Politics The Opinionsphere

The Utter Moral Certainty of Right Wing National Security Policy

Andrew Sullivan:

[Obama] is the barrier between us and a form of fascism, imbued with utter moral certainty, that now animates the core of the GOP.

I’m less taken with Sullivan’s invocation of fascism to describe the core of the Republican position on national security than I am with his description of their “utter moral certainty.” The proto-fascism charge may be accurate, but as a matter of political rhetoric, it has little impact due to its overuse – as George Orwell acknowledged years ago in his Politics and the English Language. This charge of “utter moral certainty” though is specific and captures something essential about the national security positions of the right wing. That, plus an unbounded faith in the power of centralized government action. How else can one understand the defense of torture? Or the expansion of secrecy? Of the unprecedented expansion of the power of the executive? The holding of prisoners by executive authority alone?