May 8, 2012

"The action of betraying; betrayal of the trust undertaken by or reposed in any one; breach of faith, treacherous action, treachery."

That is the first definition of "treason," according to the Oxford English Dictionary. (Sorry it's not linkable.)

Obama supporters who express outrage over the use of the word "treason" seem to think the word means nothing but to the crime defined in law — as if the woman Romney talked to wanted Obama tried and executed.

It's as if people who say "property is theft" are freakishly insisting that property owners be prosecuted for larceny.

Think of all the words we use that have more specific legal meanings that do not apply: This job is murder... The rape of the land... Slave to love...

40 comments:

ricpic said...

Does this mean that Alex is treasonous to conservatives when he posts liberal and treasonous to liberals when he posts conservative?

Scott M said...

"Cockpit"

Right about the time I was getting out of the service, there was a move by some congressional members (guess which gender and what party?) to strike the term "cockpit" from all official DoD manuals and verbiage, replacing it with command and control center or some equivalent.

"Master/Slave"

I don't get into the hardware aspects of computers the way I used to, building my own machines and such, but I do remember around 2003 when there was a furtive attempt to get hardware manufacturers to drop the Master/Slave nomenclature from their hard drives/optical drives.

Christopher in MA said...

I note neither "civility bullshit" or "liberal hypocrisy" are tags on this. Considering that the left spent eight years in fevered wet dreams over assassinating Bush or frogmarching him out of the White House in chains, I could care less what outrage du jour the professional malcontents are foaming over.

rhhardin said...

Vicki Hearne

...
Betraying is letting loose.
The tame caged fox is betrayed
To the hounds. Or: I betray
My heart to you. Give it up,
That is, into your keeping.
Your treachery and rapture.

_In the Absence of Horses_

MisterBuddwing said...

All fine and well, but I suspect that woman really did mean "treason" in the traditional sense - betrayal of one's country - and was not speaking figuratively.

Kind of like people who liken President Bush to Hitler.

purplepenquin said...

when a woman said Obama should be tried for treason

as if the woman Romney talked to wanted Obama tried and executed

Dunno about the executed part, but based on your previous thread it seems pretty clear that she wants to see the President charged with the crime of treason.

edutcher said...

Treason is only defined in the Constitution, largely because monarchs, prime ministers, etc., used it as a catchall to rid themselves of people they didn't like.

(correct, Professor?)

In Dictator Zero's case, it might be hard to prove - although I don't doubt for an instant he's guilty.

Andy Freeman said...

Remind me - how often does Obama, Biden, or Clinton live up to the standard demanded of Romney?

Justin said...

I agree that this is a mountain out of a molehile, but do you really think this woman had the OED dictionary definition of the word in mind when she said Obama should be tried for treason? Give me a break. I'm sure the woman, upon reflection, doesn't really want Obama tried for treason, but she got worked up and I suspect that she meant what she said in the moment.

This is almost as dumb people who thought Bush should be impeached. But again, whether or not those people actually thought about what they were saying, I don't think they meant that Bush should have his credibility questioned. (Which is one meaning of "impeached".) They meant he should be accused of official misconduct, tried, and ousted from office.

The examples you give at the end of the post are all metaphors. This woman wasn't speaking metaphorically. I don't care about her use of the word "treason," but let's not be dishonest by pretending that she meant something other than what she obviously said.

Nathan Alexander said...

Dunno about the executed part, but based on your previous thread it seems pretty clear that she wants to see the President charged with the crime of treason.

And?

Is she supposed to lose free speech when it comes to criticizing liberal Presidents?

Her statement, by itself, means nothing.

If joined by many, many, many others, it might result in President Obama being charged.

If charged, he would either be convicted or exonerated on the facts.

If no one agrees with her, it doesn't make her wrong, just like if everyone agrees with her, it doesn't make her right.

It is an opinion, and last time I checked, that was not something to be criticized.

Does anyone think a President is incapable of treason? That by their very position, they so embody enough of the public will that anything they do is literally legal and beyond reproach?

Or is it possible (no matter how unlikely) that someone could manipulate deceive the populace to be elected President, while having no intent to govern according to the US Constitution, or to govern according to an agenda that is to the detriment of US national interests?

It is clear any attempt to push this woman's statement beyond discourse is tacit admission that President Obama is, in fact, engaged in treason. The honest have nothing to fear from a false accusation.

Stephen Baraban said...

YES, someone beat me to it, but I was going to point out that the woman indeed said that Obama should be TRIED for treason. Ms. Althouse, you you know or should have known this, but you just wanted to throw more red meat to your rightwing commentators. And the second point is: when MoveOn referred to "General Betray Us", so many people on this site freaked out and said General Petraeus was being accused precisely of Treason.

Scott M said...

Stephen,

Generals follow orders and are wholly subservient to the civilian political leadership they serve. Minus actual illegal activity, they should be beyond the scope of well-financed, multi-pronged media attacks by wholly biased organizations. Presidents (the aforementioned civilian leadership), not so much.

Besides, are you suggesting that huge, expensive ad campaign is the equivalent of some woman in a town hall somewhere?

Andy R. said...

a woman said Obama should be tried for treason

She was clearly talking about the crime defined in law.

Rusty said...

Stephen Baraban said...
YES, someone beat me to it, but I was going to point out that the woman indeed said that Obama should be TRIED for treason. Ms. Althouse, you you know or should have known this, but you just wanted to throw more red meat to your rightwing commentators. And the second point is: when MoveOn referred to "General Betray Us", so many people on this site freaked out and said General Petraeus was being accused precisely of Treason.


One of these things is not like the other. One of these things is not the same.
Can you guess which?

purplepenquin said...

And?

And our hostess is suggesting that the woman didn't really mean that the President should be tried with a crime.

Is she supposed to lose free speech when it comes to criticizing liberal Presidents?

I never said nor implied that. What leads you to think I did?

It is an opinion, and last time I checked, that was not something to be criticized.

I ain't sure who you checked with, but you're wrong to agree with 'em on that opinion about challenging other peoples' opinions.

Of course, it is more productive when folks manage to critique others in a constructive, rather than destructive manner.

It is clear any attempt to push this woman's statement beyond discourse is tacit admission that President Obama is, in fact, engaged in treason

Could you please "show your work" on this one? 'cause I truly don't see how you made this leap...

SGT Ted said...

Civility Bullshit is all it is.

I remember the "General Betrayus" ad.

I remember when ordinary raids in Iraq were depicted by John F'in Kerry (who was in Vietnam, you know) as "terrorizing women and children in the dead of night".

Fuck the Obamacrats.

edutcher said...

Andy Freeman said...

Remind me - how often does Obama, Biden, or Clinton live up to the standard demanded of Romney?

You broke the code.

Andy R. said...

a woman said Obama should be tried for treason

She was clearly talking about the crime defined in law


She was?

Anyone who actually reads what she said knows full well she wasn't.

She was speaking figuratively and was talking about Zero's operating extra-Constitutionally, which is not treason.

Every time Hatman talks about idiot voters and joke candidates, he must be looking in a mirror.

paul a'barge said...

Except that Obama is treasonous.

Nathan Alexander said...

Could you please "show your work" on this one? 'cause I truly don't see how you made this leap...

I mistakenly got a little sloppy...I used your comment as a springboard for some other points I wanted to make. I should have just left it at "and?".

Still, here is my basic point:

The only reason to treat her statement as beyond the pale is if you fear the discussion itself.

Justin said...

Anyone who actually reads what she said knows full well she wasn't.

She was speaking figuratively and was talking about Zero's operating extra-Constitutionally, which is not treason.


I think you're wrong -- listen to it again. It's hard to tell, but I think someone near her interuppted her and said, "He should be tried for treason," and she responded, "I agree he should be tried for treatson."

purplepenquin said...

The only reason to treat her statement as beyond the pale is if you fear the discussion itself

Oh, I see what you mean now. Thanks for clarifying.

I ain't saying it is uncalled for say a President (or any elected official) should stand trial for treason, I'm just disagreeing with those who say that ain't what this woman was asking for.

Seeing Red said...

Sebelius should be removed for violating her oath of office. Ignorance of The Constitution is no excuse.

Christopher in MA said...

Ignorance of the Constitution is no excuse.

Hell, if we went by that standard, just about every clown in Congress would be out of a job. Personally, I'd love to take Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner and hang them both - just pour encourager les autres.

traditionalguy said...

What's the big deal. Obama can pardon himself for so called treason.

Real Treason has to be against a lawful authority. And Obama has never recognized the American Congress and Supreme Court as lawful authorities.

Just read Das Capital and try to remember that all authority now comes from the new communist people that are replacing the Bourgeoisie and effectively expropriating their private property by devaluing the dollars.

That is why the Feds built the new concentration camps for expected civil uprisings.

Therefore Treason must be defined as counter revolution which is the reason people are taken outside and shot for saying Obama is treasonous.

Paul said...

Treason? Obama?

Well as the poem goes..

Here richly, with ridiculous display,

The Politician's corpse
Was laid away.

While all of his acquaintance
Sneered and slanged,

I wept: for I had longed to
see him hanged.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Does this mean that Alex is treasonous to conservatives when he posts liberal and treasonous to liberals when he posts conservative?

Ah yes, I'm the notorious moby/double agent.

Freder Frederson said...

Or is it possible (no matter how unlikely) that someone could manipulate deceive the populace to be elected President, while having no intent to govern according to the US Constitution, or to govern according to an agenda that is to the detriment of US national interests?

None of which, even if these weren't just your ill-informed opinions, raises to the level of treason as set out in the Constitution. (Maybe such actions, if proven, might justify impeachment, but they aren't treason)

So what exactly is your point?

Freder Frederson said...

which is the reason people are taken outside and shot for saying Obama is treasonous.

Gee, I missed that story!

Scott M said...

So what exactly is your point?

My point is that the cut on the back of Zimmerman's head can indeed be called a gash.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

Golly Ge, the OED definition of almost everything must be used as a brick upon which to beat those of us who do not defer to its wisdom and luck as to the definition of all words contained therein.

However, for us lucky Yanks, and all those unlucky Southern Rebels who swore allegiance again to the USA, the only definition of "Treason" that has useful and legal meaning is that as stated in our Constitution; contrary to Chief Justice John Marshall's definition of a "treason" to the Constitution, which truly doesn't apply except as being somewhat useful term to apply to Obamacare and other such abominations.

So, that poor woman screaming "treason" has about as much meaning and purpose as the rest of us screaming that Obamacare is bullshit and totally wrong, unless Obama is defeated in this year's election, in which case, Hooray; otherwise we're screwed and that's wrong.

Freder Frederson said...

My point is that the cut on the back of Zimmerman's head can indeed be called a gash.

And about as relevant to this thread.

Scott M said...

And about as relevant to this thread.

It's as irrelevant as you are humorless, I agree.

wyo sis said...

This thread is killing me.

Wv idota pansts

Nathan Alexander said...

None of which, even if these weren't just your ill-informed opinions, raises to the level of treason as set out in the Constitution. (Maybe such actions, if proven, might justify impeachment, but they aren't treason)

So what exactly is your point?


My point is that you are a dishonest hack who apparently prefers to remain ignorant in support of the worst President the nation has ever had and his morally-bankrupt agenda rather than face up to the inescapable consequences of your ideology.

tim maguire said...

Once again, A Man for All Seasons to the Rescue!

Sir Thomas More: Not so. Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim is "Qui tacet consentire": the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.

Cromwell: Is that in fact what the world construes from it? Do you pretend that is what you wish the world to construe from it?

Sir Thomas More: The world must construe according to its wits; this court must construe according to the law.

Mark O said...

Bryan Ferry. What's not to love?

DADvocate said...

This is the game liberals and lefties have been playing for years. It's the same word game they played whe Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Yet they had no problem with Rhandi Rhodes shooting Bush on the radio or the movie "Death of a President" depicting Bush being assassinated. It was free speech and art.

Liberals, Democrats and other lefties are the worst kind of hypocrites. A complete lack of honesty.

Treason and betrayal are the greatest evils in Dante's "Inferno." About where Obama stands in my book.

J Malone said...

What do you think the odds are that the woman had any idea of the various Oxford Dictionary meanings of treason. Anne, you're beginning to lose it. Ever since the tea party declared its enmity with the "black Kenyan", the road to treason was just a short trip on the crazy train.

wyo sis said...

Does it really matter? It's just a bunch of political posing. If we really applied the punishment for treason, then it would matter.