Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Supergurus against Torture?

After invoking Gandalf in his case against torture (Torture as the Ring?), Andrew Sullivan has now drafted Yoda as well. Both supergurus warn against the seductive powers of the dark side.

I am tired of people trotting out Gandalf's two or three humane homilies to lend profundity to their arguments. Tolkein was as morally simplistic as Bush. The Lord of the Rings is built on the pernicious fantasy that agents of evil are purely and unambiguously evil, that wars are fought against inherently and irremediably evil enemies, that kings are fighting a constant rearguard action against the weakness of their people, and that history is a long tale of degeneration.

There are few evils more clear-cut than torture, which is why the campaign against it suits Sullivan's earnest nature, and why he has been so effective on this vitally important front. But fantasy-world invocations should be left to the neocon fabulists.

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