Thursday, December 01, 2005

Manipulation Redefined

A few days ago, I wrote about propaganda, and my personal definition of manipulation.  Manipulation is any act that is intended to influence another person, without being declaring up front what your agenda is, and without giving the other person a clear opportunity to accept or decline to agree with you.  

Today, I got an email from NARAL/Pro-choice America.  I don't know how I ended up on their mailing list, and almost deleted the message, but I went ahead and read it.  Here is an excerpt.  It is said to be a direct quote from one of Samuel Alito's writings:
"I find this approach preferable to a frontal assault on Roe v. Wade. It has most of the advantages of a brief devoted to the overruling of Roe v. Wade... At the same time, it is free of many of the disadvantages that would accompany a major effort to overturn Roe." -- Samuel Alito
In the case of the document that this quote comes from, Mr. Alito was clear about his agenda, but he was advocating a legal approach that amounts to a stealth attack on Roe v. Wade.  This bothers me.  I would hate to see the nomination devolve into a stark one-issue matter, and that is not what this post is about.  My point today is that, abortion aside, I find it highly objectionable that a Supreme Court nominee would at any time advocate a stealth campaign to accomplish anything.  

People who work in government positions should always be direct and plain-spoken about their agenda.  Unless they work for the CIA, I guess.  But if they are doing anything that directly affects the lives of US citizens, they need to let us know what they are really doing.  If what he wants is to overturn a particular decision, he should not be advocating an indirect approach.  That is not honest, and anything less than honest is not unacceptable for a judge in any capacity, much less a member of the Supreme Court.