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|Needless Commentary from Small-Town America|
The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Theodore Dalrymple is a Prison Doctor
Er... there couldn't be more than one "Theodore Dalrymple" could there? ;)
"Free Speech, Anyone?"
A most worthy blog at Lex Communis today, in the wake of Sen. Santorum's indisputably correct observation. You really should read it: if it's not in the archives, check the main weblog page ("Free Speech, Anyone?" Wednesday, April 23, 2003, 9:00 AM).
"A Tale of Two Presidents"
.... But let's stipulate (without conceding) that the left has reasons to distrust Bush -- shouldn't a war of liberation, regardless of whatever other justifications might or might not exist for the war, be something to warm the heart of every freedom lover (and I thought, if nothing else, the left loved freedom)? Isn't it better to lift the yoke of tyranny from the backs of the Iraqi people, no matter who else may benefit, than to continue their suffering for even a day longer than we did?
Yet, look around the net, listen to the Democratic speeches -- try to find me three or four liberals, just three or four, who are congratulating and thanking Bush for liberating Iraq and promoting America's higher ideals to the world.
Why is that?
I think it all boils down to partisanship. The left, like the right-wing in the Clinton years, can't stand the idea that a politician in the opposing party is co-opting its platform. If a modern day FDR were president now, fully liberal and fully committed to promoting freedom, liberals would have been signing up to support the war in droves. Tim Robbins and Janeanne Garofalo would have been selling war bonds (as then liberal Democrat Ronald Reagan did during World War II). It's preposterous to think that merely because George Bush is president, and not some liberal Democrat, that this war is vile and illegitimate, but that is the message the left keeps pushing to the public.
I just can't understand people who put political party before national interest or international human rights. To me, there is something sinful about it. It is plainly immoral, especially in the face of tyranny.
Islam, France, and the USA
Read these, one after the other. But not near bedtime, if you want to get a good night's sleep.
See also The missing link in the war on terror: Confronting Saudi subversion, which is quoted in the FrontPage article.
Interesting Approach to Intellectuals and Capitalism
Here is an intriguing psychological approach to explaining why so many American intellectuals are viscerally anti-capitalist. I'm not sure I agree with it all even the author is sufficiently tentative about his conclusions but it's a good, thought-provoking read.
It is surprising that intellectuals oppose capitalism so. Other groups of comparable socio-economic status do not show the same degree of opposition in the same proportions. Statistically, then, intellectuals are an anomaly.
Not all intellectuals are on the "left." Like other groups, their opinions are spread along a curve. But in their case, the curve is shifted and skewed to the political left.
By intellectuals, I do not mean all people of intelligence or of a certain level of education, but those who, in their vocation, deal with ideas as expressed in words, shaping the word flow others receive. These wordsmiths include poets, novelists, literary critics, newspaper and magazine journalists, and many professors. It does not include those who primarily produce and transmit quantitatively or mathematically formulated information (the numbersmiths) or those working in visual media, painters, sculptors, cameramen. Unlike the wordsmiths, people in these occupations do not disproportionately oppose capitalism. The wordsmiths are concentrated in certain occupational sites: academia, the media, government bureaucracy.
Wordsmith intellectuals fare well in capitalist society; there they have great freedom to formulate, encounter, and propagate new ideas, to read and discuss them. Their occupational skills are in demand, their income much above average. Why then do they disproportionately oppose capitalism? Indeed, some data suggest that the more prosperous and successful the intellectual, the more likely he is to oppose capitalism. This opposition to capitalism is mainly "from the left" but not solely so. Yeats, Eliot, and Pound opposed market society from the right.
The opposition of wordsmith intellectuals to capitalism is a fact of social significance. They shape our ideas and images of society; they state the policy alternatives bureaucracies consider. From treatises to slogans, they give us the sentences to express ourselves. Their opposition matters, especially in a society that depends increasingly upon the explicit formulation and dissemination of information.
We can distinguish two types of explanation for the relatively high proportion of intellectuals in opposition to capitalism. One type finds a factor unique to the anti-capitalist intellectuals. The second type of explanation identifies a factor applying to all intellectuals, a force propelling them toward anti-capitalist views. Whether it pushes any particular intellectual over into anti-capitalism will depend upon the other forces acting upon him. In the aggregate, though, since it makes anti-capitalism more likely for each intellectual, such a factor will produce a larger proportion of anti-capitalist intellectuals. Our explanation will be of this second type. We will identify a factor which tilts intellectuals toward anti-capitalist attitudes but does not guarantee it in any particular case....
Revoke the Oscar
Not In Our Name With a Twist
Three UCLA profs report on their having been mugged politically:
We believe the liberation of Iraq was just and necessary. But last week, we told President Bush that we deplored the war. Was it flagrantly inconsistent for us to make this statement, so contradictory to what we believe? You bet.
Why did we do it?
We were mugged.
We were mugged by about 200 of our faculty colleagues at UCLA. These colleagues condemn the liberation of Iraq and wanted to say so publicly. But they were not content to speak out in their own names, as they had every right to do. Instead, they insisted on speaking in our names — and in the names of the more than 3,000 people on the UCLA faculty....
I rather suspect that, if the three profs have no more than this "mugging" to complain about in, say, a year's time, they will be able to account themselves fortunate.
George Galloway Laid Waste by Daily Telegraph
In a house editorial today, the London Telegraph slams the traitorous MP George Galloway onto, and into, the pavement. And it's a wonder to behold. Who can help but admire the editorialist who could come up with the likes of these?
.... Mr Galloway thereby confirms the intimacy of his association with men who are now wanted for crimes against humanity.... George's extravagance was, it seems, too gorgeous even for Saddam....
Don't miss the whole thing. It's that rare literary combination of carefully measured poise while going for the jugular.
McCarthyite Attempt to Infringe Republican Senator's Free Speech Rights
That's how the Hollywood left Tim Robbins and his ilk would frame the feigned outrage of sexual-perversion activists against Sen. Rick Santorum, if it were directed against them:
.... In an interview with The Associated Press, Santorum criticized homosexuality while discussing a pending Supreme Court case over a Texas sodomy law.
"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," Santorum said in the interview, published Monday.
Santorum spokeswoman Erica Clayton Wright said Monday that the lawmaker's comments were "were specific to the Supreme Court case." The senator's office had no immediate comment Tuesday to the DSCC's call for him to give up his leadership job.
Santorum's point is indisputable: if "privacy" provides constitutional protection for a sexual perversion, then it does so for any and all sexual practices.
.... We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you -- this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family....
"Transforming the State Department"
Thanks to Margaret, here is Newt Gingrich's famous criticism of Colin Powell's State Department, at AEI Online yesterday:
The last seven months have involved six months of diplomatic failure and one month of military success. The first days after military victory indicate the pattern of diplomatic failure is beginning once again and threatens to undo the effects of military victory.
The diplomatic highpoint for the United States was President Bush's speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 12, 2002. At that point, the case had been made emphatically that the burden was on the UN Security Council. The Iraqi dictatorship had violated UN resolutions for 12 years -- it was the United Nations that was under scrutiny because it was obvious that the regime of Saddam Hussein had failed. As President Bush said, it was time to "choose between a world of fear and a world of progress."
The State Department took the President's strong position and negotiated a resolution that shifted from verification to inspection. This was in part done because of internal State Department politics because verification would have put the policy in the hands of people who disagreed with the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs' propensity for appeasing dictators and propping up corrupt regimes.
The State Department then accepted Hans Blix as chief inspector -- even though he was clearly opposed to war and determined to buy time and find excuses for Saddam. The State Department then accepted Blix's refusal to hire back any of the experienced inspectors thus further drawing out the process. The process was turned from verifying Iraqi compliance, in which case the burden was on Saddam and Iraq had clearly failed, to pursuing United Nations inspections in which case the burden was on the United States.
From President Bush's clear choice between two worlds, the State Department had descended into a murky game in which the players were deceptive and the rules were stacked against the United States....
Without bold dramatic change at the State Department, the United States will soon find itself on the defensive everywhere except militarily. In the long run that is a very dangerous position for the world's leading democracy to be in. Indeed in the long run that is an unsustainable position.
Our ability to lead is more communications, diplomatic, and assistance based than military. People have always admired us more than feared us.
The collapse of the State Department as an effective instrument puts all this at risk. We must learn the transforming lessons of the last six months and apply them to create a more effective State Department.
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