Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Glenn Reynolds: Not Paying Taxes Is Just Like Waterboarding

Prof. Glenn Reynolds is actually a really smart guy. Just look at his bio. His problem is that he seems to derive irrational amounts of enjoyment from provoking people on the left side of the spectrum to call him an idiot. He is not an idiot. He just says idiotic things sometimes.

Like today. Setting up a false moral equivalence between Bush administration officials legalizing aggressive interrogation techniques and Obama administration officials failing to pay taxes may entertain some minuscule sector of the populace. It may be grade-A quality snark. Let's give him that. But it's doubtful that he actually believes it.


The Andover Snark said...

I thought this was an almost daily weblog about legal developments mostly in Massachusetts (and occasionally elsewhere).

Terry Klein said...

Er, I would say that whether Holder prosecutes John Yoo et al. for war crimes counts as a legal development. I've spent a lot of time talking about the legality of Bush torture policies here -- usually on days when no big decisions come down from the SJC, the Appeals Court, or the First Circuit. Yesterday was such a day.

For the record, I don't think Holder will prosecute Yoo, Addington, etc. I wouldn't advise any of them to take any sight-seeing trips to the EU, however.

The Andover Snark said...

Sorry, with my feeble reading skills, I took the major premise of your post to be that Glenn Reynolds' post was snarky and idiotic, not that Eric Holder should prosecute John Yoo et al. for war crimes.

Then again, I took Glenn Reynolds' post to be a wry critism of those who continue to wring their hands over coercive interrogation techniques (used on a limited number of occasions shortly after 9/11) but do not seem to care about a craven political class that views itself as above the law (a rampant problem on both sides of the aisle). I missed the false moral equivalence. Er, but with my feeble reading skills, what do I know?

And for the record, if he seriously believes that criminal violations of law occurred, then Eric Holder should prosecute John Yoo et al. for war crimes. The criticism of the Bush Administration over the past eight years was often hysterical and unserious. OK, it is a more than a little scary that members of one party would seriously contemplate prosecuting members of another party for the actions they took while in office (a few unsavory historical comparisons spring to mind of instances where those in power used prosecutions to cow their opposition), but I think a trial, with rules of evidence and a jury of John Yoo et al.'s peers, would be the perfect venue to find out what is true, what is false, and crystallize what legal principles currently apply to coercive interrogation. And if people don't like the outcome of the trial, then we can have a serious debate about what legal principles ought to apply.

Terry Klein said...

Right. I was commenting on GR's asinine comments on potential legal developments.

As for people on the left not caring about the tax shenanigans, I'm not sure I agree. Most of the commentary I've seen from lefties is along the lines of "Wow. What idiots."

I bet Holder is close to where I am on the underlying issue. I think that trying to pretend that the Geneva Convention and the Fourth Amendment don't exist is bad policy. It's not criminal, just misguided. There are crazy people who disagree, just like there were crazy people who thought Bill Clinton killed Vince Foster. Setting the whack-jobs up as straw men, which is what Instapundit does on a fairly regular basis, is just not something that I find to be all that persuasive.

Finally: your points result from a lot of careful thought. I happen to disagree with them, but they add a lot more to the discourse than what I see emanating from GR's blog these days.

The Andover Snark said...

Beer helps -- let's get one.