Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So Dark the Derb of Man

In which our author free associates.

This excellent Ross Douthat post got me thinking, of all things, of the book I would write if I were a professional historian and/or a pundit of some kind. It would be a comparative history of the Bush Administration's internal debate over torture post-9/11 and the development of Allied strategic bombing (culminating at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) during World War II. The basic idea would be that good people, when faced with an existential threat, when staring, as it were, into the stygian, Derbian depths of just how hostile and uncaring the universe can be, can talk themselves into acts they would have rejected categorically in their pre-crisis life. You don't need nefarious, moustache-twirling malefactors to get the torture of detainees or the deliberate bombing of civilians; it's a temptation to which all people are subject, and which all people have to guard against.

Anyway, read Douthat's piece.