Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

The N-word

Read this.

(Personally, I’ve shied away from using it, thinking it mostly unhelpful. Ms. McWhorter gives me good reason to reconsider.)

Update: Lest you be tempted to skip it, take note of this paragraph:

We have become such “good Americans” that we no longer have the moral imagination to picture what it might be like to be in a bureaucratic category that voids our human rights, be it “enemy combatant” or “illegal immigrant.” Thus, in the week before the election, hardly a ripple answered the latest decree from the Bush administration: Detainees held in CIA prisons were forbidden from telling their lawyers what methods of interrogation were used on them, presumably so they wouldn’t give away any of the top-secret torture methods that we don’t use. Cautiously, I look back on that as the crystallizing moment of Bushworld: tautological as a Gilbert and Sullivan libretto, absurd as a Marx Brothers movie, and scary as a Kafka novel.

I well and truly hope she is wrong on that – if America “no longer ha[s] the moral imagination to picture what it might be like to be in a bureaucratic category that voids our human rights”, then my America is no more. And while I admit that, at various points in the past few years, I have been near sure that that is true, I am not yet ready to accept it.


Turkey & the EU


The Files


  1. You do find some good stuff. And that is a powerful piece that all need to read.

  2. MB

    Thanks, Vivian. I believe strongly that a good part of the reason that we are where we are today is that people are afraid of clearly labeling wrong as wrong. There’s too much couching it terms of respect and evenhandedness (especially evenhandedness). That, coupled with the “it couldn’t happen here” mentality that I find disturbingly pervasive (even among those who have good reason to know better) has lead us down some very dark paths.

  3. Peej

    I was also struck by this paragraph:
    “Of the way freethinkers and speakers become compliant and self-censoring. Of the mechanism by which moral or humanistic categories are converted into bureaucratic ones. And finally, of the willingness with which we hand control over to the state and convince ourselves that we are the masters of our destiny.”
    That right there sums up why the Iranian revolution was able to move forward and sustain with so many of the ‘free thinkers’ of that country behind it, including my own parents. By the time those folk came around, even as quickly as most came around, it was too late. This mentality and others like is why I feel I’ve been living in a heightened sense of deja vu the last few years.
    Good article.

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