Andrew Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan

Andrew
Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan
1963

English Author, Editor, Blogger, Conservative Political Commentator, Editor of The New Republic

Author Quotes

For the first time we found a medium where writing could have the same quality as broadcast.

I like the pluralism of modernity; it doesn't threaten me or my faith. And if one's faith is dependent on being reinforced in every aspect of other people's lives, then it is a rather insecure faith, don't you think?

If the enemy tortures, it defines their moral evil and all intelligence gleaned from such coercion is self-evidently false propaganda. If we do it, it isn't wrong, and it leads to good intelligence. Got that? And these people have the gall to describe their ideological opponents as moral relativists.

It has been said that a person?s religion is best defined not by what he says he believes but simply by what he actually does. Equally, it could be said that one?s friends are simply those people with whom one spends one?s life. Period. Anything else is a form of rationalization.

No American should be forced to choose between their spouse and their country.

The Dixie-crats meet again in New York. Now they're called Republicans.

The myth that there was somehow a magic wand in the early 1980s to cure AIDS - a wand that Reagan deliberately refused to wave - is now almost conventional wisdom.

This was not an act of writing, it was essentially throwing yourself into this moshpit of universal dyspepsia and amusement. And eventually, extraordinary value.

What modernity requires is not that you cease living according to your faith, but that you accept that others may differ and that therefore politics requires a form of discourse that is reasonable and accessible to believer and non-believer alike. This religious restraint in politics is critical to the maintenance of liberal democracy.

And, if they are human, then they must necessarily not be treated in an inhuman fashion. You cannot lower the moral baseline of a terrorist to the subhuman without betraying a fundamental value. That is why the Geneva Conventions have a very basic ban on "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment" ? even when dealing with illegal combatants like terrorists. That is why the Declaration of Independence did not restrict its endorsement of freedom merely to those lucky enough to find themselves on U.S. soil ? but extended it to all human beings, wherever they are in the world, simply because they are human.

Friendship, for Aristotle, seems to be the cornerstone of human society and flourishing, an integral part of happiness, and bound up inextricably with the notion of virtue.

I must say that the Katrina response does help me better understand the situation in Iraq, ... The best bet is that the president doesn't actually know what's happening there, is cocooned from reality, has no one in his high-level staff able to tell him what's actually happening, and has created a culture of denial and loyalty that makes fixing mistakes or holding people accountable all but impossible.

If you change the society and a culture, the politics will follow.

It is a Bush administration official on the moment when torture breaks a victim: The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely. From Neil Gaiman?s account of a torturer in hell: We will hurt you. And we are not sorry. But we do not do it to punish you. We do it to redeem you. Because afterward, you'll be a better person ... and because we love you. One day you'll thank us for it. War is peace. Torture is freedom. In the end, you love Big Brother.

Obama is looking good because he kept his nerve and retained his restraint. That's a tough combo: nerve and restraint. It takes a cold-bloodedness to pull this off, and there are times when ice seems to run through the man's veins.

The essence of romantic love is not the company of a lover but the pursuit.

The New York Times had not become The New York Times overnight. It had to earn its reputation day-by-day.

To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he'd be on Mount Rushmore by now.

What?s interesting to consider, however, is that at the time of Sullivan?s writing ? and certainly in Aristotle?s time millennia earlier ? the physical and the real overlapped far more congruously than they do today, in the age of digital sociality. Consider, for example, the friendship between two people who live apart and rarely spend physical time together, but are constantly and intimately connected via email, Facebook, Skype, text-messaging, and other digital extensions of physical presence. Is that relationship any less real, even though it isn?t rooted in physicality? Perhaps the criterion of ?people with whom one spends one?s life? is better reframed as ?people on whom one spends one?s emotional energies.?

Any president can start a war, and use the chaos of disorder that such a war creates as an indefinite argument for prolonging it. It's a war that keeps on giving. Failure means it's even more necessary to keep failing.

Friendship? is almost a central symbol of human autonomy, and the most accessible example of that autonomy in practice.

I purge compulsively. I'm constantly shedding things.

If you suspend the Geneva Conventions, give the green light to anything that will get intelligence, round up thousands all over the globe with reckless disregard for guilt or innocence, you are effectively and knowingly issuing orders to seize innocent people and torture them. Any president who decides to do that and then says it was not his intention to do that is a fraud or a fool.

It is not an opinion that "enhanced interrogation techniques" are torture. It is a legal fact. And it is also a legal fact that the president is a war criminal.

Of course, the impossibility of love is partly its attraction. It is an irrational act, a concession to the passions, a willing renunciation of reason and moderation ? and that?s why we believe in it. It is also why, in part, the sober writers and thinkers of the ancient and medieval worlds found it a self-evidently inferior, if bewitching, experience. But their confidence in this regard was based not simply on a shrewd analysis of love but on a deeper appreciation of friendship. Without the possibility of friendship, after all, love might seem worth the price. If the promise of union, of an abatement to loneliness, of finding a soulmate, was only available through the vagaries of eros, then it might be worth all the heartbreak and insanity for a glimpse, however brief, of what makes life worth living. But if all these things were available in a human relationship that is not inherently self-destructive, then why, after all, should one choose the riskier and weaker option?

Author Picture
First Name
Andrew
Last Name
Sullivan, fully Andrew Michael Sullivan
Birth Date
1963
Bio

English Author, Editor, Blogger, Conservative Political Commentator, Editor of The New Republic