Power & Market

Leftists Now Rushing to Defend CIA Torture Advocates

02/07/2018Ryan McMaken

In the early 1960s, Ronald Hamowy criticized the American conservative movement for degenerating into a movement defending "the rack, the thumbscrew, the whip, and the firing squad." The movement had become, Hamowy concluded, a party of knee-jerk allegiance to the American state in the name of fighting foreign threats, both real and imagined. 

Whether or not the American right is on the road to rehabilitation on this matter remains an open question. 

Meanwhile, the American left appears to have traveled far down this same road in recent decades. 

Back in 2013, this trend was already being examined by Sean Scallon at The American Conservative who noted the rise of the "nationalist left" which was becoming increasingly militaristic and deferential toward the American security state. 

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The trend has only accelerated more recently, and now, thanks to anti-Russian hysteria on the left, even former 60's "counter culture" leftists are coming to the defense of the CIA and the military establishment. 

Caitlin Johnstone writes:

In the hit 1970s sitcom All in the Family, Rob Reiner played Michael Stivic, whose progressive countercultural 1960s sensibilities made him a perfect foil for his bigoted, conservative father-in-law Archie Bunker's struggles to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Now a celebrated advocate of the Democratic party, Reiner's great artistic achievement in 2017 was collaborating with neoconservatives and intelligence community insiders to produce a jarring propaganda videofeaturing Morgan Freeman warning that "we are at war" with Russia. So far his masterpiece of 2018 is a tweet declaring that if you "libel" Russophobic eugenicist James Clapper and CIA torture facilitator-turned-MSNBC pundit John Brennan you are libeling America.

We never set out to become our parents. A counterculture never sets out to become the thing it rebelled against. An actor never sets out to become a twisted mockery of the character he once played. But it happens.

That video Johnstone mentions, by the way, is a sight to behold. It's right up there with the rightwing propaganda of the immediate post-9/11 world which presented George W. Bush as some sort of savior of Western civilization. But at least that stuff was in line with the American right's openly-stated militaristic tendencies.

While Reiner and friends rush to the defense of America's primary advocates for torture, spying, and endless war, they also claim to be part of "the resistance" and the defenders of the little guy. In truth, the American left has become yet another party of "the rack and the thumbscrew." 

It all just illustrates yet again that American politics is now nearly impossible to parody. 

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