Phil got something out of the post that I never intended to suggest. It's no less intriguing for that (and maybe more so).
Having read it, I think I am beginning to see the torture debate in much sharper, and perhaps more sinister focus. If, as Stephanie suggests, this debate about the “legality” of the torture actions by that Administration is really a mask for a cultural debate, it makes more sense why the “Law & Order” Republicans are so hung up on excusing law breaking by their highest elective officials. It would also explain why so many former Bush Administration folks are so prominently attacking Mr. Obama these days.
And William posted a link to this TED talk about rules, punishment, ideology and conflict.
I have a few nits to pick with it, like the fact that liberals do not reject punishment and rules out of hand. Just ask any of us how we feel about the financial industry. Also, the Dalai Lama wields moral clout in the West largely because people don't know that a system of serfs was required to sustain all those Tibetan monasteries in their quest to disconnect from the world. That's kind of important to know. On the other hand, the nits don't mean there isn't plenty to think about in the talk.