Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Hating America; In More Ways Than One
This posting is longer than I'd ideally like it to be but I simply had to excerpt a good portion of one essay I found at Frontpagemag.com.
In addition to that essay (on "Hating America"), is a speech given at Georgetown University by David Horowitz providing some excellent insight into, "Why We Are In Iraq." In addition to the title's main content, Horowitz covers the issue of what he calls an, "Unholy Alliance" of Islamic Terrorism with the advocates of Leftist political ideals:
"How is it possible that people who think of themselves as advocates of social justice can lend aid and comfort to Islamic radicals who behead people and blow women's heads off with AK-47s when they are suspected of having sexual relations outside of marriage? How can self-styled progressives embrace these people? They embrace them under the logic that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and their enemy is the United States. They do it under the delusion that is common to all radicals. It's the radical analog to the 72 virgins that await jihadists in heaven. Think of how sick our enemy is. The Muslim martyrs in Palestine kill their own children by strapping bombs to them, to 14-year-olds, and telling them if they blow up Jewish 14-year-olds -- and if they are lucky enough to be male -- they will go straight to heaven and get 72 virgins. They're committing mass murder to get into paradise. That is exactly what the left does. Why does the left want to destroy America? To get into paradise. Call it socialism, call it Communism, call it social justice. It's a dream of paradise that is so enticing it will justify any crime necessary to achieve it."
"The radical left does not understand that the root cause of social problems is humanity. There will never be a socially just world because the world is always going to be run by human beings, and human beings are in their nature corrupt, selfish and fallible. If you don't understand that, you are simply delusional, in denial. Thus radicals have the same goal as jihadists, which is paradise. And the same enemy, which is the Great Satan, i.e., us. You cannot read a page of Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn or Michael Moore and not understand that America is the great Satan, the root of the world's evil, worthy of destruction. It is this faith that forges the unholy alliance."
-- Some excellent arguments.
The other article (which I couldn't help but excerpt extensively) was among the November 19th postings from Front Page.
“Hating America”'s writer, Bruce Bawer, addressed the issue after having experienced Euro-bias and animosity while living in Northern Europe. His observations and insight are first rate. The article is rather long but well worth reading. I’ve excerpted a considerable part of the essay below:
“…the owner of the farm hotel at which I’d stayed, irked that I’d made a point of his want of hospitality, got his revenge by telling reporters that I’d demanded McDonald’s hamburgers for dinner instead of that most Norwegian of delicacies, reindeer steak. Though this was a transparent fabrication (his establishment was located atop a remote mountain, far from the nearest golden arches), the press lapped it up. The story received prominent coverage all over Norway and dragged on for days. My inhospitable host became a folk hero; my irksome weekend trip was transformed into a morality play about the threat posed by vulgar, fast-food-eating American urbanites to cherished native folk traditions. I was flabbergasted. But my erstwhile host obviously wasn’t: he knew his country; he knew its media; and he’d known, accordingly, that all he needed to do to spin events to his advantage was to breathe that talismanic word, McDonald’s…”
“…(One reason why Europeans view Americans as ignorant is that when we don’t know something, we’re more likely to admit it freely and ask questions.) While Americans, I saw, cherished liberty, Europeans tended to take it for granted or dismiss it as a naïve or cynical, and somehow vaguely embarrassing, American fiction. I found myself toting up words that begin with i: individuality, imagination, initiative, inventiveness, independence of mind. Americans, it seemed to me, were more likely to think for themselves and trust their own judgments, and less easily cowed by authorities or bossed around by “experts”; they believed in their own ability to make things better. No wonder so many smart, ambitious young Europeans look for inspiration to the United States, which has dynamism their own countries lack, and which communicates the idea that life can be an adventure and that there’s important, exciting work to be done. Reagan-style “morning in America” clichés may make some of us wince, but they reflect something genuine and valuable in the American air. Europeans may or may not have more of a “sense of history” than Americans do (in fact, in a recent study comparing students’ historical knowledge, the results were pretty much a draw), but America has something else that matters—a belief in the future…”
“…most foreigners never set foot in the United States, and that the things they think they know about it are consequently based not on first-hand experience but on school textbooks, books by people like Michael Moore, movies about spies and gangsters, “Ricki Lake,” “C.S.I.,” and, above all, the daily news reports in their own national media. What, one must therefore ask, are their media telling them? What aren’t they telling them? And what are the agendas of those doing the telling? Such questions, crucial to a study of the kind Hertsgaard pretends to be making, are never asked here. Citing a South African restaurateur’s assertion that non-Americans “have an advantage over [Americans], because we know everything about you and you know nothing about us,” Hertsgaard tells us that this is a good point, but it’s not: non-Americans are always saying this to Americans, but when you poke around a bit, you almost invariably discover that what they “know” about America is very wide of the mark…”
“…to suggest that American journalism, taken as a whole, offers a narrower range of information and debate than its foreign counterparts is absurd. America’s major political magazines range from National Review and The Weekly Standard on the right to The Nation and Mother Jones on the left; its all-news networks, from conservative Fox to liberal CNN; its leading newspapers, from the New York Post and Washington Times to the New York Times and Washington Post. Scores of TV programs and radio call-in shows are devoted to fiery polemic by, or vigorous exchanges between, true believers at both ends of the political spectrum. Nothing remotely approaching this breadth of news and opinion is available in a country like Norway. Purportedly to strengthen journalistic diversity (which, in the ludicrous words of a recent prime minister, “is too important to be left up to the marketplace”), Norway’s social-democratic government actually subsidizes several of the country’s major newspapers (in addition to running two of its three broadcast channels and most of its radio); yet the Norwegian media are (guess what?) almost uniformly social-democratic—a fact reflected not only in their explicit editorial positions but also in the slant and selectivity of their international coverage…”
“…Most Norwegians are so accustomed to being presented with only one position on certain events and issues (such as the Iraq War) that they don’t even realize that there exists an intelligent alternative position.”
“Things are scarcely better in neighboring Sweden. During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the only time I saw pro-war arguments fairly represented in the Scandinavian media was on an episode of “Oprah” that aired on Sweden’s TV4. Not surprisingly, a Swedish government agency later censured TV4 on the grounds that the program had violated media-balance guidelines. In reality, the show, which had featured participants from both sides of the issue, had plainly offended authorities by exposing Swedish viewers to something their nation’s media had otherwise shielded them from—a forceful articulation of the case for going into Iraq.4 In other European countries, to be sure, the media spectrum is broader than this; yet with the exception of Britain, no Western European nation even approaches America’s journalistic diversity…”
“…Hertsgaard further sneers that for many Americans, the fall of the Berlin Wall proved that they lived in “the chosen nation of God.” Now, for my part, I never heard anyone suggest such a connection. What I do remember about the Wall coming down is the lack of shame or contrition on the part of Western leftists who had spent decades appeasing and apologizing for Soviet Communism. In any event, does Hertsgaard really think that in a work purporting to evaluate America in an international context, this smirking comment about the Berlin Wall is all that need be said about the expiration of an empire that murdered tens of millions and from which the U.S., at extraordinary risk and expense, protected its allies for nearly half a century?…”
“…Hertsgaard compares America unfavorably not only with Europe but—incredibly—with Africa. If “many Europeans speak two if not three languages,” he rhapsodizes, “in Africa, multilingualism is even more common.” So, one might add, are poverty, starvation, rape, AIDS infection, state tyranny and corruption, and such human-rights abominations as slavery, female genital mutilation, and the use of children as soldiers and prostitutes…”
“…“We Americans are a clever bunch,” he usually talks about his fellow countrymen as if they’re buffoons who have mysteriously and unjustly lucked into living in the world’s richest country, while most of the rest of the species, though far brighter and more deserving, somehow ended up in grinding poverty. For him, Americans’ intellectual mediocrity would seem to be a self-evident truth, but his own observations hardly exemplify the kind of reflectiveness a reader of such a book has a right to expect. For example, when he notes with satisfaction that the young Sigmund Freud “complained . . . incessantly about [America’s] lack of taste and culture,” Hertsgaard seems not to have realized that Freud was, of course, comparing the U.S. to his native Austria, which would later demonstrate its “taste and culture” by welcoming the Nazi Anschluss. One ventures to suggest that had Freud—who escaped the Gestapo thanks to intervention by Franklin D. Roosevelt—survived to see the liberated death camps in which his four sisters perished, he might well have revised his views about the relative virtues of American and Austrian culture…”
“…The essence of Hutton’s argument is that “all Western democracies subscribe to a broad family of ideas that are liberal or leftist” (note the sly conflation here of “liberal” and “leftist,” which in Europe, of course, are opposites), and that first among these ideas is “a belief in the primacy of society” as opposed to the insidious “American belief in the primacy of the individual.” Hutton traces the prioritization of society over the individual back to medieval feudalism, which he holds up—hilariously—as an ideal. The trouble, he explains, started when Puritan individualists “who passionately believed that they could individually establish a direct relationship with God” emigrated to North America and invented “an explosively new and radical ideology” that justified “an individualist rather than a social view of property.” This led to the American Revolution, which Hutton compares unfavorably with its French counterpart of 1789, since the former put the individual first (bad) while the latter introduced a “new social contract” (good). “The European tradition,” he instructs us, “is much more mindful that men and women are social animals and that individual liberty is only one of a spectrum of values that generate a good society.” Well, he’s right: Europe has been more drawn than America to communitarianism than to individual rights—and it’s precisely this tragic susceptibility that made possible the rise of Fascism, Nazism, and Communism and that obliged the U.S. to step in and save the Continent from itself in World War II. Nonetheless, Hutton has the audacity to insist that “it would all be so much better if the United States rejoined the world on new terms”—if, in other words, Americans exchanged Jeffersonian values for the currently popular European “ism,” statism…”
“…If Europe’s intellectual and political elite was briefly pro-America after 9/11, it was because America was suddenly a victim, and European intellectuals are accustomed to sympathizing reflexively with victims (or, more specifically, with perceived or self-proclaimed victims, such as Arafat). That support began to wane the moment it became clear that Americans had no intention of being victims…”
“…Revel’s earliest opinions of America, he tells us, were formed by “the European press, which means that my judgment was unfavorable”; yet those opinions changed when he actually visited America during the Vietnam War. Decades later, he notes wryly, the European media still employ the same misrepresentations as they did back then, depicting an America plagued by severe poverty, extreme inequality, “no unemployment benefits, no retirement, no assistance for the destitute,” and medical care and university education only for the rich. “Europeans firmly believe this caricature,” Revel writes, “because it is repeated every day by the elites.” The centrality of this point to the entire topic of European anti-Americanism cannot, in my view, be overstated…”
“…Media? Revel recalls that when he first visited the U.S., he “was struck by the vast gulf that separated our [French] state-controlled television news services—stilted, long-winded and monotonous, dedicated to presenting the official version of events—from the lively, aggressive evening news shows on NBC or CBS, crammed with eye-opening images and reportage that offered unflinching views of social and political realities at home and American involvement abroad.” (Take that, Mr. Hutton.) He also observed a difference in the populace: “whereas in France people’s opinions were fairly predictable and tended to follow along lines laid down by their social role, what I heard in America was much more varied—and frequently unexpected. I realized that many more Americans than Europeans had formed their own opinions about matters—whether intelligent or idiotic is another question—rather than just parroting the received wisdom of their social milieu.” True: by Western European standards, I’ve come to realize, Americans are very independent thinkers…”
“…To Revel, the tenacity of European anti-Americanism, despite historical developments that should have finished it off once and for all, suggests “that we are in the presence, not of rational analysis, but of obsession”—an obsession driven, he adds, by a desire to maintain public hostility to Jeffersonian democracy. The European establishment, Revel notes, soft-pedals the fact that Europeans “invented the great criminal ideologies of the twentieth century”; it defangs Communism (at “the top French business school,” students think Stalin’s great error was to “prioritize capital goods over . . . consumer goods”); and it identifies the U.S., “contrary to every lesson of real history . . . as the singular threat to democracy.” Revel’s vigorous assault on all this foolishness might easily have been dismissed in France (or denied publication altogether) but for the fact that he’s a member of that revered symbol of French national culture, the Académie Française…”
“…Yet the book Willis has written isn’t a brief for solidarity with America but a brisk, rambling, opinionated, and rather familiar account of the author’s recent travels in the U.S. Its tone—a mixture of chummy irreverence and defensive condescension—is familiar from other European travel books about America, as are its ingredients: Willis eats barbecue, extends unsolicited sympathy to American blacks, enthuses over Elvis, expresses his disapproval of the My Lai massacre; he seeks out the company of rednecks and left-wing intellectuals, which allows him to depict an America torn between racist boneheads and people who think like, well, members of the Scandinavian establishment; and he labors (in precisely the fashion described by Revel in his critique of the French media) to leave the impression that the U.S. has no public schools, pensions, unemployment insurance, or media debate. Willis’ anecdotes range from the funny (he tells us that young Norwegian lawbreakers, who thanks to American TV shows are more familiar with the U.S. justice system than their own, routinely ask their arresting officers: “Aren’t you going to read me my rights?”) to the disturbing (Willis informs us, and doesn’t seem to find it particularly worrisome, that his “Arab friends” in Oslo consider 9/11 a Jewish conspiracy)…”
“…, Western Europeans give a thumbs-up only to American popular culture. Why? Because they’ve experienced American movies and music firsthand and can judge for themselves, whereas their social and political views are based on what they’ve been taught in school and told by their media. This gap between negative views inculcated by educators and journalists and positive views founded on personal experience is perhaps nowhere vaster than in Norway, where school textbooks give bogus “materialistic-capitalistic explanations” for one U.S. action after another—presenting as fact, for instance, that America’s motive for invading Iraq was oil—but where teenagers, according to a BBD&O study, boast Europe’s highest “Americanization index.” (The Norwegian press sneers about Americans’ devotion to McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, but both corporations have bigger market shares in Norway than in the U.S.)…”
And, from the endnotes:
“…3 According to an April 2003 poll, 69% of Norwegian journalists are socialists, compared with 43% of the general population; the Progress Party, the social-democratic establishment’s only serious challenger, is supported by 22.5% of Norwegians, but only 3% of journalists (and most of that 3%, I’d wager, work for local weeklies, not national dailies)…”
“…6 Similarly, Hertsgaard holds up the Muslim world as a model, quoting an Egyptian’s complaint about American individualism: “Parents [in the U.S.] don't know much about their children, and if they tell the kids not to do something, it doesn’t matter; they do it anyway. Here, family is more important.” Yes, Muslim children are indeed expected to obey absolutely. This is especially true of Muslim girls, a high percentage of whom are subjected to forced marriages and who, if they resist, risk an “honor killing” at the hands of their fathers or other male relatives. Is this Hertsgaard’s idea of admirable family values?…”
“…15 Typical of this reflexive attitude was a December 2003 editorial in which the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet—dodging the controversial question of whether public schools should prohibit the wearing of head coverings by Muslim girls—made the ludicrous statement that the only solution to the conflict lay in taking the girls seriously as “partners in dialogue.” ”
The contemporary anti-American obsession, particularly among Europeans, is a comedy of nonsense, not to mention, vapid of facts or objectivity.
Bawer’s essay is one of the best rebuttals I’ve seen. By all means read the complete article.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
“Gulags” and Gulags
I don’t include many links in my postings, as I had done in the past – just too tedious and time consuming. Most of the “good stuff” can be found regularly on some of the site’s I’ve listed among my general list of links (as well as a million or so other sites that I may or may not have yet seen).
I have to include this link regarding North Korea's Gulags (as compared to Amnesty International’s latest definition of a “gulag”). The essay provides some interesting information and puts things into context quite well I think.
North Korea is the extreme extrapolation of collectivist / statist philosophy in action (quite contrary to the left’s bogus counter-argument that somehow Nazi Germany is an extrapolation of the libertarian or conservative's belief in minimal decentralized government).
It’s time for Amnesty International (who I used to actually give money to) to scrap its phony “non-partisan” label.
Dialog with the Left
“I believe in limited constitutional and highly localized government, low taxes, and a maximum degree of individual freedom with free and open commerce.”
“I oppose the further centralization and growth of government authority over the individual (I don’t like bureaucrats).”
“I approve of defensive and pre-emptive military action against countries and regimes who would seek to harm our citizens or impose authoritarian ideologies over us.”
“You’re obviously an extreme, ultra, double plus un-good, racist, goose-stepping fascist.”
“I believe America is the worst terrorist state in human history. I believe it has a cruel system of oppression based on greed and class interests. I believe death rates in communist purges and famines are greatly exaggerated and communist leaders did many good things to help create a better world. I admire and support people like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in their struggle against the imperialistic, hegemonic U.S…”
"...but, I never said I hated the U.S. or supported communism!”
When the Cardigan Fades Away; Continuing Hero Worship in the Post-Chomsky Era
“Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” Sometimes I wish this were the case with some old philosophers and their old ideas.
I once speculated on the likely responses of pundits and “thinkers” (e.g. non-thinkers) When Castro’s Gone.
Noam Chomsky is getting up in his years. Since there are some similarities in age and values between Castro and America’s commendante’ of self-derision (America’s “self,” not himself), I’ve begun wondering how the world, and particularly many media outlets, will respond when he passes on. (My intention is mere valid speculation regarding public reaction, not a “mean-spirited” hopefulness for his early demise).
The great linguist has attained worldwide recognition, not only in his own esoteric field of study but also for his ability to compile and articulate references to dark deeds and skeletons from America’s closet. For this he is often described as a “genius.”
On the other side of the political divide, David Horowitz performs a similar role regarding the darker deeds and larger skeletons in the left’s huge closets. For his effort, he is barely acknowledged, and certainly not described as a “genius” by the propaganda forces that dominate academia. Perhaps only certain views can be labeled products of, “genius.” Perhaps Chomsky is a genius regarding his insights into linguistics, but I still don’t buy into this idea that one can be a genius by merely compiling “facts” to back a partisan political viewpoint.
Confronting disagreement in politics is usually a relatively simple concept. Each side states their case and tries to support it with evidence or anecdote. Those less impassioned by the issues can appraise both sides and draw their own conclusions based on their own analysis and sentiment. The more determined will likely stand their ground because – I’m convinced – strongly held views are more emotional in content regardless of “supporting facts.” Anyone can find appropriate “facts” to back their gut feelings.
I’ve never read or heard a Chomsky follower that clearly got down to what it was they want beyond some vague desire that one “admit America’s crimes” to the same degree of self-loathing that the follower has taken. (Remember, this is a mock self-loathing, the typical leftist sees their true self -- not their country -- as beyond moral reproach). I think it can accurately be read between their lines that they would like to see America a much weaker and less wealthy country and that it adopt most of the typical attributes of a socialist economy – a process that many Chomsky followers euphemistically describe as some shade of “anarchism” (which it clearly is not). To make such accusations, as those I've made thus far, in the presence of a Chom-head is usually met with the usual, “Chomsky never said that” – a variation on his own, “I never said that.” It hardly takes a genius to see what such types are saying. I’ve never heard or read anything by a Chomsky follower that stood out as uniquely different from the usual strains of leftist rhetoric. Their greatest enemy is clearly capitalism (a free market) and capitalism’s greatest and most successful figurehead and promoter, The United States. All the other rambling is just icing on their socialist cake.
Any Chomsky debate, it seems, inevitably devolves into being about Chomsky himself more than any particular issue, and this isn’t just an attribute of the anti-Chomsky side either. For Chomskyites, it’s never just the thrill of noting America’s flaws or historical misdeed, it’s the added excitement of prefacing the issue with the note that Chomsky said it.
Somehow the most mundane attacks on America are thought to be profound because “Chomsky said it.” When debate does settle on the validity of Chomsky’s claims, the demand is made that one must read all of his exhaustive lectures, interviews, and writings (a good deal of his “writings” are actually nothing but transcripts of interviews or lectures – an easy way for a “writer” to gain easy following and income).
When criticizing Chomsky, one is implored by his followers to dredge up quotes and citations to prove “he said…” or “didn’t say…;” a tedious and unnecessary labor that serves neither side’s purposes really.
In the end, it’s implied that one is not qualified to dislike Chomsky or his ideas unless one has adopted the same fanatical immersion in such ideas that his cult-followers have taken. This standard, of course, is never applied both ways.
I’ve seen plenty of leftists cringe at the mention of Ayn Rand’s name and later admit they’d never read her novels, let alone her philosophical tracts. To be honest, Rand occupies a similar Chomsky-style cult status among many of her passionate followers. Many copies of her books have been sold also (but not because they’re mandatory reading for a college professor’s captive audience). I agree with much of what Rand wrote but shy from calling myself a follower precisely because of the dogmatic cult atmosphere that surrounds her work.
I’ve met a few leftists who know who David Horowitz is and know from a few of his quotes or brief essays essentially where he stands or is likely to stand on important issues. I certainly wouldn’t tell such types that they need to read such and such a book by Hororwitz to understand what he, “really means, otherwise, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I think anyone can read a few of Ayn Rand’s or David Horowitz’s writings and have a very good idea where they stand, “what they mean,” and where their sympathies lie. Circumstances involving Chomsky, I dare say, are no different.
Another similar case in point, Michael Moore (definitely not on the high end of the philosophy circuit). I haven’t read all his books or seen all of his movies or TV show segments but, you know what? I think I know where he’s coming from and it sounds pretty distant from my own appreciation for America’s constitutional society and free market economy.
The most bizarre quality I continually find among Chomsky’s followers is their genuine excitement for a guy who essentially just articulates dislike for America’s history and system of government – what fun! In this sense, he’s taken the place of Marx who used to set the anti-capitalist crowd glowing – the feeling that they’d discovered some great secret and are therefore amongst an elect of all knowing, “revolutionaries” (between weekend ski trips).
If the right treated anyone as heroes with the same degree of passion as the left shows to Chomsky (Ayn Rand's cult following is quite limited in comparison to Chomsky's), their heroes would be people like Thomas Jefferson – who actually has left a practical legacy -- the wealthiest, most diverse, innovative, and adaptable engine of progress in history (The United States), and it was his effort that helped to make it so. What has Chomsky done, again? Oh, that’s right, he goes around the world lecturing and writing about how bad the U.S. is (I may have stated this in rather informal terms, but I think it is, indeed, an accurate description of what he does).
To be sure, “the right” (by my definition, free-market, limited government, conservatives and libertarians – not collectivist/statist “racists” and “militarists”) has admired spokespersons of their vision – those who articulate non-socialist values well. I like reading P.J. O’Rourke. I like David Horowitz’s writings, and for full-on honest sarcasm; Ann Coulter’s. I don’t agree with everything these people write (try getting a Chomskyite to say that about their idol!), but their views are close to my own. I like these people’s writings, but they’re not my heroes. I don’t think they’re infallible and I don’t think that those who disagree with them are necessarily “misinformed” or “blinded by hate.” And, for the record, I never loan or even recommend such partisan books to people who clearly don't share my political views.
Admittedly, I gain a certain satisfaction from arguments that indicate that my own country – contrary to what I’m told daily from many media outlets – is okay, and that the values of individuality and freedom are good things. I still find it odd that many of Chomsky’s followers seem to gain the same satisfaction from hearing that their country is bad and that individuality and freedom are bad (when measured against socialist / collectivist values). There’s a satisfaction anyone gets from reading their own ideals well stated in a public forum, but in Chomskyland we’re dealing with something entirely different from mere “satisfaction.”
Chomsky is just some guy, his practical contributions to society and the world are outweighed by the daily activities a neighborhood grocery store.
Back to my initial point; Chomsky’s old, he’ll be passing on, maybe not soon but definitely not a whole lot later either. How will the media and his followers deal with a figure so formidable in some narrow circles, and so completely unknown and insignificant to the average American – or for that matter, world – citizen?
…As in my prediction regarding circumstances after Castro passes on, I’d virtually guarantee considerable fanfare in the press (at least, fanfare disproportionate to his stature among common citizens). The pseudo-intellectuals of journalism will note his passing in dramatic feature articles. His output will be depicted in glowing terms and his significance blown to heroic proportions. Why? Because he compiles information and articulates a critical view of America. Those few people in media and academia who realize that Middle America could care less about Chomsky’s crusade against capitalist society and U.S. foreign policy misdeeds will see this as further evidence of the masses’ ignorance. Those from the world of non-Chomsky will continue to be seen in the Jacobin mind as gun-totting Jesus freaks who don't know Beethoven's last string quartets -- the horror!
I’m sure saint Noam’s really not a bad guy. He seems relatively demure in manner, not that this in itself tells us anything about his goals or motives. I certainly don’t wish him an untimely death, but I can’t say I care much for his anti-U.S. / anti-free-market view of things. I don’t like his obsession with the skeletons in our closet and his trite and token acknowledgments of horrors committed in the name of collectivist / statist ideals.
Okay…so, upon Chomsky’s passing some in the media and a clique of pampered intellectuals will go nuts over a guy most Americans never heard of. And, what of those devout lesser followers in the cult of Noam? To be sure, graying pony tails and wire rimmed glasses across the country will vent hyperbolic sorrow over the passing of their master mouthpiece for the left’s vision. There will be boxed sets of books and DVD’s, new biographies, and video footage “unseen prior to now.” PBS and the BBC will produce dramatic documentaries on his life and “mission.” Ironically, a tiny niche in the free market will burst into action as sainthood is bestowed on – I’ve got to remind you – a linguistics professor from MIT who criticizes the U.S. Not the creator of a new vaccine, not a master of technical innovation, not an employer of millions. No, a guy who gives lectures with the main theme being that America and Capitalism are bad – wow! How exciting! Chomsky will become the Elvis of intellectual socialist snobs the world over.
Any Chomsky idolizers who may be reading this are likely fuming by now. This, all because I basically like the U.S. (warts and all), don’t like socialism, and most importantly, don’t bow at the shrine of their hero. After all, this isn’t just some guy whose writings they like and whose philosophy they agree with, this is…god?
I’m a libertarian but could personally care less if a leftist critiques and insults the name of libertarian spokespersons. There’s a difference between holding a philosophy of freedom vs. being a member of a cult.
So, another blog writer has failed to acknowledge the greatness of a popular socialist demagogue. But then, remember, folks like me don’t care much for Castro either. (Perhaps, in his twilight days, Chomsky could get a job as minister of intellectual glamour in the Hugo Chavez "administration").
It’s often been noted that Chomsky is one of the, “…most cited ‘authorities’… (Like Marx and Lenin -- saying a lot, indeed). Chomsky is often “cited” by those who agree with him -- that’s impressive. The local auto mechanic doesn’t “cite” anyone, but he can at least fix your car.
What has Chomsky done, ultimately? He has written, lectured, and traveled to “spread the message” and the dislike he has for his country and its open-market economic system. For this he is praised amongst a clique of intellectual snobs and after his passing he will no doubt be canonized along with Marx and other Charlatans of the anti-capitalist, anti-freedom coalition of nonsense. When the cardigan fades, the world’s true loss will only be; one less wearer of cardigans…and perhaps less future revenue to book publishers who cater to mandatory reading lists at some colleges – the “citing” will no doubt continue.
Life in Noam-land
…Chomsky proved in his 1979 lecture-interview-book-tape-video-dance-performance piece that the sun is really dark and the moon is made of cheese…
While scorpions may have venom, their danger is largely exaggerated and they will only act aggressively when mistreated by capitalist institutions who fail to read all of his books…
And, don’t forget; the U.S. is really bad.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Live 8 Update and Reappraisal
Brief update on “Live 8,” the mega-star rock concert organized by Bob Geldof to draw attention to Africa’s poverty. I stand corrected in my earlier comments regarding the organizer and his mission. To be sure, such an event will, indeed, likely draw its share of idealists and capitalist bashers but Geldof himself seems rather commendable at this point (the good motives seemed genuine to begin with). He actually has the good sense to try to keep the effort on task by telling those involved to lay off the topics of Iraq, global warming, and other protest favorites. He even went so far as to mention something that the media in general likes to keep low key; that George Bush “has actually done more than any American President for Africa.”
Another high profile rock-star with a history of well-meaning involvement with African poverty is Bono, from the band U-2. He seems to be another rare character from the entertainment crowd whose sincere concerns regarding African poverty don’t conflict with common sense -- that markets and free trade are a part of the solution.
I assume that neither Geldof nor Bono are “right wing” laissez-faire types, but their common sense approach to genuine problems is rare and commendable.
There are more than a few who now recognize that simply “giving money” to corrupt dictatorships is not a solution to poverty in Africa, and that capitalism is not the enemy of prosperity and progress.
There will no doubt be plenty of garden-variety socialists to carry on the “redistribution solution” idea, but common sense will hopefully outnumber them in the long run.
Appraisals of the "Mainstream Media"
Another commenter was more than reasonable in his disagreements with my comments, made some valid points, and raised some important questions. My response-to-the-response ended up being longer than I had planned and I realized it was a rant in itself so, rather than make a separate post here with essentially the same ideas, I offer this link to The Tanuki Ramble.
I should note that the other commenter, "Chompsky," is not the Noam Chomsky (no "p") idolized by so many in leftland. A future post here will be on that very person when I speculate on reactions after he passes on -- as I had earlier done regarding Fidel Castro.
The "Chompsky" who commented on the Tanuki site is quite reasonable and raised some questions worth considering.
Regarding the issue of "objectivity" that I addressed in my comments I would now add that; I don't think the media should "lie for Bush" (as some would frame the issue) regarding the current war situation, but merely recognize that we are indeed at war with a ruthless enemy. In the name of objectivity, it may not be that important to "present" (promote!) the enemy's "side."
Monday, June 20, 2005
The People's Cube
Fourteen Reasons to Not Like Che
Top Ten (actually 14) Reasons To Not Like Che:
14. Administered summary trials and executions.
13. Always looked stoned. (Actually, scratch that. This could be seen as his one admirable quality).
12. Didn't hold a steady job.
11. Oliver Stone and Ted Turner are "friends of a friend" (Fidel Castro).
10. Always acted like he was cool or something.
9. Promoted peace by wearing army fatigues.
8. In an ancient forgotten tongue his name means, "That dumb guy in the funny hat."
7. Real men don't write diaries -- on a motorcycle or otherwise.
6. Typical pampered socialist spoiled brat.
5. Colonel Sander's image on a t-shirt makes one more approachable.
4. Hair style looks cool on faded t-shirt but in real life was simply unwashed.
3. Admired by vapid, rich Hollywood Communists.
2. His best pal, Fidel, keeps winning elections by not allowing other candidates, and...
The #1 reason to not like Che is......(lets get to the point):
He was a ruthless egomaniac socialist demagogue!
Friday, June 17, 2005
On the front page of one of Japan’s English newspaper’s was a blurb noting a Reuters article deeper in the paper.
The Headline; “Rice Says She Doesn’t Know If N. Korea’s Kim Is Sane.” The article itself is just another rehash of things that have been said by Bush and members of his administration about the worst dictatorship on the planet. The message in these brief reminder articles is ultimately that Bush is egging the North Korean dictator on with provocative speech. (The actual article I had read in Japan's Daily Yomiuri was longer than the brief one I was able to find and post in the link above).
The utterly insane hyperbole in this article is it’s headline vs. the reality of what actually transpired. Rice had simply been asked in an interview if she believed Kim Jong Il was sane. Her answer, “I don’t know, I’ve never met the man.” There ya have it. Compare that with the headline and the fact that it was highlighted on a newspaper’s front page.
Reuters, that great objective news service that refuses to call terrorists, terrorists.
-- The left is so pathetic…
Cost/Benefit and the Horrors of Practical Reality
Everything has a cost. From the moment we rise in the morning, the decisions we make cannot be separated from calculations as to what benefits we will gain vs. what their costs will be. Give up 20 minutes of sleep and you're up and moving 20 minutes early. Don't watch TV, you get to catch up on reading -- cost/benefit; 'happens everywhere, all the time.
Everything we do requires a rallying of capacity and resolve to some degree, and within every penny we may spend lies the symbolism of a prior time’s effort. We allocate such expenditures in time, effort, and spirit assuming the receipt of some kind of benefit in exchange.
The left is okay with half of this equation. Benefits are fine, but costs, if any, should be “fair” -- what they find acceptable for everyone else. Everything from a chosen livelihood to self-esteem are seen as one’s just due, automatically guaranteed, whether earned or not.
“Some things are just too important to leave to the whims of the market [the ever-changing cumulative effect of millions of individual decisions]”… In reality, something the left has never been too comfortable with, most things are too important to leave to the whims – and compulsory edicts – of politicians, bureaucrats, and “philosophers.”
One hundred years ago, the chances of a loved one dying in an influenza epidemic were considerable, occasionally millions died.
How much would one have been willing to pay for a “miracle” to save the life of a loved one? As it turns out, today they needn’t pay much at all beyond a few days of missed work, but that’s not due to some state guarantee or redistribution of illness (although socialized medicine does ration and redistribute wait times for needed services like surgery).
Of course, some have more serious ailments (influenza was serious). Today when doctors or pharmaceutical companies are rewarded by “the market” (people) for their actions, the left’s response is not adulation for saving lives, it’s chastisement for “greed,” -- and lawsuits.
In this brief essay I’m not going to extrapolate on the time, effort, and risk that go into producing a new wonder drug or a degree in neurology. Suffice it to say that there are some rare and gifted people who have chosen a path that benefits many. Regardless of their motives or income, gratitude is the least we owe them. That “greedy” doctor who saves lives daily has the nerve to send his kid to a good college, or he or she owns a nice car and plays golf on days off? “How can we allow it?”
Some prefer the poor as role models and heroes. Lacking wealth makes a contribution appear more sincere (when a “contribution” is made at all). But new vaccines seldom arise from the efforts of poor people -- actually new anything tends to not come from the heroes of leftland. This is not to say that poor people are to automatically be shunned of sympathy or derided for what may be genuine misfortune, but creative, innovative, or wealthy people should hardly be disdained simply because poor people exist. Occupying a lower peg in job or income is not, “failing” in the market, it does not mean one has been pushed aside by competitive cruelty as the left would like us to believe. One’s providing a desired product or service may reward one with wealth, but it hardly removes wealth from another.
Practical reality is seen by some to be “mean,” or at least those of us who acknowledge its existence are seen to be. Through the eyes and standards of guile and envy this will no doubt always be so.
I would not like to be struck by lightening. Indeed, from my perspective, it “wouldn’t be fair” for me to be struck by lightening…or the flu, or cancer. Reality may have other plans. Maybe reality itself is “mean,” certainly suffering and death are unwanted fates to anyone. The left’s skewed perception of such unwanted events rests in the belief that there is some connection between being among the “haves” or “have-nots” – the “haves” made others “have not.” In reality, there is no objective basis for what is ultimately simple envy (and could actually be seen as a type of “greed” itself).
In the last couple of centuries – at least since the Age of Reason and its aftermath – we’ve reaped a whirlwind of benefits from the conscious decisions of many gifted minds yet, to experience any of these benefits there is still a cost.
To some, it costs too much to save a life or limb. Others will “accept” the cost but demand that someone else pay it.
I’m not specifically addressing the -- very complex -- issue of socialized medicine. An argument regarding “free” health care is just one among many for “free” something – or everything.
My main point here is that nothing is “free” -- there is no free lunch as the accurate cliché’ tells us.
Stealing the product, wealth, or mind of one to serve the needs or wants of another is a scam, not only a lie to those it would be fostered upon, but to the very reality of; reality.
Seek a benefit, pay a cost…then complain that practical reality is something called the market or “capitalism” and that the special saints above it all should be exempt from the very nature of existence -- to the same degree that they're exempt from common sense.
I found a link to this article at Dissecting Leftism's June 12th post. I note it here because it states so well the thoughts I had tried to express in my own comments in my June 11th post regarding Dominique de Villepin and the French economy.
An interesting appraisal by a French citizen who doesn't appear to follow the socialist status quo.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Mainstream Objectivity News Inc.
Real Revolutions...and Cheap Imitations
For those who haven’t noticed, -- and it would be difficult not to – there’s a revolution taking place now, but it’s different from what some have defined as, “revolutionary.”
Every few decades or so, self-described “revolutionaries” seek to re-impose the level of government authority that America’s founding fathers shook off over 200 years ago. There are, however, other revolutionaries with more honest semantic appraisal of their goals.
Today’s revolution is different. In the past, self-deluded “rebels” marched, ranted, and whined; opposing, “Wars, racism, and greed (selectively).” Assisting them in their crusade, they had the support of a good portion of academia, the intellectual “community,” entertainers, the media, and even the public schools. Whether one read an 8th grade history book or watched the nightly news, one could often find suggestions and hints that an evil capitalist system had erected an American tyranny of selfish oppression. Whether addressing civil rights, feminism, the environment, or “peace,” the ultimate obstacle to the flourishing of goodness was, in their eyes, …individual freedom!
A left of center worldview still dominates most of the international media, entertainment, public school bureaucracy, et al. The world over, a generation of young people have been raised convinced they are somehow free-thinking “rebels” because they agree with what they’ve been told by their teachers, Michael Moore, and “mainstream” news sources. Many are now convinced that a highly regulated bureau state is the solution to perceived flaws in human nature and that any country or person that thinks otherwise is “fascist” (this, often from the very nations who invented both Fascism and Communism). The cheap imitation rebel sees any open system of products and values as the enemy of utopia.
The real revolution currently taking place can be seen in a renewed appreciation for the values established by America’s founders. Such values acknowledge, first and foremost, the right of the individual to live freely from arbitrary coercion and submission to state authority.
In the past, media had deliberately dramatized the modern failings of free society (i.e exaggerated claims of “poverty”) rather than the realities of successful achievement among new immigrants rising to America’s middle class through their own effort.
Today, true diversity of opinion has emerged; a just countervailing force to the authoritarian’s contrived diversity through compulsion. This is a radical change from former decades when domineering and self-righteous ideologies had gained significant influence over public opinion and policy. In cable news options, books, and Internet sites, the silent majority has again risen to fairly claim their just position in the marketplace of ideas.
When I briefly taught high school social studies, I was amazed (disgusted) that so many school texts and so many teachers preached the idea that the government has “given us rights,” or “allowed us to have rights." The founders would have cringed to hear such nonsense. Their assumption was that humans are literally born with natural rights and that government's prime purpose is to maintain the security of those rights. The citizen allows the state to exist – we give it the right to exist -- not the other way around!
The reasoned establishment of self-government and the existence of free expression and choice is still the only value system that can truly be called “revolutionary.” The “revolution” squealed from the left is no revolution at all – not even close. It is a desire to merely return to the political state of most of human history; subservience to centralized authority. One must remember that revolution ultimately means change, The goals of the left have nothing to do with change.
The founders of America’s constitutional system knew that factions in contending thought would spontaneously emerge when one aggressive ideal sought to impose itself. So it is that today, over 200 years after America’s birth, the real revolution for individual liberty has reasserted itself. The true rebels of today’s revolution are not calling for a more powerful state or “wise” leaders to compel obedience to philosophical fads; they are merely asking to be left alone. The Left hates to leave people alone. Today’s “Progressive” ultimately demands that we embody the same banal trait sought by caricatures of some cheesy corporate enterprise – that we be “a team player.” (The Amway of political philosophy)?
Many countries and cultures maintain a sort of archetypal consistency over time. The America of a couple centuries ago, described so well by de Tocqueville, is essentially the same in “personality” as the America of today. The pioneers, cowboys, and inventors of the last few centuries still represent the basic social design that has always colored America’s character. Waves of immigrants haven’t changed this essential fact in the slightest; in fact they have helped to perpetuate it. There’s a kind of wisdom in-the-rough that the diverse and independent citizens of America have that will always make them far more revolutionary than any European coffee shop "thinker." America, of course, has its share of salon philosophers, and Europe still has a few genuine renegades, but the real revolutionaries of the world are still the simple folks. Pompous mouthpieces of "revolutionary" banter never have been revolutionary in spirit. Anyone can say, “I want a strong central government to tell everyone how to live,” but this is hardly revolutionary or even vaguely novel. Of course, the Left never outright states their case so honestly. They've had to erect a constantly morphing capitalist boogeyman to rally against. To them, all human problems come down to something called "greed" and all solutions come down to "eliminating" it. They start with laws and regulations and they often end with blatant threat and coercion. The Left's pervasive blueprint of revolution has always been the violent and reckless model established by The French Revolution, c. 1789. The guillotine is their symbol of revolution. Robespierre was the hero of their mission. In America's revolution, we had no Robespiere, no changing of the calendar, and no theft of church property -- no turning the world upside down.
Real revolution doesn’t need to steal from anyone or impose new rules. It doesn’t need to march and scream, it merely recognizes that we are born free, and insists that we remain so.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Villepin and “Creating Jobs”…Out of Thin Air
Here’s a radical suggestion to all politicians (this isn’t just a French thing);
Let businesses and common citizens create, buy, sell, and bargain freely. Let them determine what they want, how much they’re willing to buy or sell of a given product or service, and allow them to decide among themselves where they wish to work, how many hours they wish to work, or how many jobs they’re willing to do to attain the things they want from life.
Under such circumstances, I suspect that many businesses will want to make things, provide services, and sell people stuff, and here’s the amazing part, they’ll hire people to do this – just a guess.
France regularly has an unemployment rate that is twice that of the U.S. (and the U.S. rate is probably overstated to begin with). I don’t know about France’s methods of tabulating such statistics but in America, a recently graduated college kid from a rich family is considered “unemployed” (and, "in poverty") when he or she loses a job and decides to go back-packing in South America for the summer. Although the allusion is always attempted, "unemployed" in the U.S. doesn't always equal "poor." It doesn't even necessarily mean that one wants to be employed. America also has a huge underground economy (bless them for waving their middle fingers at the state). I've worked with waitresses who vacationed regularly around the world. "On paper" they were among America's "poor."
An influx of immigrants is sometimes held up as a reason for French unemployment – a lame and phony excuse. America is obviously no stranger to the concept of immigration (yes, people are still dying to become citizens of the evil hegemon with its "vast inequalities").
French unemployment is not somehow more tolerable than the American variety -- another weak claim -- because “America lacks a safety net.” America’s “safety nets” are every bit as pervasive, cumbersome, inefficient, and constricting as anything the Euro-elite can impose one their citizens. The leftist media campaigning along with philosophical trash bins like Michael Moore have successfully convinced many Europeans that Americans have no unemployment insurance and no social programs when in fact billions are spent annually by federal, state, and local governments on such contrivances.
The problem of so significant a discrepancy between France and American’s unemployment conditions can be attributed somewhat to less regulation and micro-management in America. Union’s hind ends are kissed considerably less also, which means that the dreaded businessman can often stay in business and maintain a staff of – employed – employees. I think another issue -- one that doesn’t fit so well into economic theories -- is the fact that Americans in general just aren’t good at obeying stupid rules.
Any self-respecting and ambitious businessperson or worker in America will find whatever loophole is necessary to extricate themselves from the pathetic roadblocks of state. Whether rich, poor, or in transit between classes, we want to pretty much do what we want. If some pathetic politician and team of bureau-leeches commanded that we only work 35 hours a week or less, many of us would laugh and find a way to continue pursuing the goals we sought -- and work the jobs and hours needed to attain them.
A government can’t “create” jobs, they happen as a natural product of free people’s interactions. Oh, you can occasionally demand that a bridge or road be built in some politician’s district, hire a few people to do it and say you “created jobs.” The problem is, you created something the market (free people) didn’t really ask for, and the taxed money ultimately spent is something that would have been spent elsewhere, on what individuals had actually freely chosen, if indeed allowed to choose -- always a more productive and honest state of affairs.
I've read that Mr. Villepin writes good poetry. I have no doubt he probably appreciates fine wine as well. He possesses a noted dashing refinement of manner, but, can he "create" jobs? Perhaps he can begin by sitting in a cafe' and writing a poem?
Dominique de Villepin (ya gotta love that name) of France will continue the well-worn submissions to his country’s diverse begging factions, at the expense of common sense and prosperity. He and many of his countrymen will continue to look on in puzzlement at the American economic engine and the prosperous middle-class society it has produced. On his own turf, he’ll continue a “war” on unemployment, a peace with bureaucrats and "safety nets" and…an unemployment rate typically double that of the U.S.
Will these guys ever get a clue? My guess is, no.
I need to clarify some points -- following my usual sarcasm -- regarding the French in general (as opposed to the dominant leftists among them). I actually like France, and I've met more than a few really nice people from there. French Art, Music, and Literature has offered lavish enrichment to the West's and the world's cultural heritage.
At some point in the past (I'd start with Rousseau and his Jacobin spawn) many French citizens began to buy into the socialist worldview, and where has it got them beyond a Reign of Terror that has symbolically, in some form, lasted to this day?
Socialism and Islam are about to devour the land of Victor Hugo, Debussy, and Monet. Some think the solution is to complain about McDonald's, Hollywood, and the removing of an Iraqi dictator.
France needs to learn who their real friends are -- in spite of those friends’s taste for fast food, action films, and the spreading of democracy in the Middle East.
...Oh yes, as cultural icons, Louis Pasteur and Gabriel Faure' beat Sartre and Derrida hands down.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Tunes and Delusions
This is surly a new idea in economics. “Pressure” will make poverty go away.
I think Geldof and companys' heart is in the right place…but I’m not sure their brain is. Terrible of me to criticize people who sincerely think they are helping others (I actually do assume their intentions are genuine). Meanwhile the evil George Bush and American congress have pledged even greater sums of (other people’s) money to the same cause. The problem? Bush and some American politicians want to -- finally -- hold the distribution systems accountable. In other words; money for food, medicine, and schooling should actually be used for food, medicine, and schooling, and not to fortify the dictatorships of corrupt demagogues.
The gist of Geldof’s plan is to convince the Group of Eight meeting in Scotland in July to help “tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favor of the poor.” In socialist talk, this doesn’t mean addressing the problem of poverty of course; it means confiscation and redistribution (to other governments – not necessarily people). This is hardly a new idea for ending poverty.
“Eight world leaders in one room in Scotland on the 8th of July can save millions and millions of lives, but they’ll only do it if enough people tell them to.” -- Well, there ya have it, such a simple solution to poverty, and here I thought prosperity in Africa would have to occur the same way it has everywhere else, through the open expansion of free commerce.
The well meaning musicians would certainly never consider such cold and practical realities, the kind that would actually help the people of Africa.
Sad but true, more African lives would be saved by merely permitting the use of DDT against malaria carrying mosquitoes (scroll to end of the link’s essay).
Places around the world, like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea were recently rather poor -- actually not that long ago in historic terms. Hong Kong has an incredibly dense population and virtually no resources. At the end of World War II most of the Korean peninsula’s industry was in the north. So why is the North now one of the poorest locations on earth while South Koreans surf the web and talk on cell phones? ...guess? (Maybe we should sing songs and send a message to world leaders and money to Kim Jong Il).
An interesting aside in the concert issue was that concert planners bumped “The Spice Girls” from the performance because it was felt they wouldn't be appropriate among the particular crowd of “politically conscious” pseudo-rebels – it wouldn’t “send the right message.” Of course the message is not; “perform music - collect money - give to Africa.” The message is the usual one from such cliques. Capitalist “injustice and inequality” has mysteriously caused one continent to be poor. If we stop being rich and if we give others a “larger share,” they’ll no longer be in poverty – well, that’s simple, isn’t it? This is the old socialist cliché of the pie-economy, if we have more, “their share” is less.” Of course, the pathetic logic of this old Jacobin con-game is that somehow the “oppressed” country’s wealth was taken from them. This implies that they initially had a multi-trillion dollar economy and we then took it. Sorry, but this is just another dream from left-land -- never happened.
Odd that some see capitalism as the problem when so little, if any, capitalism even exists in Africa – or ever has. Capitalism and freedom are the solution to Africa’s problem. Ask Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan what it’s like to be completely poor or devastated and somehow become wealthy in a matter of a couple of decades. Even though China has failed to wake up to the importance of free thought in a nation’s design, they’ve at least discovered that to “pay the bills” and be something other than a poverty stricken land, you need to let people create, buy, and sell freely.
All the concerts, donations, and demands that wealthy nations “give more” to the cause of ending poverty in Africa may show what swell folks these musicians are, but for all their effort, barely a dent will be made in the problem itself. A genuine effort to end poverty should begin with an ending to the reigns of such socialist dictator clowns like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (that Hitler mustache he wears should have been a tip-off regarding where he was going), who has transformed his country from Africa’s “bread basket” into just another starving poster for the inept nonsense of socialist economics.
So...sing songs, complain that some countries are rich while “others have so little.” Buy Mugabe a few new cars, and tell the spice girls that their music isn’t what this mission is really about…
…Continue the socialist class whine, continue poverty, and imagine there’s no connection between your stupid views of economics and the reality of how a society fails to function when there are laws against people simply carrying on the normal free transactions that result in employment and economic growth.
Another troupe of well-meaning musicians with their hearts in the right place, but having one’s heart in the right place is about as helpful to poverty as having your intestines in the right place, and typically produces the same result…in the end.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
The Religion of Peace Threatens More Death
To Muslims, it’s a sin against god for a woman’s head to be uncovered in public.
…but it’s fine to point a rifle at it for the latest “religion of peace”
PR death-threat video. As usual -- Pathetic.
Cold Fronts and Media Obsessions...
The Tortured Minds of Pampered Partisans
Although some rather nasty and excessive things occur regularly under governments almost everywhere, the staring role in the left’s concern about torture is, of course, the United States, particularly now in regard to its treatment of Muslim prisoners.
Some horrid and fairly well established examples of torture continue to come out of North Korea but when the mainstream media reports them they typically show up as brief supplementary articles several pages back in the average newspaper. Of course, torture in the name of establishing a “worker’s paradise” or egalitarian prison state has never been much of an issue to the left – on those rare occasions when they’d admit such things occurred at all. Oddly, torture by religious fanatics or under Middle Eastern governments doesn’t raise many eyebrows in leftland either (i.e. pre-war Iraq). The left was going to end Saddam's sadism by, "letting inspections work." -- huh!
Things are indeed different now. Now we have unsubstantiated reports of holy books being flushed down toilets, sleep deprivation, the bizarre sex-humiliation antics of some wayward soldiers and, oh yes, former dictators photographed in their underwear. If you want front page coverage several days or weeks in a row, pile some naked terrorists up and have an army girl mock their -- lack of -- manhood.
I’m not going to claim that tacky humiliations or imposed discomforts are the proper actions of democratic societies at war. Likewise, I’m not going to claim that more horrid examples of real torture haven’t occurred under America’s direction either now or in the past – it’s clear that they have.
I am going to claim that torture is far less prevalent or extreme under an open-society’s diverse and contending interests than a society where the state holds focused and final authority over all aspects of life. Also, while battle with a ruthless enemy may push a democracy to some questionable limits, a one-party statist scheme needs no war or conflict to put it into torture overdrive. It only needs its perennial mission – imposing “the truth” as seen by its “leaders.” “The truth” in such systems is usually a uniform philosophy that is the very opposite of that found in open, diverse, and free society (something leftists claim we don’t have anyway – they are that partisan and that blind).
The American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba holds about 540 prisoners from Afghanistan and Al Qaeda terrorists in general (in my blog, terrorists will not be referred to as “insurgents” or “freedom fighters”).
540 is not a massive number but it’s certainly enough to consider the possibility of a few innocents among them. The horrible error of people being imprisoned who are actually not guilty has occurred almost everywhere throughout time – a terrible thing, but it happens.
Because innocents can occasionally be accused or punished, should this be cause to no longer accuse and arrest murderers, thieves, or religious fanatics who happen to kill people?
If some of those behind bars (there are some who prefer the more dramatic image of "in cages") just happened to be passing through in the middle of a firefight in Afghanistan, perhaps their own lack of good reasoning is what’s put them in a confined place with three meals a day (to religious diet specifications) and a free copy of their favorite book.
I’m not a leftist (obviously) so I’m going to assume that most of those contained at the “Gitmo” facility are indeed foreign fighters (e.g. terrorists) at war against the U.S., The West, and civilians in general. They are not soldiers drafted into service by governments in a conventional war. They are random fighters who kill for the cause of establishing tyranny. They use schools, mosques, hospitals, and civilians to shield themselves, and play to a naïve, agenda-laden international media. Their nature is little different than if they were merely a band of thugs in a religious cult going through the streets randomly blowing up places of public gathering (actually, this is in fact who they are and what they do). They are not U.S. citizens (which makes me wonder why the American Civil Liberties Union has taken such interest in their “cause”). Somehow I don’t think the U.S. just rounded up 540 random innocents for fun and torture – just a hunch (like I said, I’m not a leftist).
If true cases of torture are occurring under America's hand, one can be certain they will be reported with at least the same enthusiasm as the false or embellished ones are. If the victim is articulate enough, or comes from a Western country, he'll become a celebrity, sell a book, or find out what real torture is when he begins the talk show circuit with people like Oprah.
Amnesty International –- that unbiased opponent of oppression everywhere (I’m joking) -- has called Gitmo a “gulag.” I guess they finally had to call something a gulag since they often miss out on labeling the real ones that exist around the world.
I’ve read diverse versions of prisoner’s treatment at Gitmo. I haven’t seen any photos of prisoners who look even remotely like the ones from Dachau, Toul Sleng, or Bosnian prison camps. Maybe at Gitmo they just fatten them up for photo ops. I’ve seen photos of naked prisoners piled on top of one another (Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq). I’ve heard stories of twisted acts of sexual humiliation by some really dumb low-level prison guards but, I haven’t seen the reports yet of thumbscrews, Iron maidens, or bamboo under the fingernails (I’m sure the New York Times is merely hiding this from us to protect the country it loves so – for the leftists reading this, that’s a joke).
The latest horror among America’s acts of cruelty and "torture" is the “disrespect shown to the Muslim holy book” – the Koran.
I’m not a Christian (for what its worth, I’m kind of an agnostic) but, like a lot of Christians, I have to wonder why such little fuss has been made in the recent past over desecrations and disrespect toward Christian symbols. I understand that the cross itself – even on a Swiss Army knife – is against the law in Saudi Arabia. I don't recall the Christian equivalent of a fatwa on Andre Serrano's, "Piss Christ" art photo.
Christians have certainly protested plenty after gross insults to their religion, which are pretty regular (in entertainment alone) but, I don’t recall Christians going on any rampages or calling for blood vengeance. I definitely don’t recall any mass-media sympathies to offended Christians as being very noteworthy either. Of course one can dredge up plenty of Christian bad press from the Middle Ages (actually the Muslims didn't behave very well then either -- except in Hollywood movies).
Modern Islam is still lost in the Medieval worldview regarding virtually everything. I think we can fairly say that Muslims get “worked up” more than the average contemporary religious devotee. Its fine for them to destroy the ancient statues of another religion (an act by the Taliban in Afghanistan), just don’t mess with their one true holy – and violent – delusion.
I don’t know how big the Korans are that are issued at Gitmo but, I’m wondering how they could have got one down a toilet even if they wanted to. I guess they could have ripped the pages out, but I’m pretty sure we would have then heard that they “ripped the holy book up and flushed it down the toilet” (I don’t’ think a fervent Muslim would have overlooked such an initial act of desecration).
It may be “mean-spirited” to ask but, why the hell are we giving Korans to these clowns anyway (odd thing to do at a “gulag”)? Why not give them Gideon bibles, like a real hotel? For the fanatical followers of a religion that increasingly sees itself as special, why are we treating Islam as…special?
I’m no scholar regarding Islam, but I’m fairly sure that followers of “the religion of peace” could follow their holy book, submit to their god, and somehow manage to not:
• Treat women like cattle (not that the average academic leftist feminist cares anyway).
• Punish mundane crimes with dismemberment, torture, or death.
• Ban almost everything.
• Deliberately target civilians – their own among them – for the cause of their stupid, “Jihad.”
I know there are many Muslims who are peaceful but I’m less convinced that Islam itself is a, “religion of peace” when it clearly is not (nor has been through most of its history). I’m also a bit skeptical of the "religion of peace" label when the followers who actually do speak out against violence in Islam’s name number so few – very very few.
Okay…I’ve accepted the fact that a bizarre and violent religion is on a psychotic rampage. An auxiliary gripe I have though is with the home grown, pampered traitors who populate so much of the media, academia, and entertainment. We are at war, and these fools are at least giving the strong impression that they support the other side! Remember, in their world, all is relative. Weekend shopping at the mall / suicide bombing of a busy marketplace – equally valid cultural lifestyles.
What exactly is the fifth column thinking? We must, of course, remember that these are the same people who – in domestic affairs – read of torture, sexual assault, murder, and sometimes dismemberment of children and are immediately roused to concern that the guy who did it may be punished by lethal injection (or was himself a “victim” of unloving parents).
A culmination of absurdity has truly been reached in the left’s appraisal of current events. In a time when fanatics deliberately slaughter civilians, the usual cabal from left-think expresses their rage against a coalition’s desire to see democracy take root in former police states and theocratic tyrannies. Of course, why should this be a surprise? When nuclear warheads were pointed at American cities by an unelected leftist political clique’, the former Soviet Union and its “allies” (satellites), the left displayed its sympathies to the socialist international, the safety or freedom of their own home towns be damned – Marx Akbar!
Guantanamo Bay is not a “gulag.” If Americans are currently “torturing” inmates there, the definition of torture has clearly changed considerably and is being applied by “observers” (i.e. Amnesty International) unevenly.
Eventually, the Middle East will be comprised of several free, friendly, democratic nations, and the spark to it all wasn't Noam Chomsky or media talking heads -- it was that clownish buffoon from Texas who obviously knows nothing about linguistics but a good deal more about common sense in distinguishing true evil form left wing PR fabrications.
The minds of socialist scholars, journalists, and useful idiots may indeed be tortured by current events in the war with Muslim fanaticism, but that certainly won’t stop them in their perennial crusade to take the side of any mob seeking to kill our families, friends, or neighbors – be it statist autocrats or religious nuts.
They despise America because they can. If they were "in charge," I have no doubt we’d come to know what real torture is, for their philosophy has shown its true face through history time and again.
The sympathies of leftland; forever allies of statist tyranny. Pampered partisans in a war with freedom...and mouthpieces of the tortured mind.
Friday, June 03, 2005
I regret that the comments utility on my blogsites will no longer be active. I hadn’t really received many comments up to now anyway. When I did, they came from a variety of viewpoints, some agreeing, some disagreeing with the positions I had taken on a variety of issues. Most comments were civil, and I think my responses were at least on par regarding levels of reason and etiquette.
A certain Jacobin clown calling himself K.B. has thoroughly infected another site that takes similar positions as this one (which we may loosely define as “conservative / libertarian”). This particular “troll” has been the topic of a couple of recent posts. He’s now brought his style of fervent leftist bile to my own site and even e-mailed me once with a similar style of “I’m right – you must agree with me to be human” Leftism.
I like comments. I wish I had received more actually. As already stated, there have been a few that have reasonably disagreed with my stand on certain issues, some making good, convincing points.
“K.B.’s” style of comment, as stated in earlier posts, is inflexible, aggressive, and arrogant and, to make a long story short, unwelcome on my site.
Blog sites are cheap – this one is free (another example of “capitalist exploitation and hegemony?”). This blogsite is mine, to express my views. K.B. can certainly start his own to express his views or continue to scan the many sites that have “proven” to him that America is bad and communism and communist dictatorships are good.
The obsessive and fervent nature of this guy’s comments are a bit creepy when they show up in an e-mail box or -- literally -- pages of blog comments. Using another person’s blog's comments section to post links to sites “proving” that Che Guevara was really a great guy, or that communist dictatorships pale in comparison to America’s evil is no less than advertising a different product in someone else’s “store.” Of course the usual phony whine of “censorship” and “crushing dissent” is likely to be cried in response to my actions, but it’s hardly censorship when unwelcome "guests" are lounging about in one’s living room and you want them to leave. If one published a book (not all that dissimilar to posting on a blog), one certainly wouldn’t, in the name of “free speech,” tolerate seeing their effort on bookstore shelves with an opponent’s rebuttal’s inserted.
Write your own book / get your own blog – very simple, free speech for everyone.
K.B. could certainly express his haughty self-righteous authoritarian Leftism on a blog site of his own but seems to prefer the annoying practice of haunting other’s sites. Why he feels the need to wedge his foot into the doors of those who don’t want his socialist product sometimes seems to boarder on harassment. A door to door proselytizer is an annoyance. One who continually returns after being told that their product isn’t wanted is a bit pushy to say the least.
As I have stated before – in so many words -- regarding “K.B.” and all leftists:
1. You are not superior human beings.
2. You may or may not be intelligent. In either case, one’s level of intelligence does not necessarily coincide with the truth of one’s stance on particular issues.
3. A person is not automatically wrong, bad, or stupid because they’re not excited about your heroes or ideals.
4. You may or may not be morally sound or morally superior and others are not automatically the opposite merely because they’ve come to different conclusions regarding the important issues of the day.
5. In essence, you are not better people with the right to cram your authoritarian / “egalitarian” vision down other’s throats.
6. …go away.
My dislike for the odd brand of demagogue that has emerged in the left of our time has grown the more I encounter them. I think the libertarian right in general can justifiably say to these freaks, “Leave us alone!”
Now, get your own blog, and…get a life.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
The leftist - and excessively annoying -- clown that sparked my action actually brags on another site how he has caused at least two sites so far to shut down their comments option. He refers to my decision as establishing an "Iron Curtain" -- the classic "censorship"..."I'm a victim" crap one usually finds from leftland. His choice of words is ironic to say the least. An "Iron Curtain" befell Europe as a predictable extrapolation of leftist political "philosophy." The East German Communist government that put it up referred to it as an, "anti-fascist protection barrier." As I'm sure most readers are aware, several people risked their lives trying to get through this "protection," as they have in Cuba, Vietnam, China, et.al. Not quite the same as a blogger keeping an annoying pest away.
Please see my June 1st posting which was the origional intended link to my side bar comment. After considerable effort, I've found it impossible to create a link to it directly
Multilateral Sour Grapes
After the Bush administration rallied over two-dozen countries against the fascist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the usual clown show of media clones and “thinkers” have erected a mythology around the word, “Unilateral.” I’ve also seen the phrase, “Go it alone” used to describe the collaboration of these several countries that aren’t Russia, Germany, or France. Another counter-U.S. propaganda ploy has been to imply that the U.S. had somehow coerced or slighted France specifically in some way. Initially, of course, Bush hoped to get support from any country willing to stand firm in support of the multiple UN resolutions against Hussein’s police state. France not only chose to not support the effort, but also actively sought to undermine it and lead a coalition of the un-willing. After France displayed its historically characteristic arrogance on the matter, they then – with the help of the international media – chastised the U.S. for, of all things, “its arrogance.” We now know that U.N. staff members, France, and several other countries in the non-coalition we’re skimming considerable oil for food kickbacks from the Hussein regime. Ironically, the Marxist sympathies of Euro-land framed the U.S. effort as war “for oil.”
The well-constructed mythology of a villainous America has reached the point where people who neither know of, or care about, political matters now mimic clichés from the socialist mantra; “Bush and America are Fascists …no blood for oil…unilateralism!” – hymns from the Marxist songbook.
Another popular polemic scheme involves what I’d call, “rebellion through feigned disinterest and mock hyper-objectivity.” In America, the pseudo-rebels pose as non-aligned thinkers, imagining themselves to be somehow above the fray. While deriding the American position they claim to be “refusing to take a side.” Ironically, their refusal to take sides always defaults to the anti-U.S. position. While seeking an aura of profundity, in reality their stance is merely an expression of the weasel archetype, the guy who would sell out his family or country to maintain his own air of superiority.
We live in an age where slippery philosophical game players are considered heroic by some. Do we really want such types defending our families and communitites or leading our nations?
I’m reminded of Rhett Butler in “Gone With The Wind.” Through the beginning of the film, we’re impressed with his independence. He’s a smuggler who takes no side but his own. We can’t help but wish to identify with his superior insight and objectivity. He’s not naive like those other foolish souls running off to war for some meaningless cause. Later in the movie he shocks Scarlet O-hare and the audience as well, when he announces that he is going off to join the other soldiers in battle. He actually, quite humbly, acknowledges the weakness of his prior stand. We now can’t help but admire his newfound self-honesty and conviction. An actual intellectual appraisal of war itself becomes meaningless when we see this hero figure act on principal and do what he intuitively knows is right.
So, what is this “unilateralism” now taken as an objective label regarding America’s stance in the war with Fascist Islamic Jihad?
The fact that socialists in one country happen to agree with socialists in another country is hardly a noble expression of “multi-lateralism.” To the contrary, it merely means that some countries’ self-interests generally coincide with others. Contrary to the emerging mythology, France doesn’t base its policies on some self-effacing sacrifice or compromise. It merely acts in its own self-interest, seeking to resurrect a nationalistic ego tarnished by its own historical failures. The fact that it may agree with a few other countries in its desire to rein in the American “global hegemon” isn’t evidence of some noble cooperative greatness on its part.
The imperial rule of -- Western -- Europeans is long past and more than a few of them resent the fact that another country is currently taking its turn as superpower on the pages of history (It appears that the "colonies" are getting a lot more autonomy this time as well).
“Unilateral…hegemonic…illegal war?" – Mere euphemisms directed by the sour grapes of social-bureau-states unable to acknowledge their own obvious self-interest, delusion, and decline from past glories.
If the pampered magicians of sound-bite leftism only had the insight of Rhett Butler and recognized that taking a stand for genuine justice is not an issue of xxx-lateralism, but simply having the courage to do what is right.