Conservative norms


by digby

There's a lot of justifiable outrage about this hideous tweet from Michael Golfarb saying that we should just summarily execute terrorist suspects while in custody. It's the kind of thing only stupid drunk idiots slumped over the end of the bar used to say.

Think Progress pithily notes:

It seems execution without trial is fairly popular in conservative circles.

Chris Hayes tweeted:

"Norms are really important. Think about how degraded our norms are that someone could say this."

I was reminded of a show I watched last night on Geobbels Broadcasting Service about the numerous murders by police that took place after Katrina, many of them precipitated by the media hysteria over the roaming gangs of "animals" who were supposedly taking over the city. I couldn't help but think of this:

As for the tragic piggism that is taking place on the streets of New Orleans, it is not unbelievable but it is unforgivable, and I hope the looters are shot. A hurricane cannot rob a great city of its spirit, but a vicious citizenry can. A bad time with Mother Nature can leave you digging out for a long time, but a bad turn in human behavior frays and tears all the ties that truly bind human beings--trust, confidence, mutual regard, belief in the essential goodness of one's fellow citizens.

That, of course, was the lovely lady, Peggy Noonan who went on at great length about how not shooting looters would violate America's "norms."

If this part of the story grows--if cities on the gulf come to seem like some combination of Dodge and the Barbarian invasion--it's going to be bad for our country. One of the things that keeps us together, and that lets this great lumbering nation move forward each day, is the sense that we will be decent and brave in times of crisis, that the fabric holds, that under duress it is American heroism and altruism that take hold and not base instincts born of irresponsibility, immaturity and greed...

If New Orleans damages that sense, it's going to be painful to face. It's going to be damaging to the national spirit. More damaging even than a hurricane, even than the worst in decades.

I wonder if the cruel and stupid young people who are doing the looting know the power they have to damage their country. I wonder, if they knew, if they'd stop it.

There you have it. According to Noonan, execution without trial is especially necessary, lest we "damage the national spirit."

These are the people the founders worried about when they wrote the bill of rights.