless, partisan rhetoric? Only in a bandwidth sort of way.:lol:
     
  7. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    Apparently you didn't read the piece. It certainly was not "partisan" but then, why would one with your mindset be bothered with something as insignificant as the truth!
     
  8. FireGod
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    FireGod Reputation *****

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    To the OP:
    Quote with linked sources = pass

    Your take on what you posted = fail

    In other words it works better if you state why you are asking others why we should give a crap. Not just posting quotes and links they tend to be ignored.
     
  9. bodecea
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    bodecea Diamond Member

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    Proof of what? That is it only the Left that jumps to conclusions about people's guilt?
     
  10. Lonestar_logic
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    Lonestar_logic Republic of Texas

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    The fact that you believe an article by Glen Greenwald is "the truth" speaks volumes.
     

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