In a testy exchange with reporters, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, argued that on Monday, before the decisions were announced, he was being asked why the president insisted on being “so opposite of George Bush in all these questions, and on Friday I’m answering questions about why are we so much like George Bush on all these questions.”
“I’ll let you guys discern what inflection point, what period of day, that all changed,” Mr. Gibbs continued.
If you remember your calculus, you’ll probably think, as I did, this guy is confusing first and second derivatives. But the larger point, I suspect, is that we are going through a long period in which, as more of the population acquires basic technical training, math and science language is going to enter the general discourse. This means that people without this training will be using the tech-talk too, and often getting it wrong. The division of society between people who have these skills and those who don’t will become more obvious. It becomes another form of “distinction”, in Bourdieu’s sense.
What does this have to do with the issue of military commissions and Guantanamo detainees? Nothing – it’s orthogonal.