Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Garry Wills on the Entangled Giant

Garry Wills just published a piece in the NY Review of Books, "Entangled Giant", on how the Obama Administration continues some of the policies and attitudes of the Bush Administration. How discouraging! How frightening! Wills argues that since the Second World War that we have been in a perpetual state of war that has eroded the Constitution (that quaint old document),that has seen the growing ascendency of the executive branch, and that begins to buy into ideas like the theory of the unitary executive. Wills sees the Obama Administration surrendering to the inertia of past practices, the inertia of a government so big and powerful that no one can completely control it. I fear that Wills may be correct, all of my hopes for Obama notwithstanding. The only way to prevent a further slide will come from those willing to speak up in opposition. I'm not talking about becoming a pacifist or sit down strikes, but making principled arguments to overcome this terrible inertia. For those who may not have a sense of what I'm writing about, read Jane Mayer's The Dark Side about the abuses of the Bush Administration. The book made me both ashamed (of what my country did) and frightened (for what it might do, even to its own citizens). Tyranny can become real, and I'm not a right-wing nut—far from it!

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