Will Wilkinson pillories Chris Christie’s disgusting comments on civil libertarians
When there is murder, we bring the murderer to justice and carry on with the dignity of our ideals intact. We do not panic. We do not lose our heads in craven desperation for total safety. We do not declare an indefinite “war on murder”, and use the small but ever-present threat of murder to justify, say, the comprehensive monitoring of communications and, thereby, the abolition of private life. We don’t do that. To do so would exceed the demands of justice, and amount to a fresh and monstrous injustice.
To use the memory of a terrible crime to perpetrate further crime is to dishonour the original victim and ourselves. To demand that the NSA simmer down and rein it in is not to dismiss or minimise the suffering of, or injustice done to, the victims of terrorism, but is to defend the honour of their memory and the dignity of their survivors, which the rights of our constitution were instituted to secure. To enable the gutting of basic constitutional protections by insinuating that those who would defend them are somehow the allies of terror, and therefore need to explain themselves to the victims of terrorism, is a revolting inversion.
It is Mr Christie who needs to explain to the survivors of 9/11 why he insists on overshooting the mark of justice, churning the mass grave of the honoured dead, and suggesting that those who have suffered and lost, because they have suffered and lost, can be counted on to abet the theft of their own rights.