About Me

My photo
Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The crazy meter is turned up to 11

What I found truly amazing about what the right wing has been able to do in this country over the last 10 years, is to move the goal posts entirely about what is considered debatable.

Here are the debates in which the country has debated as of late:

1. Should we commit more deeply to a war that was entered into under false pretenses?
2. Is it okay to torture people?
3. Should the people who have, in power, lied to the American public be held accountable or even prosecuted?
4. Is it reasonable to arrest a man in his own home who is doing nothing wrong, if you are a cop?
5. Is it a constitutional right to bring a gun to a protest of health care reform?
6. Is health care reform a bad thing?

These are, on their faces, absolutely absurd questions. But once you get the debate into "Are you sure it's not okay to torture people?" country, all bets are off. Instead of simply declaring that everyone who tortured, justified torture, promoted torture, and tried to worm torture into law are criminals and subject to international law; we have discussed it as if there is a question. All things have become a matter of relative principle, all things are debatable, everything becomes a question of political persuasion and, in the end, there is no functional meter by which we judge right and wrong. We've lost the ability to distinguish the quality of an argument.

The insurance industry is simply trying to stop the government from becoming competition. They want to remain profitable, and in the business of sickness. We (paralyzed by a bemused, wealthy media without a point of view) are now debating on its terms.

We are actually hearing public officials...elected representatives of the law and the people...defending the bringing of assault rifles to protest rallies.


Scott Walters said...

I think #4 is out of place here, because it is not a fair representation of what happened -- it is a far more complex question than that. As an academic myself, and one whose uncle-in-law was a Harvard prof, I know how arrogant profs can be. While I was away in Wisconsin a few weeks ago, there was a front page article by a former police chief outlining police procedure, and why the things being requested were reasonable in caring for the safety of police officers. Yes, in the final analysis, it was silly to arrest Gates; however, at the time, the officer was protecting himself in demanding that Gates step out of the house and so forth.

Largely lost in all the bruhaha was the real culprit: the fact that Gates' neighbors didn't know who he was. If we made an effort to actually become part of our neighborhoods, and if we actually knew who the people on our streets were, then none of this would have happened. Yes, it is the C-word: community. We lose it at our peril.

Scott Walters said...

That said, the rest of the list is totally appropriate, and yes what is now allowable for "discussion" has reached absurd depths of idiocy.