The Conversation

Nick Gillespie's brilliant insight about journalists' hypocrisy on drones

Nick Gillespie has written a brilliant essay on how the media, which once considered Bush/Cheney to be fascist-dictators-in-waiting because of the powers they assumed to fight terror, is now eager to give Obama's greater and more brazen powers a pass. 

Gillespie's key insight is that something more than partisan bias is at work here: namely, the tendency of journalists to worship power. And Obama has lots of it, thanks to the media themselves. 

Gillespie's words evoked memories of something George Orwell wrote, which I eventually dug up again. Orwell ruminated often about the way liberal intellectuals were corrupted by power-worship, and said the following in an otherwise critical review of Bertrand Russell's Power: A New Social Analysis:

If there are certain pages of Mr. Bertrand Russell’s book, Power, which seem rather empty, that is merely to say that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere. Probably that has always been the case. Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truism as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a “good” man is squeezing the trigger—and that in effect is what Mr. Russell is saying—have turned into heresies which is it actually becoming dangerous to utter.

Orwell's main criticism of Russell was that he seemed eager to believe common sense would prevail over tyranny in the end. What today's American conservatives share with Orwell is the understanding that there is no such guarantee. It should be obvious to state that the power Obama has seized--not just in war but in domestic affairs--is a problem. But stating the obvious has become a risky thing to do.


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