Robert Knight of the American Civil Rights Union (for some reason, the religious right thinks it’s incredibly clever to play on the ACLU’s name) has a column in the Moonie Times making an absolutely bizarre claim. He says that Steven Spielberg made the movie Lincoln to help Obama implement health care reform. Speaking of Saul Alinsky (can a wingnut ever write a column without invoking Alinsky?), Knight says:
He was talking about the Marxist concept of the ends justifying the means. To illustrate his point, he cited Abraham Lincoln’s “suspension of habeas corpus, his defiance of a directive of the Chief Justice of the United States, and the illegal use of military commissions to try civilians.”
If the cause is noble — in Lincoln’s case, ending slavery — it’s the duty of the commander in chief to break the law and even override the Constitution. Among other things, Lincoln jailed Southern-sympathizing Maryland legislators and shut down newspapers.
No wonder Obama backer Steven Spielberg came out with his 2012 epic movie “Lincoln.” As I watched this well-made film about the first Republican president, I couldn’t help think that it was a clever way to justify the ruthlessly partisan enactment of Obamacare. It’s not as though Mr. Spielberg wanted to make Republicans look good.
First of all, “the ends justifying the means” is not a Marxist concept, for crying out loud. It’s commonly attributed to Machiavelli and to the ethical philosophy of consequentialism. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Marxism. And it’s always amusing to me to see people repeat it as though it was just always valid or invalid. Everyone would agree that some ends justify some means and that other ends and means do not. It’s pretty much an empty platitude at this point.
And I have no idea what he means by the “ruthlessly partisan enactment” of the law. It passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law. There was nothing “ruthless” about it. Knight doesn’t really care about that, of course. If it makes Obama look bad, he’ll say it.