the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

June 19, 2005

Speaking Truth to Power


When I first saw the effort to “swiftboat” the Downing Street Memos (reported here by Washington Monthly), my first reaction was: it’s a shame that some folks feel they need to play games like this.

Thinking about this during the day I realized that this episode serves to illustrate a core Liberal belief: things like freedom of the press exist to speak truth to power. To hold the government accountable for their actions. To act as the balancing force between the ruling party, and the tendency for power to corrupt absolutely.

What Captain’s Quarters, NRO, etc., seem to be doing here is making clever, legalistic arguments to obfuscate the truth. What core belief does that illustrate? Trying to put myself in the shoes of the Bush supporters (like OJ’s glove, the shoes simply don’t fit), the best I can come up with is this: The right and the left are in an ideological war for political control. And, in war and love, all is fair game.

But isn’t this the same kind of moral relativism that the right accuses the left of? I’d be grateful if anyone can help sort this out.

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