Friday, November 10, 2006

Man Jailed for Telling Cheney his Iraq Policies are "Reprehensible"

At the Rocky Mountain News.

Shades of the Allen incident?

[HT: Stat'rex]

25 Comments:

Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

WS, I do hope you don't find this person's cowardice as some sort of badge of honor for the left. He had Mr. Cheney at a complete disadvantage, since the VP's station and personal dignity could hardly allow a response in kind.

You don't wrestle with pigs because you get yourself dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

And regardless of the outcome of his lawsuit, if this thymotic individual spent a few hours in the clink as punishment for his rudeness, I think justice was served. Rudeness should not go unpunished, although we seem to elect it now and then. But on our good days we turn it out.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since the VP's station and personal dignity could hardly allow a response in kind

Like when he told Sen Leahy on the floor of the Senate to go f*** himself?

Of course, Cheney could've said something about an American citizens right to free speech, that is, have a dignified answer, but that is expecting too much from a member of the current malAdministration.

There were no reasonable legal grounds to detain the man in question, but then being concerned with legalities is so 1992 these days.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"cowardice" ? They were surprised to see Cheney there, posing for pictures and shaking hands with members of the public. So he sees the Vice President with a group of supporters and decides to politely speak his mind and you call this cowardice?

"thymotic" ? Isn't the thymos the 'chest' of C.S. Lewis's Men without Chests which you have praised? Yet it seems that you are criticizing this citizen for HAVING a chest.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Tom, I'm astonished at how atomically wrong you are about this. The facts, it seems, speak for themselves.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dark Avenger:

Remember that for Tom, the law is an inadequate lens for viewing human affairs. We need more Aquinas.

WS:

I'm astonished that you're astonished.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

That is not an argument, WS, but a restatement of your usual view that the truth of your opinions is self-evident.

For the record, nfs, I was using thumos in classical sense, not the Christianized one. But thanks for noticing.

And the guy was rude. There's some nonsense floating around called "speaking truth to power," but all he was doing was indulging his thumos.

I would also disapprove of someone walking up to Speaker Pelosi to say that her baby-killing politics are reprehensible. An afternoon in the pokey might teach them some manners.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

And I would find the Cheney-Leahy argument worthy except for the underlying fact that it was personal---Leahy publicly attacked Cheney's personal integrity then expected Cheney to toss it off as part of the rhetorical political game. Cheney wasn't playing that.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

expected Cheney to toss it off as part of the rhetorical political game.

So, there are times when it's appropriate for someone to react without dignity, as long as the person doing so is a Republican.

Glad you're here to guide us in these things, TVD.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

And you seem think Democrats can act like weasels and Republicans are just supposed to take it, DA. We are at an impasse, as the political and the personal are apparently the same in your eyes.

(In fact, your tart rejoinder itself is more ad hominem than argument, which also makes me think we are not discussing this issue in good faith.)


"It was partly that, it was partly also ... it had to do with -- he is the kind of individual who will make those kinds of charges and then come act as though he's your best friend, and I expressed in no uncertain terms my views of his conduct and walked away," Cheney said.

"Part of the problem here is that instead of having a substantive debate over important substantive policy issues, he had challenged my integrity, and I didn't like that. But most of all I didn't like the fact that after he'd done so, then he wanted to act like everything was peaches and cream."



It wasn't business, it was personal. If one of Clinton's harsher critics acted as unctuously as Leahy, and Clinton responded the same way, I'd say good on Bill. (Goose and gander---much the same way I would find accosting Speaker Pelosi on her abortion views inappropriate.)

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a casual observer round these parts, TVD's MO has become less nuanced. It's now just a blatant throwing of the bait, then nitpicking and chastizing the inevitable flaws included in subsequent retorts - as if everyone really wants to play "find the fallacy" game.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

My hypothesis, Tom, is that you realize you're wrong on this one.

My "usual MO" is certainly not to assume or assert that my positions are self-evident.

We can have a discussion about the orthodox doctrine of self-evidence if you want--I don't think there is any such thing in that orthodox sense, in case you're interested.

But there ARE some things that are so obvious that nothing else can be used as premiss to prove them, since nothing else is more obvious.

That one cannot be jailed for voicing political disagreemen--in civil tones--to a public official...well, that's about as fundamental as propositions get in an open society.

Don't expect me to waste my time trying to explain the fundamentals of liberal democracies to you. You understand them quite well.

I'll discuss serious claims with people who are seriously interested in them.

This sort of thing, however, is another matter entirely.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And regardless of the outcome of his lawsuit, if this thymotic individual spent a few hours in the clink as punishment for his rudeness, I think justice was served.

This is a stark admission from TVD that he has no principle of liberty that is not overwhelmed by his membership in the former in-crowd. He has no sense of proportionality; he hasn't even learned the lessons of kindergarten. "Reprehensible" can get you jailed! And TVD is fine with that - fascism in small doses.

No sense arguing with TVD. He's not an ethically serious person. He's a sophist, which I guess is a high-falutin' word for troll. Drive-bys, sure, they're the right response.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

That one cannot be jailed for voicing political disagreemen--in civil tones--to a public official...well, that's about as fundamental as propositions get in an open society.


Sorry, I thought it was clear that I saw a certain "cosmic" justice in it. I do not advocate that it be the law. I was not arguing legally at all, as it's not of great interest to me.

I thought it was also clear that by hypothesizing similar scenerios for Pelosi and Clinton, that I was arguing from principle, a call for the separation of the political and the personal.

The inability to do so is a key element of incivility.

I have not read a disagreement with me in principle, only with charges of sophistry and blind partisanship. That, of course, is personal, as is calling me a sophist rather than spending the time to illustrate why my argument is sophistic.

And WS,

But there ARE some things that are so obvious that nothing else can be used as premiss to prove them, since nothing else is more obvious.

I'm afraid I find this argument arguing for self-evidence. X is true because it's obvious, and therefore the argument for X does not need to be made.

And for the record, in this thread, I employed your own advice (sorry I can't find the original post) of reversing the colors on the issue: Would I think it's appropriate for someone to come up to Nancy Pelosi and call her positions "reprehensible," or would I be scandalized if Bill Clinton told an unctuous critic to go screw himself?

No, in both cases.

LL, I'm still not feeling the love. Insulting me or anyone else is never the right response. I'm not an ethically serious person, (which I suppose means you are), eh? You turned the political (or philosophical) into the personal, and again, you have unwittingly proved my point about this whole issue.

Drive-bys, real or metaphorical, are cowardly. Defend them if you will, but I abhor them, regardless of the political party of the object.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

TVD originally posted:
"[I]f this thymotic individual spent a few hours in the clink as punishment for his rudeness, I think justice was served."

That is, TVD stated his belief("I think") that it was just for the full power of law enforcement agencies be used to deprive Mr. Howards of his liberty because Mr. Howards stated that he found the policies of an elected public official to be reprehensible.

TVD now posts:
"I do not advocate that it be the law. I was not arguing legally at all, as it's not of great interest to me."

The arrest of Mr. Howards was a legal act. TVD asserted depriving Mr. Howard of his liberties for a period of time was "just". If TVD truly believes this to be justice, why should it not be the law?

Note that Mr. Howards comment was purely *political* -- not personal. Howards did not say that Cheney was reprehensible, simply Cheney's policies. (Cheney was, of course, free to discuss the issue of the US policies in Iraq with Mr. Howards. Mr. Cheney chose not to do so.)

I disagree in principle with TVD. It is, I believe, wrong for the law enforcement apparatus of the state to deprive individuals of their liberties simply beacuse they speak out against the policies of an elected representative.

For the State's law enforcement apparatus to do so can only suppress free speech and intimidate the citizenry. The arrest of Mr. Howards was fundamentally wrong, and a disgrace to the principles of freedom set forth in the Bill of Rights.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Tom writes:

"I'm afraid I find this argument arguing for self-evidence. X is true because it's obvious, and therefore the argument for X does not need to be made."

The first sentence is incoherent so far as I can tell. Do you mean that you think that such an appeal constitutes an appeal to self-evidence? One can't tell from that sentence.

If so, then you'll note that I already covered that possibility, noting, in effect, that the concept of self-evidence is actually vague. There's rougly Cartesian self-evidence, on the one hand. To say that a proposition is self-evident in that sense is, roughly, to say that it is indubitable, i.e. beyond any logically possible/coherent doubt. I'm skeptical that any beliefs are SE in that sense. On the other hand, there's another, less-well-known sense in which a proposition might be said to be SE, and that's the one I explicitly employed: that nothing else is more obvious, so proof from something more obvious would be impossible.

Actually, it was rather a joke. I DO think that we can give good reasons in support of the claim that it is wrong for the government to arrest a citizen for legally and civilly voicing dissent.

But I have absolutely no interest in wasting my breath arguing with someone who would dispute that claim.

You're wrong on this one, Tom. Way wrong, completely wrong, shockingly wrong.

What the hell kind of country do you think we're supposed to be running around here anyway?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I don't use justice and law interchangably.

Sorry for the confusion. The fault is mine. I think an afternoon in the clink as punishment for rudeness is not unjust, but cannot be the law. The jails would be full, for one thing.

To me the principle is I don't think it's OK for someone to publicly accost Nancy Pelosi and call her positions "reprehensible."

If y'all think it's OK, say so and we'll agree to disagree and be on our merry way.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

There may be certain degrees of rudeness that deserve to be punished with jail time--e.g. the use of fighting words.

However, saying "your Iraq policy is reprehensible" is not--if rude at all--rude to anything like the degree that would be required.

Jailing people for such utterances would make us a fascist state in at least that respect.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Agreed, OK? I just think public figures should be able to walk down the street without yahoos getting in their face. Perhaps you agree, perhaps not. We may never know, but your sympathy seems to be with the yahoos.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your sympathy seems to be with the yahoos.

Damn straight. This is in fact exactly what the speech clause of the First Amendment is about - for Dick Cheney and for Nancy Pelosi.

Of course, I'm reading TVD's vocabulary as follows:

yahoo - anyone with an opinion contrary to said VP whose "station and personal dignity could hardly allow a response in kind" (Aside: I have never in my life had enough to drink to write such falsified-on-its-face nonsense. Was TVD laughing when he wrote it or was he just delusional?)

getting in their face - disagreeing publicly

But here I am again, wasting time I don't have to spare. In TVD's lexicon, that makes me a coward (intellectually, I guess, though with TVD you never know). Yeah, sure. I am afraid - afraid I'll never get back the time I could otherwise use for productive activities.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

So you think it's OK for someone to publicly accost Nancy Pelosi and call her positions "reprehensible."

Fine, but hardly a surprise since you've already shown that that is your preferred (and so far only) method of discourse.

My understanding of this as a First Amendment issue does not comport with yours, but as always,
thanks for the thumos.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that your understanding of this as a First Amendment issue doesn't comport with that of the author of the Amendment. Here is Madison writing, generally about the nefarious nature of the Sedition Act, but specifically about the casting of direct aspersions upon the character of public officials:

"To prohibit, therefore, the intent to excite those unfavourable sentiments against those who administer the government, is equivalent to a prohibition of the actual excitement of them; and to prohibit the actual excitement of them, is equivalent to a prohibition of discussions having that tendency and effect; which, again, is equivalent to a protection of those who administer the government, if they should at any time deserve the contempt or hatred of the people, against being exposed to it, by free animadversions on their characters and conduct."

(From the Virginia Reports of 1799-1800)

http://www.constitution.org/rf/vr_1799.htm

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And we're not even discussing aspersions against the public officials, only against their policies.

I must say that our own Bp. Wilberforce is well-qualified to be a Republican press secretary. He has completely mastered the passive aggressive pose that boils down to insults cloaked in the faux desire to have a discussion - just so long as that discussion is built on rules that he hands down.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

The First Amendment protects what you say, not when and where you say it.

Yahoos believe the proper time and place is anytime, anywhere. This is not civilization, or even adulthood. Grownups know better than that.

3:17 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Jesus, Tom, this has gotten utterly absurd. Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that time, place and manner restrictions will be relevant here?

For God's sake, man, I know you don't like to admit when you're wrong, and I know you love the last word, but you have lost this one. You're not even in the ballpark.

Your response here turns on the same mistake people make when they lamely point out--in response to outrage about infringement of free speech--that you can't shout "fire" in a crowded theater. That's true, but it's hardly ever relevant to any interesting free speech case. IT IS CERTAINLY AND OBVIOUSLY NOT RELEVANT HERE.

The "fire" analogy is directed at things like inciting riots. It's in no way relevant here.

Right, you can't say anything you want anywhere you want. But civilly informing a public official that you disagree with his policies--and doing so *when you meet him on the street*--is a PARADIGM CASE of the kind of speech protected by the first amendment.

From 'there are some things you can't say in some places' it in no way follows that the speech we're considering here is not protected.

This is an open and shut case. By trying to defend the administration here you are doing nothing but losing credibility.

Currently fed up with the way the new Democratic House is shaping up, though, your comments here remind me why I support the lame and worthless Democrats.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The First Amendment protects what you say, not when and where you say it."

A distinction without a difference.

The exceptions to free speech are those which in some way infringe on the fundamental rights of others, as libelous and slanderous speech do, as does the example Winston gave above, where your shouting of 'fire' threatens my right to physical security. Or incitement to riot. One has no inherent right, particularly not a public official, to not be offended or made uncomfortable.

I gave but one example, but you can find myriad examples in the founders' writings which imply that cases such as the original one in this post are exactly what they felt needed protection.

9:28 AM  

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