Andrew Sullivan, tossing around words like “virtue” and “filial piety” takes a stick to Liz Cheney’s enthusiastic embrace of torture as a practice. Liz Cheney’s understandable defense of her father’s (torture) policies, Sullivan argues, have since morphed into a warped view of what is permissible in the public sphere. One can only think of the famous case in the Analects of the son and the father:
The Duke of She informed Confucius, saying, “Among us here there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact.” Confucius said, “Among us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this.”
Whereas Confucius clearly approves of the son who covers up for and defends his father, Confucius would obviously be appalled if that same son then decided to declare that stealing sheep was, upon further consideration, actually virtuous as a practice and so should be applauded by everyone in the state. The Confucian indictment of the Cheneys, both Liz and Dick, is clear enough.