Yesterday Glenn Reynolds said that he still didn't understand "what the White House’s calculus is" on trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspected terrorists in New York in civil court.
Back in 2006 when I wrote The United Federation of Planets, I explained it:
The "state of nature" is the ultimate objective reality. In it, people will do whatever is necessary to survive, or they don't survive. In point of fact, throughout history - even today - people have not only defended their lives, liberty and property, they have taken life, liberty, and property from others not of their society. And they have done so secure in the knowledge that their philosophy tells them that it's the right thing to do. This is true of the The Brow-Ridged Hairy People That Live Among the Distant Mountains, the Egyptians, the Inca, the Maori, the British Empire, and the United States of America. It's called warfare, and it's the use of lethal force against people outside ones own society. Rand explained that:It's Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules." Destroy the enemy's society so you can build your new one on top of the ruins.A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context.That's a critical definition. If a society truly believes that:...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happinessthen that society cannot wage war. It cannot even defend itself - because to take human life, to destroy property, even to take prisoners of war is anathema to such a society, for it would be in violation of the fundamental rights of the victims of such action. (See: the Moriori. Or the Amish.)
This creates a cognitive bind, then, unless you rationalize that the rights you believe in are valid for your society, but not necessarily for those outside it. Those members that violate the sanctions on freedom of action within the society are treated differently from those outside the society that do the same. Those within the society are handled by the legal system, and are subject to capture, judicial review, and punishment under law, whether that's issuance of an "Anti-Social Behavior Order" in London, or a death by stoning in Tehran. Those outside of a society who act against that society may be ignored, or may risk retaliatory sanctions up to and including open warfare, depending on the situation. (See: Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nuclear weapons.)
(W)hen a society faces the fact that its philosophical foundation does not match objective reality, it is inevitable that there will be a loss of confidence and a societal change.
If you examine it closely, (the Left) has wrapped itself in a philosophy that attempts to extend all of the West's "rights of man" to the entire world - up to and including those who are actively seeking our destruction, and the Left holds itself as morally superior for doing so. Attempting to intercept terrorist communications is "illegal domestic wiretapping" - a violation of the right to privacy. Media outlets showing acknowledged Islamist propaganda is exercise of the right of free speech, but suppression of images from the 9/11 attacks - specifically, the aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center, or its victims jumping to their deaths - is not censorship. The humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib is described as a "human rights violation," as is the detainment of prisoners at Guantanimo without trial. For the Left, the war between the West and radical Islamists should not be handled as a war - it should be handled as a police matter - as a society would handle internal violators. Our enemies shouldn't be killed, they should be, at worst, captured and counseled. Our enemies are not at fault, WE are, because we are hypocrites that don't live up to our professed belief in absolute, positive, unquestionable, fundamental, ultimate rights. If we just lived up to our professed beliefs, the rest of the world would not hate us. Yet to believe this, the Left must ignore objective reality.