Moral Preening and the Luxury of the Hypothetical

Conor Friedersdorf thinks I have tribal loyalty to the GOP (HAHAHAHAHAHA) and therefore cannot admit that water boarding is torture.

I would note my tribal loyalty is to the country. I would also note that Conor being kept safe by the American military gives him the luxury of moral preening and time to write hypotheticals to me on twitter:



Here is a hypothetical for Conor.

ISIS members smuggle a nuke into Conor’s city. One of them is captured and waterboarded, revealing the location of the nuke.

I suppose Conor would be fine if the city went into a mushroom cloud.

But . . . but . . . but . . . that did not happen.

You’re right. It did not happen. And my family was not waterboarded by ISIS. ISIS would have beheaded them. And Romans did not waterboard Jesus. They actually, physically tortured Jesus then nailed him to a cross crucifying him.

What else happened? Men hijacked airplanes, killed the pilots, and flew those planes into buildings killing more than 2,000 Americans. Their cohorts would have killed many more of us but for brave men in the shadows working to uncover their plots.


Conor can pose all sorts of wonderful hypotheticals that make him feel good about himself. And he can do so because he did not die in an inferno caused by a terrorist thanks, in part, to American intelligence officers and soldiers keeping him and me safe.

But I’m glad he can live in a world where he can morally preen in outrage and pose revisionist hypotheticals about Jesus where the decent into his hypothetical world leaves him willing to let many die in a nuclear explosion so that no one dunks a terrorist in water.


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