by Patrick Appel

James Poulos joins a conversation sparked a few days ago by Ezra saying that Lieberman was “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.” Poulos responds to Douthat's comments:

Ross is too kind in allowing Ezra’s original language Lieberman will cause people to die to translate freely with the more accurate language of letting people die. This isn’t simply a matter of grammar or style.

Ezra did not attack Lieberman for supporting a bill which would merely get out of the way while some significant number of Americans happened to die. He attacked him for seeming “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.” Anyone who doesn’t support the right bill, you see, is killing Americans. And since this is obvious, you see, anyone who doesn’t support the right bill wants to kill those Americans, and wants them to die.

This is more than moral grandstanding or shirt-waving. It’s an intentional distortion of an ethical precept at the very foundation of our philosophy of law. It’s a lie mobilized to discredit one’s political opponents, not just politically but morally. In truth, of course, to kill a bill that would prevent people from dying is not to kill those people just as refraining from saving a person in mortal peril is not causing them to die.

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