Michael Tennant has given us another example of the threat to liberty caused by confusing "society" and "The State."
Adam Boulton of Britain’s Sky News, in an interview with President Bush, began with the statement, “You’ve talked a lot about freedom.”
“And yet there are those who would say, Look, let’s take Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib, and rendition, and all those things, and to them that is, you know, the complete opposite of freedom.”
Bush interrupted: “Of course, if you want to slander America, you can look at it one way.”
Note that Bush didn’t say, “If you want to slander the U.S. government, ” or “If you want to slander me.” To Bush, as to most Washington insiders, America and its government are one and the same. Thus, to speak ill of the president or his policies is to insult the entire country, presumably including those who voted for one of Bush’s opponents in the last two elections.
If Boulton had said, "All these things are un-American," it would have been interesting to hear Bush say, "only if you want to slander America."
I'm pretty sure most Americans would not want foreigners to assume we approve of Abu Ghraib, or of "rendition" (assuming most Americans even know what that is).
Were the abusive soldiers in Abu Ghraib "good Americans?" What exactly is a "good American?" What does America stand for? Can I say someone is not a good American without being called "judgmental?" (I actually consider myself a fairly tolerant person.)
Instead of being embarrassed and apologetic about these things, Bush was defensive. Not a good sign.