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November 10, 2008

Redrawing the Conservative Roadmap: Part I

Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to this. One of the projects we discussed shortly after the election was a wide ranging set of discussions on reframing what I'm going to call the conservative roadmap for 2010/2012. Alert readers may note I intentionally didn't call it the Republican roadmap for two reasons:

1. At this point, I've grown so disgusted with the Republican party that I'm inclined to change my registration back to Independent. My reasons are beyond the scope of this post, but they have nothing to do with the well known outrage of the "base". If anything, disgust with the base has played a major part in driving voters like me away from the party (though I've consistently voted Republican since the early 1980s). If "the base" wants to lose an affluent group of voters who stuck with the GOP through thick and thin and have given the party both their verbal and financial support, they're doing a bang up job. Many of my family and friends feel the same way I do.

More on this later.

2. For diverse reasons several readers have also expressed anger and disgust with the party, but I'd like to include them in this discussion. "Republican roadmap" implies a specificity that is unneeded and can only serve to discourage participation.

What we're shooting for here is a set of principles pitched to appeal to a broad cross-section of voters. Broad appeal is important, because the last three elections were won by chipping away at the margins; attracting small groups of voters in targeted groups (women, blacks, Hispanics, Democrats, Independents, Republicans). Obviously state elections matter too. But accomplishing the broader objective ought to lay a good foundation for state campaigns, though each state race will involve issues of local interest.

Even this point, however, may be up for debate. Contrary to the fond imagination of the GOP base, when registered Republicans aren't numerous enough to win a national election on their own, not even extra strength red Koolaid should lead the base to think a subset of registered Republicans can afford to ignore what the rest of the country thinks. Only the very stupid or the very stubborn argue with numbers.

Whether they like it or not, there's a reason the American people consistently elect perceived centrists:

A rational person does not expect any large organization to be entirely uniform in its political beliefs. The Republican Party is no exception. One reasonably expects the beliefs of its members to be distributed along a spectrum ranging from far right-wing to verging on the liberal: in other words, to be normally distributed. But unfortunately for the elite few who like to think of themselves as Bush's "base", the mass of voters who elected George Bush last November was not a "real" Republicans-only club. It also numbers in its ranks (God forbid!) the dreaded RINO, Democrats, Independents, and Livid Terriers. So one must broaden out the ideological spectrum a bit wider. The bell curve representing the voters to whom George Bush is beholden becomes broader, rather than narrower.

Note: when I wrote the RINO post, the intent of the bell curve analogy was not to imply that the beliefs of registered Republicans would be normally distributed along a bell curve representing the full left-right spectrum of political ideology. I thought that was an obvious point, and unfortunately one of the drawbacks in blogging in the hour or so before work is that you don't have time to go into as much detail as you might like to. I think the graphic I would have liked to construct (if I'd had time) would have looked more like two overlapping bell curves - Democrats on the left, Republicans on the right, the center tails overlapping to some degree where conservative Democrats and RINO/moderate Republicans intersect. So just to head off any comments on the old post, the 'bell curve' analogy is intended to represent the ideological spectrum of registered Republicans rather than the full spectrum - though I suppose Ron Paul's candidacy may have cast some doubt on that notion.

Sadly, the easiest way to broaden the appeal of the Republican ticket has been pandering: simply promise every voter a big old bag of goodies. This tactic is more successful during hard times than when the economy is booming. But pandering is antithetical to the small government, lower tax, free market message conservatives have traditionally championed. What's more, it's a vicious cycle: as each candidate ponies up a bigger and better goody bag to win votes, conservatives end up competing half-heartedly at a game they can't win without surrendering their political souls.

Clearly, we need a better way. Let's begin with the social agenda and a few broad questions:

1. John Hawkins, among others, has been flogging the idea that conservatives (and the GOP in particular) can't win an election by rebuilding the party around moderates. Now while I agree with his general conclusion (there is no set of moderate principles to build around), I strongly disagree with many of his stated reasons.

I posted the political compass as an exercise in exploring how diverse our political leanings are - that was more important than where anyone in particular came out. Oddly, John provides no evidence for asserting that moderates are ill informed, fickle, and base their decisions on anecdotal evidence but there's not a whole lot of daylight between that sort of thinking and the kind of nonsense Judith Warner spouts on the pages of the Times. Essentially it amounts to "If you share my views, you can only have reasoned your way there. If we disagree, it can only be because you're an unprincipled ignoranus." (misspelling fully intended) You've got to love a magnanimous victor, positively a-tingle with the desire to put aside those awful partisan divisions and usher in four years of enlightened and transcendently inclusive Obamaliciousness:

An era of unbridled deregulation [Ed. note: like Sarbanes-Oxley], wealth-enhancing perks for the already well-off, and miserly indifference to the poor and middle class; of the recasting of greed as goodness, the equation of bellicose provincialism with patriotism, the reframing of bigotry as small-town decency.

In short, it was the start of our current era. The Reagan Revolution was the formative political experience of my generation’s lifetime, like the Great Depression, the Second World War or Vietnam for those before us. And in its intellectual and moral paucity, in its eventual hegemony, these years shut down, for some of us, the ability to fully imagine another way.

Because, you know, those people didn't just disagree with us loving, tolerant, and diverse folk. They were intellectually and morally impoverished. You betcha!

John's last point illustrates the dangers of becoming mired in your own world view:

Last but not least, it's worth noting that there is no "moderate" political party in the United States. When the American people go to the ballot box, we have a center-right nation choosing between the Republican Party and radical, left-wing socialists.

This is exactly the kind of scorched earth rhetoric that annoys and turns swing voters off. I can guarantee you the average American doesn't see Republicans and "radical left-wing socialists" on the ballot on Election Day. He sees Republicans and Democrats and if the two elections didn't provide the glimmerings of a clue that more voters pulled the lever for the Democrats, not "left-wing socialists", we can all look forward to losing again in 2010.

As Mindles H. Dreck so astutely points out, for both the Left and the Reich, elections are a balancing act:

One of the more difficult aspects of voting is predicting the following balance:

* turn out your party's whackos to win,

* ignore your wackos to govern wisely and not alienate swing voters

Moreover, as suggested by the linked Greg Mankiw post, one of the biggest problems faced by Republicans is the tension between their 'social values' message and a rapidly changing demographic which views conservatives (rightly or wrongly) as intolerant and 'mean':

In this election, the young left the Republican party in droves.

Why? I am not enough of a political scientist to be sure, but recent conversations I have had with some Harvard undergrads have led me to a conjecture: It was largely noneconomic issues. These particular students told me they preferred the lower tax, more limited government, freer trade views of McCain, but they were voting for Obama on the basis of foreign policy and especially social issues like abortion. The choice of a social conservative like Palin as veep really turned them off McCain.

So what does the Republican Party need to do to get the youth vote back? If these Harvard students are typical (and perhaps they are not, as Harvard students are hardly a random sample), the party needs to scale back its social conservatism. Put simply, it needs to become a party for moderate and mainstream libertarians. The actual Libertarian Party is far too extreme in its views to attract these students. And it is too much of a strange fringe group. These students are, after all, part of the establishment. But a reformed Republican Party could, I think, win them back.

Can the Republican Party move in this direction without losing much of its base? I have no idea, but for the GOP, that seems to be the challenge ahead.

This leaves us with a disturbing question: how do conservatives square the concerns of voters who view (for instance) abortion as murder with those who are pro-choice and view attempts by the party to impose a rigid pro-life agenda as a turn-off?

How do conservatives deal with questions like gay marriage and other issues related to homosexuality when an increasing number of young people have gay friends (and when an increasing number of gays themselves are conservative?).

How do we deal with the immigration issue when Americans have such schizophrenic and illogical attitudes on the subject (in the abstract many Americans oppose illegal immigration, yet they view attempts to enforce existing laws as inhumane and "uncaring").

As a starting point for discussion, John Hawkins provides the following summation of the "GOP Brand Promise":

There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about the GOP "brand," but few people have gone into any sort of depth on the subject. So, let's take a little time to think about the GOP and branding.

What Is The GOP Brand Promise?

First off, what is the "GOP Brand Promise?" Of course, there is certainly a lot of debate about this subject, but I'd suggest that it can be broken down into some very basic categories...

* Limited government.
* Fiscal responsibility.
* Low taxes
* Traditional values.
* Law and order.
* Clean government.
* Personal responsibility.
* A strong national defense.
* Patriotism.

I like those categories as a basis for our discussion.

Furthermore, I'd like to throw out some general talking points:

1. I think the presidential debates really suffer from almost impardonable ignorance on several scores, and conservatives would do well to frame the debate in a way that both educates the public and focuses on what Congress and the President actually do. We waste enormous amounts of time on distracting debates over subjects the President, for instance, has little or no actual influence over while neglecting important issues he does have control and influence over.

2. I think item #1 provides at least a partial answer to many of our "social issue" woes. As a moderate, though I both understand and support the strong convictions of social conservatives, I firmly believe the federal government ought to stay the hell out of the business of legislating personal and sexual morality. We need to start making the case that nearly all of these issues are ones which have traditionally been resolved at the state and local level. We need to frame this as a "freedom" issue: when the federal government imposes a one-size-fits-all moral code upon 50 very different states, we LOSE the freedom to decide and debate amongst ourselves how we want to live.

This is a freedom the Founders very much wanted us to have. Why do we allow liberals to brand us intolerant? The right answer is that a true conservative doesn't care about legislating these issues at the federal level, but can and will oppose any effort to thwart participatory democratic decision-making and debate at the state and local level.

Personally, what attracted me to the GOP in the first place was the idea that it was an ideological "big tent". Though my personal values tend towards the conservative side, my political values are definitely socially liberal. I don't want the government telling me or anyone else what to do in the bedroom. You'd probably be surprised how many Republicans - even those with traditional values - get turned off when the RNC starts to sound like the nanny state. Many of us, and most definitely the younger generation, draw a bright line between our personal moral standards and the amount of interference we're willing to accept from Congress (of all the ridiculous institutions to lecture Americans on "morals").

3. There may be better words for this but in broad, overarching terms conservatives need to frame the choice facing voters as being between a Party of Opportunity and Freedom which maximizes individual dignity, responsibility, and choice and minimizes government interference in the lives of citizens, and a Party of Pessimism and Control which maximizes dependency on government, waste and inefficiency and minimizes productivity, opportunity, and accountability.

Posted by Cassandra at November 10, 2008 06:44 AM

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Comments

I think one of the main problems here is the notion of "conservative", "liberal", "reactionary", "progressive", etc.

After the end of the Civil War, during Reconstruction, the Republican Party, was for a time, pretty radical in the sens of the word that could still have meaning today. This was also true during the era of Teddy Roosevelt.
Likewise, the Democratic party was pretty conservative during that period (post Civil War).

Republicans are supposed to be a nationalist, or national party (the Republic first), meaning, putting the needs or requirements of the nation ahead of section and factionalism. A subset of that are the Federalists, who actually believe in the separation of powers, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendment (which is pretty passe' among most Democrats). The Democrats have, by and large, always been factionalists. However, their factionalism isn't regional as it was before the Civil War (and after, during Reconstruction), but now it is on class, race, etc.

These are both legitimate approaches to a governing principle in the democracy as it is known in the US, but if we are going to start from first principles, I think it is faulty to start by branding everybody who is a Republican a "conservative". I am pretty conservative in many ways, but that is not the whole of me. I think this is the problem with the "RINO" tag. A lot of moderate centrists are Republican by inclination, but don't share some of the litmus-test attributes being applied by some parts of the party.
And I do think that by and large, factionalism has been a bad thing for the US whenever it has become a dominant or large-plurality notion.

Factionalism or sectionalism (as it was called before the Civil War in the 19th century), has led to a whole host of governing problems in the history of the US (like the Civil War).

If you look at the map of this election, we could very well be heading for more sectinalism in the future, not less. There is plenty of momentum in various parts of the country to give some other part of the country the middle finger.

Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 10, 2008 10:24 AM

A lot of moderate centrists are Republican by inclination, but don't share some of the litmus-test attributes being applied by some parts of the party.

BINGO. In fact, in many cases that sort of thing actively turns us away.

The bad news for the GOP is that the younger generation is even more this way - even fairly "conservative" types like my youngest son. But even my Dad gets annoyed with the RINO thing, and he's far more conservative than I am.

If you're alienating my Dad, you've got a serious problem.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 10:32 AM

I think the GOP needs to do two things:

1. Effectively reframe the 'narrative' away from "the GOP is the party of narrow-minded, traditional values voters who hate gays and sex" (not saying that's an accurate representation - just that it's being effectively used against us) towards "the GOP is a big tent, party that favors free market competition of goods, services, and ideas. We joyfully welcome both traditional values voters and more socially liberal voters because America is a vigorous debate between people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. But the federal government should not be in the business of imposing a one-size-fits-all standard of morality on 50 diverse states. Free people should be allowed to debate and decide these questions in their own neighborhoods - to hammer out their own compromised and community standards that fit their changing populations."

I think this is a message that would resonate. No one likes Congress. What makes people think Congress has the moral authority to tell us how to live our lives?

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 10:40 AM

I called the Hugh Hewitt program last week when Carol Platt Liebau was guest hosting and was asking this same question. These are the ideas I spoke about on that program:

I think we cannot overlook the cancer that has spread in the form of ACORN, which originally set about to influence the granting of mortgages, and has now brazenly dumped millions of fraudulent voter registrations on the desks of voting precints at the last possible moment, throwing a wrench into the machinery of validating registrations so people are not disenfranchised. This organization is evil, and it is spreading.

We must find a way to expose it and cripple it.

And we must begin to attend citizenship ceremonies and set up tables next to the Democrats who register new citizens to vote. We have let this obligation slide.

Problem with this, is that I don't know when and where citizenship ceremonies occur. I'll start googling that very soon, but this must become a focus of our efforts. We cede a lot of ground by being busy at our jobs. Democrats seem to have many people who have time to chase people trying to get them to register as Dems.

Posted by: MathMom at November 10, 2008 10:56 AM

I agree, and I also liked the point about the Libertarian Party. The fact is, on an individual basis, most Libertarians I know are sane, rational, well meaning people. You get someone running for office as a Libertarian, they're invariably insane. Maybe not clinically, but my god the LP is full of wackos. And personally, I'm rather sick of having to defend every stinking piece of the LP platform to folks who barely understand what the LP is SUPPOSED to be about.

"Don't you guys want kids to be able to buy heroin?" NO you freaking moron! Theoretically, I'm ok with an adult deciding to ruin their entire lives with heroin if that's what they really want to do with their body. And as long as they don't take anyone else's life, liberty or property, it's not my business. Does that mean I want kids doing it? NO. We don't let kids drink Jim Beam either! Kids can't make adult decisions.

But I'm spending so much time trying to explain crap like that, that I never get the opportunity to explain personal ownership, government limited to it's actual Constitutional roles, etc. And it drives me crazy.

Posted by: MikeD at November 10, 2008 11:10 AM

I think you hit the nail on the head, at least for why I'm conflicted about the party. As I have gotten older economic issues have become more important than social issues to me, and therefore have made the transition (albeit while holding my nose to a certain extent) away from the democrats.

I don't feel welcome in the republican party since I'm not religious, am for gay marriage, and I am pro-choice. However, those are not the only issues out there and I am for smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, etc. I am best defined as a libertarian -- too bad they are a bunch of kooksticks for the most part.

I do wish the republican party would realize there are a LOT of people out there like me. I am perfectly willing to live side by side with people who are religious and might not believe the same things as I do, however I do not want to have their social agenda imposed on me. Tolerance is not going away, and the faction of the party that has defined conservative in these narrow terms are turning away a whole block of people who might otherwise be open to the fiscal message.

Posted by: Lynn at November 10, 2008 11:11 AM

Sorry!

#2 was that it would help if we did a better job of educating voters.

Currently we allow our own agenda to be hijacked by things that have little to do with the President's actual job.

Take gay marriage. What if we recast this debate (like the abortion debate) as being one of Constitutional faithfulness (IOW, small government)? Then the question becomes, not so much that the GOP is against gay marriage but that we are against having activist judges rewrite the Constitution in such a way that they remove decision making power from the voters.

Recast the Dems as Nanny Staters who (contrary to the way they want to be perceived) are constantly trying to lesson our freedom and impose more restrictions upon us.

Stress that matters like marriage and abortion have ALWAYS been matters of state law, not FEDERAL law. The GOP includes a good number of people who fervently believe abortion is murder.

But it also includes many who are pro-choice.

It seems to me that an intelligent compromise here is that this matter ought to be left up to the states - a small government (and arguably any national party needs to be small/limited government or we'll go bankrupt) party has room for BOTH social conservatives and the socially more liberal.

Unlike the Democrat party, which is actually extremely intolerant of pro-lifers. The message ought to be: we respect your freedom to decide on these important moral questions AND your freedom to try and persuade - through the democratic process - your fellow Americans. Isn't this more sane than having 9 unelected judges impose some majesterial view of morality on us from the Olympian heights?

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 11:17 AM

I am best defined as a libertarian -- too bad they are a bunch of kooksticks for the most part.

Lynn, you made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 11:20 AM

How do we begin to expose the hypocrisy of those elitists who preach one thing to us and do the opposite in their own lives? Which brings to mind the Fourth Estate which has, arguably, abrogated it's core responsibility to pursue the truth and not invent it for their biased ideology taught in elitists colleges.

How many "green" environmentalists believe in the merits of saving various forms of endangered species, phony science to promulgate their agendas du jour, belief in a "living constitution", clean energy, then vote NIMBY when push comes to shove?

The flaming hypocrisy of the democrats, and a few republicans, is the donkey/elephant in the room. We have that much in common with those who don't agree with some of the less important issues of the day. If someone is peeing on our boots and calling it rain, it needs to be pointed out and factually proven that it is indeed pee. That is why Biden got a pass and Palin was sabotaged.

Posted by: vet66 at November 10, 2008 11:40 AM

Cassandra, I am not gonna rain on yer parade; I am interested because my politics have been all over the map in the last 20 years, and this is exactly what I have been looking for; cohesion in what truly identifies conservative/independent principles.

Here is the sprinkle:

It makes sense. Ergo, it will not work, according to the die hard party faithful.
It has to, because I believe the only way we are going to get back our country is to go back to basics.

Posted by: Cricket at November 10, 2008 11:52 AM

Mathmom made a good general point. Parties get driven in the directin of the activists; that is, the people with the most time to spend grinding their axes or with the most money to promote their viewpoint.
"Activists" in both parties have not done the country a service.

I would like you to persuade Mr. rdr to write an essay on "Rediscovering the Federalist Principles".

It's not just conservatism; we need to get back to some kind of principled government that has some manner of accountability to the people. The Federal Government is so big and so far away, it cannot be responsive to the needs of the towns and cities (unless you are New York City or LA).

Republicans are trapped in real Catch-22 situation. Be like the last eight years of GWB and try and be "Democrat-lite" budgets and spending with a nationalist foreign policy, or be obsessed with "small government conservatism" (which ain't as popular as people think) without Federalist principles.

If we practiced real Federalism, as was said above, the decisions on gay rights, gay marriage, abortion, etc., would all be at the state government level, by the ballot box.

The recourse is though, always to the Federal courts and the 14th amendment.

Cricket is right. Without a sound philosophy of government, the whole country is clueless.

At the end of Leonard Peikoff's "The Ominous Parallels" (considering the slow drift into fascism in the US), he quoted Ben Franklin's description of the new Constitution of 1787:
"A Republic, if you can keep it"

and Peikoff (an Ayn Rand Objectivist) finished with:
"A Philosophy, if you can find it."

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 10, 2008 12:16 PM

Democrats seem to have many people who have time to chase people trying to get them to register as Dems.

They also have "soft money" to pay them for doing it. A state worker takes a sick day, spends four hours registering voters, pockets a day's pay from the taxpayers and picks up an extra forty bucks.

How many "green" environmentalists...vote NIMBY when push comes to shove?

Counting Teddy Kennedy?

Posted by: BillT at November 10, 2008 12:18 PM

So do we work to restore the GOP, or do we concentrate on pushing the lunatic fringe off of center stage in the Libertarian party and work with it? Quite frankly the fiscally conservative/socially liberal position fits in better with the Libertarian value set.

Posted by: Pogue at November 10, 2008 12:25 PM

Well, that's a narrower question, Pogue.

I'm not familiar with the Livid Terrier party :p But frankly you'll never get me over there until you can convince me of two things:

1. You can field a candidate who is strong on national defense/national security, because I'm close to being a single issue voter for the Presidency there.

2. You can put together a coalition that has a serious chance of taking a national election. I have no interest in putting an unbroken succession of Bill Clintons in office, which is effectively what Ross Perot did. If I wanted to hand the White House to the Dems for the next 30 or 40 years, I'd be a Democrat! :)

Seriously, I'm not impressed with how the multiparty system functions in Europe and I've yet to see a convincing case for why we want it here. For that reason, I tend to favor making the GOP more attractive to Livid Terriers.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 12:34 PM

Lynn - you said I don't feel welcome in the republican party since I'm not religious, am for gay marriage, and I am pro-choice. However, those are not the only issues out there and I am for smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, etc. I am best defined as a libertarian -- too bad they are a bunch of kooksticks for the most part.

I don't see Republicans as religious per se. Certainly there is the Focus on the Family wing that tries to push a religiously conservative agenda. But it is wrong to think that all Repubs are that way. I personally cross the street rather that be associated with such people.

The party may have pushed an anti-abortion platform, which is fine by me. The Democrats push not just a pro-abortion platform, but they have become a pro-death party (except in the case of convicted murderers). When Obama can't "state with specificity" when life begins it's just freakin' crazy. There is a point at which, if a mother decides she wants to abort a child who could be viable outside the womb, you have to wonder what was preventing her for the previous six months of failing to act on her unwillingness to be a mother. Although abortion has not been my "big issue", I do not think we can survive as a nation if we turn a blind eye to those who are indifferent to sucking the brains out of perfect babies and throwing them in the trash. You wouldn't be allowed to do that to a Spotted Owl. Nor, now, a polar bear.

With respect to religion, the US was founded on Christian principles, but more on the absolute right of people to worship in whatever way they choose, or in none. I think for the most part that having a religious life tends to help you weather the rough patches, but if you have a different way to do that, cool.

My big concern is keeping our country safe from attacks of all types, especially the Islamofascists, have no interest in even having these discussions. If we have a strong national defense, we'll have the freedom to discuss the areas in which we disagree for decades. But, failing to protect what we hold dear will open the door to the loss of those freedoms.

I find it ironic that the Dem party, which seems to be indifferent to the dangers posed by radical Islam, would suffer most under such regimes. Women are baby machines to them - forget having abortions. Forget having birth control! I lived in Saudi Arabia, and a friend of mine was an obstetric nurse there. She told me of the case of a young woman who had borne 13 or 14 children (probably had started at about age 12), and who had such bad varicose veins in her legs and vagina that she was in danger of bleeding to death from another pregnancy and delivery. She had a medical reason to have access to birth control, tubal ligation or termination. Unfortunately it is illegal, so she was consigned to a life of pain and danger. But that is ok, she is a woman.

Gays are an abomination, to be killed by under a falling stone wall. If the Islamic beliefs that predominate in Saudi Arabia took root in the SF Bay area, they would take care of the Folsom Street Fair with machine guns. They would stack the bodies like cord wood to send a message to any who would follow this lifestyle.

It is the democrats who will piss away our sovereignity with political correctness and their push for freedom from religion. The conservative idea would protect you from having to adopt a religion you don't want.

More religious people identify as Republican than Democrat. But I recently read that the person who believes in nothing will fall for anything, and it is possible in my opinion that the rejection of religious faith has left the bulk of Democrats susceptible to being converted to a substitute for religion. Witness the Church of Obama, and the Church of Global Warming.

I think you would do well in a functioning Republican party. I just don't know where to buy one. :)

Posted by: MathMom at November 10, 2008 12:38 PM

Cass mentioned it, and I think it bears repeating. I keep hearing the talking heads of the right talking about jettisoning the moderates and RINOs and getting back to running as 'pure' conservatives. "After all," they say, "Ronald Reagan didn't run as a moderate." And perhaps that's true that he didn't. The problem is, he also had the advantage of running against one of the worst Presidents this country has seen. And in his re-election, he ran against one of the most foolish politicians the left ever put forward. Mondale never told the American people what he'd do for them, he told them "I'll raise taxes, and you won't like it." Well hell, even I could beat a politician who's rallying cry is "I know what's best for you, even if you hate it."

The modern Democratic party has done a fantastic job of playing Santa Claus, and the right has been reduced to appealing to social conservatives while promising goodies to the center. Strangely enough, that puts them more in the authoritarian sector than the libertarian sector.

At its core, the Libertarian party has the principals most Americans tend to favor. 'Stay out of my bedroom and out of my pocket.' The problem is (as has been very well put) that the Libertarians are kooksticks.

No, I think it will take a kick in the pants for Republicans to get the message that the 'family values' wing may have its heart in the right place, but that most folks would prefer to keep their own conscious. Leave em alone. I don't care what two consenting adults do in their bedroom. It may be 'immoral' or 'against my religion', but as long as it doesn't affect me, it's not my business. I have gay friends. And they're happy. They don't share the details of their sex lives with me, and I'm equally certain that they don't really want to hear the details of mine. But that goes for my heterosexual friends too.

Easier to reform the Republican party than start a new one, or boot the kooks out of the Libertarian party. Name brand recognition is a real force in this world. Even kicking the kooks out of the LP wouldn't reform the perception of the brand. And more folks would vote Republican than even a reformed Libertarian party just for the name brand recognition.

Posted by: MikeD at November 10, 2008 01:37 PM

I watched a couple of the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday and the message I got from them was that small national government is dead. The most telling argument was Fareed Zakaria's: Small national government has failed; we said we wanted it and therefore cut taxes but then we just borrowed money instead and that's worse. Ouch!

More distressingly I read an article in the last few days (can't find it again to link) which claimed that national government spending has increased since 1964 in a steady line. In other words, Democrat, Republican, it didn't matter - under all Presidents national government spending went up unchecked.

So I actually think that needs to be a conscious decision - conservatives will continue to fight for small national government - rather than an assumption. In other words, conservatives have to choose among:

1) The size of national government will continue to go up; we're just fighting over getting to direct spending.

2) The size of national government will continue to go up; we're fighting to slow the increase.

3) We're fighting to hold the line and keep national government from getting any bigger than it already is.

4) We're fighting to shrink the size of national government.

I prefer Number 4 and I think arguing for strong Federalism is a good approach. If the people of New Jersey want high taxes and lots of government service they should be able to get it from their state government. But if the people of Alabama want low taxes and less government service they should be able to get that too. One size does not fit all.

Strong Federalism provides an interesting template for thinking about issues. Take something like "card check". Un-unionized auto manufacturing has been an economic boon to states like Alabama. Why should the national government get to put those gains at risk by passing a national union law? Why not let each state decide for itself how desirable unionization is and how it should be voted on?

It would be interesting to take a look at income transfers between states, also. I know, for example, that NJ is (or has been) a net loser in the national realm - NJ paid more to the Feds than they got back. I have a sneaking suspicion the same might hold true largely across the board: "blue" states get less than they give. It seems reasonable for a Federalist to argue that it's in the "blue" states' interest to keep more of that money at home.

As for social issues, I agree with leaving those to the states also and think that would be palatable to most voters. (Although, I also think most voters could live with restrictions on third-term abortions as part of a national party platform.) (We'd have to figure out what to do about the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution when it comes to gay marriage, though. If NJ okays gay marriage and Alabama does not, what happens to a gay couple who gets married in NJ and move to Alabama?)

And, of course, conservative candidates would have to stop supporting stuff like Constitutional amendments to forbid gay marriage. (Apparently Palin did this toward the end of the campaign. It pretty much wiped out the credit I gave her for arguing abortion should be decided by the voters. That looks like opportunism not principle.)

I wonder to what extent the real problem here would be state and local governments. As I understand it the national government gains a lot of its power over areas like education because it provides funds to schools. A "small national government, return to Federalism" platform is not only going to ask individuals to expect less money from their national government it's going to ask state and local governments to do the same.

As for labels, I like "conservative" fine although I agree "right" and "left" aren't very helpful any longer. The other guys can call themselves whatever they want but I agree conservatives shouldn't be calling them "radical left-wing socialists". If nothing else conservatives shouldn't want to put themselves in the position of arguing that the voters just approved - by wide margins - of radical left-wing socialism. Maybe conservatives could call the other guys, "non-conservatives".

Great post, Cassandra.

Posted by: Elise at November 10, 2008 01:40 PM

Well, we could call the party "The Snarkpit of Fascism", but I don't think that would have much curb appeal. :)

I think it's funny that there are all these stories out now about how "the Republicans are fighting among themselves", as if that were a bad thing.
Is is a bug or a feature? At least there are a lot of people that care about what is going to happen, and are making themselves heard. I, for one, am not unhappy about being in a party that is not full of sheeple.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 10, 2008 01:55 PM

I would like you to persuade Mr. rdr to write an essay on "Rediscovering the Federalist Principles".

Don, Don, Don.... :p

Do *not* tell me that you combined the words "persuade" and "mr rdr" in the same sentence? What the helk do I look like, Wonder Woman? More importantly, WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU???? Have mercy.

[heading for the liquor cabinet, snapping her golden lasso between her hands...]

How many years have we been friends? Surely you realize by now that though spd may be eminently teaseable, highly suggestible, and (above all) demonstrably encouragable (incorrigible), persuading him to do *anything* is very likely beyond the powers of even the most talented of my gender, except of course for the lovely and talented mrs rdr, to whom we all defer. :p

Occasionally - very occasionally - I may blunder into the odd success, but no one is ever more surprised than I am when that happens...

Heh. You can beard him in his den next time he shows his mug. I hear he likes fishnets.... red :p

Posted by: Dances with Federalists at November 10, 2008 02:08 PM

....although if you get him going on federalism, he may make a liar out of me!

Posted by: Dances with Federalists at November 10, 2008 02:09 PM

And, of course, conservative candidates would have to stop supporting stuff like Constitutional amendments to forbid gay marriage.

Since marriage *is* a religious enterprise, wouldn't it make more sense to remove the government from it entirely?

The reason that "gay marriage" pisses people off so much is because it redefines, by force of law, a religious commitment-- and does so in an unhistorical manner that also manages to be offensive to most organized religions. Only practical reason gov't is involved in marriage is to keep track of responsibilities for kids and such-- not something a homosexual couple has to worry about just happening.

Abortion is shaping up to be the next slavery type issue for the country. I highly doubt that turning it back to the states will work as a long term solution.

Posted by: Foxfier at November 10, 2008 02:13 PM

I don't see why not Foxfier. The problem that we are never going to get past is that until a baby is born (and I think it's a baby) there are too many people who see a distinction between a developing baby and a full term infant.

This is not an unreasonable view, especially when you take religion out of the equation. And you have to take it out of the equation, because that's a Constitutionally inadmissible argument.

So unless pro-lifers can convince all 50 states to back an outright ban on abortion, I don't see the issue.

I happen to be pro-choice and yet I accept that if I can't persuade my fellow citizens my view is best, I have to live with the will of the majority. There is no Constitutional "right" to an abortion. Sorry, but it ain't in the text and no amount of hand waving will create it where it doesn't exist.

I don't think you can inject religion into the gay marriage issue either, frankly. That's one reason many folks favor civil unions but not gay marriage: they see two essentially *different* types of unions: same sex unions, and hetero unions, and want to preserve the legal ability to distinguish - or discriminate - between them. And I favor that view. I don't call a dog a cat. I don't call a horse a rabbit.

Many states end up granting civil unions the same effective status as marriage. And some may not. I think that should be up to the state.

Posted by: Dances with Federalists at November 10, 2008 02:30 PM

If nothing else conservatives shouldn't want to put themselves in the position of arguing that the voters just approved - by wide margins - of radical left-wing socialism.

The Democrats weren't offering radical left-wing socialism -- they were selling rainbow unicorn ponies sprinkling 24-carat pixie dust and sweet, reasonable "Change." And any time someone called it snake oil, the media cheerfully slapped them down.

Restructuring the Republican Party and Redrawing the Conservative Roadmap will be an exercise in futility unless the MSM and the NEA suddenly stop being agitprop outlets for the DNC's propaganda machine.

Posted by: BillT at November 10, 2008 03:10 PM

Seriously, I see more of a problem with gay marriage ( because of full faith and credit) than I do with abortion. What do you see as the problem with abortion: that hard-line pro-lifers will be alienated if the party doesn't insist on writing an outright ban on abortion into the Constitution?

On what grounds would we back that? We can't credibly use judicial activism - we said that was wrong when the other side did it.

We could reverse Roe v. Wade, assuming we could get enough judges on SCOTUS who would overturn the precedent set by Griswold or maybe just Roe, though I'd think if you didn't also rule there is no right to privacy in the Constitution you'd be back to square one. This effectively returns the matter to the states, but boy does *that* open a cascading can of worms.

Honestly, I really wonder given the nature of Senate confirmation battles in the age of the filibuster, why we even bother with abortion as a national issue. It's dead.

That may not be what anyone wants to hear, but I'd just love to see a judge who openly vows to overturn Roe get past the Senate, or even get an up or down vote. It won't happen.

So why do we grill Presidents about this. Stupid, stupid, stupid waste of energy and resources.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 03:11 PM

I agree with you, Bill.

But that's part of the problem: if the media spend all their time "debunking" Republican talking points (IOW, acting as an unpaid arm of the DNC) then we need to take that into account. If we fail to, we're fighting harder, not smarter.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 03:13 PM

Because the Republican base will cut off its nose to spite its face. They'd rather let a Democrat win than vote for a Republican who's pro-choice. That way, they can declare with moral righteousness, well... I wasn't responsible, I didn't vote.

The lunacy of that logic is mindboggling.

Posted by: MikeD at November 10, 2008 03:16 PM

Since marriage *is* a religious enterprise, wouldn't it make more sense to remove the government from it entirely?

Marriage is not a religious enterprise. I got married by a very nice Justice of the Peace who never said one even slightly religious thing.

Even more important, marriage is a legal enterprise. Being married changes who inherits, who has a right to share your Social Security, who acts for you if you're incapacitated, who you can include on your employer-provided health insurance,and probably a hundred other things I can't think of right now.

I do support the idea of splitting marriage into a government part which controls the legal aspects (states can decide for themselves who can get married) and a ceremonial/religious part which people can participate in or not as they please. (Still have to solve full faith and credit. Plus, yes, this does open the door to states allowing polygamy - don't like that at all but if we're going to be all "whatever the states want" then polygamy may be part of the price we pay for that stance.)

Only practical reason gov't is involved in marriage is to keep track of responsibilities for kids and such-- not something a homosexual couple has to worry about just happening.

Granted a homosexual couple is not going to have children without conscious effort but that doesn't mean they won't have them. I'd rather have the government let homosexuals marry and thus establish legal responsibility for any adopted children on the part of both partners rather than doing the whole fake "single parent" adoption which leaves the undocumented "parent" with no rights and no obligations.

Posted by: Elise at November 10, 2008 03:24 PM

And understand me on abortion: I'm not unsympathetic here.

I just am not sure I want to die for a hill don't have a snowball's chance in hell of taking. I think a better platform is to say, "Look. That case has been adjudicated and the precedent set. Our party includes both those who fervently believe in the right to life and those who favor limited abortion rights. We are the true partty of "choice" as we don't impose an ideological litmus test on this issue.

Such an important question ought not to have been settled by judicial fiat, but it was. This is why we believe federal judges should exercise judicial restraint and why we will appoint judges who are faithful to the Constitution and to federalist principles. Such judges will respect the power of citizens to decide these matters by free and vigorous debate via their elected representatives rather than imposing their own personal policy preferences on an unwitting public by judicial fiat.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 03:25 PM

I don't call a horse a rabbit.

Now, that is weird. I do! :)

Abortion is not portable. Marriage is. States should decide individually on their views about abortion. And since states grant full faith and credit to each other in validation of marriage, I can see why this will likely travel up the chain of command until it is a federal issue, just as it was appropriate for the Supreme Court to hear Bush v. Gore in 2000, since it was Florida's count that affected the national election.

Gay marriage doesn't travel well. If the people in your state put a law on the books or amend the state constitution to prohibit gay marriage, but a gay couple from a state where it is permitted moves to your state and start raising hell about being considered "married", where is the fairness in that? I believe there should be legal civil unions for gays, and as one gay woman said on a call-in show, she and her partner were able to give each other legal rights equal to marriage (make each other their legal inheritor and all that stuff) by going to a lawyer and drawing up papers.

I have gay friends and wish them every happiness. But why do we have to use the same word for dissimilar life unions? It's like calling a horse a rabbit.

Posted by: MathMom at November 10, 2008 03:26 PM

Yeah, well.... let me (in the words of Richard Millhouse Nixon) say this about that, Mike :p

Pppphhhhttthththththththth!!!!!

I had no patience with Andrew Sullivan for being a single issue voter on gay marriage (which - again - the President has little or no control over). I have little patience for Rethugs being single issue voters on abortion because it makes no sense - again, a President is lucky if he gets the chance to appoint ONE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE during a term in office. The likelihood of a SC Justice (even a conservative) overturning Roe is....

Well, hasn't happened yet and we've had majority conservative court for how many years?

What do you make the chances out to be?

Kinda silly. I understand the feeling. I do. But I can do the math, and it doesn't add up. Throwing away your vote is not a good idea.

I'm not even a single issue on national security, arguably the ONE SINGLE ISSUE a President has more control over than any other.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 03:32 PM

Yes, MathMom, I agree. And I think if (when we get to that point) it causes enough hate and discontent - IOW, if there is a genuine problem that upsets enough people, there may end up being a consensus for amending the Constitution in some fashion to impose a federal solution. But I would have less of a problem with that than with having unelected judges foist their personal vision upon us all, because that would be an organic response to a real problem and we would all have to think, debate, and then vote on it.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 03:37 PM

Cassandra, I'll support your "Look. That case has been adjudicated and the precedent set" plank on abortion.

as one gay woman said on a call-in show, she and her partner were able to give each other legal rights equal to marriage (make each other their legal inheritor and all that stuff) by going to a lawyer and drawing up papers.

I believe this to some extent. Before my husband and I got married we did a lot of this legal stuff when I was having some serious health problems. But as far as I know there is no legal form you can file to handle issues like Social Security, employer health insurance, and equal rights and responsibilities for children.

How about if everyone who wants to be "married" does the government part to get the legal aspects settled (call that a "civil union") and only those who want to do the religious part (call that "marriage")? And, of course, the religious part is done only if a religion approves of the marriage; e.g., no forcing Catholics to marry divorced people or Southern Baptists to marry gay couples. Is that acceptable?

Posted by: Elise at November 10, 2008 03:40 PM

I don't see why not Foxfier. The problem that we are never going to get past is that until a baby is born (and I think it's a baby) there are too many people who see a distinction between a developing baby and a full term infant.

Not to beat a dead horse, but folks also thought that black slaves were somehow not a fully protected humans--although science clearly showed they were humans. Similarly, science shows no difference between a 7 month old fetus, and my little nephew who was born early. I don't bring religion into it, and religion isn't needed.
That is why I draw the connection to it being the next slavery type issue. I sure as heck wouldn't touch THAT hot potato if there was a better example!

Marriage is not a religious enterprise. I got married by a very nice Justice of the Peace who never said one even slightly religious thing.

Civil marriage came about because gov't got involved in marriage-- like I said, it's rather important to make sure kids are taken care of, etc. There's, what, some three thousand years worth of history to back this up? (I'm sure someone's done a great history on the contracts between folks for child bearing purposes-- the Romans would be a great place to start, given their idealization of, ah, other sorts of "relief.")

Posted by: Foxfier at November 10, 2008 03:46 PM

"... when even registered Republicans aren't numerous enough to win a national election on their own ..."

A big part of the problem is the "winner-take-all" primary. Just look at the red/blue map. California toook its haywagon full of electoral votes to Obama. California did that because San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and a few other cities had a majority for Obama, and the rest of the state might just as well stayed home and played pinochle.

Nationwide, the West Coast and the NorthEast stated decided the election.

Regardless of that, the Republicans did a darn poor job of getting out their message. Obama's people were connected 100 ways from Sunday, with Facebook, meetups, mashups, a zillion websites, texting campaigns. The Republicans had ..... Well, they must have had something, but I sure didn't see it.

At least they had Gov Palin. I Hope we see her again.

Cass: "... why we will appoint judges who are faithful to the Constitution and to federalist principles."

I doubt we'll ever get another chance. The Democrats blocked just about everybody Bush put forward. Now there are [how many?] Justices ready to retire, and we don't have the votes to block any of Obama's choices.

Putting Justices on the Bench is just about the most powerful and long-term thing a President can do. We'll be living under Obama's Justices for the next 50 years.

Posted by: ZZMike at November 10, 2008 04:03 PM

A Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage feels to me an awful lot like prohibition. Just a gut feeling but that didn't work out well.

I can think of ways to deal with most implications of the "full faith and credit" thing: maybe a gay couple who gets married in NJ simply can't move to Alabama if they want to stay married (not a great solution but workable); I'd like to change Social Security anyhow; and I think getting health insurance from an employer is a bad idea. The one thing I can't figure out how to deal with unless there's some kind of national policy is children.

Foxfier, if abortion is the next slavery issue then it's important to remember two things. First, slavery got resolved when enough people realized it for the horror it was; we're nowhere near that point. Second, ending slavery was a brutal undertaking and left scars that haunted us for over a century.

I think persuasion is a better way to address abortion and I think persuasion becomes more possible when people are not feeling threatened. Tell women you're going to do everything in your power to take away their right to control their own bodies (which is how many of them hear what you're saying) and they won't listen to another word you say. Tell women you accept they can make their own decision but you hope they'll decide a certain way and offer them help if they do decide that way and you're more likely to get a fair hearing.

Furthermore, backing away from the "our one goal in life is to overturn Roe v Wade" position means you might be better able to win some victories like restrictions on third trimester abortions. Right now every proposal on abortion that comes from Republicans is seen as the opening wedge on the way to a slippery slope. And that is a perfectly reasonable way to look at things given the stated intention of the Republican Party with regard to abortion.

Posted by: Elise at November 10, 2008 04:14 PM

"I'm REALLY sick of politics."

I guess you got better, huh?
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at November 10, 2008 04:35 PM

Similarly, science shows no difference between a 7 month old fetus, and my little nephew who was born early.

But it's not that simple, Foxfier. What about the difference between a viable fetus (infant) and one that is only a few days old (essentially an undifferentiated clump of cells which will one day become a human being, but which is not even visible to the naked eye yet)?

What about 1st trimester abortions? During the first trimester a human baby in the womb can't survive on its own, isn't identifiably male or female, and doesn't even look human yet.

This is where you start to have problems. I don't want to argue the abortion debate because that is too fraught. But I think that for a variety of reasons, it doesn't make sense to stake a national election on an issue the President doesn't directly control.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 04:39 PM

Is this politics? Or policy? Or practical philosophy?

I like discussing ideas. To me, that's what this is. I don't want to discuss Obama or John McCain. To me, that's politics, but maybe I'm just nuts.

I think Elise has the right of it on the abortion issue:

... if abortion is the next slavery issue then it's important to remember two things. First, slavery got resolved when enough people realized it for the horror it was; we're nowhere near that point. [BECAUSE WE AREN'T ALLOWED TO DISCUSS IT]
Second, ending slavery was a brutal undertaking and left scars that haunted us for over a century.
I think persuasion is a better way to address abortion and I think persuasion becomes more possible when people are not feeling threatened. Tell women you're going to do everything in your power to take away their right to control their own bodies (which is how many of them hear what you're saying) and they won't listen to another word you say. Tell women you accept they can make their own decision but you hope they'll decide a certain way and offer them help if they do decide that way and you're more likely to get a fair hearing. Furthermore, backing away from the "our one goal in life is to overturn Roe v Wade" position means you might be better able to win some victories like restrictions on third trimester abortions. Right now every proposal on abortion that comes from Republicans is seen as the opening wedge on the way to a slippery slope.

The phrase "letting the perfect be the enemy of the good" comes to mind. Also, we're not winning this battle. After several decades of losing, we might want to consider a change in tactics.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 04:45 PM

Putting Justices on the Bench is just about the most powerful and long-term thing a President can do. We'll be living under Obama's Justices for the next 50 years.

Yep. I'm sure glad we held out for a real conservative instead of an electable one, and got neither :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2008 04:47 PM

Would you consider linking to my blog? We have similar interests.

The New Republican at http://newrepublican.wordpress.com/

Thanks.

Posted by: newrepublican at November 10, 2008 04:49 PM

Well, as a working proposal, why not create a structure for a "Household Contract". Such contract would allow any two (or more?) people to declare themselves a legal household. It could be siblings, cousins, platonic roommates, romantic couples, anyone who wants to gain the benefits of shared living and responsibilities.

It wouldn't run afoul of the "Marriage" language problem as it doesn't imply a sexual relationship or even necessarily any familial relationship though it doesn't preclude them either.

Under this scenario, Marriage is simply a special case of Household in the same way that a square is a special case of a rectangle.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 10, 2008 04:50 PM

Here's the deal for me (and PLEASE don't confuse my opinions and beliefs with "the way things ought to be"... yes, I'd like it if that were the case, but as an adult, I realize that the world does not conform to my whims):

1) Abortion. I hate it. Not as a religious stance, but from a moral stance (and yes, they CAN be two different things). I'd never be in favor of it, save in the case of survival of the mother, and then I'd agonize over it for the rest of my life. HOWEVER, I do not for an instant believe it is the role of the federal government to rule on abortion. Not in a pro-choice, 'we shouldn't tell people how to live/you can't legislate morality' kind of way... but in a Tenth Amendment kind of way. The Constitution is silent on this issue, and thus it is solely in the hands of the States and the people. Period.

2) Gay Marriage. Frankly, it wouldn't concern me, but I know it's an issue for lots of folks. And thankfully, the Constitution has this well covered. Again, the Tenth Amendment. Marriage and the recognition of such is not in the Constitution. Solely reserved to the States and people to decide. HOWEVER... if South Carolina bans gay marriage while Connecticut allows it, the Constitution DOES say something about that. Namely that one State MUST honor contracts issued in another. Period. South Carolina does NOT have to issue marriage licenses to couples under my proposal, but they WOULD be required to recognize a marriage performed in another state. The Constitution is clear on that.

But, let's take it out of that realm and move to an ever more palatable solution. Marriage is already not a Federal issue. There is NO national marriage license. Why do folks think the Feds should be involved then? Have the states issue a civil contract between two adult citizens. If they want to go to a church and go through a religious ceremony, fine. But that ceremony, without the civil contract would not provide any benefits. That will satisfy most everyone but the die hard "I don't like it, so no one should do it" crowd.

And as a further addendum. I'd have the States issue this contract REGARDLESS of orientation or reason. You want to engage in this civil contract with your great aunt so you can inherit, visit in a hospital, etc... GO FOR IT. It would provide for minors of the two people in the contract (again, be they natural, adopted, or even completely unrelated). Under my system, if I were to enter this contract with my brother, I'd be responsible for the raising of his children in the event something happened to him, or if we split... JUST LIKE IT CURRENTLY IS FOR MARRIAGES. I don't see a problem with that.

And that brings me to polygamy. What of it? The civil contract is between two adults. You want to have a religious ceremony with 15 more folks, go for it. You've got legal rights with one of them. And if you're worried about who will take care of the kids? Hey, shouldn't have married Joe-bob the polygamist if you were worried about that. Wife #1 had the contract and you knew it. Tough.

That's just my opinion though.

Posted by: MikeD at November 10, 2008 04:52 PM

Elise, the reason why many who are religious believe in marriage as divine is because it is
a contract. One of the Apostles (today is a day I am not clinging joyfully to my Book(s) of Holy Writ as I am baking bread, ergo I can't reference the exact quote) made mention of the marriage bed being honorable. This is Cricket Doctrine, but it would seem to me that as Adam and Eve were
driven from the garden and had a family, no mention made of who married them, that God would have at least struck them dead for fornication.

Since God made them fully functional, and knowing that He is a reasonable fellow, He wouldn't have heartburn if a man and woman contracted together to live under certain conditions in the presence of witnesses. The law of handfast in Scotland bears that out. The witnessing doesn't have to be religious, per se, but of reliable and unimpeachable character. Or so I have heard.

However, marriage between a man and a woman strikes at the heart of what built western civilization: Strong, stable parents able to bear and raise children to strengthen that society.

Same-sex marriage could backlash into discrimination against hetero married couples with regard to federal anti-discrimination laws.
Currently, there are anti-discrimination laws that deal with 'sexual orientation' as opposed to same-gender contractual/civil unions.

Now, before anyone thinks that I came up with that on my own, I did excep for the previous paragraph. The Heritage Foundation has an excellent paper on same-sex marriage and I found it interesting and thought-provoking reading.

Posted by: Cricket at November 10, 2008 05:00 PM

Under this scenario, Marriage is simply a special case of Household in the same way that a square is a special case of a rectangle.

And here's the rub. The folks who are for gay marriage and against civil unions are up in arms because they don't want "separate but equal" (and considering the history of that, I can understand it). They want "the same". But the religious folks don't want marriage associated with a civil contract. To Catholics, marriage is MUCH more than inheritance and visitation, it's a Sacrament. So the word "marriage" carries special weight. What would satisfy the most folks (but hardly ALL folks) is a dual track. Religious 'marriage' from your church that carries no civil weight for anyone, and a civil contract that is not a religious ceremony. It's the same for everyone then, no one is getting special treatment. And if you don't like that the Catholic church won't marry you and your gay partner, take it up with the Pope, not Congress.

Posted by: MikeD at November 10, 2008 05:02 PM

MikeD,

That is, as I understand, the present practice in France. To be married, you must have a civil ceremony. The religious ceremony is optional, based on your own personal beliefs.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 10, 2008 05:13 PM

Well, as a working proposal, why not create a structure for a "Household Contract". Such contract would allow any two (or more?) people to declare themselves a legal household. It could be siblings, cousins, platonic roommates, romantic couples, anyone who wants to gain the benefits of shared living and responsibilities.

I've been arguing for this for ages-- honestly, I wouldn't mind if it was for any *group* of people being able to form a household. It would have to be more difficult to dissolve than a no-fault divorce, or it wouldn't work so well....

Dear Host: please delete link if you'd rather not have it, link etiquette is still a little preference based. ;^p
http://sailorette.blogspot.com/2007/10/future-worries.html

I'm picturing some form of adult adoption-- anyone remember the old cliché about the two little old lady sisters? Like that, but without having to be blood-kin, or married. Probably have to emphasize the sisterhood/brotherhood aspect to keep folks from assuming that if you're in one of these contracts, you're sleeping together.

Posted by: Foxfier at November 10, 2008 05:33 PM

And if you don't like that the Catholic church won't marry you and your gay partner, take it up with the Pope, not Congress.

Can I get a HELL YEAH?!?

(bonus: this would remove the most annoying of the activists from the pool-- the ones who want religion to be separate from gov't, unless it's what they want)

Posted by: Foxfier at November 10, 2008 05:35 PM

MikeD,
The Household contract essentially is the civil side of things. A marriage is simply one method (among many) of obtaining one.

It's not a separate but equal issue any more than obtaining a Master's degree by either taking the Comprehensive Exam or defending a Thesis is separate but equal.

The degree is the *exact* same. The only thing separate is how you get there.


As for: "But the religious folks don't want marriage associated with a civil contract." Actually the religious folks do want marriage recognized as a civil contract. They want it to be both.

As such the Household contract satisfies. The Marriage is the religious contract, and since it is a subset of the civil Household contract you also get it automatically. If you get married, you get both (just as the religious folks want and the non-religious folks are agreeable to) you declare a gay household and you get only the civil contract (just as the non-religious folks want, and the religous folks are agreeable to).

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 10, 2008 05:39 PM

The Marriage is the religious contract, and since it is a subset of the civil Household contract you also get it automatically.

I actually question whether this is still the case or not. To be married in Georgia, my wife and I had to get a blood test and a license from the state. That makes it a civil matter. My question is why that's strictly required for what the Catholic church considers a Sacrament (not that we were married in the RCC). I am certain that if we had wanted, we could have had a wedding without civil sanction, and just filed taxes separately and whatnot. Sure in the event of a divorce, it would be a civil nightmare for the courts to deal with (and in the eyes of the law, we'd just be co-habitating). Theologically, you don't need official state approval to be married.

But I know for many religious folk (not all mind you, but many) it's the religious institution of marriage they don't want re-defined. But if it's framed as a civil contract (with marriage remaining a religious thing) that would smooth the issue over. But currently, the talk is NOT about separating the religious and civil aspects. And that's why it's such a contentious issue. At least, that's my read on it.

I'm pretty sure most folks are not particularly concerned about the tax filing status of gays. It's the "marriage" thing that bothers them.

Posted by: MikeD at November 10, 2008 06:33 PM

the heart of what built western civilization: Strong, stable parents able to bear and raise children to strengthen that society.

Ah, but I think it's possible for a gay couple to be strong, stable parents able to raise children to strengthen society. Admittedly they cannot bear children - without outside intervention - but many married heterosexual couples (can we call ourselves "plain couples"? "dull couples"?) either cannot bear children or choose not to do so.

On the other hand, the "household" idea and the "group contract" idea make me feel kind of queasy so apparently I do hold strong feelings about marriage being a committed dyad formed by two people who are "in love". (Yes, I know about arranged marriages.) I'm just okay with that dyad consisting of two people of the same sex.

I read this paper at the Heritage Foundation. Obviously I would hope any law that recognizes gay marriage would build in exemptions for religious objections on the part of schools, churches, fertility clinics, and caterers. However, the conflict between religious principles and laws is one we have to deal with even if gay marriage never gets legalized in any form.

This issue gets hideously knotty. I'd like to say we always can and should accommodate religious beliefs - we can live with pharmacists who won't fill birth control prescriptions because there's always another pharmacist. Similarly there's always another wedding caterer who will work on a gay marriage.

But one of the examples the Heritage Foundation gives is a teacher who has to participate in classroom discussion on homosexual relationships that violate his religious beliefs. Sounds unfair to the teacher but then what about religions that proscribe women's role in society. Could a male teacher who practiced such a religion claim his religious freedom means he doesn't have to teach girls?

There's just no easy way to resolve this conflict. Gay marriage would introduce a new wrinkle but as soon as we moved away from the idea of generally accepted community standards we started putting ourselves in the middle of this mess.

Posted by: Elise at November 10, 2008 06:40 PM

"Don't you guys want kids to be able to buy heroin?" NO you freaking moron! Theoretically, I'm ok with an adult deciding to ruin their entire lives with heroin if that's what they really want to do with their body. MikeD

But that's essentially the problem I have with Libertarians, they start from the premise that everyone is a consensual adult and that their actions only effect other consensual adults.

For instance:
I don't want my child to have access to porn so I take all necessary precautions to prevent it within my realm of control (TV blocking, Internet blocking, etc.). Let's say that I let my child go the the park to play. One of his new friends suggests to go back to his house and they do. This friend pulls up porn on his parent's computer because they don't realize their kid has access to it, thus exposing my child to things I consider indecent.
The reaction I get is one of two things:
1) Tough, he ought not be repressed by you like that anyway. What's your problem, anyway? It's not like half the population doesn't have those things, you know. Get over it.
2) Tough, it's your own fault for not watching him like a hawk 24-7.

You say "We don't let kids drink Jim Beam", but Libertarians will also tell you that any parent who is OK with it should be able to give it to their children. But, of course, like the above, when that child gives it to my child without me knowing, it's my fault again.

While I sympathize a great deal philosophically with libertarians, 95% of the population should not have to live like the Amish to raise their children within the mainstream of society because of the 5% who think it's perfectly OK for two consenting adults to have sex on a public sidewalk. And as long as the Big L Libertarian Party thinks they should, it will always be the Party of Kooksticks.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 10, 2008 06:53 PM

I actually question whether this is still the case or not. To be married in Georgia, my wife and I had to get a blood test and a license from the state. That makes it a civil matter.

And now you'd get the blood test and a license from the state for the Household contract, instead of the marriage contract.

Nothing says you can't get a preacher friend to marry you and not fill out any forms. You could do that today or under my proposal and still have the religious Sacrament. You filled out the forms not for the religious aspect, but the civil one.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 10, 2008 06:57 PM

This discussion just depresses me. Although I am far more of an economic conservative than a social conservative, I just don't get the hatred of the social conservatives by the social liberals out there. I don't agree with all of the social conservative positions, but I understand where they are coming from. Indeed, I think their positions are far more defensible than the reverse.

I saw some of the previous posts mentioned the idea of "principled" government or limited govt. How can one possibly achieve such goals, assuming they are achievable at all given human nature, without a strong moral or ethical underlayment?

It is very easy to adopt a position of moral relativism, or more colloquially, "Do your own thing, baby", particularly for what has been labelled the Me Generation. Freedom from morality has all too often simply turned into freedom to engage in license and vice. Those folks then seem shocked, shocked I say, that people have engaged in greed, corruption, and personal aggrandizement when put in positions of political power. Well, why not? If the lines between right and wrong become more blurry year after year, why bother with adhering to outmoded concepts of ethics or morality? Grab the loot with both hands!

I really don't understand the apparently willful blindness of those who rail against standards of ethics or morality and then wonder why things slowly descend into a Lord of the Flies-type world when those moral strictures are discarded.

Posted by: a former european at November 10, 2008 07:51 PM

Reagan was a social conservative who seldom went to church. Nobody on the right seemed to have a problem with that in 1980, not even Jerry Falwell. 28 years later, I found myself wading through some of the stupidest online debates possible - "Mormons aren't Christians!" "Oh, yes, we are!" Who cares if Mormons are Christians or not? If Mike Huckabee had been the candidate, I would have stayed at home on election day, since I considered his big-government God-bothering to be the absolute opposite of true conservatism.

I am a (piss-poor) Catholic and pro-life, but I'm tired of putting a religious litmus test on GOP candidates. It works both ways. If Bobby Jindal can actually do something to clean up the cesspool of LA politics, I'll be so impressed I won't care if he's a secret atheist or if he conducts exorcisms 3 times a week in his rec room. As long as he doesn't push ID (and I'm worried that he's doing that) and try to force his beliefs on others, I don't care if he personally believes the world was created when a giant turtle laid an egg. I just don't want religion being at the center, or anywhere near the center of national politics. There are cogent arguments to be made against Roe v. Wade or gay marriage that amount to more than "God says no." Make them because people are clearly not buying "God says no" but don't make the social issues the center of your platform.

In fact, stressing and restressing "personal responsibility" addresses the abortion issue indirectly. Responsible people use birth control. Responsible people don't have either 7 abortions ( I knew a woman who did) or 7 children by 7 different baby daddies.

And the pro-life people should actually be stressing life. I live a couple of blocks away from an abortion clinic and every day there's someone out there with a giant poster of a hacked-up fetus. I'm on their side, and I don't want to see that every day when I'm coming home from work. How many people do they think they're actually converting? I've always thought a far more constructive approach would be showing pictures of what a healthy fetus looks at 5 months or 7 months. Some of those ultrasounds which clearly show a child's face might make people think a little bit more about the issue instead of repulsing them and making them angry because you've grossed them out.

If the GOP returns to the principles of small government, fiscal responsibility, and strong defense, I think they'll come back sooner rather than later, because now we're about to go through 4 years with the party of huge government, massive fiscal irresponsibility (and yes, the GOP has not been great on this score either) and weak defense.

A Former European: yes, I agree that social conservatives should certainly have a voice, but the problem is that they have come to sound far too much like the village scold. I think actions speak louder than words. Palin really doesn't have to say much about her views on abortion - Trig says it all (although the hatred directed against that child exposed a very nasty side of the national underbelly). One thing about the Obama election - maybe the notion common among black inner city kids that studying hard and using proper English and marrying before becoming parents amounts to "acting white" will now fade away. Obama's example may be better than 10,000 Bill Cosby speeches.

Posted by: Donna V. at November 10, 2008 08:29 PM

AFE, I know what you mean, as I think we are close to the same age. But the country I was born in +50 years ago is gone.
Erased by an army of steamrollers and a new culture.
*************
We have to realize that culture and politics are closely related, but we have to also realize that trying to enforce certain cultural strictures is more than just counter-productive, it is destructive of the ends which we wish to achieve politically.

If you really believe that 'the people' should be sovereign in their lives, then surprisingly, you have to let people be sovereign in their lives.
If your really believe in the concept of "small government conservatism", then you have to actually practice that, and leave people the Hell alone unless they are breaking the law.

It seems every few years somebody comes along with another bright idea to help make society "better".
The War on Poverty
Head Start
Urban Renewal
No Child Left Behind

It just goes on and on, and frequently nobody ever really knows how good or effective any of it is, but a glimmer of success justifies doing MORE next time around.
If we want to stop creating a society of sheeple, we've got to start fighting the urge to wipe everyone's nose when it's drippy, and stop interfering with people's lives, even when they start to screw up, and start expecting people to be smart enough to run their own lives.

This, in my opinion, has about a snow ball's chance in Hell, because we have gone too far down the road to being a "social democracy", rather than a Republic. But as the Obama Presidency goes forward, and some people who are squishy on the subject now get a little more militant, there may be one more opportunity (in my lifetime, at least)in four or eight years to reverse course politically and try to use principles to reign in the overwhelming government before it's either too big to stop or it all goes disastrously bankrupt.

People have got to be coherently ready to stand up and say,"This is what we want from a limited government; no more, no less. We now place limits on ourselves out of conviction for the principles of limited government."
One more incoherent candidate who tries to be all things to all people for the Republicans and the party will probably come unraveled for good. Why vote for a fake when you can vote for a REAL Democrat who is not kidding about trying to be all things to all people?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 10, 2008 10:44 PM

Many of the reasons you stated are reasons that I have never registered Republican. I've been thinking about it since this election, but unless we can shift the Republican Party toward a more Libertarian/strict Constitutionalist role, I'm still not sure I'm comfortable doing that. Here in WA state we recently had a new addition to the parties for local positions; the "Constitution" party. I actually liked many of their candidates and voted for them in the primaries, but not being one of the main 2 parties pretty much killed their chances of getting past the primaries. And I'm with you and some of the commenters on the Libertarian Party; most Libertarians I know are great people, but every candidate for office seems to be just crazy enough to make me uncomfortable.

I'm one of those "young" voters that you're talking about (I'm 25). I'm in pretty much the same place as Mankiw's Harvard students; as much as I am socially conservative myself, I do not believe in pushing my social values on others. I am, however, strongly fiscally conservative, and very much for smaller, limited government. I am a-ok on giving the responsibility for social issues to the states. More than ok on that. And I know a number of other young conservatives that feel the same way I do on that. So I think you're right, Cass.

Posted by: Loefwende at November 10, 2008 10:51 PM

And here was my order of choices for this last election, just to give an example:

Fred Thompson (1)
Mitt Romney (2)
John McCain (but only 'cause I couldn't have the first 2)

And I would have taken Hillary (at least honestly a Democrat) over Huckabee (who was a Dem in disguise, plus a heavy dose of religion). Huckabee actually scared me, in that he was more of a big-government and social issues guy, and definitely not a fiscal conservative. I found it odd that a number of my friends supported him; I think a big reason that they did was just that he was very good at getting his message out through grassroots organization, unlike most of the other Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul. Ron Paul I would have taken if he were a little more moderate and more realistic about Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: Loefwende at November 10, 2008 10:59 PM

Donna, I snorted with laughter over your description of Mike Huckabee, so help me, I didn't mean to laugh but that did it.

I think that many people don't bother with formal worship because they are comfortable with who they are and what they believe. That's the beauty of living in the US. You don't pay a church tax to the state to pay for the pulpit, and you aren't rounded up to go off to meetings.

Posted by: Cricket at November 10, 2008 11:19 PM

And on the abortion issue (as I read through the comments)... Although I don't think I could ever choose abortion myself, for whatever reason, I would much rather see us slowly take it down to the point where abortions are legal only during the first trimester or for serious health reasons. Or even down to the point at which a child could survive outside of the womb (what would that be...5 months, roughly?) rather than take away the option entirely. I tend to believe that there are some cases (incest, rape, especially of young girls) where an abortion might be the more "humane" option all things considered, but I really don't like the thought of killing a child that could have survived outside the womb. I also don't think that eliminating abortions entirely would be possible; as Elisa and Cass were mentioning earlier.

Posted by: Loefwende at November 10, 2008 11:22 PM

Donna, I agree with you on that one about the product of abortion. It almost justifies the argument about it being a blob of tissue.

I saw my babies' faces in ultrasounds at various stages after the fourth month, and I could hardly wait until they were born to see what they looked like.

Mathmom, you are, as always, brilliant.

Posted by: Cricket at November 10, 2008 11:29 PM

Restructuring the Republican Party and Redrawing the Conservative Roadmap will be an exercise in futility unless the MSM and the NEA suddenly stop being agitprop outlets for the DNC's propaganda machine.

Bill prioritizes targeting the logistical capability of the enemy. I tend to agree with that kind of strategic analysis.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 11, 2008 12:04 AM

I think persuasion is a better way to address abortion and I think persuasion becomes more possible when people are not feeling threatened. Tell women you're going to do everything in your power to take away their right to control their own bodies (which is how many of them hear what you're saying) and they won't listen to another word you say. Tell women you accept they can make their own decision but you hope they'll decide a certain way and offer them help if they do decide that way and you're more likely to get a fair hearing.

The MSM filter won't let that through and the great majority of the population won't find things out on their own.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 11, 2008 12:10 AM

Mathmom, you are, as always, brilliant.

Yep.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 11, 2008 12:28 AM

In regard to abortion: once fertilization takes place, it is a human being. It will become nothing else. And, as technology advances, the point at which a fetus could survive outside the womb will get earlier and earlier in the pregnancy. Abortion is murder, end of story: you are killing a human being, not a "blob of tissue".

I looked into the Constitution Party. I like their platform except for the unrealistic isolationist plank. I've never registered as anything - where I have lived (Texas, Arkansas) as a voting adult, it has not been required. Only stipulation is that you cannot vote in a primary run-off unless you voted in that particular primary, but I can vote in whichever primary I want. When I lived in AR, I sometimes voted in the (D) primary, as that was often the only one that had choices (except for during Presidential election years).

I'm with Loefwende: Thompson was my first choice, and then Romney. Both had dropped out by the time I had a chance to vote in the primary.

Well, it's late and I need to get to bed...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 11, 2008 12:45 AM

Bill prioritizes targeting the logistical capability of the enemy.

I'd just like to mention that my co-worker who requested an absentee ballot back in mid-August finally got it yesterday.

Three more guys are still waiting.

Each lives in a town with a Democrat administration. Go figure...

Posted by: BillT at November 11, 2008 12:55 AM

The Republicans could get a lot of social votes with 2 easy fixes:

1. Focus abortion debate on "local control" (South Dakota has proven twice that illegal abortion is not a risk if left to voters even in a post-RoevWade world). Maybe even go all the way to saying "pre-viability" legality is OK, but we want to limit later term abortions. Everyone can see the pictures and get it. Even Bill Maher said 2 weeks ago he see how "even non-religious wackos" can be against abortion, especially when it looks like a kid.

2. Push for the gay "marriage" issue to be local control also. Then back gay civil unions but preserve the meaning of marriage to its several thousand years meaning.

Neither would be the end of the world - in fact you would likely gain more control over abortion laws and preserve the status quo on gay civil union/marriage initiatives, perhaps giving civil unions to avoid the "marrige" thing.

Both changes would get the conservative youth listening to whole message again. Both require compromise from some of my friends.

Posted by: KJ at November 11, 2008 11:17 AM

^^Agreed, KJ. And Donna, above; I had somehow missed Donna's comment when reading through them last night.

Posted by: Leofwende at November 11, 2008 12:20 PM

Ymar, you say in response to Bill's concerns about the MSM and the NEA shilling for the Democratic Party:

Bill prioritizes targeting the logistical capability of the enemy. I tend to agree with that kind of strategic analysis.

and in response to my suggestion that persuasion is a better route on abortion:

The MSM filter won't let that through and the great majority of the population won't find things out on their own.

I've always admitted I know nothing about military matters except what I read in Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth, but it seems to me that throwing up your hands in despair over getting a moderate-conservative message through the media is not exactly targeting the logistical capability of the enemy. The trick is not to say "we'll never get anybody to listen", the trick is to say "how do we get our message out?"

And here I think, frankly, it's not just the MSM shilling for the Democrats but much of talk radio shilling for the "social issues" wing of the Republicans that presents a problem. I don't listen to right-leaning talk radio but my impression is they wouldn't give house room to a moderate stance on abortion or gay marriage.

Obviously the Internet is a logical place but there - as you point out - people tend to seek out information that confirms their current views. I've been wondering a lot lately about mail. As in snail mail. As in, how retro. How much would it cost to do mailings to every registered voter in the country outlining a moderate conservative position? (I'd love to do a series of postcard mailings, one on each topic, but I suspect it's a bad idea to send postcards about abortion and gay marriage into homes with children.)

Maybe instead of waiting for the Republicans to write a platform in the two weeks before the convention, we need to develop a moderate conservative position in the next 18 months, get the Republican Party to adopt it then, and start selling it slowly but surely. If there was a way to do that development on a fairly large scale, the developing organization would probably actually get a lot of press: the left-leaning media would report it as a further repudiation of Republicanism and the right-leaning press would report it as heresy. There's nothing like a little controversy to generate a lot of ink.

Posted by: Elise at November 11, 2008 12:40 PM

I've always admitted I know nothing about military matters except what I read in Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth...[t]he trick is not to say "we'll never get anybody to listen", the trick is to say "how do we get our message out?"

Ta-daaaaah! That's what targeting their logistical capability is all about. It's a military principle, but you figured it out logically.

"Hello, Tom? Yeah, it's Bill -- lissen, buddy, there's somebody in Jersey you need to talk to..."

Posted by: BillT at November 11, 2008 01:14 PM

Elise,
You have hit on something, but do it in reverse. contact your Congressional rep. I know this may not work in all districts (especially Jersey, where nothing is personal, just business), but let him/her know what your principles or platform is.

Mine is very good about keeping in touch; he sent me a detailed letter about his bailout vote; he voted it down, twice. GOOD FOR HIM. I voted for him because he is a moderate, but will lean to conservatism especially if it is to promote the general welfare of the Republic and not the general welfare of socialism.

I talked with a friend who worked for the FDIC during the Keating S&L scandal. He pretty much said that the bailout was socialism, but unfortunately, we couldn't finish the conversation at that time. I am going back up that way again soon; this time I mean to sit down with him and Pick His Brain.

Posted by: Cricket at November 11, 2008 01:27 PM

To the post above about how posters of hacked-up fetuses are no way to get the point across:

Many years ago, when I was still pro-choice, I attended a Planned Parenthood sit-in kind of thing, intended to protect visitors to the clinic from the pro-life protesters across the street. One of the protesters had a sign that said, "I love YOU and I'd fight for YOUR life, too." Even at the time, I couldn't get it out of my head. It was the beginning of a long change that ended with where I am now.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 11, 2008 01:47 PM

Cass: "But it's not that simple, Foxfier." Here's a little thought experiment: Consider a newly-delivered baby. One minute. Is there a real difference between that one minute after, and the one minute before?

Now go back an hour. Any difference? A day; a week; a month; ...

I think we have to say that even that "undifferentiated clump of cells", because it will soon be a human, has to be treated as if it already is that human.

I am unmoved by those who claim "the right to choose". That choice happens not too long before conception. After that, it's not a choice, it's a responsibility.

And yes, there are extreme cases, special cases. But we should not run our public policy, or frame our ethics, around exceptional cases.

Posted by: ZZMike at November 11, 2008 01:59 PM

But that's essentially the problem I have with Libertarians, they start from the premise that everyone is a consensual adult and that their actions only effect other consensual adults.

Well, first of all, I think that SHOULD be the default position of the government. That adults will act like adults and accept responsibility for their actions. When they don't act like adults and abdicate their responsibilities, THEN the government needs to adjudicate the situation. I'm tired of the assumption that we're wards of the state that need big mommy government to hold our hands. Not that I am for an instant implying you are saying that. I'm specifically referring to garbage like the trans-fat ban in NYC and similar nanny state laws like that.

I don't want my child to have access to porn so I take all necessary precautions to prevent it within my realm of control (TV blocking, Internet blocking, etc.). Let's say that I let my child go the the park to play. One of his new friends suggests to go back to his house and they do. This friend pulls up porn on his parent's computer because they don't realize their kid has access to it, thus exposing my child to things I consider indecent.
The reaction I get is one of two things:
1) Tough, he ought not be repressed by you like that anyway. What's your problem, anyway? It's not like half the population doesn't have those things, you know. Get over it.
2) Tough, it's your own fault for not watching him like a hawk 24-7.

Well, reason one is garbage. Telling you that YOU need to "get over" someone else's lack of morals is exactly as offensive as someone else who says "you must live by my moral code". The folks who argue the former never realize that what they are advocating is merely a DIFFERENT moral code. And they'd be the first to scream bloody murder if you tried to force your morals on them.

The second, sadly IS accurate. It is your job as a parent to raise your children. If you neglect to feed your child, you've been negligent in your child's care (criminally even). If I viewed something my parents didn't want me to see as a child in their care, they'd tan my hide if they found out. I knew what they did and did not want me seeing, depending on age. If I were too young to know better, they'd never have let me go over to someone else's home unsupervised. And when I was old enough to know better, they held ME responsible.

But let me give you a counter example. If you were to let your child go to the park, and your child went over to the home of a new friend and drowned in their pool, who would you blame? That child's parents for not supervising them? Should they be required to watch their child like a hawk? It cuts both ways.

You say "We don't let kids drink Jim Beam", but Libertarians will also tell you that any parent who is OK with it should be able to give it to their children. But, of course, like the above, when that child gives it to my child without me knowing, it's my fault again.

Well, any Libertarian who would tell you that is full of old shoes (as my mother would say). It is NOT ok to let your kids drink alcohol if you think it is. That wouldn't stand up anymore than saying I think it's ok for me to beat my kid bloody when he's bad, so it is ok. Both are abuse, whether you believe it to be or not. And second, if your child is old enough to know they shouldn't drink then you hold the child responsible for his actions. And if he is too young to know, then why is your child at another child's house unsupervised? I'm sorry, that's pretty cut and dried to me.

While I sympathize a great deal philosophically with libertarians, 95% of the population should not have to live like the Amish to raise their children within the mainstream of society because of the 5% who think it's perfectly OK for two consenting adults to have sex on a public sidewalk. And as long as the Big L Libertarian Party thinks they should, it will always be the Party of Kooksticks.

Again, that's a craptastic interpretation of libertarianism to say if two consenting adults want to have public sex, then that's fine. Because the primary "commandment" of libertarianism is do anything you like that does not deprive another of life, liberty or property. And any public act by definition CAN be an infringement on the liberty of another. Plus, honestly, that's a state or local issue anyway, and I'm much more conservative at that level. You walk around nude in public (or have sex for that matter) you are inflicting yourself on everyone around you. And "just don't look" is not a valid excuse. Plus, we're back to the minors issue again. As a society, we've determined that since children cannot make adult decisions, certain adult activities can and will be denied to them. Alcohol and tobacco are but two examples. Looking at people having sex is another. A couple who decides to "do it" in public is providing access to something we've legally forbidden to children, and thus are violating the law.

But on a Federal level, we MUST be more Libertarian, simply because we have such less control over the national entity than over the local. The government that governs least governs best. But the more local and direct control the people have over the government, the more government control I'd accept.

Let me be clear here. I'm not by any means an anarchist. Law is a fantastic thing. But laws by definition limit freedom. And I think it best to limit freedom as little as possible while maintaining an orderly society. The problem is that if individuals do NOT take responsibility for their own choices and actions, then it opens the door for government to step in and say "there there, mommy will make it better." And that just drives me crazy.

Posted by: MikeD at November 11, 2008 02:50 PM

When my wife was in the first trimester in carrying our second son, it was discovered during an ultrasound (about the 6 or 8 week mark) that she had a growth on her other ovary. It was suspected of being cancerous. It was inoperable until the second trimester because the fetus at 8 weeks could not stand the sedatives from the operation and live.
We never ever discussed abortion between us, but it was in the back of my mind all the time. My wife is quite brave, in her gentle feminine way, because she was quite afraid but never considered having an abortion, "to protect the life of the mother", and all that.
I would like to say it all turned out alright, but now my son likes to watch "South Park" and "Family Guy" all the time, so ....whatever. :)

Seriously, these can be difficult questions for anyone to answer, but injecting or appearing to inject the imprimatur of the government is counter to most of our ideas of liberty. I think abortion is terrible, but we also have to realize that not everyone shares the same moral judgements on every issue.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 11, 2008 02:59 PM

Thanks, BillT. It occurs to me that my recent getting caught up on "Stargate: Atlantis" episodes may have helped me figure this out, also. One civilian character is always insisting he can't possibly accomplish something or other and the military guy is always telling him he certainly can because it has to get done. (It always gets done.)

And, Cricket, I might do that with my Congressmen. I've been thinking about doing a series of posts outlining my policy positions on stuff (now I can just snag Cassandra's for the abortion one) so maybe as I finish each one I'll write my Government representatives (national and local) and tell them what I think. They are all solidly big government but it's worth a try. (I despaired of my Congressional Representative when he sent me a "look what I did" email a while back in which his proudest accomplishment was getting the local 9/11 monument made the responsibility of the Feds. Apparently he failed to notice that the local Edison National Historic Site is also the responsibility of the Feds and has been "closed for improvements" since February 11, 2003.)

Posted by: Elise at November 11, 2008 03:11 PM

I would like to say it all turned out alright, but now my son likes to watch "South Park" and "Family Guy" all the time, so ....whatever. :)

Maybe you can get him hooked on Japanese anime like Naruto then.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 11, 2008 03:30 PM

You got compared to Stargate Atlantis, Bill. You alright, yet?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 11, 2008 03:31 PM

I'm seeing a lot of posts here on gay marriage, and how we can just make it a civil procedure and let the churches work out the religious aspects. I'm also seeing posts on how we just have to work against the MSM.

The problem is that gay marraige is being talked about as a "civil rights issue." And what's usually involved right after that? "It oughta be a hate crime to say disapproving things about homosexuality."

That's where the two issues tie together. The Left, now that it has power, is going to define any attempt at disagreement as "hate speech" and shut it down. First Amendment guarantees? Hey, no problem. We'll just use regulation, not legislation, and let our stocked courts rule in our favor. Don't think it can happen? We've already seen ministers of churches in Canada hauled up on those very charges. They have no reason not to overreach again.

Posted by: SDN at November 11, 2008 03:50 PM

You got compared to Stargate Atlantis, Bill.

I'll take it. Usually, people just say I'm all wet...

Posted by: BillT at November 11, 2008 03:56 PM

We've already seen ministers of churches in Canada hauled up on those very charges.

Canada's Bill of Rights isn't as specific or as inclusive as ours. And all of the lawsuits are the handiwork of one particular lawyer who evidently feels it's his solemn duty to impose Shari'a on everyone north of the Saint Lawrence River...

Posted by: BillT at November 11, 2008 04:02 PM

The problem is that gay marraige is being talked about as a "civil rights issue." And what's usually involved right after that? "It oughta be a hate crime to say disapproving things about homosexuality."

And with Prop 8 in California, blacks and latinos overwhelmingly said they don't consider it a civil rights issue. Now with the Dems in power and unable to blame the evil Rethuglicans (though they will try), they're going to face a challenge from their bases. Are they going to drive those votes across the aisle passing "civil rights" laws, or are they going to jettison the homosexuals?

As for hate speech crimes, they've been slapped down in the courts EVERY time they've been challenged. The only way they've gotten anything of that flavor to stick is by making it a "hate crime" issue in that if you beat someone while spouting epithets then they tack that on. If you just spout epithets, then they can't really charge you with much (except maybe breach of the peace). The First Amendment still holds a LOT of sway in US courts. North of the border, they don't have anything as solidly defined as we do.

But given the ruling on McCain/Feingold, you never know. But for now... we'll see.

Posted by: MikeD at November 11, 2008 06:41 PM

This thread reminds me of an old joke, the punchline of which was "Canadian bacon."

It was really funny a while ago, but I can't remember why anymore.

Posted by: spd rdr at November 11, 2008 06:43 PM

The problem is that gay marraige is being talked about as a "civil rights issue." And what's usually involved right after that? "It oughta be a hate crime to say disapproving things about homosexuality."

It is why gay rights advocates rejected civil unions and worked to sabotage them in the legislative realm. They would lose their political power base if civil unions were adopted and thus they would lose the "civil rights" issue as well.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 11, 2008 10:14 PM

Cricket and Ymarsakar -

Thanks for your kind words.

This has been a very thought-provoking thread, argued by people of good will. Cassandra should be proud that she attracts such a great group.

Some time back Mary Katherine Ham, who was guest-blogging at Hugh Hewitt's place and has now gone on to bigger ponds, wrote about her education in American history. She is in her mid-20's, I believe. She said that the thing that was emphasized as the most important achievement of WWII was the ascension of women to the workplace, Rosie the Riveter etc. It was her grandfather that explained to her, the bits about the Japanese and the Germans and Normandy, and how we would have all been speaking one of those languages if not for Americans coming to the aid of the rest of the free world.

Dr. MathGuy, my liberal UVa and Princeton-educated global-warming anguished stepson is disgusted by the thought of patriotism toward the US. We had a discussion once where he expressed disdain for patriotism, with his internal definition of the word more closely matching jingoism, "extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy". This conversation bothered me so much I finally looked up patriotism in the dictionary, to see if I misunderstood the word. It means "love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it", which is fine with me.

He carries a copy of the constitution with him (I thought only John Birchers did that) so that he knows his rights. We were standing at the belt waiting for luggage at the airport and he saw sign warning about penalties for making comments/jokes about bombs etc, and sniffed, "What about free speech?" I was stunned by how freakin' stupid an excessively-educated person can be. 0Ever hear the one about yelling "fire" in a crowded theater?

Angelina Jolie has "Know Your Rights" tattooed on her upper back. When I saw this it finally made me understand what bothered me so much about the interactions with Dr. MathGuy. Yes, Americans have rights. But we also have responsibilities. When you teach about your rights to the exclusion of your responsibilities, you build a populace which only wants the goodies, and never considers the price, and certainly won't want to pay it.

All this rumination is to express my deep concern about the loss of value in American education, starting in the early grades. I grew up loving my country, because I was taught about the sacrifices, even unto death, that were made to secure this miraculous liberty that we enjoy. But the teaching of history has changed so much that we aren't taught to revere the sacrifice and accomplishment of our forefathers, but now must learn about how they were slaveholders, how women had no rights, and how Thomas Jefferson fathered biracial children. History has become herstory, at the expense of accuracy.

I wonder how we can maintain our freedoms if children are not steeped in the great stories about our country, and taught to treasure the gift that is America. I don't know how to reclaim this lost ground, either. It has been slowly eroded since at least the 70's, as those students who opposed the war in Vietnam finally graduated and quit making all that noise. I always thought they finally got jobs, and they did - as professors at universities, where they have have written textbooks which focused on the wrongs of America, and trained the next generation of teachers to be dumber and less patriotic than the previous generation. Those teachers went on to use those crappy textbooks and dumb-down the next generation of school children, and now those children have graduated and are old enough to vote for Obama, based on an uncritical acceptance of the the desire for "change". As I have said many times, a car wreck is a change.

We have to find a way to reclaim education and build citizens who can think. We're not going to be able to rebuild conservatism with a stupid society.

Posted by: MathMom at November 11, 2008 10:20 PM

“How about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’?”

“Ah yes, the ‘unalienable rights’. Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry.
"Life? What right to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What right to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of ‘right’? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is unalienable? And is it a right? As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged to themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots, or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap, and is never free of cost.”
“The third ‘right’? The ‘pursuit of happiness’? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can ‘pursue happiness’ as long as my brain lives - but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it.”
“I told you that ‘juvenile deliquent’ is a contradiction in terms. ‘Delinquent’ means ‘failing in duty’. But duty is an adult virtue-indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he aquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a ‘juvenile delinquent’… But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult delinquents-people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who knowing it, fail.”
“And that was the soft spot which destroyed what was in many ways an admirable culture. The junior hoodlums who roamed their streets were symptoms of a greater sickness; their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of ‘rights’…and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.”

-Col. Jean. V. DuBois,MI, retired (sometime in the 24th century, AD)

“Starship Troopers”, Robert A Heinlein, 1959

Mathmom, that's the best answer that I can think of to what you said. And I guess it's not really an answer, so much as a judgement. Everyone has to draw their own conclusion.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 11, 2008 10:54 PM

Wow, Don - I have never read Starship Troopers. Looks like I'm going to the library!

Posted by: MathMom at November 12, 2008 12:22 AM

[I hadn't noticed you posted a reply to me until now]

I've always admitted I know nothing about military matters except what I read in Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth, but it seems to me that throwing up your hands in despair over getting a moderate-conservative message through the media is not exactly targeting the logistical capability of the enemy.

Some people know what I have said concerning propaganda and it isn't one of despair. Propaganda is like violence, both the underdog and the powerful may use it, regardless of whether the underdog is virtuous or not, the powerful virtuous or not. Propaganda, like any tool, depends upon the skill and will of the user: which means people.

There are many ways of getting a moderate-conservative message through the media, but they tend to vary from very ruthlessness to just not very nice (or legal). Bush could do it and it would be legal, but we couldn't do it and have it be legal, for example, in the case of shunning and black listing reporters. Reporters need sources and editors need stories, so if you blacklist reporters, like Obama did, then you own them because their self-interest will motivate them to cave into your demands.

Besides, the logistical capability of the enemy, the MSM in this case, is their sources and their access points (or exclusives). Destroy those and you have the MSM essentially defeaten.

And here I think, frankly, it's not just the MSM shilling for the Democrats but much of talk radio shilling for the "social issues" wing of the Republicans that presents a problem. I don't listen to right-leaning talk radio but my impression is they wouldn't give house room to a moderate stance on abortion or gay marriage.

They are not the ones that sabotaged civil unions.

Obviously the Internet is a logical place but there - as you point out - people tend to seek out information that confirms their current views.

That is less true than it was in the days when 1/5th of the population was literature and some mainstream sources, like the Bible, were only available in Latin, which was not taught to even 1/5th of the population.

People tend to seek out information that they either know about or want to know about. Most people just aren't too curious or have the time to do the research.

How much would it cost to do mailings to every registered voter in the country outlining a moderate conservative position?

Spammers do it so it can't cost that much ; )

But the teaching of history has changed so much that we aren't taught to revere the sacrifice and accomplishment of our forefathers

They have gotten students to hate history. With that kind of attitude instilled in folks, what will they think when they grow old enough to vote? They will vote for history to repeat itself.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 12, 2008 10:39 AM

I don't want the government telling me or anyone else what to do in the bedroom. You'd probably be surprised how many Republicans - even those with traditional values - get turned off when the RNC starts to sound like the nanny state. Many of us, and most definitely the younger generation, draw a bright line between our personal moral standards and the amount of interference we're willing to accept from Congress (of all the ridiculous institutions to lecture Americans on "morals").

There are a number of issues of varying social import to me. "stay out of the bedroom" doesn't cut it. Private bedroom behavior has a profound effect on society as a whole, not so much on an individual level but at a collective level.

I am opposed to things that will weaken the nuclear family unit (mom, who's a woman, dad, who's a man, and one or more children) which is the bedrock of society.

I oppose abortion for both religious and civil libertarian reasons. Mostly because I'm a firm believer that our human rights come from almighty God, and not government. I believe a citizen (even a citizen residing in the womb of another citizen) deserves these rights, and I will fight to my last breath for them. If that is off-putting, or loses us elections, I guess I'll have to live with that.

No-fault divorce has already destroyed the institution of marriage, but I refuse to compound the travesty by extending it to two men, two women, two women and a man, a man and his dog or whatever.

Other than those and gun rights (and other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights) I'm pretty flexible.

Posted by: Tony at November 12, 2008 11:42 AM

Tony:

I respect your opinion. However if you consistently lose elections you have no voice in anything. At all.

How does that help you stem the tide of social change you are worried about? And more importantly, why are these things the purview of the federal government when marriage and murder (which is what pro-lifers have always considered abortion to be) have always been state law issues?

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2008 11:56 AM

This post is one of the most excellent analyses I've read in quite a long time, and one with which I agree almost entirely. You still manage to amaze and thrill me with your words! Good job and thanks. You've given me a lot to think/write about.

That said, I referenced this post in my most recent one (after a too-long hiatus) on Grand Retort. I had originally used Republican in one place, but changed that to conservative because my intent acually matched your comment about the differences.

Anyway, my essay had a different focus, but I wanted to let you know the link was there since I don't use trackbacks.

Great work!!

Regards,
SangerM

P.S. Starship Troopers was a silly and puerile attempt by an otherwise pretty decent SciFi writer (at least until he discovered free-love and fantasy-incest in the 60s) to posit a utopian, but harsh and de-humanizing political philosophy, sort of a blue collar version of Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. I know that's a simplistic comparison, but it's generally appropriate, I think. MathMom, you can do a LOT better than to waste your time on S.T., which is great reading for a 15 year old or anyone who's into the Golden Age of Science Fiction, but it's not something any serious student of political philosophy would find more than a little interesting. In fact, you might read Rand's stuff, starting with Atlas Shrugged to see what objectivism is all about, and how it relates to the current conversation.

Just sayin' :-)

v/r

Posted by: SangerM at November 12, 2008 12:02 PM

My argument is not that pro-lifers should concede their strongly held positions, but that abortion is not properly a federal issue and furthermore even if it were, it is one that has already been adjudicated.

The proper issue, therefore, is Constitutional faithfulness. Not family law, or criminal law (murder) which again has traditionally been a matter for state legislatures. Tactically it makes little sense for the GOP to lose a national election over issues which the President has little or no influence over.

If the issue can be reframed in such a matter that it becomes possible to build an unbeatable political coalition that fulfills the pro-life agenda and plays to moderate sensibilities too why not do it?

It is arguable the Constitutionally faithful judges would be more disposed than otherwise to overturn Roe, but you will NEVER get a judge who swears to overturn Roe past the filibuster.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2008 12:02 PM

Cassandra, You are 100% correct. Hell, Bork was 'borked' just for saying--absolutely correctly--that there is no right to privacy guarenteed by the Constituion, let alone a right to abortions.

I think your analysis and construct is dead on!

Posted by: SangerM at November 12, 2008 12:08 PM

Angelina Jolie has "Know Your Rights" tattooed on her upper back.

And I keep thinking the folks who have bumper stickers all over their cars are morons.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2008 12:17 PM

Bush could do it and it would be legal, but we couldn't do it and have it be legal, for example, in the case of shunning and black listing reporters.

A little confused about this, Ymar. I think it would be perfectly legal for me to shun and blacklist reporters. However it would be ineffective - no reporter has ever shown the slightest desire to talk to me.

Good point about spammers and mail costs.

Posted by: Elise at November 12, 2008 12:18 PM

Dissenting view on "Starship Troopers". I think it's well worth the read and - as I said in another recent post - highly recommend it be paired with "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman. (ST first, then TFW)

Plus both "Starship Troopers" and "The Forever War" combined are probably about half the length of "Atlas Shrugged". :)

Posted by: Elise at November 12, 2008 12:23 PM

It's nice to know that Sanger doesn't just use that disrespectful tone with just me. For some reason, knowing that it is a natural fixture explains some things.

Satch was the same way. And he was also big on Objectivism. Interesting pattern here. But that's beside the point in the end.

I think it would be perfectly legal for me to shun and blacklist reporters. However it would be ineffective - no reporter has ever shown the slightest desire to talk to me.

That's true, but I was thinking more of the President's ability to kick people out of press conferences and restrict government information to only certain people in the press (like Fox News Greta Van Susteren). We don't have that capability and if we did, if we ended up "leaking" information from the gov or the administration to "our reporters", then this would be illegal. And we wouldn't have Sandy Berger's connections to save our bacon then.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 12, 2008 12:43 PM

And I keep thinking the folks who have bumper stickers all over their cars are morons.

I'm sure the tattoo won't be the upper edge, either. Somebody, somewhere, will do things that beat the previous record.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 12, 2008 12:46 PM

Elise,

S.T. was great SciFi, which I used to read at a rate of about one book every 2-3 days, and I agree that it is worth reading, as is the Forever War, but not if one is looking for a 'mature' and comprehensive political philosphy.

Also, just for conversation's sake, except for the meme of never-ending conflict and the poor cannon-fodder's unwitting/unwilling role in it, I would actually pair S.T. with Heinlein's Revolt in 2100 stories. Combined, they give a pretty good idea of where RAH's mind was at and how he ended up with Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love, etc.

As for the length of the books, well, that was kind of my point, actually, though in an indirect way. Rand's stuff, like Hermann Hesse's for example, is not 'pleasure' reading, but it is worth the effort if one is trying different philosphical constructs on for size.

Z'at make sense?

Posted by: SangerM at November 12, 2008 01:08 PM

MathMom: Thanks for a great post.

"... the most important achievement of WWII was the ascension of women to the workplace, Rosie the Riveter etc." Then after the war, Rosie and her sisters were sent back to the kitchens so the returning men could have a job.

Fair? The question doesn't even apply. Life goes on. We owe a lot to her generation; I hope we remember it.

"Yes, Americans have rights. But we also have responsibilities." That's it exactly. The two go together like [fill in your favorite simile]. Too many people confuse "rights" with "entitlements".

"... the loss of value in American education..." That explains a lot. How can we claim to be an educated, literate nation if most of our graduates (which already cuts the incoming population by about a third) don't know what led up to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; know nothing about the classics (Homer, Aristotle, Shakespeare, ...); have never heard real music (the kind played on instruments that don't plug in); think that the proper way to write a term paper is to cut and paste from the Web; don't know a single line of poetry (but can repeat instantly the latest rap songs, or celebrity statistics).

If someone had a long-term plan to destroy a country, they'd start by undermining the education system, and by undermining the institution of marriage. Offhand, I'd say that someone did.

Don: “How about ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’?”

That's it. The key here is pursuit. The Founding Fathers did not say "attainment". Government's role should be to set the stage for its people to be able to pursue their dreams, then get out of the way.

Cass: (replying to Tony's stand on homosexual marriage) "I respect your opinion. However if you consistently lose elections you have no voice in anything. At all."

30 states have voted to leave the institution of marriage alone. That's a lot of wins.

SangerM: Your take on Starship Troopers is accurate. It's one of his "juvenile" (that's a genre, not an insult) series. Read the Amazon reviews; you'll probably get it all there. One of his main ideas was that you didn't get to be a citizen (and do stuff like vote) until after you'd served in the military (following the story, there probably weren't very many people left alive after their tour of duty).

Cass: "And I keep thinking the folks who have bumper stickers all over their cars are morons." I'm very suspicious of anyone who tries to boil his philosophy down to half a dozen words.

Posted by: ZZMike at November 12, 2008 01:22 PM

Oh wow... someone else who likes Hesse?

I knew I liked you for some reason :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2008 01:22 PM

And that's the point, ZZMike: the *states* have voted :p

As it should be.

Starship Troopers is probably worth reading, IMO, if for no other reason than that the ideas will challenge you to rethink our system of government and values. That's a valuable function for any work - fiction or non-fiction - to serve.

It's on the Marine Corps reading list. Like Atlas Shrugged, I"m not sure you run right out and adopt it wholesale, but its flaws don't mean it's not worth your time either.

Just my two cents. It's a short, enjoyable, contrarian read and it made me think.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2008 01:27 PM

Z'at make sense?

Make sense but don't agree. What Cassandra said about Starship Troopers - contrarian, think-ful. Combined with The Forever War - contrarian and think-ful the other way.

I haven't read Revolt in 2100 stories. I'll look for them but truly would prefer *not* to know how RAH got to Stranger In A Strange Land. (Can I just say, "ick").

I hate Hesse. I found Magister Ludi readable but maddening. Everything else I've forgotten. (Thank goodness.)

Just so you don't peg me as a total Philistine, I have read Atlas Shrugged and have been thinking lately I want to read it again. It's well worth the time - and the exhaustion from lugging it around.

Posted by: Elise at November 12, 2008 02:04 PM

Geez, I first read The Forever War thirty years ago and try to re-read it every ten or so. Oddly enough, I like it a lot more than Starship Troopers...

Posted by: BillT at November 12, 2008 02:24 PM

ZZMike:
> Government's role should be to set the stage for its people to be able to pursue their dreams, then get out of the way.

A classic American view, NOT a European or Asian view (generally speaking). I agree completely, as long as that setting the stage part includes controls on how some ruthless amoral folks go about pursuing their dreams at the expense of mine. Truth is, like much what has been said here, the issue is the point of the balance between too much and not enough, and what makes that complicated is that the fulcrum is often a moving target, based on economics, ideologies, natural disasters, technologies, resources, etc.

> I'm very suspicious of anyone who tries to boil his philosophy down to half a dozen words.

Not me. One of my favorite things was writing and collecting the cooler 'tag' lines used in old pre-internet BBS posts, the 89 character e-version of bumper stickers. BTW, my favorite bumper sticker of all time compared 'mean' people and 'nice' people in a very crass, but extremely funny way. I never had the guts to put it on my car (I don't do bumper stickers), but if I were to pick one, that'd be it.

Cassandra:
> Oh wow... someone else who likes Hesse?

Hmmmm, not sure I would go so far as to say I liked him. Truth is, I can remember reading only two of his books, Siddhartha and Steppenwolf (the usual two, I suppose), but that was a long time ago, and what I remember most is the difficulty I had with them. I've thought to go back and re-read them, but my to-read list is already out of control. Still, my general remembrance is of worthwhile and thought-provoking.

Which segues nicely to:

> Starship Troopers....will challenge you to rethink our system of government and values....but its flaws don't mean it's not worth your time either

Ok, I concede the point, though I'm not sure it should be on an official reading list. That seems to me like putting "Why Johnny Can't Speed" on a list to make people think about the problems with our commuter culture. (I know that's not really a good counter-example, but "With Friends Like These...," by Alan Dean Foster, is my absolute favorite SF short story book ever. The title story is better even than Hubbard's Battlefield Earth or Card's Ender's Game.--but I digress, sorry...)

Elise:
>Make sense but don't agree.

As above, I concede the point, but if you like S.T. then do read Revolt in 2100, since it's just more of the same (and similar notions), but in short stories. Also, ick is ok, but not all of Stranger in a Strange Land was bad--I like some of RAH's innovations, like the 'trusted witness' notion, and I've always grokked grokking, even though it sound retarded to say so.

> I hate Hesse....Everything else I've forgotten. (Thank goodness.)

Kind of how I feel about Golding's Lord of the Flies, which I despise, though some of the notions in that book would surely find some relevance in the current discussion.

> Don't peg me as a total Philistine

Never an issue with me. I usually only judge people (myself included) as idiots or non-idiots, and even that's not a permanent categorization, except in the most advanced cases of atrophied idiothood. Philastine? I can't even spell that....

:-)

Posted by: SangerM at November 12, 2008 03:08 PM

Patriotism

Seriously? That's part of your 'brand promise'? What sense does this even make? Patriotism means what, being proud of your country? If so, how can one party have any sort of genuine strength on that. Does it mean military service? If so then we're only talking about the Veteran vote (and....Veterans tend to like benefits...gasp!)

So does patriotism mean believing that the US and A is the best country in the world? If so then that's nationalism, or worse...fascism. In fact, fascism, given the comments on this board but more-so on John Hawkin's blog, its really not that far of a stretch. It certainly sounds like the end of the world over there and Mr.Obama hasn't done anything, and they're already stocking up on AR-15's and ammo and not being shy about pumping round after round into those 'welfare libtards'.

Republicans do not have a monopoly on Patriotism. No party can do this. Anyone who supports the country is a patriot. That doesn't mean they have to agree with the current state; plenty of people (like you Republicans now) are upset, but that doesn't make you less-patriotic.

Its these types of arguments, about the so-called 'real-America', which was supposedly I guess the Children of the Corn but actually turned out to be those welfare dregs I know you all despise, they are unsubstantial.

Hawkins calls moderates basically idiots. Hmm, lets think about that. Virtually every election in the US in terms of popular vote is decided by less than 5-10%. So its very very rare that any President or party comes into power with a commanding mandate from the people, nothing like say, 80% support. So is it so inconceivable that you can *believe* in principles but yet *act* pragmatically? I guess not if you are a total ideologue, and ideologues are crap presidents.

Then you've got this nice problem called Focus on the Family which thinks its job is to legislate morality (and I mean more than the abortion issue). "Traditional Values" is just a code word for "we think all Muslims are terrorists, we don't like Jews, and really we're not that keen on Blacks and Hispanics, at least not when they are poor. Basically, we want upper-middle class and better Christians, no one else need apply."

And if you read the running commentary during election day on Fox News, its was ridiculous. In a country founded on religious freedom, why would it matter if we did elect a Muslim or Jewish president? Shoot, just going Catholic was a big deal. There were comments about how Mr.Obama's race itself was going to be a major handicap, as if we were reading some turn-of-the-century book on "the inferiority of the negro race." Sick, but more just sad and pathetic. These are the people in the party, the fired-up base that you're talking about.

Now you're boy Hawkins, he's got some great things to say like 'moderate's are basically idiots with no spines and are usually voting for the prettiest candidate.' So you're going to make absolutely massive demographic generalizations, and you wonder what's wrong with your party?

Believe it or not, Colin Powell is not stupid, nor are many moderates. Intelligence and level of involvement in the election process have *nothing* to do with where you fall on the political spectrum. Yes there is a block of stupid 'pick the best-looking guy' voters. That's different than all-moderates.

Finally, you guys still think your attacks were good, and quite frankly, they weren't! Oh my, he's friends with a terrorist! He's a secret Muslim! His middle name is scary sounding, even though it refers to the most important figure in modern Islam, Husayn ibn Ali, the central figure in the Shia/Sunni split in Islam. Wow...that's actually quite relevant to today's world, as opposed to "Sidney", often said as derived from executed politician Algernon Sidney.

Oh, then there was the Socialist charge. I hate to break it to you, but if a progressive tax system of brackets is Socialist, then we've been Socialist under *A LOT* of Presidents, as such a system inherently redistributes wealth downward. So that would make GW.Bush a Socialist as well, because the redistribution mechanism was still retained after his tax cuts. In fact, his tax cuts actually exacerbated the tax burden on the upper 50%, which no one denies is basically 97% or more. Of course the tax burden on the top FIVE percent is about 40% of the total tax burden, so it sort of follows the Pareto distribution that Libertarians love to use to show how some individuals will be wildly successful.

Oh, and apparently a valid attack is "godless" now too. Geez, really? I wouldn't be surprised if at least 10% or more of Congress were atheists, but they can't ever admit it because of how we stigmatize that. Oh yeah, 'fringe' religions like 'Mormon' don't help you out either (ask Mitt, or should I say Willard?).

I'm a voter that the GOP *maybe* could get. I like cutting spending, but tell me HOW? Earmarks? Psh, not even a dent. I like fiscal responsibility but that was not a hallmark of Reagan or GW.Bush. I'm not a supply-sider, and you have to show some stronger arguments to push those policies again, but I'm also not against tax cuts at the top, just tell me why and how it will not result in a short-fall. I'm for defense and a strong military, but I think many of our weapon systems are simply stupid and meant for a past age (one example, the aircraft carrier: someone is going to get one of ours someday and we'll lose 5000 lives in the blink of an eye).

Don't tell me that people who are poor are all lazy; they aren't, not all of them, and not the majority. Don't tell me that blacks or Hispanics are inferior or have *inherent* social dysfunction. Don't tell me that I voted Left because I wanted a hand out; sh!t my taxes are going to go up.

And what is this "Who gives a damn what the UN and the rest of the world thinks?" Yeah...well that's been our foreign policy under GW.Bush and well, if you talk in the language of carrots and sticks, if you don't care about the quality of the carrot, you'll always have to use the stick. And no, believe it or not, we cannot fight every country in the world, regardless of how many times we say "Bring it on!"

What do people want? Fix the economy. I don't care how, just FIX IT! Don't start unnecessary wars, especially big ones. Fight terrorism covertly like the Mossad, and only go bigger when we really need to. We would like to be safe, but lets not go overboard; I'm tired of taking off my damn shoes, and 3oz of liquid is not going to bring down any airplane. Get us to nuke+combined-cycle-gas+renewables in our power stack. Use our resources *wisely* meaning; if you tap ANWR and off-shore now, it won't be there in the future.....just remember that!

Anyway, just thoughts from one of the socialist libtards.

Posted by: libtard at November 12, 2008 03:25 PM


Wars are not won by being defensive. Yet conservatives are seldom anything but, because they've been trained to mistake defense for offense. When 13 states voted to ban faux marriage in 2004, some proclaimed it a great victory for conservatism. But it only was so if the conservatism you subscribe to merely involves maintenance of a liberal status quo, for it was a successful defensive action, not an offensive one. Who was proposing the societal change to which the vote was a response? The left was. What kind of change was it? One that would move us in the liberal direction.

So it is always. We play defense when, instead of striving to eliminate hate-crime laws, we merely fight proposals to make "transgendered" a protected category; when we accept the Federal Department of Education and simply use it to effect "conservative" education reform (read: No Child Left Behind Act); when we simply try to ensure that the separation of church and state ruling is applied in "conservative" ways; when we combat the tax-and-spend crowd by not taxing but then spending; and when we preach against illegal immigration while accepting a culture-rending legal immigration regime.

In contrast, the left is as steadfastly offensive as it is dreadfully offensive. If its minions' scheme to legally redefine marriage fails today, they'll try again tomorrow. If a socialized medicine plan doesn't pass congressional muster, it will reappear five or ten years hence. If a new tax is too rich for present tastes, they'll wait for a more gluttonous palate. Or they'll sneak a different new tax into an innocuous sounding bill or accept a slight increase to an old tax, then another, and another, and another.... They simply have to wait for the political spectrum to shift a bit further left.

This brings me to another important point. We often talk of compromise, but does compromising with those who always advance but never retreat constitute fairness? The left proposes policy, "settles" for a half-measure, and we leave the table thinking it an equitable outcome. The problem is that since virtually all the changes suggested are liberal in nature, constant compromise and granting of concessions guarantees constant movement toward the left. So we see erstwhile secure territory that is now under attack and revel in victory when we repel a few of the enemy's charges. But we don't realize that we are defining victory as a reduction in the rate of loss of our heartland, while the enemy defines it as the expansion of its empire. We compromise our way to tyranny.


Link

That's a pretty good analysis of what is wrong with Republican politics and the general right direction to take it instead.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 12, 2008 03:48 PM

And no, believe it or not, we cannot fight every country in the world, regardless of how many times we say "Bring it on!"

*sigh*

Was that a comment? Or some sort of primal scream therapy?

Last time I checked we weren't "fighting every country in the world". I believe there are somewhere over 200.

Let's dial down the hyperbole just a bit, OK? You're starting to sound like Sean Hannity :p

Posted by: Let's not become that which we deride, OK? at November 12, 2008 03:53 PM

And by the way, we try to stay away from terms like 'libtard' on this site. Not helpful.

Posted by: Let's not become that which we deride, OK? at November 12, 2008 03:55 PM

I'm tired of taking off my damn shoes,

Me too. I do it anyway.

...and 3oz of liquid is not going to bring down any airplane.

*I* know how to take an airplane out with three ounces of the right liquid in the right place. Some of *them* know how, too.

Yeah, I cherry-picked, but I had to leave something for Ymar...and it's late.

Posted by: BillT at November 12, 2008 04:03 PM

libtard: What a great rant, and mostly not overdone--and I really liked the points you made at the end about what people want. Really.

I disagree on several points, though in scope, perhaps, more than otherwise, e.g., "Who gives a damn what the UN and the rest of the world thinks? Yeah...well that's been our foreign policy under GWBush..."

Actually, that's been U.S. Policy for a couple hundred years, both informally and formally proclaimed by Presidents from Washington to T.R., and so on. Maybe it has been said in different words, and in different contexts, but American policy has essentially been to stay out of other folks business and make them stay out of ours (simplified for the discussion, I know). As for the UN, if you only knew how completely screwed up and morally corrupt that organization is, you might think otherwise about its value--and NO, we didn't make it that way, we just play by the rules everyone agreed to.

As for your questions about patriotism, for what I think is a pretty god definition of patriotism, allow me to beat my own drum and direct you to what I wrote about that a while ago here. As for how one or the other party can claim to be patriotic, I can only add that I do not consider it patriotic to demean and undermine our nation while declaring how much better other countries are then ours. We are not talking about an inanimate object when we talk about a country, but about the people who live there, and while it is certainly true that we as a nation have problems, I do not agree at all that our problems are worse than the problems people everywhere have. Patriotism is not about a flag by itself, or about a government, but about the people who share the land you live in and about being a proud and active participant in the processes that make the country what it is, be they commercial, social, military, or educational. If you see in our Flag all the people who have come before, and you value what they have done to give you what you have--and you want to do the same for those who follow, then you are patriotic. If you see in our flag the vile decrepitude that the rest of this sorry-ass world likes to ascribe to us, then I say you've missed the point and need a lesson in reality. Michael Moore is a prime example of someone who simply doesn't get it, and never will.

And finally, this was just stupid: "Traditional Values" is just a code word for "we think all Muslims are terrorists, we don't like Jews, and really we're not that keen on Blacks and Hispanics, at least not when they are poor. Basically, we want upper-middle class and better Christians, no one else need apply."

That's like saying "Woman's Rights and Pro-Choice" is just code for justifying baby killing as a means of birth control by people too lazy or too stupid or too poor to actually use birth control.

While there is some truth buried in both examples, it is nonetheless stupid to assign the specious logic to everyone who uses the term.

And that's 'nuff said for now.

V/R

Posted by: SangerM at November 12, 2008 04:14 PM

"Traditional Values" is just a code word for "we think all Muslims are terrorists, we don't like Jews, and really we're not that keen on Blacks and Hispanics, at least not when they are poor. Basically, we want upper-middle class and better Christians, no one else need apply."

This kind of crap is exactly what the NY Times peddles nonstop, SangerM.

No wonder he (she?) believes it. So do way too many progressives. I open my paper and read this kind of bigoted nonsense every day.

It's sad. It really is. But a closed mind, even when it spends all day telling itself it's a superior, enlightened mind, is still a closed mind. And when you get enough of them together they just reinforce their own biases.

After all, it must be true! They said it, and the rest of them agree!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 12, 2008 04:21 PM

Yeah, I cherry-picked, but I had to leave something for Ymar...and it's late.

Well, gee, thanks.

You may regret this "charity" of yours, Bill, in the times to come. Don't say I didn't give fair warning.

Now, unto the breach.

Patriotism means what, being proud of your country? If so, how can one party have any sort of genuine strength on that.

Pride by itself is, you are right, not sufficient enough for genuine strength. The willingness of a group of people to put their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on the line to buy independence for their country, however, is mighty strong.

So, yes, being proud of your country or anything else is meaningless and it is pure decadence for you alone didn't make this country happen. But to be willing to kill and die for your country? That is an entirely different matter.

If so then we're only talking about the Veteran vote (and....Veterans tend to like benefits...gasp!)

Benefits earned with one's sweat and blood is not the same as bennies gotten by the gangs of Chicago and Los Angeles raping and murdering their way to liberty and freedom.

So does patriotism mean believing that the US and A is the best country in the world? If so then that's nationalism, or worse...fascism.

Patriotism means the US of A, to become the best country in the world and to remain so, must require the blood of patriots in the thousands on a continuous basis: patriots or tyrants, doesn't really matter, although hard to get one without the other.

In fact, fascism, given the comments on this board but more-so on John Hawkin's blog, its really not that far of a stretch.

The National Socialist party of Germany used socialist goodies to convince people to fight for a national goal. Maybe the Democrats are sufficiently hateful of America that they won't ever use nationalism to fuel socialism or vice a versa, but I doubt it. You did say that the GOP doesn't have a monopoly on patriotism (which, as you said, means nationalism), so des neh.

It certainly sounds like the end of the world over there

It was the end of the world when the 2nd Amendment was ratified and put into law. That is what it is there for. Do you doubt the wisdom of those that have gone before you, who have bought you the prosperity and safety you now enjoy? Do you think them foolish and crazed?

and they're already stocking up on AR-15's and ammo and not being shy about pumping round after round into those 'welfare libtards'.

We're not Arabs. Spray and pray is such a waste of ammo, neh. The War of Independence was fought with munitions and ammunition. Are you really claiming that the owners of AR-15s must do as you say to support their own country?

Republicans do not have a monopoly on Patriotism.

Of course Republicans do not have a monopoly on Nationalism. Socialists are perfectly okay with National Socialism. I agree with you, after all I have said so before.

Anyone who supports the country is a patriot.

You do understand that you have to respect a person before you can support that person? The same applies to nations.

Then you've got this nice problem called Focus on the Family which thinks its job is to legislate morality

Yes, Canadian and European hate speech laws seeping into America via our institutions of higher learning are indeed problematic.

Basically, we want upper-middle class and better Christians, no one else need apply.

I disagree with you. Upper-middle class and better Christians don't need to exclude blacks or hispanics. I seriously doubt you are supporting the nation by defining "better Christians" in racist categories. Blacks and hispanics are perfectly good Christians, some better than rich upper middle class Christians as well. Why do you say they aren't or can't become one?

Finally, you guys still think your attacks were good, and quite frankly, they weren't!

I'm sorry you thought our attacks weren't good and didn't kill enough targets. But short of nuclear launches and indiscriminate bombing of cities with Fuel Air Explosives and MOABs, I don't see how you can improve those attacks. There are physical limitations to such things, you know.

His middle name is scary sounding, even though it refers to the most important figure in modern Islam, Husayn ibn Ali, the central figure in the Shia/Sunni split in Islam.

So Mohammed Atta wasn't scary because his name came from Islam's prophet, a central figure in Islam?

Oh, then there was the Socialist charge. I hate to break it to you, but if a progressive tax system of brackets is Socialist, then we've been Socialist under *A LOT* of Presidents

Germany's National Socialism in WWII and its Democratic Socialism in the 21st century share one particular trait: their ability to disarm, forcibly, their own population.

How high can Progressive Taxes go in exploiting defenseless people?

as such a system inherently redistributes wealth downward.

Capitalism distributes wealth downward as well, but since capitalism creates wealth, it doesn't need to keep on "redistributing" since they could just create more wealth from the top to pass it elsewhere. It is much easier when you don't have to distribute wealth from the top to the bottom, wait for a trickle up phenomenon, and then redistribute the wealth from the top back to the bottom once more.

Oh yeah, 'fringe' religions like 'Mormon' don't help you out either (ask Mitt, or should I say Willard?).

Have you forgotten the fact that America was built on freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to worship as you see fit? How can you support America as a patriot when you disrespect people's religions just because they aren't yours or practiced by the majority?

I'm for defense and a strong military, but I think many of our weapon systems are simply stupid and meant for a past age (one example, the aircraft carrier: someone is going to get one of ours someday and we'll lose 5000 lives in the blink of an eye).

Well, if they are using nuclear torpedoes that can kill 5k on a ship instantaneously, the last thing you should be worried about is whether we have aircraft carriers or not. You may want to pay attention to the locations of America's ballistic submarines.

Don't tell me that blacks or Hispanics are inferior or have *inherent* social dysfunction.

How can we, since you already told us that very thing? I can't agree with you, so I can't tell you what you want to hear.

Yeah...well that's been our foreign policy under GW.Bush and well, if you talk in the language of carrots and sticks, if you don't care about the quality of the carrot, you'll always have to use the stick.

I've never known a city to refuse to surrender simply because the stick of a nuclear saturation bombardment was the only thing offered, sans any carrots. Sorry, I just can't recall any episode of such a thing. It is true, you are right, that if you don't care about the quality of the carrot, then you need to spend a lot of time on the quality of the stick if you don't want to always be using that stick.

And no, believe it or not, we cannot fight every country in the world, regardless of how many times we say "Bring it on!"

I am unsure whether nuclear launches of all MIRVs and missile silos can be called "fighting" but certainly Bush wasn't serious when he said "Bring it on". He probably only meant Bring it On to Afghanistan and Iraq. Otherwise, I don't believe we would be sitting here right now. Then again, maybe the other nations in the world didn't want to call Bush's bluff.

What do people want? Fix the economy. I don't care how, just FIX IT!

Indeed, a strong man at the top is always the best way to get things done: to fix things. Russia would agree with you, after all. Things just need to be fixed and it doesn't matter how: just do it.

Don't start unnecessary wars, especially big ones.

I thought you said you didn't care how it was fixed.

We would like to be safe, but lets not go overboard

Indeed, it is rather counter-productive for people who want to be safe to go overboard into shark infested waters.

if you tap ANWR and off-shore now, it won't be there in the future.....just remember that!

If you drink the milk and eat the meat in your fridge, it won't be there tomorrow in the future, either. Just remember that.

Anyway, just thoughts from one of the socialist libtards.

Thanks. I'll be sure to notify you if the Democrats or GOP ever got America's socialism up to Germany's levels.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 12, 2008 09:31 PM

I’ve now read Mr. Libtard’s comment twice (I suffer for my art) and have come to the conclusion that he intended to post elsewhere. What he says simply doesn’t make sense here given Cassandra’s stated problem with Hawkins' arguments. Nonetheless Mr. Libtard did raise two issues that I think are worth cleaning up in the New Conservative Roadmap. First, we need to sort out the baggage of words like: Patriotism, Nationalism, Fascism, Real American, unAmerican, proAmerican, anti-American.

When Palin talked about Real America, when Hawkins talks about Patriotism, when whoever talks about proAmerican, I think they’re talking about a real divide in this country but the language they use is insulting to the other side and produces a dangerous backlash. We need another word for this divide.

One measure of the divide can be found in a 2004 poll that showed differences in how groups of people answered when asked “How strong is your love of your country” and “How important is being an American to you.” Those in less populated counties (small towns) and Republicans expressed stronger love for their country and attached more importance to being an American. Another aspect of this divide has to do with “transnational” endeavors (such as the International Criminal Court). My guess would be that Republicans find these endeavors less desirable than do Democrats; perhaps this is best thought of as how much national sovereignty to surrender to international bodies.

While Republicans may discuss this divide unhelpfully by using terms such as “patriotism” (unhelpful because Democrats will not tolerate being called unpatriotic - and reasonably so) and unAmerican (ditto), one of the clearest descriptions of this divide from the Democrat’s side was provided by Bill Maher who said:

I do think that America’s a country now, it is two Americas. There’s the progressive European nation that a lot of us live in or would like to live in and it’s being strangled by the Sarah Palins of the world. It can’t quite be born because this other stupid redneck nation won’t allow it.

Somehow I’m not any happier with the “stupid redneck” label than the Democrats are with the “unpatriotic” label. So we need to come up with a pair of words that distinguishes people who fall on the “strong” end of the love of country scale and the “important” end of how much it means to be an American and (I assume) prefer more national sovereignty rather than more acceptance of international rule.

It looks to me like we’re talking “nationalism” versus “transnationalism”. Despite Mr. Libtard’s comments, I don’t see anything inherently awful about “nationalism.” My dictionary provides the following definitions:

Patriotism: Love of and devotion to one’s country

Nationalism: (1) Devotion to the interests or culture of a particular nation. (2) The belief that nations would benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals. (3) Aspirations for national independence in a country under foreign domination.

Transnational: Transcending or reaching beyond national borders.

Fascism: (1) A philosophy of system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism. (2) Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Both sides of the divide are patriotic. But “nationalism” versus “transnationalism” represents two very different views of the importance of the United States in the world and of how much sovereignty the United States will cede to international organizations. (Nobody’s fascist; throwing that word around lightly trivializes the horror of Hitler.)

The second issue Mr. Libtard raises is the need to find a new way to talk about redistributing wealth. Yes, a progressive income tax is redistributive and if that’s your definition of socialism then more redistribution doesn’t seem like anything to get upset about. We need to talk about the difference between redistributing wealth as a side effect of other goals (taxing the rich more than the not rich in order to pay for highways that everyone uses) and redistributing wealth simply because those with more should be forced to share. We also need to talk about degree. Socialism is not a yes or no proposition: a country can be more or less redistributive, more or less socialist. Liberals vote for more; conservatives vote for less. (I’ve got a longer version of my argument here.) So we need a new vocabulary to talk about this distinction also. Maybe we can do something with “ration” or “mete out” or “apportion”.

Finally, one specific point in response to Mr. Libtard:

So does patriotism mean believing that the US and A is the best country in the world?

Only if you’re a United States citizen. If you’re French, then patriotism means believing France is the best country in the world. If you’re Chinese it means believing China is the best country in the world. The citizens of every country believe their country is the best. It doesn’t mean they think their country is perfect and it doesn’t mean they think every other country is defective (well, maybe the French do) but most citizens do think their country is the best. The odd thing about the United States is that we seem to be the only country in which large chunks of our citizenry believe there’s something unsavory about thinking that way.

Posted by: Elise at November 12, 2008 09:51 PM

Transnational progressivism is good enough for now.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 13, 2008 01:23 AM

You may regret this "charity" of yours, Bill, in the times to come. Don't say I didn't give fair warning.

You mean, if I jump all over something first, you'll pick it up and go deep? It's called "Target Saturation."

If so then we're only talking about the Veteran vote (and....Veterans tend to like benefits...gasp!)

Benefits such as agreeing to be recalled to Active Duty, regardless of age or disability, if the country needs you? We get retired *pay*, not a *pension*.

Benefits such as contributing a monthly sum to your education fund (the GI Bill), which can vanish into someone else's social entitlement program with the stroke of the Congressional pen?

Benefits such as receiving non-taxable disability pay, which in turn is deducted from your retirement pay?

Benefits such as a good rate on term life insurance with a combat clause?

Benefits such as receiving a sorta-kinda free casket and burial plot in a veterans' cemetery?

Yup. We like those benefits, we do, we do.

But if you join "for the benefits," you're out of your friggin' gourd...

Posted by: BillT at November 13, 2008 02:22 AM

Elise: That was excellent! You hit the nail on the head in several places and I agree the major issue really is about nationalism vs internationalism. Quite a good post!

That said, there is, however, a very real difference between us and others. I've lived overseas and spent a fair bit of time thinking about this very thing, especially in the past few years, and the reason I wrote my patriotism essay, was in fact was to try to define patriotism in something other than jingoistic terms.

But it's more than that, and it something that you touched on, you said "most citizens do think their country is the best. The odd thing about the United States is that we seem to be the only country in which large chunks of our citizenry believe there’s something unsavory about thinking that way."

Actually, that's backwards, in my experience and in my reading and my understanding of the world. The problem is _not_ the numbers of Americans who feel there's something bad about loving our country, but the number of Americans who feel otherwise. And more specifically, it's the number of Americans who don't have any problem at all telling anyone who is willing to listen that we think so. Most foreigners find that very distasteful, really, and they just don't understand what there is to be all that damn happy about. I don't know if you follow overseas news, but there were major discussions in a good many European papers when Germany was doing well in the recent soccer championships because all of a suddent there was a sudden and very unprecedented rise in the use of flags and other German nationalistic symbology. It was all over the European press, and a good deal of the discussions revolved around whether or not it was ok for Germans to be that outwardly proud, as if there were something to fear in all of it, and whether this wasn't a good thing, showing that Germany was able to get beyond their past. As for the rest, only the French are really as emotionally outwardly patriotic for anything other sports events, which is a key point. Most other peoples tent to look askance at nationalistic fervor, and for good reason, I suppose, given a rise in that was usually followed by invasions.

But the U.S. is different, and always has been, in the broader sense of things. A lot of what we are today, and our feelings of pride can be traced directly back to one time in our history, and to one person: Teddy Roosevelt. He was nothing if not the living embodiment of the national spirit, and of everything the United States was and could be. He was also representative of a nation that had survived a harrowing war and had moved on to to become a major player in international affairs. If you've ever played Risk, then you have some idea of what the world was like in the early 1900's and T.R. not only one of the most brilliant men alive in his day, he was the ultimate competitor. And he thought America was the greatest nation that ever existed and he imbued the entire populace with the sentiment. Yes, that's a simplification, but I have to leave in a bit so I'm rushing to be done.

Bottom line is that we come honestly by our nationalism, which has a firm foundation not in invasions and jingoism, but in the pride of work well done, and a great deal to look back on without shame or regret. Yeah, we've done some wrong, but the good America has done for the world so far outweighs the bad that there is just no comparison, and it is that which makes us different from every other country on the planet, not one of which can say the same.

There's more but gotta go....

P.S. BillT, you are absolutely right about the benefits issue. But the never-been-there folks, just won't believe anyone is willing to give without self-interest placing first. too bad, that, as you know, because there really is something redemptive about sacrifice for the good of the whole.

l8r
SangerM

Posted by: SangerM at November 13, 2008 08:23 AM

"The odd thing about the United States is that we seem to be the only country in which large chunks of our citizenry believe there’s something unsavory about thinking that way."

And the unsavory thing is that there's a sizable chunk of our citizenry who hate our country because it's not a socialist ant farm -- with their own precious selves as the collective queen. And because the rest of us have so unreasonably refused to recognize their obvious (to them) superiority, we're demonized as evil incarnate.

That is the chunk of citizenry the military earned benefits for defending -- everybody else gets defended for free...

Posted by: BillT at November 13, 2008 01:36 PM

I've always grokked grokking, even though it sound retarded to say so.

Well, that's actually where my "ick" came from. (Although, I think there was also group sex and if I remember correctly then "ick" there, too.) Anyhow, yes, grokking seemed both pleasant and desirable until one discovered its ultimate form at the end of the book. (I'm attempting to be a little opaque here for the benefit of anyone who plans to read Stranger In A Strange Land in the future.)

I do agree that not all of SIASL was bad but I'm afraid the end colors my perception of the whole book. Hence, "ick".

Posted by: Elise at November 13, 2008 02:48 PM

Dadgummit, sex and relationships *again*!

Posted by: BillT at November 13, 2008 03:40 PM

There must be something in the water around here.

Posted by: Elise at November 13, 2008 04:11 PM

Thread hijack, announced in advance. If you are reading because of the "redrawing thang" then skip this.

I only quoted "Starship Troopers" because I remembered that long discourse in it and it addressed the subject Mathmom brought up, I thought, rather eloquently. I could have paraphrased and called it my own, but the original is better.
The book was targeted at 14-20 year old boys (juveniles?), but the yarn and the thinking behind it still stand up. It's not "fascism" to expect people to earn the sovereign franchise in voting. In the book, Heinlein makes the point that everyone enjoyed the same civil rights, laws were minimal, society was peaceful and ethical. Of course it was his fictional construct, but the larger point was to emphasize the possible alternatives in forming an ethical (not perfect) society.

I read the "Forever War" in 1975, and while it was entertaining, it was largely a product of Joe Haldeman's anti-war stance that he had as a Viet Nam War army vet. I can imagine BillT would love it because he knows firsthand what a cluster-foxtrot the US Army can be up close and personal. :)

"Stranger in a Strange Land" is supposed to be a satire, in some ways like "Gulliver's Travels". Heinlein had conceived of "Stranger" before 'ST', and had started it, then got so mad at something the Eisenhower administration had done in 1959 (viz the USSR and nuclear disarmement or something like that), that he stopped and ripped out "Starship Troopers" in about six weeks. He commented before his death that
"ST" was still the book that generated the most mail to him, both positive and negative.

"Stranger" is pretty funny, especially the unabridged version that came out years later, if you don't take it seriously. But apparently it's not for everybody, as Elise thinks there is quite and "ick" factor about it. I read it when I was pretty young, and it was jarring (icky! I was young and pretty naive about sex. This comment is NOT about sex and relationships, though. Safe!) after reading RAH's other "juveniles", but in retrospect, it was pretty interesting. Heinlein was finished with the 'juveniles' he wrote for Scribner's after that. In his memoirs, RAH remarked how mad he was at the censor at Scribner's that kept messing up his manuscripts. They still censored "Stranger in a Strange Land" when it was published in 1961, but as I said, a later version came out (1991?) which was the original unabridged version.

If you want to speculate as to the state of mind of a conservative Libertarian, RAH pretty well outlines his thoughts in "Stranger", "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "JOB, A Comedy of Justice" and "Time Enough for Love". So there. Now I feel unburdened.

End of thread hijack.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 13, 2008 04:23 PM

*pssssst*

Don --

Geez, I first read The Forever War thirty years ago and try to re-read it every ten or so. Oddly enough, I like it a lot more than Starship Troopers...

Posted by: BillT at November 12, 2008 02:24 PM

Posted by: BillT at November 13, 2008 04:29 PM

Elise, thanks for being opaque about it, since I am currently in the middle of Stranger in a Strange Land myself.

A few responses to all the comments here:

“Some time back Mary Katherine Ham, who was guest-blogging at Hugh Hewitt's place and has now gone on to bigger ponds, wrote about her education in American history. She is in her mid-20's, I believe. She said that the thing that was emphasized as the most important achievement of WWII was the ascension of women to the workplace, Rosie the Riveter etc. It was her grandfather that explained to her, the bits about the Japanese and the Germans and Normandy, and how we would have all been speaking one of those languages if not for Americans coming to the aid of the rest of the free world

…We have to find a way to reclaim education and build citizens who can think. We're not going to be able to rebuild conservatism with a stupid society.”.
~MathMom

I’m in my mid-20s and I can vouch for that interpretation. I took Advanced Placement U.S. History in highschool. We learned names and battles, etc., but one of the things that I remember most clearly from that class was how much my teacher loved FDR, and thought that his policies were the only thing that pulled America out of the Depression.

Luckily for me, my parents are both moderate conservatives, and my grandfather on my dad’s side is conservative, patriotic, and brilliant, and knows history like no one else I’ve ever met, even my college professors. So I got the balance. But I’m sure many of my classmates didn’t.

The trick is the “reclaiming education” part. I mean, unless you’re going to start giving out scholarships to conservative minded students to become educators, or convincing conservatives on a large scale to give up their (often better-paying) jobs and go into teaching and textbook writing, there’s really no legitimate way to go about it, as far as I can figure.

“They have gotten students to hate history. With that kind of attitude instilled in folks, what will they think when they grow old enough to vote? They will vote for history to repeat itself.”
~Ymarsakar

I remember one time when now-hubby and I were wandering through Facebook, comparing peoples’ majors with how they identified themselves politically. Math, various Science majors and History majors, we found to be balanced-to-conservative. Poli-Sci, Literature, Arts, Theatre, Psychology, Education, and Computer Science majors we found all leaned noticeably to the left. Beowulf and I were both History majors, and both conservative. Many of my history-major friends were conservative. Almost all of my Lit major friends (I double-majored) were liberal, many extremely so. Just some observations for you.


"I respect your opinion. However if you consistently lose elections you have no voice in anything. At all.

How does that help you stem the tide of social change you are worried about? And more importantly, why are these things the purview of the federal government when marriage and murder (which is what pro-lifers have always considered abortion to be) have always been state law issues?

…If the issue can be reframed in such a matter that it becomes possible to build an unbeatable political coalition that fulfills the pro-life agenda and plays to moderate sensibilities too why not do it?"
~Cassandra

^^^Agreed. Completely.

"If someone had a long-term plan to destroy a country, they'd start by undermining the education system, and by undermining the institution of marriage. Offhand, I'd say that someone did."
~ZZMike

I seem to remember something from my Modern Russia class (thank heavens for good profs) about that being one of the main goals of socialism; to infiltrate the education systems of every country and make socialists of the entire world. But saying so makes me a crazy right-wing extremist, so I guess I’d better just keep my mouth shut. ;)

Posted by: Leofwende at November 13, 2008 06:53 PM

Sorry, my tags were off on some of those quotes.

Posted by: Leofwende at November 13, 2008 06:58 PM

Sorry, my tags were off on some of those quotes.

Any line breaks you do breaks the html so you have to reapply the tags after every paragraph break. The nice thing is that you don't need a closing tag until the end cause... well the line break does it for you every time.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 13, 2008 08:33 PM

I read Stranger in a Strange land and it was interesting. The sex was kept clinical enough that it wasn't gross so much as a weird introduction to religious group sex of the 60s to me.

That kind of attitude helped me out when I started learning the morality of other cultures. And that helped me out when trying to understand war between nations and different cultures.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 13, 2008 08:35 PM

Btw, stranger in a strange land seems to follow the Beowulf or classical story telling mode. Meaning you have some hero and he goes on an adventure and then his powers get developed and then he ends up where he wants to be. I love that kind of story. For example, DBZ, Naruto, Bleach, and The Avatar are the same kinds of story. It also includes ALL patriotic themes concerning AMerica and how to build her to be better and what not. The New Colossus by Emily, the one that said "bring me your huddled masses", also qualifies but not as a story. Just as a theme.

David Brin and Leftists really hate that kind of story. There was a specific name for it and it was one Brin informed me of, but I can't recall it at this time.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 13, 2008 08:37 PM

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, you mean. And by the type of story, do you mean like an Epic? Beowulf would qualify, as would the Odyssey. The poem by EL wouldn't qualify as an Epic, though, as it is a short poem. I haven't finished Stranger in a Strange Land yet, but I can see how, if it continues along the route it seems to be going, it might qualify as such.

Posted by: Loefwende at November 13, 2008 09:43 PM

Ok, so I'm back, and indeed the level of discourse here is much higher than I thought. I take my moniker from a popular Libertarian blog that follow closely, but where the discussion tends to quickly devolve and that is the term I am usually labeled with; as if someone who disagrees is fundamentally incapable of understanding the issue.

I thought I would try to address each issue in a series of posts. (First, let me state that I like some Libertarian ideas, and I like some Conservative ideas, and I do not like all Liberal ideas. In some ways that would make me a shameful moderate; I prefer to think of myself as 'progressive' in the sense that no party really represents me, but I'll pick who gets it the 'most-right' in my opinion.)

Rhetoric
People took issue with my comment about "Traditional Values" being a code word for exclusion. Now it may seem incendiary, the remarks I made, and certainly they were intended to be over-the-top, but there seems to be a very large faction of the population that thinks that Islam = Radical Islam and Terrorism. Hopefully you do not think that is true, otherwise the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world would have done a lot more by now.

Let me present some real evidence of this misconception as I see it being advanced and actually reflected in the Republican demographic.

Unveiling Islam An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs (from Focus on the Family)

"Can the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, be explained by understanding the mysterious world of Islam? Why does converting to Christianity often mean total rejection from culture, ethnicity, family—and sometimes death? Raised as devout Muslims who became Christians, the authors provide timely, in-depth information about Islam's origins, history, beliefs, culture—and why bloodshed is used to advance the cause"

Note the lack of the word radical anywhere in that description. Note that the implication of switching faith is rejection of everything 'American'. These are strong charges, and imply that Islam is inherently violent, and that 'evangelical' Muslims will use such tactics without hesitation. That's simply inflammatory, and not true. There are at least 6-8 million Muslims in America today, and Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America with conversion rates around 135,000 per year, with African-Americans making up the largest group of converts followed by American women, as well as a significant number from the Latino community.

The Base and Their Rhetoric
During election day, as I mentioned, I watched the Fox News You-Decide commentary all day. There are 23k comments, mostly pro-McCain/anti-Obama which is to be expected. But the absolute viciousness of the commentary is where I make my conclusion. To me, if you want to see what The Base is thinking, that's certainly one place where they'll speak their minds and you can get a record. Let's look at some examples:

"McCain should win but Obama probably will because of all the ignorant Democrats out there and the blacks. They are not voting for him brcause of his beliefs, just his race. God help America!!!!!!!!"

"I voted for McCain/Pulin. I do not think they are going to win. The uneducated minorities have found their “Messiah”. However, I have found comfort in the fact that there are a lot of people like me who find Barak Obama scary. We must stay together and remain to be heard. Keep praying and spreading God’s word. The reason Obama is going to win is because those of us with Christian values are timid and weak. It is easier to discuss our views behind our computers when we should have been out there educating others-making our points with compassion."

"You will notice that every current or former Black Democrat Run city or state such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York city, San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland and New Orleans have experienced increased cime, increased debt, high unemployment, increased homelessness and pan handling, have chased businesses away, increased prison populations, increased drug use rate, increased school drop out rates, requests to speak ebonics in school and general disregard for the law. Check the statistics and the consistent patterns. Is this what you want for your kids?"

"BUT, I how could I, in good concience, vote for an AMERICAN President who disrespects our by not pleadging allegiance, and whos belief in God is in question?"

(but this one is my favorite) "If 10 black men can't run a McDonald's, how can one expect to run the country?"

Yes, these are all real. (http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/11/04/youdecide_1104/comment-page-214/#comments)

Sure there are always nut-jobs, but this is not a select choice. Just picking random pages you can find at least two or three comments of the same sentiments. Its a consistent pattern of thought and of rhetoric. Basically that a black man with a funny name with rumors that he's not Christian is totally unfit for President. I mean, our elections have been ad-hominem attacks for a long time but this is really getting extreme and trivial.

YMar said: "I disagree with you. Upper-middle class and better Christians don't need to exclude blacks or hispanics. I seriously doubt you are supporting the nation by defining "better Christians" in racist categories. Blacks and hispanics are perfectly good Christians, some better than rich upper middle class Christians as well. Why do you say they aren't or can't become one?"

So you must be a Christian to lead? Or you must be Christian to have 'Traditional Values'? YMar made a comment about religious freedom when I brought up Mitt Romney and how his specific brand of Christianity was unacceptable to the 'Traditional Values' camp. Sure, he has the freedom, but the party does not have the inclusion to consider candidates that do not exactly conform to their mold.

Said Ymar: "So Mohammed Atta wasn't scary because his name came from Islam's prophet, a central figure in Islam?"

I don't know, lets ask Muhammad Ali or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Come on, you can't honestly make arguments on names (especially middle names) and think it has any merit. Virtually no one picks their own name, although my two examples did. Are you scared of those two men, who most people would argue are good Americans? Seriously, if this is the future of Conservative rhetoric, its taken a major intellectual blow. What are you going to do when the Dem's run a candidate like Mike Smith?

Extreme but 'Less-Nonsensical' Rhetoric
Said Ymar: " Germany's National Socialism in WWII and its Democratic Socialism in the 21st century share one particular trait: their ability to disarm, forcibly, their own population."

Alright, see, you've just broken Godwin's law by comparing the Democratic party to the freakin' Nazis. I think the liberals go too far with gun control; I disagreed with the assault weapons ban, and honestly, I don't think it will be back, not any time soon. But think about what you are saying: you are saying that half the people in this country are the equivalent to we-want-to-take-your-guns-by-force-Nazi's. You know, I read Black Helicopters Across America, I read The Turner Diaries, I understand the concerns. But again, do you really advance or even make an argument by the simple statement that the Dem's are Nazi's?

Elise said: "And the unsavory thing is that there's a sizable chunk of our citizenry who hate our country because it's not a socialist ant farm -- with their own precious selves as the collective queen. And because the rest of us have so unreasonably refused to recognize their obvious (to them) superiority, we're demonized as evil incarnate."

YMar said: "The National Socialist party of Germany used socialist goodies to convince people to fight for a national goal. Maybe the Democrats are sufficiently hateful of America that they won't ever use nationalism to fuel socialism or vice a versa, but I doubt it."

This will lead to the next issue, the 'Socialist' argument, but first I guess I do not understand where you think this chunk of citizenry is that 'hates our country'. How did you define that? Who are these people? Are you saying the Left in general? Who exactly is it that *hates* our country and lives here? And lets please remember, you can vehemently disagree with the direction the country is going in without hating the country.

I mean, you honestly believe that liberals/Democrats/etc actually *hate* the country? This idea really just confounds me; I honestly don't understand it, where the basis comes from. Hell, if you're going to sit here and make Nazi comparisons, somehow I doubt the Nazi's hated Germany....

Posted by: libtard at November 14, 2008 12:25 PM

Note that the implication of switching faith is rejection of everything 'American'. These are strong charges, and imply that Islam is inherently violent, and that 'evangelical' Muslims will use such tactics without hesitation. That's simply inflammatory, and not true.

Au contraire, mon ami -- it *is* true. Even in Muslim societies where secularism predominates, Muslims who convert to Christianity are apostates and are subject to the death penalty *by law*. It isn't often carried out -- the usual punishment is banishment. Muslim law also prescribes death by stoning for women accused of adultery. There was a teenage girl stoned to death here last week, and she had only been accused by a neighbor, not tried in any court.

There are at least 6-8 million Muslims in America today, and Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America with conversion rates around 135,000 per year...

How does that support your contention that Muslims don't condemn Muslims who convert to Christianity?

I mean, our elections have been ad-hominem attacks for a long time but this is really getting extreme and trivial.

I agree. The smears against Governor Palin were unconscionable. As were all the comments on the Lefty blogs I saw which defended the necessity of using any tactic, including outright lies, in order to defeat "this great evil" -- the Republican Party.

But again, do you really advance or even make an argument by the simple statement that the Dem's are Nazi's?

Ymar didn't break Godwin's Law, because he cited a historical example. He also didn't say the Dems were Nazis. The quote was, "Germany's National Socialism in WWII and its Democratic Socialism in the 21st century share one particular trait: their ability to disarm, forcibly, their own population." He's compared two *German* political parties that share(d) the same Socialist political agenda.

Elise said: "And the unsavory thing is that there's a sizable chunk of our citizenry who hate our country because it's not a socialist ant farm...

Elise didn't say that -- *I* said it. Geez...

Who exactly is it that *hates* our country and lives here? And lets please remember, you can vehemently disagree with the direction the country is going in without hating the country.

Bill Ayers, for one. Bernardine Dohrn, for another. Shall I include those who welcomed me and my fellow Vietnam Vets home with various bodily fluids? They certainly hated their fellow countrymen for no other reason than they disagreed with the policies of the country.

I mean, you honestly believe that liberals/Democrats/etc actually *hate* the country?

Not all, because if I had meant all, I would have *said* it. However, I do believe, based on personal observation, personal experience, reading their words and watching their videos, that there is a sizable portion of the population that actively hates this country because it's not a socialist ant farm. And they happen to identify themselves as liberals/Democrats/etc.

Next question, please...

Posted by: BillT at November 14, 2008 01:34 PM

I was hoping you'd return, because I managed to be out when you first posted.

Sure there are always nut-jobs, but this is not a select choice. Just picking random pages you can find at least two or three comments of the same sentiments. Its a consistent pattern of thought and of rhetoric. Basically that a black man with a funny name with rumors that he's not Christian is totally unfit for President. I mean, our elections have been ad-hominem attacks for a long time but this is really getting extreme and trivial.

I will no more hold you responsible for what other people of similar political beliefs say than I wish you to do the same to me. I do wish you wouldn't ask me to explain why someone else says stupid things. I can only explain my opinions (and not even that all too often).

I did not vote for Senator Obama for a number of reasons. He is in the bottom 6% of all major party candidates to run for president in terms of qualifications (less than half a Senatorial term on the national level and only one Senatorial term on the state level). I do not like his political background and the causes he has associated with in the past. And here I speak of the public record associations, ones he himself proclaimed in his own biography. The Ayers connection troubles me, but I do not for a moment believe that Senator Obama is or was a Weather Underground supporter/advocate. Suffice to say, it's the exact same concern I would have had if Senator McCain had similar associations with Eric Rudolph or Terry Nichols. I do not like the fact that he espoused "spreading the wealth around". There's no provision in the US Constitution for the federal government, much less the President, to distribute private wealth. What did NOT trouble me, even for an instant, were the foolish rumors about him being a Moslem (last I checked, there's no requirement for the office NOT to be held by anyone of a particular religion), or not being a natural US citizen (I'm pretty sure the Democratic Party is not so stupid as to nominate a candidate who violates the Constitutional requirements for the office), nor his skin color. I don't give a soft cow patty for what someone's melanin content is. Show me what they know and what they would bring to the office. And personally, I'm sick of being told by newspaper and TV editorials that I must be racist because I didn't approve of a candidate who HAPPENED to have lighter skin than my own mother during the summer. His ethnicity means nothing to me.

This will lead to the next issue, the 'Socialist' argument, but first I guess I do not understand where you think this chunk of citizenry is that 'hates our country'. How did you define that? Who are these people?

Personally, I do believe there are folks who hate this country. All those folks in Vermont who two years back were trying to get Vermont to secede from the Union. They hated this country enough to want to leave. Anyone who states that the US is the most evil nation since Nazi Germany hates this country. Anyone who would honestly believe that the US government planned and orchestrated the attacks on 9/11 hates this country. If you can believe that government workers... people like you and me, are willing and able to commit MASS MURDER of their fellow citizens and NEVER talk about it, you fundamentally do not believe this is a good nation.

Hell, if you're going to sit here and make Nazi comparisons, somehow I doubt the Nazi's hated Germany....

I do not enjoy doing this, but Ymar was not the first to bring up Nazis or Fascism. You actually did:

So does patriotism mean believing that the US and A is the best country in the world? If so then that's nationalism, or worse...fascism.

Look, I disagree with a LOT of what you said, especially in the first post where you equated love of country with fascism, conservative thought with racism and religious intolerance, and family values with the same.

If you poke around the site, you'll find I frequently refer to myself as a libertarian. My political philosophy begins and ends with the concept of freedom, both economic and social freedom. I don't HAVE to like what you do, I just don't have to support OR hinder you. And the same works in reverse.

Also, I spent five years in the military in order to pay back (in part, it's not one I can ever truly pay) a debt I feel I owe to this nation for what it's given me. Part of that experience is that I agreed to give everything up to and including my life in order to allow people back home to exercise their freedoms. Even those I don't approve of. Especially those, in fact.

Posted by: MikeD at November 14, 2008 01:37 PM

Not all, because if I had meant all, I would have *said* it. However, I do believe, based on personal observation, personal experience, reading their words and watching their videos, that there is a sizable portion of the population that actively hates this country because it's not a socialist ant farm. And they happen to identify themselves as liberals/Democrats/etc.

The Dems hate, first and foremost, themselves. Everybody else is just along for the misery train ride.

Watch out Bill, Lib's going for that Tet Offensive!

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 02:01 PM

I have the advantage -- I survived Tet.

Well, okay, it was Tet '70 -- but I *did* survive it.

Posted by: BillT at November 14, 2008 02:09 PM

Sure there are always nut-jobs, but this is not a select choice.

In case you hadn't noticed "nut-jobs" aren't defined as "people you disagree with".

So you must be a Christian to lead?

According to you, yes, so long as Christians can't be black or poor: good Christians at least. That is your definition and one I don't agree with.

Sure, he has the freedom, but the party does not have the inclusion to consider candidates that do not exactly conform to their mold.

Most of the anti-Mormon comments came from Leftists and atheists, not from conservatives. Why would those of faith attack others of faith when they have atheists and Leftists to struggle against? Human behavior should not be such a mystery to people like you who want to conduct the spread of benefits to humanity.

Come on, you can't honestly make arguments on names (especially middle names) and think it has any merit.

You certainly did when it was a convenient defense for you to construct about "Hussein". Ever hear of double standards?

Alright, see, you've just broken Godwin's law by comparing the Democratic party to the freakin' Nazis.

I have no idea why you think Germany's Democratic Socialism is the same as the Democratic party in your party. Btw, a "Democratic party" is about as democratic as the People's Republic of Korea is a Republic.

Hell, if you're going to sit here and make Nazi comparisons, somehow I doubt the Nazi's hated Germany....

What you doubt and what happened in real history aren't necessarily the same thing.

The Nazi party destroyed Germany after coming to power via intimidation and promises that they will restore Germany to Germany's former glory and bring back the Vaterland. Hitler would rather see Germany and Germans burn to ash rather than surrender because Hitler blamed the Germans for him losing the war. This is love in your opinion?

You don't know the meaning of the word, and if you don't know the source behind patriotism, can you truly know what it means for human beings to hate?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 02:15 PM

"Germany's National Socialism in WWII and its Democratic Socialism in the 21st century share one particular trait: their ability to disarm, forcibly, their own population."

Please explain how the Dems are going to forcibly disarm you. Special emphasis on 'forcibly' here. If you say they share these traits, can you tell me how?

"Personally, I do believe there are folks who hate this country. All those folks in Vermont who two years back were trying to get Vermont to secede from the Union."

You do realize there's one of these secessionist parties in like every state? The most famous of late is the Alaskan Independence Party, but there's groups in California, Maine, Minnesota, New England, South Carolina, Texas, the Neo-Confederates, etc.

"Look, I disagree with a LOT of what you said, especially in the first post where you equated love of country with fascism, conservative thought with racism and religious intolerance, and family values with the same."

I understand, and I'm trying to clarify what clearly came across wrong, as I equate none of those things, although I do think there can be a slippery-slope applied in some cases. I'm just *trying* to at least show some reasoned counter-arguments from a different perspective. Maybe that will help in understanding where Conservatives should go.

Posted by: libtard at November 14, 2008 02:27 PM

Maybe that will help in understanding where Conservatives should go.

I know some people who think I should go to Hell, but I can't -- Satan's afraid I'll take the place over.

Posted by: BillT at November 14, 2008 02:39 PM

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, you mean. And by the type of story, do you mean like an Epic? Beowulf would qualify, as would the Odyssey. The poem by EL wouldn't qualify as an Epic, though, as it is a short poem. I haven't finished Stranger in a Strange Land yet, but I can see how, if it continues along the route it seems to be going, it might qualify as such.

Indeed, that is the name.

You can think of it as an epic, although this concerns only the character development and not with the setting or plot. And the name I was mentioning was Campbell somebody. The name of another writer who coined this kind of character development. Brin wrote it in one of his numerous criticisms of how he would have made Star Wars, the prequels, better.

Concerning the poem, I am refering to Lazarus' use of the "ideal" symbology and image, that is Lady Liberty, in order to raise the powerless to a better situation. The raising of one's power and the discovery of one's inner strength is what matters here, regardless of how it comes about. Or even regardless of how long it takes.

The path of the immigrant and the sacrifices they made and what they were made to suffer and the path of the immigrant's sons and daughters is the same increase in power and ability except spread over generations rather than over the single lifetime of one person.

The most compatible plot and setting that goes with this kind of character development is classical liberal philosophy. You can put it in other stories, like the Odyssey, but it won't be as powerful, at least not to those brought up under the American ethic.

Reference David Weber's Off Armageddon Reef for a perfect example of the combination of classical liberal pursuit of liberty and security with Ancient World fighting and character empowerment (invincible heroes one may say).

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 02:39 PM

I'll make this the last one; clearly I'm no match for your collective retorts. I figured maybe questions would be better. So in a Conservative world:

Should the President be a Christian? Can he/she be of another faith? What if that faith is Islam?

How does one differentiate 'love' and 'hate' of one's country in a person who is a leader or potential leader? If you acknowledge or feel that your country has done something bad in the past, does that mean you 'hate' your country? How does one differentiate good intentions with bad results from 'hate'?

Is someone who disagrees with the general Conservative ideals intellectually inferior? Are they 'patriotically inferior'?

Posted by: libtard at November 14, 2008 02:54 PM

Loefwende,

Just some observations for you.

I think that is true in the overall trends, even though you do get your interesting exceptions like fake liberal historians, conservative or independent psychologists and psychiatrists, and fake liberal engineers.

I think it is the same reason why the military is conservative or Republican or whatever you want to call it (i say Jacksonian). When there is a more immediate feedback on your actions, where the consequences of your beliefs and actions translate directly into real pain and suffering for the people you love, you tend to be more conservative and less "pie in the sky" mouthing off things about conspiracies or election stealing or utopias. You can't afford to because reality will ground you, and if you make too many mistakes in the military in wartime, you may just be put into the ground.

This is not a consequence fake liberals have to worry about. And since it isn't a consequence they care to think about or analyze, because they don't need to do so to further utopia and socialism, they don't actually pay attention to the consequences of their actions. And when people are free to do whatever the hell they want without consideration of the consequences, they also won't promote free will, personal responsibility, or self-sufficiency and independence from government slave chains.

Historians have to know about consequences in both the abstract and the real. This helps to ground them, but it is not a cure all I believe. History won't do a damned thing if you believe that human beings have the right to own slaves, live under Sharia law if they are brown and Arabic, and have the right to blow up children in "self-defense". You'll interpret history to suit your personal philosophy of mayhem and utopia, then.
***************************************
I know some people who think I should go to Hell, but I can't -- Satan's afraid I'll take the place over.

That doesn't matter a whole lot given that Cass will be worried that you'll be bringing your own little slice of Hell to her when you come visit.

If she disapproves, then you won't have a pot to piss in: Satan be damned.
**************************
Please explain how the Dems are going to forcibly disarm you.

We're talking about Germany. Or at least Bill and I are. You want to talk about Democrats being fascist and GOP loyalists paving the way for fascism, but I find such arguments boring.

As for the question of how to forcibly disarm people, just go pay a visit to France or Britain. I'm sure they have plenty to teach you if you really want to know how.

You do realize there's one of these secessionist parties in like every state? The most famous of late is the Alaskan Independence Party, but there's groups in California, Maine, Minnesota, New England, South Carolina, Texas, the Neo-Confederates, etc.

We don't support them. Your allies, however, not to mention you for that matter, do support efforts by Code Pink to separate from the unity and mutual protection that America offers.

I do count not mentioning such incidents and not admitting they are a problem that must be prioritized for resolution, to be "support efforts" btw.

I'm just *trying* to at least show some reasoned counter-arguments from a different perspective.

When your perspective is shown by your quotes here:

But the absolute viciousness of the commentary is where I make my conclusion. To me, if you want to see what The Base is thinking, that's certainly one place where they'll speak their minds and you can get a record. Let's look at some examples:

You use these examples:

"McCain should win but Obama probably will because of all the ignorant Democrats out there and the blacks. They are not voting for him brcause of his beliefs, just his race. God help America!!!!!!!!"

"I voted for McCain/Pulin. I do not think they are going to win. The uneducated minorities have found their “Messiah”. However, I have found comfort in the fact that there are a lot of people like me who find Barak Obama scary. We must stay together and remain to be heard. Keep praying and spreading God’s word. The reason Obama is going to win is because those of us with Christian values are timid and weak. It is easier to discuss our views behind our computers when we should have been out there educating others-making our points with compassion."

"You will notice that every current or former Black Democrat Run city or state such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York city, San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland and New Orleans have experienced increased cime, increased debt, high unemployment, increased homelessness and pan handling, have chased businesses away, increased prison populations, increased drug use rate, increased school drop out rates, requests to speak ebonics in school and general disregard for the law. Check the statistics and the consistent patterns. Is this what you want for your kids?"

"BUT, I how could I, in good concience, vote for an AMERICAN President who disrespects our by not pleadging allegiance, and whos belief in God is in question?"

and come up with this conclusion.

Sure there are always nut-jobs, but this is not a select choice. Just picking random pages you can find at least two or three comments of the same sentiments. Its a consistent pattern of thought and of rhetoric. Basically that a black man with a funny name with rumors that he's not Christian is totally unfit for President. I mean, our elections have been ad-hominem attacks for a long time but this is really getting extreme and trivial. (

That is not a useful perspective because it is not an accurate perspective. Nowhere did in your random sampling did people mention his religion, Christian or Muslim, or his funny name.

If you tried this with Al Qaeda or any other enemy organization of the United States, you'd get a lot of people killed, perhaps even including yourself.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 02:56 PM

How does one differentiate 'love' and 'hate' of one's country in a person who is a leader or potential leader?

Von Stauffenberg conducted an attempted coup de tat to kill Hitler and order Germany's surrender, as the new government, to the allies before the allies totally destroyed Germany (in addition to allowing Russian troops to go on the rampage looting and rapine in Germany cities). This is because Stauffenberg loved his country and could no longer support Hitler's methods or what it was doing to his nation and people. His support came first until he had evidence that it was faulty.

Compare this to the Left who never supported America's efforts in the first place and would not support the violent overthrow of Bush or attempts to impeach Bush, even when they believed Bush was as bad or worse than Hitler.

The stark difference patriots and wannabes can be no more clear than here.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 02:58 PM

Is someone who disagrees with the general Conservative ideals intellectually inferior? Are they 'patriotically inferior'?

Neither patriotism nor intellectual vigor matter. Most Republicans and almost all conservatives do not buy into the Leftist eugenics belief that disabled children should be killed for their own good and that the state and collective benefits by peacefully starving the elderly to death, with or without their permission.

We are also not ideological priests. If you have an idea and it goes against the grain, we will give it open and fair consideration. Romney's best supporters were among people like me and nobody who opposed Romney that I knew, who also had an intense faith in God and the Church, were somebody I had to scorn and expel from my view.

Unlike the Left and most Democrats, we do not believe intellect matters in terms of making the right judgments. We don't believe patriotism matters either, because only a person with the right character can use patriotism for the betterment of human beings. Only love of America, not simply patriotism, can be termed "the Good".

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 03:03 PM

A person that loves his nation and his nation is like Russia or Rome that goes around killing people for fun, well that person may be a patriot and he may be personally admirable, but I would not call him a fighter in the cause for the Good of humanity.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 14, 2008 03:05 PM

I really hate calling you 'libtard' :p How about 'lib'? :p

This is Cass by the way.

re: the comments at Fox, there are not pleasant reading, but they differ not one whit from the comments one reads in the NY Times every freaking day. I go up there and am just appalled at the ignorant, narrowminded, judgmental, bigoted garbage that is spewed (there is just no other word for it) forth in their comments section.

Those people just hate Republicans with a capital H. They regularly accuse anyone who votes conservative of the most horrible flaws: mental retardation, stupidity, criminality, moral turpitude, racism, sexism... I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the picture.

Lovely folks, there. So open minded, too! And I'm not generalizing to all liberals from that. I accept that it takes a certain kind of person to spew bile in the comments section of a national newspaper. I hope it's not what all liberals secretly think. Sometimes I get very depressed reading that stuff, though.

The question is, why did you make that generalization? Do you see what you are doing? I've had an ongoing conversation with a liberal friend recently. I honestly don't think she even sees this for what it is. Does she agree with it secretly? Gosh, that would be distressing if it were true.

And finally, how is the NY Times different from a forum at Fox News?

Posted by: Lamestream Media at November 14, 2008 03:05 PM

Should the President be a Christian? Can he/she be of another faith? What if that faith is Islam?

Our Constitution specifically says there shall be no religious test for public office. This question makes no sense. A Conservative "should" want the Constitution to be obeyed. We are a nation of laws, not of men.

Consequently, there ought to be no problem with a Muslim President.

That said, American voters ABSOLUTELY have a right to ask questions if any leader is devout, so long as they are framed politely, and I think this is healthy. In any religion that is authoritarian in nature (two come to mind - the Catholic church and Islam) a natural question is: will you and can you place your temporal duty to the Constitution above your spiritual duty to the head of your church.

This is an important question because some religious leaders say that God should be placed over all, including temporal authority. And there is an inherent conflict between some sects of Islam and democratic governance because some Imams would insist that fatwas supercede secular law. Clearly, any religious politician who cannot place his or her vow to support and defend the Constitution above his allegiance to his church or mosque cannot faithfully carry out the duties of the President. That's just logic.

How does one differentiate 'love' and 'hate' of one's country in a person who is a leader or potential leader? If you acknowledge or feel that your country has done something bad in the past, does that mean you 'hate' your country? How does one differentiate good intentions with bad results from 'hate'?

Those things are just like testimony in court: subjective. Voters have to judge using their own standards. And even conservatives acknowledge we've done things wrong - that's a bit silly. Slavery, anyone?

Is someone who disagrees with the general Conservative ideals intellectually inferior?

Why not ask the folks at the Times if conservatives are intellectually inferior? They've certainly come out and said it often enough. This isn't a liberal/conservative thing but a human thing. Methinks you're taking offense in a uniquely asymmetrical fashion :p

Are they 'patriotically inferior'?

Last time I checked, love of country had no political party. Another rather bizarre question.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 14, 2008 03:20 PM

Don Brouhaha - I believe Starship Troopers and The Forever War are the same book. It’s as if someone sat Heinlein and Haldeman down in a room ( 15 years apart, 1959 versus 1974) and said, “Giant bugs attack the earth. Write a novel.”

Thanks for the info on SIASL. I was very young when I read it - probably 15 or 16 - and the version I read would have been the edited one. My husband has informed me he recently purchased a copy which presumably would be the unabridged version so maybe I’ll try it again. (She said reluctantly, kicking the chair leg and pouting.)

Mr. Libtard, two things. First, why do you come here to ask people to respond to objectionable comments on other Boards? Don’t assume Forum on the Family represents me and I won’t assume HuffPo (or, worse, Andrew Sullivan) represents you.

Second, Republicans have no monopoly on a base base. Women weep at the vile misogyny unleashed by the Obama campaign and somehow T-shirts that say, “Sarah Palin is a c***” don’t sound all that much more reasonable to me than a sneer about who can’t run a McDonald’s.

Finally - and I hope I’m not just feeding the troll here - I cracked up at your horror over this comment:

BUT, I how could I, in good concience, vote for an AMERICAN President who disrespects our by not pleadging allegiance, and whos belief in God is in question?

Yeah, that nasty smear that won’t die about Obama not pledging allegiance - that’s just not true and I wish people would realize it’s been debunked. (I’ve done some of the debunking myself in response to emails claiming this.) Kind of like that nasty smear about Palin and rape kits. Or Palin and abstinence only education. Or Palin and Trig’s parentage. Or Palin and her witchy kids’ names. Or Palin and war is God’s will. Or Palin and that divorce correspondent thing. Or Palin and cutting funding for unwed mothers and specials needs students. Or... Well, you get the idea.

As for Obama’s belief in God being in question? Here’s what Bill Maher told Jon Stewart:

First of all, I don’t know if Barack Obama is a very religous person. He have of course, has to say he is, because he’s running for president in United Stupid of America. So he’s got to say this. But I hope he’s lying.

Obviously, it’s not just people on the Right who question Obama’s belief in God. So, pace Cassandra, is it fine for Maher to vote for Obama because he doubts Obama’s faith in God but detestable for your Right wing commenter to vote against Obama for the same reason?

Posted by: Elise at November 14, 2008 03:55 PM

I will be happy to answer all replies to me and the questions put out to everyone in general:

You do realize there's one of these secessionist parties in like every state? The most famous of late is the Alaskan Independence Party, but there's groups in California, Maine, Minnesota, New England, South Carolina, Texas, the Neo-Confederates, etc.

And I lump them in the same category. What's your point? And if you'd really like to know (which I doubt), I think the very best punishment we could possibly provide for separatists is to let them have their wish. I remember the very first example of a separatist movement in my lifetime. It was the Freemen of Montana. I recall specifically saying, "They want to be separate and independent? Fine. Give it to them. Then cut off water, power and travel access to and from the United States. When they start getting hungry enough and want to go to the grocery store, ask for their passports and visas. See how long it takes them to change their minds.

I understand, and I'm trying to clarify what clearly came across wrong, as I equate none of those things, although I do think there can be a slippery-slope applied in some cases. I'm just *trying* to at least show some reasoned counter-arguments from a different perspective. Maybe that will help in understanding where Conservatives should go.

I do not believe in being rude for rudeness' sake, nor to improve one's self image. But that said, I don't know how to put this without coming across as rude. Your own statements (some, certainly not all) don't really qualify as 'reasoned counter-arguements', but come across more as bomb-throwing (in a rhetorical sense):

"Traditional Values" is just a code word for "we think all Muslims are terrorists, we don't like Jews, and really we're not that keen on Blacks and Hispanics, at least not when they are poor. Basically, we want upper-middle class and better Christians, no one else need apply."

Finally, you guys still think your attacks were good, and quite frankly, they weren't! Oh my, he's friends with a terrorist! He's a secret Muslim! His middle name is scary sounding, even though it refers to the most important figure in modern Islam, Husayn ibn Ali, the central figure in the Shia/Sunni split in Islam.

Its these types of arguments, about the so-called 'real-America', which was supposedly I guess the Children of the Corn but actually turned out to be those welfare dregs I know you all despise, they are unsubstantial.

So does patriotism mean believing that the US and A is the best country in the world? If so then that's nationalism, or worse...fascism. In fact, fascism, given the comments on this board but more-so on John Hawkin's blog, its really not that far of a stretch. It certainly sounds like the end of the world over there and Mr.Obama hasn't done anything, and they're already stocking up on AR-15's and ammo and not being shy about pumping round after round into those 'welfare libtards'.

In every one of those quotes, you're attacking strawmen. No one here said any of those things you accuse us of saying. "Given the comments on this board", "you guys still think", "'Traditional Values' is a code word"... Ok, that last is not a strawman attack, sorry. It's projection. You believe that when folks on the Right talk about "Traditional Values" then they must mean X. Not in my circle of acquaintances. I do not tolerate racism or bigotry in those I associate with.

Now to the direct questions:
Should the President be a Christian? Can he/she be of another faith? What if that faith is Islam?

I don't care if it's Zoroastrianism. There's not just no religious affiliation requirement for the office of President, I think it's downright immaterial. Unless someone is practicing a religion that advocates human sacrifice perhaps. So yeah, I guess it does matter. No Aztecs need apply.

How does one differentiate 'love' and 'hate' of one's country in a person who is a leader or potential leader? If you acknowledge or feel that your country has done something bad in the past, does that mean you 'hate' your country? How does one differentiate good intentions with bad results from 'hate'?

Love - You want your country to succeed and prosper. You want for her to live up to her ideals. You take pride in the good she does for her citizens and the world.

Hate - You want your country to fail. You want to tear down the institutions of the country. You'd sooner move somewhere else (or tear out a part of your country) than live there. You want to see harm come to the country to punish it.

Good intentions are sadly meaningless. I'm sure Pol Pot's mother loved him very much and supported him. But her love and support, well intentioned as it was, didn't help the million plus people he murdered. God help me, I wish she had strangled him in his crib. That's a horrible thing to say, but it's true. But as it applies here, I do not believe that it qualifies as hating the country if you intend on supporting her, regardless of the outcome. But like anything, you can take that too far. William Ayers seriously believed (believes?) he was going to 'improve' the country. But I have never ever believed the end justifies the means. He clearly disagreed. Did he love his country? Does he now? No. He did and still seems to hate this country and what it stands for. Why? You'd have to ask him. I wouldn't give him a warm glass of spit if he begged for it.

Is someone who disagrees with the general Conservative ideals intellectually inferior? Are they 'patriotically inferior'?

And that's damned insulting. I'm not naive like so many folks today who say "the political climate in this country has never been so venomous." I don't recall either party accusing the other's candidate of being a rapist, a child molester or a Satanist. Yet, that was the level of invective in the Jefferson/Adams campaign. Yet even so, I think it's a great disservice to the political process when one cannot merely disagree with the other side without being referred to as evil, insane, or merely stupid.

And for the record, my parents are extremely different in their political outlooks. For me to believe that someone with different political opinions have to be stupid, immoral, or otherwise 'bad' people would require me to believe that of my own mother. Sorry, not going to happen.

Posted by: MikeD at November 14, 2008 04:08 PM

Don Brouhaha - I believe Starship Troopers and The Forever War are the same book. It’s as if someone...said, “Giant bugs attack the earth. Write a novel.”

Nup. The Taurans were humanoids.

*ducking flying sci-fi paperback*

Posted by: BillT at November 14, 2008 04:28 PM

Well, if you want bugs attack earth, try Steakley's Armor

Great book, but the 'puppy in the well' is easily the hardest thing I ever had to read. If you've read it, you know what I mean.

Posted by: MikeD at November 14, 2008 04:31 PM

Ooh, I love tests!

So in a Conservative world:

Should the President be a Christian?

Not necessarily.

Can he/she be of another faith?

Yes or of no faith.

What if that faith is Islam?

Fine.

How does one differentiate 'love' and 'hate' of one's country in a person who is a leader or potential leader?

I don’t see any reason to do so. I was trained as a quantitative social scientist: ignore what people tell you, look at what they do. (“By their works ye shall know them.") If I think what a potential leader is doing is the wrong course of action, he can love his country more than anyone ever has and it doesn’t make his course of action correct. (I must admit, though, that if someone who wants my vote for any office comes right out and tells me he hates this country, I’m not going to vote for him no matter how good his record looks.)

If you acknowledge or feel that your country has done something bad in the past, does that mean you 'hate' your country?

Nope.

How does one differentiate good intentions with bad results from 'hate'?

Again, I don’t see any reason to do so. Let’s try an example. President Obama believes Apocalyptic Anthropogenic Global Warming is a serious and immediate threat. He halts all use of domestic oil, coal, and natural gas; sets up a cap-and-trade system which makes energy so expensive that 40% of people need government subsidies to afford the minimum necessary to drive to work and heat their homes; and ramps up a Manhattan Project to produce alternative energy sources. By 2016 the economy is in a shambles; unemployment has risen to 30%; the national debt has zeroes out the wazoo; no reliable, economically viable form of alternate energy has been discovered; and - the sun still having produced no sunspots - scientists announce we’re officially in the Gore Minimum and entering a (hopefully) Little Ice Age. If Obama and his supporters want to claim this was a case of good intentions with bad results, I’m not going to argue otherwise.

Is someone who disagrees with the general Conservative ideals intellectually inferior?

Nope. I prefer to believe, as does our esteemed President-elect, that:

the American people are a decent people and they get confused sometimes. They listen to the wrong talk-radio shows, watch the wrong T.V. networks, but, but they’re basically decent, they’re basically sound, they’re making decisions trying to figure out what’s best for our children.

Are they 'patriotically inferior'?

Nope. (Already covered this in my long comments about nationalism versus transnationalism.)

Posted by: Elise at November 14, 2008 05:08 PM

Nup. The Taurans were humanoids.

But didn't the humans think they were insects or insect-like when they first encountered them? Or have I forgotten so much of the story that it's time for me to re-read it?

*ducking flying sci-fi paperback*

You should be so lucky. When I throw books, I throw hardcovers.

Posted by: Elise at November 14, 2008 05:12 PM

If I might return to the redrawing thing...

The trick is the “reclaiming education” part. I mean, unless you’re going to start giving out scholarships to conservative minded students to become educators, or convincing conservatives on a large scale to give up their (often better-paying) jobs and go into teaching and textbook writing, there’s really no legitimate way to go about it, as far as I can figure.

I have a nomination for the pantheon of missed opportunities during this election. In his Convention acceptance speech, McCain said:

Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have that choice and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucracies. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I’m President, they will.

As far as I know, McCain spoke about this issue at his Urban League appearance and in his Convention speech and then, poof, it pretty much vanished. He should have flogged this issue like a rented mule for two reasons:

1) The children of poor people, African-Americans, and Hispanics are more likely to get a lousy education than are the children of white, better-off parents. I cannot think of any single factor that does more to restrict movement into the middle (and upper) class than this. It’s a disgrace.

I’ve seen figures on DC school spending that vary from $15,000 to $22,000 per year and other figures that claim a majority of seniors in those schools read at the 7th grade level or below. Assuming $40 per hour for a learning center like Sylvan and 900 hours of school per year, a parent can get a child a year’s worth of tutoring in a small group (apparently about 3 students) for $36,000. Surely we can find a way to pack 25 kids into a class for $15,000 a head and actually have them learn something.

2) Parents should have a say in how and what their kids are taught. If I want my kids to get phonics, old-style history, flash card arithmetic, and an hour of kickball from school while getting values from home or church, I should be able to choose a school accordingly. Similarly, if you want your kids to get whole word language, revisionist history, whole math, yoga, sex education, diversity drills, and UN Day from school, you should be able to choose a school accordingly.

The Federal government does not belong in education. That should be a local matter and the states or - better yet - towns and local school districts can decide what schools should teach and whether ideas like charter schools or vouchers or whatever are a good idea. I have to believe that if DC parents had a choice between sending their children to a public school that teaches nothing and sending their children to a charter or religious school that teaches something, they’d choose the latter. And they should be able to do so.

Posted by: Elise at November 14, 2008 05:38 PM

LT,

I do agree that many conservatives don't make the needed distinction between the two factions of Islam often enough, but Focus on the Family is a religious group, not a conservative one.

They find a home in the Republican party because while many conservatives disagree with them, we don't think they are a bunch of crypto-theocratic boogeymen hiding under our beds the way many liberals do. Not because we think they are correct.

Anyway, Radical v/s "Normal" Islam: This to me is a question of perspective. Do you mean radical as in 'violently zealous' or as in 'departure from historical standards'.

The violent authoritarian version of Islam has been the historical standard for a while now (just as it was for Christianity during Inquisition times). The modern live-and-let-live, I'll-persuade-you-with-ideas-not-violence version of Islam is the radical version (and infinitely more welcome, for it).

The question would be which has the most influence? In the U.S. it is clearly the modern version. Elsewhere, it isn't so clear. Not because the violent version is in the majority (the Taliban certainly weren't), but because they have the bigger guns and have no problem using them.

Gun Control:
There is a huge difference between the German Democratic Socialist Party and the American Democratic Party. Ymar is talking about the former not the latter.

That said, the U.S. Democrats don't want to strip citizens of their guns by force, but they do want to strip them of their guns. They just do it through bans on manufacture, bans on importation, bans on purchases, heavy regulation, and taxation (turning a $400 gun into a $1000 gun by adding a $600 tax is nothing more than an attempt to price guns out of the market for the majority of people). If you need examples, look at D.C. and Chicago. They enacted laws requiring registration of all handguns and then closed the registry. Obama has stated he would support a law banning retail stores within 5 miles of a school or a park. Do you realize how little of this country is more than 5 miles away from one or the other. Do you realize how easy it would be to effectivly outlaw retail gun stores by simply creating a 1/4 acre "park" next to any proposed gun store? Sure, none of this is "by force", but an attempt at disarming the citizenry it certainly is.

By way of comparison, if conservatives were to say "we don't want to ban homosexuality" but were to support laws that mandated that your 'gayness' must not be displayed openly in public, and that to do so in a more concealed manner you are required to get a license. Further they made attending and passing sexual health class a prerequisite for said license. Made you pay a $150 tax/'administrative fees' to the state for it, renewable every 4 years for another $50, and was subject to the approval/whim of the local sheriff. When at home, any gay sex must happen in a locked environment, (for the children's safety, don't you know), we'll call it a gay-safe, and a genital guard must be used at all times except during the immediate use to 'eliminate waste'. Sure, they haven't "banned" homosexuality, but would you really say that wasn't their intended goal?

As for your questions:
Should the POTUS be a Christian? NO. Obama should have responded to the allegations of being a Muslim with the reply "I'm not, but so what if I was?" It ends the discussion by focusing the issue back onto the person for asking an irrelevant question.

How does one differentiate 'love' and 'hate' of one's country in a person who is a leader or potential leader? Since, love and hate are emotions they are necessarily subjective. There are no universal criteria. But I will say that a Patriot recognizes both the good and the bad and desires to do good in the future. This is where people like Rev. Wright, and Ward Churchill fall down. They see *only* the bad and their desire for the future is to punish society for its past sins.

Is someone who disagrees with the general Conservative ideals intellectually inferior? Are they 'patriotically inferior'? NO. Not in the general sense anyway. Are their people who are intellectually and/or patriotically inferior who espouse non-conservative ideals? Sure, the KKK for one (spare me, the KKK was formed from and still primarily are, Southern Democrats). But there are also some intellectually and/or patriotically inferior who espouse conservative ideals too. The two are not related.

It's similar to the ridiculous statement "Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism". It isn't. Dissent is just dissent. It is neither patriotic nor un-patriotic in and of itself. There is both patriotic and unpatriotic dissent as their is both patriotic and unpatriotic assent. That is, unless you really want to argue that the KKK's dissent from the belief that the races are equal is patriotic.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 14, 2008 06:13 PM

...and LT, don't run off. Sure, you are in the minority here, but as I hope you've seen, we argue our case passionately, but we don't bite.

Well..., some of the women folk bite, but only if you ask nicely.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at November 14, 2008 07:46 PM

Judging from the responses on the Hallowe'en post that spd and I got blamed for, they'd insist on *biting* -- nicely.

Posted by: BillT at November 15, 2008 04:51 AM

Wow. I thought this thread had died, and didn't look in after yesterday morning, but I see I didn't and just got better to boot. As for that, some general stuff:

1. Elise, I agree re: SiaSL. I had forgotten the ending, generally, but remembered grokking in a more simple sense, i.e., 'getting it' at a much deeper and more complete level than one would normally. That said, remember that I did point out that S.T. was written before RAH learned all that free-love and incest stuff. And ick is a good way to describe that, though I do expect that when liberal pol-sensitivities about gays, bis, and transgendered folks become dulled by boredom, incest will become the new protected class of human activity for them to rend their shirts about.


2. Libtard, the problem I see with what you've written here is not that you are 100% wrong (or even 50% wrong), but that you have managed--as do so many people of all political persuasions--to conflate a good many issues in inappropriate ways (notwithstanding your 'traditional values' comment, which was just dumb).

For example--to focus on just one such item--your reference to Godwin's law in response to a perfectly valid comparison between what the Nazis did do and what a good many people who claim to be democrats want to do is specious and irrational. Godwin's law clearly does not apply in this case because the comment wasn't intended to kill the conversation or bring it to an abrupt halt (as if that would happen here anyway). Also, while the Nazis may have been the most obvious choice of an example for the comparison, two things should be noted. 1) Some of the worst despots of the modern age were 'elected' by a democratic process (Hitler is the poster-child for that truth, but I daresay Chavez is moving along the same lines w/ scary parallels between him and Hitler). 2) Taking weapons away from the populace is the first, most absolutely important objective of any wanna-be-despot--and it didn't take Machiavelli to explain that. Stalin was cool with guns as long as people were using them to fight his wars, but after WWII he gathered them up as quickly as he could, then the real fun began. Read the The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression to get an idea of what happens when people lose their ability to defend themselves and have no choice but to depend on the goodwill of their government to ensure their safety and freedom. For my part, I consider any attempt to restrict my ability to defend myself, my family, and my property from my government an attempt to abridge of my most basic and important right of all, and it is an abridgement I will resist with violence if I must.

And by the way, aside from the justified sentiments of the Founders, a lot of America's fear of Government repression began in the mid-1800s, fueled not only by the debilitating post-war occupation of the South, but also by government troops firing on rioting strikers in 1877. That action, authorized by Republican President R.B. Hayes, is thought by some to have fueled a growing divide between the worker and so-called industrialist classes, and surely led to the growth of both the Anarchist and Socialist movements among laborers. T.Roosevelt was in fact made President by an Anarchist's bullet, and as to the socialists, for a very focused example of the political environment in America between 1880 and 1920, read A Fire in Their Hearts by Tony Michels, which documents the Yiddish Socialist movement in NY.

And finally regarding the validity or rightness of comparing the democrats to Nazis, glass houses and all that, eh? It was the certainly some oxygen-thieving bottom-feeding scum-sucking liberal (and most likely a democrat) who coined the disgusting and utterly insulting term Bushhitler to refer to our President. I'm a Jew, and to me there is no greater insult than to be called a Nazi or Hitler, which is all the worse in this context, being utterly wrong and utterly disrespectful of the office of the President (though I do realize that the last Democrat President did more damage to the dignity of that office than any president since Carter).

Other than that, of course, if I had to choose one party of the two that most closely resembles the fascists of the 1940s, I would just have to go with the Democrats. It is not the Republicans who are intent on stifling free speech and religion; who are intent on making everyone toe the party line of political correctness; who are intent on reducing the ability of the populace to defend themselves from the government; who are intent on controlling so much of the business and social environment to achieve their own ends; who want to take wealth from one class to give to another, regardless of merit or value; and whose morals and ethics are so elastic and relativistic that from one day to the next one cannot tell what they actually are for, except the right to do or say whatever they want, whenever they want, in the most vile way imaginable, while denying people who disagree with them the same right. It is not Republicans on campuses nationwide who prevent the free speech of others and meanly and publicly harass people they disagree with and it is not Republicans who used the most awful, disgusting insults and vitriol to describe their opponents in this past election. And last, it is not Republicans who are seen by all the losers and criminals of the world as the desirable party to be in power in the United States. I believe one is known by his friends and associates, and that there ought to be some people (and by extension, nations) that one should be proud to be hated by, and I don't think I need elaborate on that point, eh?

And having said that, in response to your question, "Do you really advance or even make an argument by the simple statement that the Dems are Nazis?" even though that wasn't the point of the comment you referred to, I would say, Yes, it is indeed possible to equate the Democrats to the Nazis, by their own words and actions. Of course, I'd have to take a lot of things out of context, and put on some pretty large biased blinders, but if you can do that, I don't see why you would mind if I do.

And BTW, just for the record, I am not a die-hard conservative with anti-liberal hatred flowing in my veins. I've hated Rush Limbaugh more than any other commentator for as long as he's been popular, and I voted for Bill Clinton both times because I felt he was the better candidate, though I wished someone other than Dole had run. I stay to the center, and I like it there, and I rufuse to call a spade anything other than a spade.

And on that note, I guess I've said enough for today--plus household duty calls...

V/R

Oh yeah, Don Brouhaha, I agree re: your comments on RAH. I guess I just never think of him as worth serious consideration in re: politics, religion, etc, any more than I am, I guess. His aphorisms (laid out in a book, called I think, the sayings of Lazarus Long) were worth reading, some worth making part of my personal coda, but otherwise, he was just simplistic to me. But you are right, so as before, I concede on the value of that.

Posted by: SangerM at November 15, 2008 12:38 PM

...and I rufuse to call a spade anything other than a spade.

Oh, right. Like you don't call it a %$#@! shovel when you're over at the Castle.

Speaking of which, you've been AWOL too long -- the chandelier's only been re-upholstered twice.

Posted by: BillT at November 15, 2008 01:31 PM

Our Constitution specifically says there shall be no religious test for public office. This question makes no sense. A Conservative "should" want the Constitution to be obeyed. We are a nation of laws, not of men.

There should be no religious test to see whether one can run or be elected President, but there is a test as to whether the people will accept the President with his religion or her religion. That test is called an election and there's nothing off the table in an election in terms of what voters may or may not vote for as to their lawful representative.

THe Constitution does not approve of voters electing a President that will obey the laws or directives of a foreign individual, court, or nation simply because no absolute religious test is forwarded to screen potential Presidential candidates in an election in the Constitution.

That's not what it is for and it would be pointless to elect a President that would act in such a fashion, for you might as well surrender this nation to somebody else.

he can love his country more than anyone ever has and it doesn’t make his course of action correct.

And that is the difference between followers of the fake liberal utopian philosophy and followers of the American philosophy (different from the French philosophy).

If you acknowledge or feel that your country has done something bad in the past, does that mean you 'hate' your country?

If you acknowledge that Americans, despite their government's policies towards Native Americans, acted unlawfully and out of control in several incidents with Native Americans, but cover up the Amerindians owning of slaves and the intense death rate and economic drain they had under their current lifestyle and tribal government, then yes, you do hate your country or at least love somebody else's country and culture more than this one.

There is a huge difference between the German Democratic Socialist Party and the American Democratic Party.

Perhaps the Germans were right and Americans are too stupid and ignorant to learn about multiculturalism and the politics of other more advanced and civilized nations like France and Germany. But if that is true, I'm not one of them.

I dare say I know more about other people's cultures, and with far more accuracy, than the gross super majority in the Democrat party. Sad for a party platform and leadership that invests heavily in "multiculturalism" but ends up turning out dreck for individual talent and ability: sort of DC schools actually.

...and LT, don't run off. Sure, you are in the minority here, but as I hope you've seen, we argue our case passionately, but we don't bite.

Bill called me in for a on target saturation bombardment. Blame him.

As for bug eyed monsters coming to invade the Earth, check out David Weber's Mutineer's Moon trilogy. The concepts in it would appeal to the military science fiction readers (most notably the space navy contingent) and it is also nice for people that like reading about empires (whether Rome or Britain). But the basic concept is very simple, fighting space aliens.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 01:47 PM

The concepts in it would appeal to the military science fiction readers (most notably the space navy contingent)

Space navy -- pfui.

Just wait 'til they figure out how to make a helicopter fly in a vacuum, then yeeee-haaaa!

Which, of course, puts me in mind of the following:

Q: What's the difference between an F-14 and an Electrolux?

A: There's only one dirtbag in an Electrolux.

Posted by: BillT at November 15, 2008 02:04 PM

And that is the difference between followers of the fake liberal utopian philosophy and followers of the American philosophy (different from the French philosophy).

To elaborate more on this point: I've noticed that ideological purity, good intentions, and qualities like what school you went to or your perceived level of intelligence matters disproportionately to certain kinds of people more than other kinds of people. To go to the specifics, we have people who believe Obama will make the right decisions, come hell or high water, simply based upon Obama's level of intelligence or perceived charisma. They also believe Sarah won't make the right decisions because of her ideas and her lack of the proper schooling, a lack that Obama does not share.

Conservatives care about ideological purity but that purity is seen through the purity of principle and the consistency of honor and duty and upholding your promises. That is purity in so far as it is virtuous. When it ceases to be virtuous, then purity becomes irrelevant and self-destructive even. But to those that criticize conservatives or Republicans, ideological purity and following principles is seen in conservatives as a flawed trait: as a sign of discrimination, bigotry, racism, and various other things of viceful content. It is not a flawed trait, however. It is only a point of difference.

What I have observed is that Republicans will not eject people out of their party nor use bribery to seek to bring new demographics into their party. When people leave the Republican party, it is because they want to leave, like Buckley's son (or was it grandson). When people leave the Democrat party, however, it is because they were ejected for violating party purity. People like Reagan and Zell Miller didn't want to leave. Those like Grim still haven't left. Grim lives in the South, away from the more extreme cultures that other Democrats live in, so he is not held to the same scrutiny as others, like Neo-Neocon and Bookworm, are. This lack of scrutiny makes it possible to remain in a party, because instant rejection on a personal or professional level (like Hollywood) is not present or at least not common. But for those that are held to a higher level of scrutiny, whether they be public servants like Lieberman and Zell Miller or private citizens, it is much harder for them to remain true to their beliefs in human rights and human dignity around so many other Democrats that believe differently. Or at least, the Dems won't tolerate any differences in the conclusions that such beliefs will produce amongst varied and diverse individuals.

Joe Lieberman was engineered out of the Democrat party when it came to re-election, yet conservatives voted in McCain, even though the primary system sucks and is broken, as their Presidential nominee. This makes no sense if conservatives had placed a higher degree of priority on ideological principle to the Party Line than they put on character and honor.

The fake liberal utopian philosophy says that character does not matter: what matters is that you have the right accent (a previous aristocrat control to prevent commoners from being accepted as a true blue blood), the right kind of education, and the right level of intelligence. When you have those aforementioned elements then you will be trusted to make the right decisions in any and all circumstances. You will do no evil for intelligence, proper education, and correct English are part of the ultimate good in the fake liberal utopian philosophy.

However, to those who are true liberals, (classical liberals) whether you call them conservatives or Republicans or independents or moderates or idiots, this worshiping of intellect is flawed, wrong, and incorrect. We do not worship intellect and we do not have faith that it will lead a person to the right decisions regardless of anything. We do not believe that simply because somebody speaks a certain way or came from one social class as opposed to another that they actually know the fundamental principles of reality on this planet. We cannot and will not accept that a person will make the right decisions in discharging their duties to America, to family, and to themselves simply because they believe in the things that the popular mob or the popular party says is right to believe. All of such things, before and after, are anathema to classical liberals and to many conservatives as well. However, we are not so much different. We have the same faith as they do, except our faith is in such anachronistic values and standards as honor, loyalty, duty, and self-sacrifice. Virtues and strength of character are what we put faith in when it comes to deciding whether a leader or individual will make the right decisions come Hell or high water.

This is a purely Jacksonian bent, even if you strip it of everything else. Jacksonians welcome all, regardless of their race, culture, language, accent, level of education, level of wealth, or any other superficial element. So long as they uphold a standard of honor that is compatible with that of Jacksonians, they will be treated as members of civilization rather than as savages and Alien Others to be hunted down, massacred, and looted for the good of the Enlightened.

It is one reason why the Republican party treated slaves the way they did, even as many Northerners had more prejudices against blacks than the South aristocracy did. Even in the face of the belief that blacks are inferior and need to be patronized, political leaders in the Radical Republican party could still call for their freedom from the shackles of slavery, get elected, stay elected, and actually convince their fellow Congresscritters to put into law that which would protect freed blacks from reprisal and lynching (assuming they could get it past Johnson's veto, Lincoln's VP with sympathies towards slavery, the Democrats, and the South in that order).

We can see this behavior mirrored in modern times, right here and right now. This isn't just history, something to be argued over or revised like the Tet Offensive and the Fall of Saigon. Democrats, Leftists, and those sympathetic with such may argue quite well that the US military and her allies only complain about being "stabbed in the back" in Vietnam because they are just bitter people, like the Germans that lost WWI and supported Hitler. What such people can't do as well is to treat the people of Iraq and Afghanistan as equals. We have all seen, whether we wanted to or not, the true beliefs and feelings of Democrats on Iraqis and Afghans, and it isn't pretty.

They are fake liberals because they have specific discriminatory policies towards certain kinds of people while at the same time lauding themselves as the party of anti-discrimination and inclusiveness (tolerance and compassion and mercy). They are followers of the utopian philosophy because they will sacrifice anyone, rich or poor, Iraqi or American, child or adult, to the Utopia that will save humanity from itself in their eyes.

That is not the path I chose to walk.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 02:30 PM

Just wait 'til they figure out how to make a helicopter fly in a vacuum, then yeeee-haaaa!

I think that's called a "fighter". Although they may call it a "Bill Rotorhead", at least the first model to come out.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 02:31 PM

I think that's called a "fighter".

You're thinking X-Wing when you should be thinking Fling-Wing.

Posted by: BillT at November 15, 2008 02:58 PM

The funny thing is how many aspects we surprisingly agree on. Let me get two things out of the way; yes the 'Traditional Values initial comment' was a crap and stupid emotional response to comments I was reading elsewheres, and second I mistakenly thought there was a comparison being drawn with the American Democratic Party of today to WW2 Germany; my bad.

Traditional Values: So it seems that as far as a POTUS criteria go, its strictly Constructionalist. Does that mean that the 'values' criteria can fall under that definition too, meaning that a good POTUS should personify these values, but if you accept he/she could be a Muslim of Indian parenthood, then it follows you accept that 'Traditional Values' can stem from this Constructionalist and inclusive definition. Right? What exactly *are* the traditional values?

Patriotism: Well the sentiment seems that love and hate are subjective, but intentions are not? I find this profoundly confusing, as I really don't have a problem with nationalism; however nationalism besides dictating action out of self-interest, prescribes absolutely no other 'right' course of action as to how to do this. So I ask, can you be a nationalist and think that the Iraq war was a bad idea? (I'm serious, not flamebaiting)

My point is that if we equate Patriotism with Nationalism, there's still this question of what is 'right', and by that, I don't mean some skewed ethical relativism BS, but rather how do we legitimately advance the security and prosperity of our nation? And often times I believe there are multiple courses of action that each of us perceive as 'right' but in reality. Therefore it this these courses of actions that should be of debate. However, as an individual, by beliefs in courses of action know become a new political poll column but they can't be effectively represented by the dichotomy of the current two parties. I will save judgment for Obama; no one can really know how a President will lead versus what they say in a campaign. I think this is true of every President to various extents.

2nd Amendment: Current Democrats lose on this one with me; personal liberty means you can have whatever gun you want. However, I do think its fair to have qualification tests for various types of weapons, just like there is a graduated license for motor vehicles. And yeah, if you want an RPG or a full-auto weapon, that qualification should be justifiability difficult and it should probably only be operated in designated areas. But hey, I don't care if you blow stuff up. I do see your arguments about erosion of rights by laws that ban guns stores near schools within like 5 miles like you said, and I disagree with it, just like I disagree with the exact same kinds of laws in changing sentencing in crimes, habitation for ex-sex-offenders (again, 5 miles? and yeah, statutory counts), etc, etc. Its a bad legislative tactic that came out of a tiny legitimate use.

But I favor such expansive 2nd amendment rights for 2 reasons, one the amendment (duh) but more importantly the idea of personal liberty. To me that's the includes the right to own what you want and use it in responsible ways.

Law and Order: What does this even mean; I mean, doesn't everyone want this? Do you think things are currently too un-orderly? How are you going to fix that? Please don't say by building more prisons or cheaper-faster-quicker-more-frequent-and-public executions; I mean, unless you really think that's the answer. Does it mean more expansive surveillance domestically, especially on US citizens?

Someone said they knew how to bring down a plane with 3oz. of explosives. Please. If you can access a sensitive area, you don't need any explosives. If as you claim, over 3oz is enough, could one not partner with another passenger? With another 10 passengers? Could not there be more fluid in your shoes, in other places in your bag, on your person? Isn't all of this stuff going through the x-ray anyway (which I know does nothing for finding explosives)?

Look, I know someone with a satchel charge can bring down the plane. At the same time, I honestly cannot figure out the practical security reasons behind the shoe and liquid rules, but I can certainly see the consequences at the security lines, and you must imagine that this has economic consequences. I'm all for safety that makes sense; I don't see how this does. Maybe one of you can explain it in a non-classified way to sleeper agent like me. ;-]

But this is part of something larger which is, when we say we don't care how the rest of the world thinks of our actions, or at least that we won't let that impede us, does it always advance our nationalistic interests? Look at our support of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and how that turned out for us, or the support of Iraq against Iran during the 80's, or our support of the numerous South American groups, etc. (I'm not arguing parties here) Our actions didn't work out.

When we try to talk about someone who 'does what is right for the country', I'm trying to understand what you think that is. McCain was sadly correct about our military position in Lebanon, at least Beirut seemed to show that and Reagan left. Did that make Reagan not-a-Patriot? Or someone who course-corrected? What about McCain, doubting the success of our troops (on a crap mission)? What if Reagan had said 'No, we actually need to commit more troops, this is too important.'? Whoa, who knows what could have happened, certainly someone could have turned on McCain at that point for wanting to leave.

You'll disagree, but thinking about it over the course of this, I really think its true. Everyone is politically, at their core, a nationalist. Now let me qualify: everyone means greater than the super-majority of people in a political party, or of all the populace in the country, and nationalist is used loosely to mean 'seeking the best interests and outcomes for one's own country'.

Posted by: libtard at November 15, 2008 05:05 PM

So I ask, can you be a nationalist and think that the Iraq war was a bad idea? (I'm serious, not flamebaiting)

There's all kinds of people like that. Pat Buchanan's paleo-conservative and isolationist wing would be one example.

He's a nationalist, as far as I know, and he believes ditching the Iraqis would be in our national interest.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 05:54 PM

I mean, doesn't everyone want this?

Does everyone in America love the law and order that came about after suppressing and crushing the Amerindian tribes so that open or private wars between the American settlers and Amerindians would never rise up again? No. So no, not everyone loves law and order.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 05:55 PM

Someone said they knew how to bring down a plane with 3oz. of explosives.

No, I said, *I* know how to take an airplane out with three ounces of the right liquid in the right place. Some of *them* know how, too. And I don't have to access any critical areas.

Isn't all of this stuff going through the x-ray anyway (which I know does nothing for finding explosives)?

It works for finding components. And that gate you walk through does more than just detect metal -- you're also being molecularly sniffed for aromatic hydrocarbons, among other things.

I can certainly see the consequences at the security lines, and you must imagine that this has economic consequences.

Imagine the economic consequences of your death to your family and your employer. Now multiply that by 300 and add the cost of the airplane and the cargo. Now add the economic impact to the businesses that never received the cargo. Now add the economic cost of the accident investigation. Now add the economic cost of implementing even more security measures based on the NTSB's findings. Want me to go on?

I'm all for safety that makes sense; I don't see how this does. Maybe one of you can explain it in a non-classified way to sleeper agent like me.

Did that help?

Look at our support of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and how that turned out for us, the support of Iraq against Iran during the 80's, or our support of the numerous South American groups, etc. (I'm not arguing parties here) Our actions didn't work out.

Look at our support of South Korea, Taiwan, West Germany, France, Israel, El Salvador, and most of the remaining nations in the world over the past sixty-odd years. Our actions *did* work out.

You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out...

Posted by: BillT at November 15, 2008 06:13 PM

Our support of the Shah didn't work out because Carter supported the Shah's enemies, which are the rulers of Iran today.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 07:51 PM

Everyone is politically, at their core, a nationalist.

Transnational progressivism is about transcending the limitations of nationalism. So no, not "everyone" is politically, at their core, a nationalist.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 15, 2008 07:54 PM

BillT: You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out...

That was funny for a whole bunch of reasons. Good answer. Of course, the serious side of your answer was absolutely correct. And doubly of course, the problem is that while most Americans know this, it is in our general collective nature to want to NOT know it. We like the idea that we're the good guys, and that we play nice with everyone, and we like to pretend we're really not twice as mean as everyone else when our national interests are threatened, but the Marine Corps motto says it best, I think, 'Your best friend, your worst enemy!"

Fact is, Americans may not want to have wars and may not want to be involved with the rest of the world (isolationism really IS our preferred mode of interaction with all the other sorry countries of the world), but we do like to have a righteous reason to kick some bad guy's a$$, at least most Americans I know. Heck, even the wimpy folks who think guns are too dangerous for grownups to play with and want to take them away from us like it when a superhero comes in to take out the bad guys with a well deserved snap-kick to the head. It ain't all Republicans making movies like Iron Man, Batman, Transformers, and even Die Hard high dollar earners!

As for the value of helping other countries, what most Americans also forget is that no one can see the future, nor control the flow of events. We toss your money and blood on the table and see what kind of return we get back, and sometimes we get back a lot of nothing, sometimes you get back the whole cow. Heck most folks don't know that we helped Ho Chi Minh fight the Japanese prior to WWII, and that the only reason we became his enemy is that we took over the role of occupying nation from France, which took over the job from the Japanese after the war! Even McNamara eventually admitted (I think it was him I saw in that documentary) that we and the NVA were fighting for different reasons, and _ours_ was the side that didn't get it....

That said, as you and a lot of folks here know, but some don't want to admit, our government has been a lot better at playing the global power politics game (even since our nation's founding) than most Americans are consciously aware of, and the benefits have generally been to our favor. T.Roosevelt may have been the most vocally nationalistic President, but all of them (except Carter) actually understood that you need a carrot and a stick, and all (except Carter) made pretty good use of both as needed (depending of course on the personalities and politics of the admin in power). Machiavelli, who is one of my personal favs, explained it all very well in The Prince, and as far as I can tell, the only time our country seems to get it completely wrong is when we don’t play the game according to the same rules everyone else is using--when we try to be 'nice' in the face of threats and violence.

For example, we should be doing our best to put Chavez in the ground, politically if not literally, and to push the Russians (and China) out of S.A. but we're so focused on the other parts of the world right now that we're going to end up paying through the nose in our own hemisphere, especially if Obama refuses to be a grown-up real-deal politician and deal with Venezuela. Wanna take odds on how that's gonna work out? Also, in case anyone hasn't noticed, the Pakistani's may not like our cross-border incursions, but we've certainly motivated them to take the war to the bad guys more than they were, haven't we? Why? 'cause those guys have a constituency too, and if we're killing that constituency by accident because the gov't won't do its job, we're not the only folks to blame....and so on. Hard ball. The only way to play, and the only way to win.

People can talk about soft power all they want, but it's hard power that makes the bad guys stay back so we can get to the water hole, and since we're not the kind of country that tries to keep all the water for ourselves, our willingness to share our umbrella of power is more valuable in the long run than any goody-goody feelings we might engender, and the governments of the world know and appreciate that, even if the masses of the world are too ignorant to do so.

I know that's simplistic and misses a lot of the important points but at its core everything is about control of resources, and the one thing good about the U.S. is its willingness to share, while dragging everyone along with it on the road to prosperity. That's why, if we don't abandon Iraq, the payoff is likely to be worthwhile beyond our imaginings. Even if we can't help this generation of Iraqis (though I think we have), we have shown a whole 'nother generation that it is possible to be tough and good, and that all Americans are not horned demons. I spend my work hours coordinating American military training for international students. I sometimes question the focus of the moment, but there is no question that what I do pays dividends, and I can assure you, we get a great deal of bang for our buck. The world is not all for and against us (and that is not a swipe at GW, with whom I agreed at the time he said it), but every shade in between, and considering that ALL politics is local, everywhere, I'd say we're still doing pretty good. Aside from the wanna-be criminals of the world like Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Kim, and Mugabe, we are only totally the bad guys in the minds of the self-loathing liberal e-mos of the West and the ignorant uninformed mass-minds of the east (like China, Syria, and Pakistan).

As always, there's more, but I'm out of time -- time to exercise. Oboy.

V/R

BTW, Bill, I actually call it an a$$hoe at the castle, where I have, yes, been MIA, but if it's any consolation, I have been like a turtle the past 7-8 months, and whenever I did stick my head out, something came along to stake my mind off the keyboard... Of course, the weekend is young yet, so I may not be there next week either. Though one prays some of the turmoil and chaos will ease up... Really, I could use a break--though I suppose that's true of you too, eh?

HEY, HEY, TINS! I just remembered, I saw the headline of an article in the local city paper just last week that there is some Attack helo pilot at Ft. Hole (you know where I mean) who's been flying that junk since the Vietnam war. ooohhhh, he must be like a genuine antique an' all, eh? :-D

Posted by: SangerM at November 15, 2008 08:57 PM

Ymarsakar: Our support of the Shah didn't work out because Carter supported the Shah's enemies, which are the rulers of Iran today.

Not true on any level.

Pahlavi caused most of his own problems, and it was the cost of the Persian Birthday celebration, I think that did him in finally. Also, if I recall correctly, it was Carter's willingness to allow Pahlavi into the U.S. for medical care, and unwillingness to hand Pahlavi over to the Revolutionaries that prompted the final break.

As to supporting the Shah's enemies, Carter gave the Shah grief about his human rights record, which was DISMAL at best, but he did not favor the Shah's enemies. The problem, of course, is that sometimes it is necessary to befriend an undesirable in order to keep an even worse person from taking over. Iran is the poster-child case for that. Yes, Carter should have kept his mouth shut, but he wasn't wrong about the Shah. It just didn't matter because our primary national interest at the time was not human rights for Iranians. Carter was an idiot, but he didn't support the Shah's enemies except unless you want to count misguided compassion for all that the bad guys capitalized on.

Posted by: SangerM at November 15, 2008 09:18 PM

Even McNamara eventually admitted (I think it was him I saw in that documentary) that we and the NVA were fighting for different reasons, and _ours_ was the side that didn't get it....

There were actually four sides fighting that war.

1. The DRVN was fighting for political and economic control of the South, because the North had medium industry and precious little agriculture, and, in Asia, surplus food is the key to wealth.

2. The NLF were pretty much duped into believing they'd actually *get* political power after unification -- subsummation, actually.

3. On the Allied side, the politicians in Washington and Saigon (and, by extension, the Pentagon) saw things in terms of Us versus Them -- country on country, with taking the DRVN out of the picture as the sole key to defeating the NLF.

4. On the other US side were CORDS, the SF, the Aussies, the Marines, and the other small units -- like you and me -- sitting in the paddies with the Little People. We saw what worked and pointed out that it *was* working, but nobody listened...

Posted by: BillT at November 16, 2008 12:11 AM

4. On the other US side were CORDS, the SF, the Aussies, the Marines, and the other small units -- like you and me -- sitting in the paddies with the Little People. We saw what worked and pointed out that it *was* working, but nobody listened...

McNarama had too many voices in his head to listen to, like LBJ's voice, to pay attention to people like you, Bill. And LBJ was a very extreme version of the perfectionist and obsessive control freak.

Carter was an idiot, but he didn't support the Shah's enemies except unless you want to count misguided compassion for all that the bad guys capitalized on.

Pressuring the Shah by using America's influence, both military and economically with Iran, in order to get the Shah to provide more openness to Khomeini's revolutionary guards was support for Khomeini. Just like when the Shah released all those people he had in his jails, including the Ayatollah and other followers who formed the core group of instigators and leaders for the revolution in Iran. The Ayatollah's place of safety in France allowed him to energize European and international support while using agent provocateurs in Iran to incite violent reactions from the Shah's forces.

The Shah, just like Bush, wanted what was best for his people: things such as wanting to modernize the nation, and wanting a strong defense against external enemies like the Soviets or other Arab nations. The Shah, however, was willing or forced to accede to international scrutiny, notably Carter's goons like Sec State Vance, in terms of domestic policies. Bush is the same way in terms of his responses: very soft against his domestic and foreign enemies but most notably against domestic enemies. The Shah released the Ayatollah and many others from jail, after they had openly declared their opposition. The Shah believed this kind of compromise would breed a better respect of rights and help reform the system in Iran. The Shah should have killed him, had the Shah's human rights been as bad as depicted and if the Shah had your priorities, Sanger, but he didn't. And so he fell, as Bush would have fallen in a coup de tat had it not been for the stability and loyalty provided by the US military. The Shah of Iran had no such pillar of support, however, not even from a foreign nation like America (When the Ayatollah certainly found refuge in France).

Carter supports every election of dictators, including Hamas, and you are telling us that Carter didn't support the enemies of the Shah when the Shah attempted to reform Iran and increase civil liberty protections? Carter hasn't appreciably changed over the years.

Any aid and succor given to the enemies of liberty is support, even if it is simply an international declaration that Hamas' election was legitimate. This is not a standard that can be bent for the real politics of two lesser evils, because the very definition of civil liberties cannot be defined as a "lesser evil", regardless of whether it is flawed or not, and the Shah's attempts to create democracy in Iran as part of his aristocratic position were definitely flawed and too extreme when balancing freedom vis a vis security. The Shah had placed too much on trading security for freedom and relying upon US arms and protection from the Soviets. The one thing that Carter is very good at is forcing nations to adopt elections that Carter will then approve, and if those elections bring Hamas, Hizbollah, Khomeini, or Chavez to power, then that is all the more valid in Carter's eyes regardless of the suffering of the people or the damage to American national security (or the suffering of American hostages in Iran).

Carter messed up not because he made the mistakes you have categorized; Carter messed up because he can't tell the difference between leaders willing to improve their nation and leaders like the Ayatollah (or Chavez or Arafat or any other Marxist slash dictator slash mass murderer).

Even McNamara eventually admitted (I think it was him I saw in that documentary) that we and the NVA were fighting for different reasons, and _ours_ was the side that didn't get it....

McNamara was so incompetent I wouldn't believe it based on his word alone if he said the sun came up in the east.

Pahlavi caused most of his own problems

That's like saying Diem caused most of his own problems, including his own assassination.

There's a stark difference between American engineered actions that spark problems in the local politics of foreign nations and people like Bhutto refusing additional security and taking unnecessary risks in places like Pakistan.

Certainly foreign leaders are responsible for their own decisions, but so is America when American actions precipitate problems for them because of incompetent American meddling.

Link

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 12:45 AM

Who can forget the rigid and clear moral imperatives of the sixties and seventies? The clear moral compass that gave us the likes of the Clintons and Obamas?

Ah your analysis is very convincing. I think I'll pull the lever next time for Obama a man who has the same sense of clearness of purpose and clqarity of thought.

Posted by: Thomas Jackson at November 16, 2008 12:56 AM

Ymarsakar: And so he fell, as Bush would have fallen in a coup de tat had it not been for the stability and loyalty provided by the US military.

If you don't know why this is wrong, telling you isn't going to matter because you wouldn't believe it anyway. Jeez, Louise... Are you alone in there?

Posted by: SangerM at November 16, 2008 01:11 AM

If you don't know why this is wrong, telling you isn't going to matter because you wouldn't believe it anyway. Jeez, Louise... Are you alone in there?

Are you reduced to ad hominem attacks now that my arguments have been proven superior?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 01:18 AM

By Alan Peters,1 GIS. Strong intelligence has begun to emerge that US President Jimmy Carter attempted to demand financial favors for his political friends from the Shah of Iran. The rejection of this demand by the Shah could well have led to Pres. Carter’s resolve to remove the Iranian Emperor from office.
The linkage between the destruction of the Shah’s Government — directly attributable to Carter’s actions — and the Iran-Iraq war which cost millions of dead and injured on both sides, and to the subsequent rise of radical Islamist terrorism makes the new information of considerable significance.
Pres. Carter’s anti-Shah feelings appeared to have ignited after he sent a group of several of his friends from his home state, Georgia, to Tehran with an audience arranged with His Majesty directly by the Oval Office and in Carter’s name. At this meeting, as reported by Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda to some confidantes, these businessmen told the Shah that Pres. Carter wanted a contract. previously awarded to Brown & Root to build a huge port complex at Bandar Mahshahr, to be cancelled and as a personal favor to him to be awarded to the visiting group at 10 percent above the cost quoted by Brown & Root.
The group would then charge the 10 percent as a management fee and supervise the project for Iran, passing the actual construction work back to Brown & Root for implementation, as previously awarded. They insisted that without their management the project would face untold difficulties at the US end and that Pres. Carter was “trying to be helpful”. They told the Shah that in these perilous political times, he should appreciate the favor which Pres. Carter was doing him.
According to Prime Minister Hoveyda, the Georgia visitors left a stunned monarch and his bewildered Prime Minister speechless, other than to later comment among close confidantes about the hypocrisy of the US President, who talked glibly of God and religion but practiced blackmail and extortion through his emissaries.

[...]

Carter subsequently refused to allow tear gas and rubber bullets to be exported to Iran when anti-Shah rioting broke out, nor to allow water cannon vehicles to reach Iran to control such outbreaks, generally instigated out of the Soviet Embassy in Tehran. There was speculation in some Iranian quarters — as well as in some US minds — at the time and later that Carter’s actions were the result of either close ties to, or empathy for, the Soviet Union, which was anxious to break out of the longstanding US-led strategic containment of the USSR, which had prevented the Soviets from reaching the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Link

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 01:51 AM

It was hardly an auspicious 59th birthday last week for the Shah of Iran. Under mounting opposition from critics of his regime, the Shah has been forced into a radical reassessment of his priorities. In recent weeks, strikes by workers angered over the country’s inflation rate (currently 50%) have paralyzed the nationalized oil refineries, postal service, airline, and copper and steel industries. The nation’s balance of payments deficit exceeds $5.5 billion. To pay for an across-the-board wage increase for at least 1 million workers, and for subsidized housing and other social projects, the Shah has canceled $7 billion worth of American and European military orders, including the controversial U.S. AWAC airborne warning system. He is also scrapping plans to build 20 nuclear plants, a modern railroad and a subway system for Tehran.

Despite such spartan measures, there is increasing doubt among both knowledgeable Iranians and Western diplomats that the Shah will be able to survive as ruler of the 57-year-old Pahlavi dynasty. In recent days. 64 members of the royal family, including the Shah’s brothers and sisters and in-laws, have fled the country.


On the eve of his birthday, the Shah released 1,451 prisoners, including 1,126 political detainees. Still, demonstrations and rioting continued; 1,200 people, by conservative estimates, have died in clashes with military troops since August. The Shah remains committed to political reforms that will lead to parliamentary elections next June. He has also indicated a willingness to give up some of his absolute powers in favor of a constitutional monarchy. Nonetheless, he now privately admits that if the turmoil continues, he may be forced to leave the country.

....

As if a light were switched off, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, portrayed for 20 years as a progressive modern ruler by Islamic standards, was suddenly, in 1977-1978, turned into this foaming at the mouth monster by the international left media. Soon after becoming President in 1977, Jimmy Carter launched a deliberate campaign to undermine the Shah. The Soviets and their left-wing apparatchiks would coordinate with Carter by smearing the Shah in a campaign of lies meant to topple his throne. The result would be the establishment of a Marxist/Islamic state in Iran headed by the tyrannical Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Iranian revolution, besides enthroning one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, would greatly contribute to the creation of the Marxist/Islamic terror network challenging the free world today.
At the time, a senior Iranian diplomat in Washington observed, “President Carter betrayed the Shah and helped create the vacuum that will soon be filled by Soviet-trained agents and religious fanatics who hate America.” Under the guise of promoting” human rights,” Carter made demands on the Shah while blackmailing him with the threat that if the demands weren’t fulfilled, vital military aid and training would be withheld. This strange policy, carried out against a staunch, 20 year Middle East ally, was a repeat of similar policies applied in the past by US governments to other allies such as pre Mao China and pre Castro Cuba.
Carter started by pressuring the Shah to release “political prisoners” including known terrorists and to put an end to military tribunals. The newly released terrorists would be tried under civil jurisdiction with the Marxist/Islamists using these trials as a platform for agitation and propaganda. This is a standard tactic of the left then and now. The free world operates at a distinct dis-advantage to Marxist and Islamic nations in this regard as in those countries, trials are staged to “show” the political faith of the ruling elite. Fair trials, an independent judiciary, and a search for justice is considered to be a western bourgeois prejudice.
Carter pressured Iran to allow for “free assembly” which meant that groups would be able to meet and agitate for the overthrow of the government. It goes without saying that such rights didn’t exist in any Marxist or Islamic nation. The planned and predictable result of these policies was an escalation of opposition to the Shah, which would be viewed by his enemies as a weakness. A well-situated internal apparatus in Iran receiving its marching orders from the Kremlin egged on this growing opposition.

Rest of the material is on my name link.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 03:52 AM

Carter subsequently refused to allow tear gas and rubber bullets to be exported to Iran when anti-Shah rioting broke out, nor to allow water cannon vehicles to reach Iran to control such outbreaks...

At the time, Carter also put a hold on tens of millions of dollars worth of aircraft engines and parts that Iran had ordered and paid for; the parts were warehoused at McGuire AFB. Subsequent to the failure of Operation Eagle Claw, Carter engaged in negotiations with Iran's new ruler and the promise of releasing those parts was a portion of the ransom Carter agreed to pay for the release of our hostages.

Meanwhile, Carter continued to insist that the US would never negotiate with terrorists and agreed to additional Iranian demands, conditional on the hostages being released on November 1, counting on the country's euphoria to carry him to a second term as POTUS.

Several of Carter's staff were so dismayed at Carter's duplicity and the prospect of his re-election that they released the details of Carter's negotiations to the RNC, which Reagan used as the original "October Surprise."

The DNC was too stunned to even denounce it as a dirty trick.

Posted by: BillT at November 16, 2008 03:58 AM

It's a good thing Obama's mesmerization skills is better than Carter. He's hoping he can do things better with Iraq and Afghanistan. Cause sure as come hell or high water, Iran will be knocking on the doors for Episode 2.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 06:58 AM

The only silver lining I see is that if Iran tries to snatch American soldiers, the Iranian Quds force will probably be mistaken for Al Qaeda and that means the chances of them getting somebody alive is pretty nil.

Then again, I'm sure Obama can be convinced to send some civilians and state department folks to negotiate with Iran over those borders. If it so happens that a little accident happens due to a misunderstanding on the part of Iranians concerning just where the Iraqi border is and they snatch up our guys, hey, it's all good. I'm sure they'll be back, like the British sailors, sooner or later.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 07:01 AM

...the Iranian Quds force will probably be mistaken for Al Qaeda and that means the chances of them getting somebody alive is pretty nil.

If that happens, the chance of most of the Quds surviving the encounter will be even more nil.

More nil-er?

Posted by: BillT at November 16, 2008 07:43 AM

For many young republicans conducting a “what’s the worst that can happen” analysis, the election came down to a choice between a socialist America, and a theocratic America.

Posted by: Mike c at November 16, 2008 11:33 AM

Mr. Libtard:

if we equate Patriotism with Nationalism [snip] nationalist is used loosely to mean 'seeking the best interests and outcomes for one's own country'.

I most emphatically do not equate the two and it is your loose use of "nationalism" that creates the confusion. Your "seeking the best interests and outcomes for one's own country" is closer to a definition of patriotism. The definition I gave of nationalism includes:

The belief that nations would benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals.

I believe conservatives are more likely to support that belief than are liberals. Again this is a continuum, a matter of less/more not either/or. At one extreme are those who think almost any multinational endeavor is a mistake for the US while at the other end are those who would be happy to cede all US sovereignty to one or more international governing bodies. Leaving those people aside, though, the argument is over whether the best outcomes for the United States can be achieved through more or less international action. Conservatives say less - they're "nationalists"; liberals say more - they're "transnationalists". This is not a question of patriotism - both groups want what's best for the US. They simply disagree on what that best is.

It is the “best outcomes for the United States” phrase that speaks to patriotism. In May, Obama made some remarks that made people twitchy. The portion that got passed around the Internet was:

We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.

That sounded unpatriotic because it sounded like he was putting the best interests of other countries above the best interests of the United States. However, if we look at the full context of what he said things look different. He’s talking about the danger of global warming and has begun by saying that we have to deal with it soon or we will reach a tipping point, a point of no return. He is convinced that will be disastrous for the United States. He then outlined his cap and trade and green energy ideas and continued:

All right. So that's what we want to do on global warming here in the United States. We are also going to have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy and pretty soon, if their carbon footprint even approaches ours, we're goners. That's part of the reason why we've got to make the investment. We got to lead by example. If we lead by example, if we lead by example, then we can actually export and license technologies that have been invented here to help them deal with their growth pains. But keep in mind, you're right, we can't tell them don't grow. We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership.

That’s not unpatriotic, that’s transnationalist. His reasoning is as follows. Global warming is a serious problem that will do in the United States. Therefore it is in the best interests of the United States to halt global warming which means cutting CO2. This requires cooperation from all nations and the best way for us to get that cooperation is to lead by example: cut our own CO2 by sacrificing the lifestyle we have come to expect. I don’t agree with his beliefs and approach but it is clear (or at least arguable) that he is attempting to achieve the best outcome for the United States and to do so through transnational efforts.

Another example would be the United States initiative to attack malaria in Africa. President Bush has established a United States initiative; we partner with other organizations but our effort is US-run. My guess is that if President Obama wants to provide similar aid he is more likely to funnel the money to the United Nations and let them run the effort. I think Bush's approach better serves the interests of the United States; a transnationalist might well disagree.

I do feel compelled to add one disclaimer. There are people on the transnationalist side in the United States who consider the best interests of the United States less important than the best interests of “people everywhere” or the “world as a whole” or the “oppressed masses” or whatever non-United States constituency their ideology postulates as primary. It can often to difficult if not impossible to tell the difference between them and a patriotic transnationalist - one can always make the argument that what’s best for the world is best for the United States. As always, I think it’s unnecessary to try to distinguish them: simply evaluate their proposed policies. A good policy is good regardless of the ideology behind it. (And, yes, I do think there are also people on the nationalist side whose proposed policies may have less to do with the best interests of the United States and more to do with always maintaining untrammeled sovereignty. The same rule applies to them: don’t argue about what their ideology is, just evaluate their policies.)

Posted by: Elise at November 16, 2008 01:37 PM

As always, I think it’s unnecessary to try to distinguish them: simply evaluate their proposed policies. A good policy is good regardless of the ideology behind it.

In the 1960's, Mao announced the policy of moving China forward into the future. The ideology resulted in the Cultural Revolution, during which thousands of Buddhist monasteries were burned to the ground, thousands of early Chinese artworks and books were burned, and between 1.5 to 3 million people were killed. Illiteracy jumped to 40% because virtually every school in the extreme rural areas was closed and the teachers either imprisoned or turned out for forced labor.

Ideology matters, too.

Posted by: BillT at November 16, 2008 03:13 PM

Look, we just tried to elect the King of Moderates, and if the Queen of Conservatives hadn't come in to rescue him, you'd be looking at a McGovern sized loss. RINOs lose, and Happy Warrior Conservatives win. Its that simple.

I recognize this is probably trolling to interject a little reality here, but really you people got what you wanted...and it stank like seven day old fish. John McCain was probably the best, the Sunday punch candidate, of the Moderates, and what happened? Moderate Peggy Noonan and Moderate Chris Buckley dumped him. Some loyalty.

GB, Sr., Robert Dole, John McCain....whats the similarity...smart, intelligent, likeable men...all war heroes....all RINOs...all ran horrible campaigns....all lost. If I were a tinfoil hat wearer, I'd think they were in the pay of the DNC as they smashed conservatism and handed victories to the Dems. Instead, I just realize they are not in touch with the true vibe of what's really happening.

After all, how is it that three very capable men all did the exact same thing? Its because they tried to pole up stream with a cattail in their hands instead of a good sturdy oakstaff. Moderation is a weak reed to lean on.

I hope that you can accept that the Republican Party, by right of your loss, and by right of logic, and by right of numbers belongs to the Conservatives. Be happy. I think we're kinder and more generous than the former owners who ranted about 'apostles of intolerance' and all manner of viciousness.

Posted by: Tennwriter at November 16, 2008 04:03 PM

Ideology matters, too.

Yes, if you believe it tells us what policies someone is likely to promulgate. In Mao's case, he was upfront about his ideology and you could argue we should have predicted his policies based on his ideology. I would also argue, however, that the route he chose to his goal was not the only route he could have chosen given his ideology and, in fact, I doubt whether even those who considered his ideology totally unacceptable were able to accurately predict how horrendous his actions would be.

Leaving aside cases where politicians openly tell us what their ideology is, my point was that arguing about whether a US Presidential candidate was or was not "patriotic" was a profitless exercise. He said he was; some of his opponents claimed he wasn't and spent gallons of bytes explaining why his words proved it. I think that was wasted energy: people ended up arguing over what was and wasn't patriotic and then over who got to decide patriotism instead of arguing over whether Obama's proposals were or were not good policy.

Posted by: Elise at November 16, 2008 04:15 PM

I don’t agree with his beliefs and approach but it is clear (or at least arguable) that he is attempting to achieve the best outcome for the United States and to do so through transnational efforts.

I think that's false. I believe Obama is appealing to people's love of America in order to destroy America's national sovereignty: that is the entire purpose of transnational progressivism.

People will not give up their loyalty to the nation without an external threat or an internal threat that the nation can't deal with. So Obama has to create one, in this Global Warming, and then say that if you are a patriot and if you love America like I do, you will agree with me that sacrificing America's standing and independence is the only solution to America's future Global Warming environmental problems.

This doesn't prove that Obama is a patriot. It just proves that Obama knows that the people he is talking to feel patriotism.

Leaving aside cases where politicians openly tell us what their ideology is, my point was that arguing about whether a US Presidential candidate was or was not "patriotic" was a profitless exercise.

Of course it is. Forcing a change in people's perceptions so that they either see past Obama's rhetoric or see Obama's efforts as anti-American is what matters here. Linguistic arguments over words always favors the Left, while action and demonstrations always favors the pro-America crowd on an intrinsic level.

As always, I think it’s unnecessary to try to distinguish them: simply evaluate their proposed policies.

But it is necessary to distinguish them. The anti-American folks that believe in transnational progressivism also believe in promoting or at least leaving alone the sex slave trade, the oppression of minorities and the powerless in the world, and various other derivations of corruption and greed that goes in lovely places like Saudi Arabia, the Balkans, and Africa.

The people that believe in transnational progressivism and actually believe that the weak must be protected, that a suicide bomber blowing up children can no longer be considered "oppressed", those are the people you need to disaggregate from the rest of the transnational progressives. Because those people actually care and their emotions may turn their loyalties away from their brethren.

Btw, Bill, has Sanger gone back into his shell or something from the outrageous stimuli he encountered here?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 05:16 PM

Yes, if you believe it tells us what policies someone is likely to promulgate.

It tells us what kind of person he or she is. Their character, psyche profile, personality, and virtues or vices exposed by following a specific ideology and seeing their reactions to the consequences of that ideology will tell us what policies someone is likely to promulgate.

But yes, the ideology itself is no indicator of what a person will do.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 05:18 PM

Linguistic arguments over words always favors the Left, while action and demonstrations always favors the pro-America crowd on an intrinsic level.

Addendum: but just because terrorists are naturally better at slaughtering civilians than us does not mean we should simply ignore the killing of civilians, by us or them. Even though we are at a disadvantage in urban warfare compared to terrorists, that doesn't mean we should just give it up because there are intrinsic advantages to them and intrinsic disadvantages to us. Intrinsic stuff matters nothing once strategy is applied to change such.

So a Republican can do well to study language, linguistics, and how to parse meaning like a lawyer yet still prefer to rely upon the advantages of the GOP: military strength, leadership that nets concrete positive results, and economic prosperity.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 05:20 PM

BillT: "Carter engaged in negotiations with Iran's new ruler...."

And yet that is all after the fact, innit? Again, my point still stands: Carter did not 'support' the Shah's enemies, he stopped supporting the Shah without reservations, which may be semantic hair splitting to some people, but is not the same thing at all, and was exactly in character for Carter. True, the end was the same, and true, Carter made dumb choices (but so did Kennedy, Johnson, my hero Reagan, and Clinton); however, Carter (whom I despise, by the way) is being condemned in 20-20 hindsight for sticking to the beliefs that were part of the reason he got elected! I know many people here remember the post Nixon environment, Ford was a good man and would have been a good President (he saved us from ourselves by pardoning Nixon), but there was no way he could win against Carter the born-again Christian.

Also, in re: the stoppage of airplane parts transfers, etc., considering what I know about FMS now, I daresay that was something the intelligence community and Dept of State had a hand in, fearing, rightly, that once sent, those could end up in the wrong hands--same reason we kept a pile of Pakistani-purchased and paid for F16s in cold storage for years after Musharraf's coup--until after 9/11.

And also, as a BTW, there was at least one good outcome of Desert One--the congressional action that created SOCOM--thus, our ability to do what was done in Afghanistan and in so many other places since then was built on lessons learned from that failure. Same kind of thing after Son Tay, eh? Also BTW, I've met four people who were involved in Desert One: one navy guy who was in the launching taskforce, a pilot who survived it, a shooter-type guy who was to do stuff once in-country, and an EOD guy who went back a little while later to make it all a bigger, less reusable mess.

But I digress. Again. Sorry.


Tennwriter: "GB, Sr., Robert Dole, John McCain....instead, I just realize they are not in touch with...what's really happening."

Way too true, but not only that. GHB lied to us about the reasons for the first oil war, and he could have prevented it with better diplomacy and less confusing messages to Iraq; I voted for Clinton mostly because of that, though not entirely. Dole was a good man, but he had been part of a bitter and obstructionist congress allied against Clinton. I guess they felt it was ok to act like the Democrats after all that crew had done under Reagan and Bush; I voted for Clinton again. I voted for McCain, but _only_ because he was the lesser of two evils. If anyone else had run as a Democrat, I might have voted the other way. Palin did nothing except make me worry that McCain might die and I almost voted for Obama based on her involvement alone, but I couldn't quite bring myself to do that. Truth is, if Obama intends to pay Biden any real mind, the Dems were the stronger team, as far as I'm concerned; but I just couldn't get past my greater fear of an all Democrat government. Ugh. Now I'm hoping for the best, but planning for the worst--as in I will be purchasing all manner of handguns before the government makes its next assault on the 2nd Amendment.

Tennwriter: "Moderation is a weak reed to lean on." I don't agree completely, unless you mean as a Republican who's trying to motivate a base? Clinton defeated Bush Sr. campaigning as a centrist. Moreover, I would not be surprised if Palin scared off a number of people who might otherwise have voted for McCain. Depends on the issues, but to be honest, I find the point of base vs. the rest of us misfocused. This is the second election in which I voted for a candidate I knew was not going to win. I voted against both Gore and Bush Jr. in 2000 (but was glad Bush won, in the end), and I voted for McCain this time. I knew McCain was going to lose (well, as much as one can truly 'know' such things). And while truth or ideology (BillT) may have something to do with it, the real truth--the basic truth--is that the people of this country are tired of the wars, tired of the controversy, tired of the endless aggravation of life--economy and all of that, and really just want some calm (as well to feel like the person in charge is actually in control).

I don't mean to be pedantic, truly, but perception is reality always, and with the help of the vile MSM, the dissembling, lying, almost traitorous democrats in Congress, and the ineptitude of the Republican message makers (especially Bush, e.g., who for example, should have muzzled Rumsfeld long before he let him go), the people came to see the wars as mistakes, as barely disguised neo-colonialism foisted off on them by the Hardcore Christian and Jew-Cabal that's really running things. And the perceived truth I am talking about is not really the msg of failure, but the constant tedious aggravation of it all, every day for the past 7 years. It takes some intelligence and faith in leaders (and God) to calmly accept a word in chaos and to believe things are ok, and will get better. Unfortunately, many people just got worn down by the constant back-stabbing and undermining sniping of the liberal left. As I see it, peoples' faith in our leadership just eroded, opening the door to anyone who offered something less tense, who would let us to go back to worrying about more mundane stuff, like when the next sequel to Shrek will be released, or what new iphone gadget Apple will release, or where we're going to spend our next spring vacation....

Of course, playing that angle for so long and so successfully against Bush is most likely going to work against Obama because expectations are immense that he will fix all the ills of the world and take us back to the calmer, more prosperous and wonderful blurry-edged years we had under Clinton. I figure the honeymoon is going to last about 6 months, and then people are going to find out that Obama is not the new messiah, and that politics is still politics, and that he doesn't really have any more of a crystal ball than anyone else has.

Anyway, that's enough for now. I know that should come with a lot more explanation, and I regret packaging it as sloppily as I've done, but I think I've got my point out here. I hope it made sense.

V/R

Posted by: SangerM at November 16, 2008 08:26 PM

Sala has up some direct stuff relevant to the Mormon issue.

In cultures there are some early warning signs of political thuggery. When there is a group of people who are so sure of their own beliefs that they will not work through a normal, free political process - they will often turn to violence. That violence, like that of a narcissistic child, derives from and intellectual inability to accept that perhaps their chosen idea is not acceptable to the majority.

When that happens and there is a group that holds the majority in contempt - they will lash out. They won't lash out of the majority though, no that would be too hard. They will instead focus on a sub-set of the majority and attempt to bully, suppress, or destroy that segment to remove it from the equation - and therefor get close to winning thorough either changing the playing field, or intimidating the remainder of the majority.

That is one thing - another is when to distract from real problems with their goals, they find a minority to place all the blame on their failure. Externalizing their problem even though the problem is internal.

Link

There goes the myth that the Republicans are the ones that can't stand Mormons. Libtard better look to his more socialist friends on this mark to detect the beginnings of that time old bigotry and hatred line once more.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 16, 2008 09:32 PM

McCain didn't lose because he was a moderate.

Bush was a moderate and he won two elections in a row.

McCain lost for two reasons:

1. He is a lousy communicator. He never did articulate a commanding vision that convinced people to vote FOR him, so Obama was able to run on that ridiculous "hopey, changey" crap. After two terms of Republican rule, the odds were against a third term with Republicans in office ANYWAY. He needed to clearly differentiate himself from Obama AND from Bush, and he was unable to do that convincingly.

2. I am not talking about being a fiscal moderate so much as a social moderate. McCain pandered on the fiscal stuff too and Obama beat him into the ground on the economy. That is our home turf - he should have wiped the ground with Obama and yet he didn't, because he moved too far to the middle.

I have been busy this week and so I haven't gotten to the second half of this post: the economic policies. But I actually don't think conservatives should move too far to the center on the economic stuff. That is where we DO need to do a better job of selling our policies but we absolutely should NOT pander or move too far to the center. Anyway, I hope to get to that tomorrow.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 16, 2008 10:12 PM

...and then say that if you are a patriot and if you love America like I do, you will agree with me that sacrificing America's standing and independence is the only solution to America's future Global Warming environmental problems.

One problem with setting up that straw man is that Mama Gaia's pendulum is already swinging in the opposite direction -- temperatures have been steadily dropping since 1998.

The cult of Anthropocentric Global Climate Change ties in nicely with the cult of Obama, though -- both require unquestioning belief in the face of indisputable evidence.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 03:18 AM

*urk*

Twitchy posting thumb.

The last sentence shoulda read "...unquestioning belief which flies in the face of indisputable evidence."

Flies in the face, egg on the face -- it's all good after the fifth pot of coffee...

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 03:22 AM

ooohhhh, he must be like a genuine antique an' all, eh?

VFF. You *haven't* forgotten all you learned at the Castle after all (as. if.).

Btw, Bill, has Sanger gone back into his shell or something from the outrageous stimuli he encountered here?

Nup. He's an outrageous stimulus in his own right -- the orderly just doesn't leave a keyboard where he can reach it very often, is all...

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 03:28 AM

One problem with setting up that straw man is that Mama Gaia's pendulum is already swinging in the opposite direction -- temperatures have been steadily dropping since 1998.

That is why Global Warming was changed to Climate Change, dontcha know.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 04:08 AM

Yup.

Thirty years ago, it was "Manmade Cee Owe Two is cooling down the planet! We're heading for a new Ice Age in twenty years unless we dump soot all over the Arctic ice cap *now*!"

And ten years after that, it was, "Manmade Cee Owe Two is heating up the planet! We're going to turn into one, vast fever swamp in twenty years unless we buy carbon offsets *now*!"

And today, it's "Manmade Cee Owe Two is simultaneously cooling down and heating up the planet! We're going to be living in a glacier-bound fever swamp in twenty years unless we give the One all our money *now*!"

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 06:17 AM

Leofwende,
You had a prof that ektuelleh told the truth about socialist Russia?
*faints*

I am trying to pick up the Thread That Was Lost due to intense weekend working, so bear with me.
Sanger M, long time no see and you have been missed.

Ymar, always good to read you.

Posted by: Cricket at November 17, 2008 07:56 AM

Carter failed in the Iran crisis because he was a real and true-believer Christian that was consumed with the life of the hostages above all else, including principles such as negotiating with Iran. That was his tragic personal failing. I've heard some people suggest that maybe he should have threatened to start destroying one city in Iran per week until either the hostages were released, or there were no more cities left. Obviously that requires the decision to subjugate the lives to the hostages; a difficult decision, but one that almost certainly has to be made.

The problem is, in retrospect I still don't know what Carter could have done to 'win' the scenario once things had went down. Iran would demonstrate its ability to field massive numbers of suicide brigades in the upcoming Iran-Iraq war (they used kids as human minesweepers...), so that suggests that pure and overwhelming military force demonstrations would not have been effective.

One thing no one brought up, the SAVAK service under the Shah, and its very strong connections to the CIA. Something interesting, SAVAK interrogators were brought over to the US so the CIA could train them in the best techniques; apparently they had a problem with too many deaths during interrogations... To Ymar's point, the SAVAK did weaken considerably under pressure from Carter, but it was the SAVAK that created a very strong anti-Shah sentiment in Iran, and the Shah was always seen as an American puppet.

The Iranian Revolution is unique in that the impetus was not triggered by a conventional source. However, Ymar is correct in that the Shah was moving towards reforms that would be considered progressive, such as women's rights as well as land-redistribution. However, in highly conservative Iran, these were reacted to negatively, sparking protests that were put down with deadly force. Many of the Shah's intended reforms fell victim to corruption, and finally, the land and education reform systems would remove much of the cleric influence and income in Iranian society. Basically it was a huge set of disruptive changes.

But we must remember all of this was set in place by the fact that the Iranian Parliament voted to nationalize their oil industry and got a new PM unfavorable to the West, so the CIA said 'let's have a coup!' And they did, blew the first one, and got it right on the second try, then show-trialed the PM Mossadegh and off'ed him.

But there is no doubt that the Shah became full of himself, with palaces and pictures of himself everywhere and by 1975 abolished any party-system so he could rule autocratically. He spent huge sums on parties, decorated and stylized by Western fashion's finest, and he banned the traditional Islamic dress. Of course it also didn't help he was the first Mid-east leader to recognize Israel. He also gave diplomatic immunity to all American military personnel (sound familiar?). So my point is, our policies over a period of time helped to create the situation in Iraq. Just like how Ho Chi Minh was involved with the OSS in WW2 and our handlers said 'keep and eye on this guy; he's going to big places...' Guess we didn't get the memo.

Democracy has its price: Venezuela has had a reasonably well-functioning election system for 30+ years and its people chose Chavez. Same with Palestine and Hamas. I'm sure they and other countries would say the same about us and GW.Bush, and I imagine you all are saying it right now about Obama.

So after WW2, the US has decided that it cannot be isolationist and has pursued decidedly interventionist policies under virtually all Presidents. The question I feel is crucial is how we execute these policies in terms of consensus. HW.Bush did an amazing job in building the coalition in Gulf War I and keeping Israel and the other Arabs out of the situation.

(and strangely enough, his brilliant victory is a principle reason bin Laden is so pissed at us; because the Saudi's wouldn't let him use his troops to fight the Iraqi's and instead brought us infidels into the holy land. Can't blame them, the Saudi's for going with the US; if someone offers you the services of the US military, you take them!)

Sometimes we'll need to go it alone; that understandable but we need to strongly consider the trade-offs of when we do so; or in particular, recognize that we may be trading allied future support and confidence for our short-term goals. That trade-off may be worthwhile (like if we could take out bin Laden), but sometimes it is not (missile shield?)

I understand the idea that some 'trans-nationalists' have the idea that everyone can eventually be this super-happy-world-peace-commune, and I'm not so naive to think that's a reality, especially not through the UN. But at the same time, its a lot easier for us to ask our allies for extra troops, resources, etc when we haven't exhausted their militaries and political capital.

Posted by: libtard at November 17, 2008 09:10 AM

Thirty years ago, it was "Manmade Cee Owe Two is cooling down the planet! We're heading for a new Ice Age in twenty years unless we dump soot all over the Arctic ice cap *now*!"

It makes me sick to know that kids today (by which I mean folks under 30) don't remember that. I do. I remember the Blizzard that Nearly Killed Buffalo (tm). I remember the calls to soot up Antarctica (which I'm SURE would have been perfectly fine, with NO impact at all on those cute little penguins). And I remember that MANY of the same Chicken Little climatologists that are screaming about Global Warming... *cough* sorry, Global Climate Change (I guess they couldn't sell Warming anymore)... are the same ones who told us we were entering a man-made Ice Age. Oh yeah, and that overpopulation would leave millions dead in the US from starvation in the 1980s. WE remember, but the majority of folks don't. And so they buy into this crap.

The other thing that burns my butt is no one remembers the Great Ozone Hole That Will Burn Us All To Death (r). When's the last time you heard a peep on that? I'll give you a hint. They dropped the topic, because the hole is GONE! Where'd it go? Glad you asked.

Regardless of what the great anti-CFC crusaders told you made the hole, or that removing hairspray would fix it, there's a little known (outside of the actual scientific community, because the media never asked an actual SCIENTIST about this) fact about how ozone is made. See, when UV radiation hits O2, it breaks it down and reforms it as O3. A quick reminder from Chemistry class:
3O2 => 6O => 2O3

And what exactly was going to Kill Us All from the Great Ozone Hole? UV radiation. We were going to burn to death from it, if you recall. Strange, the #1 way to make ozone requires saturating O2 with UV radiation, and yet a hole in the layer was forever fated to murder us all... by letting in more UV radiation. Really? I kind of though that was more of a self regulating system. Less ozone => more UV => more ozone => less UV => less ozone.

Funny that somehow the press always forgot to mention that.

Posted by: MikeD at November 17, 2008 09:29 AM

I think that's false. I believe Obama is appealing to people's love of America in order to destroy America's national sovereignty: that is the entire purpose of transnational progressivism.

People will not give up their loyalty to the nation without an external threat or an internal threat that the nation can't deal with. So Obama has to create one, in this Global Warming, [snip]

This doesn't prove that Obama is a patriot. It just proves that Obama knows that the people he is talking to feel patriotism.

Yes, but. Even if all that is true I don't see any evidence that trying to make that argument (or the "Obama is a socialist" or the "Obama is a radical") got much traction during the election. My point is that arguing about what people really are or really think or what the real goal really is usually turns into a fiasco. I think one gets a lot further making the argument that an opponent's policy proposals stink than making the argument that an opponent is hiding bad ideology or some mental condition.

It's like the stupid "Bush is a dry drunk" claim. My response to that has always been, "So what?" If his policies are good, it doesn't matter. And if his policies are bad, it still doesn't matter.

And my point in talking about nationalism versus transnationalism was to find a way to talk about two different views of America's path without by definition slotting one of them into the unpatriotic bin. Saying that the entire purpose of transnational progressivism is to destroy America's sovereignty is pretty much the opposite of what I was hoping to accomplish. (And I hate calling liberals "progressive" because that seem to leave conservatives labelled "regressive"?)

Posted by: Elise at November 17, 2008 10:11 AM

Carter failed in the Iran crisis because he was a real and true-believer Christian that was consumed with the life of the hostages above all else, including principles such as negotiating with Iran.

Carter failed in the Iran crisis because he was an incompetent, sanctimonious blowhard. He not only completely disregarded the warnings the CIA gave him (and they gave him a lot of them), he fired the agents who produced the reports -- because he *knew* a Man of Gawd like Khomeni would see sweet reason once all the fuss died down.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 11:06 AM

Iran would demonstrate its ability to field massive numbers of suicide brigades...so that suggests that pure and overwhelming military force demonstrations would not have been effective.

Actually, those suicide brigades were ineffective against *applied* overwhelming military force. What Iraqi artillery didn't get, Iraqi machineguns *did*.

,,,it was the SAVAK that created a very strong anti-Shah sentiment in Iran, and the Shah was always seen as an American puppet.

Cart before the horse. The Iranian Communist Party became more open and violent in its anti-government agitation, which is what triggered the SAVAK crackdown. Normal Iranians saw the Shah as the Shah -- Communist propagandists denounced him as an American puppet, just as they denounced every leader of a non-Communist country as an American puppet.

Just like how Ho Chi Minh was involved with the OSS in WW2 and our handlers said 'keep and eye on this guy; he's going to big places...' Guess we didn't get the memo.

We got the memo. We just decided to give some material assistance to a century-old ally whom we had just freed from German occupation -- France -- which was involved in a colonial war. Don't forget that colonial wars were viewed as *native rebellions* as short as fifty years ago. And four years after Dien Bien Phu fell, North Vietnamese Communists were running loose in Laos and *South* Vietnam -- with whom we had a defense treaty.

...recognize that we may be trading allied future support and confidence for our short-term goals.

Taiwan, anyone? Took us years to regain international trust after Carter said he wouldn't go to war with China to defend the Taiwanese.

North Korea? Jimmy Carter brokered Bill Clinton's nuclear power plant deal -- stop working on a nuclear reactor and we'll *give* you a nuclear reactor, and throw in a lot of food, too. Yeah, that one worked out well.

That trade-off may be worthwhile (like if we could take out bin Laden), but sometimes it is not (missile shield?)

Ummmm -- which ally's confidence have we shaken with the missile shield? From what I've seen over here, the only ones who're screaming about it are congressional Democrats and Vladimir Putin.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 01:27 PM

Billt: VFF. You *haven't* forgotten all you learned at the Castle after all (as. if.).


Is that anything like TFR or TFB? :-p Either way, thanks for the LOFL...


Libtard, Good analysis, I think. And I think too, your call on Carter's choices after the fact are right. Bill's right about why Carter made mistakes, but the why is not the what and Carter was not the primary cause of the Shah's downfall--the Shah, as leader of the country and the gov't, was. And of course, you are right too about what set the Iranians against us in the first place: "the CIA said 'let's have a coup!' And they did...." BTW, if you haven't you should check out the book titled Persepolis. Don't be put off by the comic format, it's not a comic, and it's quite powerful, actually. Going to be a movie soon, I think. Hard to say how that will translate.


Cricket: Sanger M, long time no see and you have been missed.

Thanks, nice to know.

Posted by: SangerM at November 17, 2008 01:42 PM

BillT: "and *South* Vietnam -- with whom we had a defense treaty."

Though we most likely should not have had a defense treaty with South Vietnam, it was pretty much a given in the anti-communist times, but the truth is that Chiang Kai Shek was a communist before he was a nationalist, and was even a fascist when it worked for him (having had both Russian and Nazi advisors before Gen Stillwill went there). And what does Chiang have to do with Vietnam? Because both Mao and Ho attended military tng as cadets at Wampoa Military Academy run by Chiang, and both learned at the feet of the master that you take help from whomever is willing to give it. Chances are (albeit small chances) if we had helped HO against France, we would not have had to go there to fight him. Ho wanted Vietnam--all of it-- for the Vietnamese, and had been fighting that battle since before WWII. He ended up siding with the Russians because he had not much else in the way of choice--but notice he didn't choose to ask China for help, which given his past association with Mao, he might have been able to get.

And who trained Chiang? He was a graduate of the Japanese Military Academy, since Japan was looking for allies to fight the Imperials and Sun's folks were ok by them. And while we're talking about 'connections,' anyone remember that the U.S. sent the Army to China to help fight the Bolshevics after WWI, under nominal command of the Japanese, all of which gave impetus to the Czechs and Slovaks 'slaves' who stole a train and fought their way home where they started Czechoslovakia (history simplified of course).

And what's that got to do with conservative roadmaps or Persia? I don't know, but I'm sure we could make a connection if we tried... :-)

Posted by: SangerM at November 17, 2008 02:05 PM

I remember the calls to soot up Antarctica (which I'm SURE would have been perfectly fine, with NO impact at all on those cute little penguins)

Pole reversal. The logic went, since the Arctic is iced over with no land mass beneath it, reducing the albedo of the ice cap would melt it, allowing the water beneath (the Arctic Ocean) to absorb more of the sun's heat and spread it southward, thus reversing the cooling cycle.

The people now screeching that the melting Arctic ice cap will cause a rise in sea levels which will drown everybody who lives within ten miles of an ocean are the same people who, thirty years ago, proposed melting the Arctic ice cap to warm the earth up.

Ya can't make this stuff up.

By the way, they also said (in 2005) that the Arctic would be ice-free by the summer of 2008 -- not just an ice-free Northwest Passage, an ice-free Arctic Ocean.

I've been busy -- how was the swimming up at Point Barrow this past Labor Day?

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 02:07 PM

Pole reversal. The logic went, since the Arctic is iced over with no land mass beneath it, reducing the albedo of the ice cap would melt it, allowing the water beneath (the Arctic Ocean) to absorb more of the sun's heat and spread it southward, thus reversing the cooling cycle.

Hmm, as I recalled it, the plan was to soot both poles. Not just the Arctic. In any event, ok, transpose penguins with polar bears then. Clearly our current "melt" is killing them off (by increasing their population... I'm still trying to figure that out), but that's a BAD melt. What was proposed in the 70's was a GOOD melt, I guess. And soot's good for bears, right?

Posted by: MikeD at November 17, 2008 02:15 PM

...anyone remember that the U.S. sent the Army to China to help fight the Bolshevics

*ahem*

We went to *Russia* -- specifically, Arkangel and Murmansk. And then we hit Vladivostok and went inland to Siberia to rescue the Czech Legion, which had been ambushed by the Bolshies on the Trans-Siberian railway.

SCOOOORE! This has gotta be a first...

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 02:23 PM

Hmm, as I recalled it, the plan was to soot both poles.

It gets better, Mike.

They also did a feasibility study on damming the Bering Strait to pump water from the Arctic into the Pacific, thus drawing warm (?!?) water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

Like I said, ya can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 02:33 PM

Carter failed in the Iran crisis because he was a real and true-believer Christian that was consumed with the life of the hostages above all else, including principles such as negotiating with Iran. That was his tragic personal failing. I've heard some people suggest that maybe he should have threatened to start destroying one city in Iran per week until either the hostages were released, or there were no more cities left. Obviously that requires the decision to subjugate the lives to the hostages; a difficult decision, but one that almost certainly has to be made.

Carter certainly didn't mind sacrificing 18 SF personnel to save those hostages. The difference from Carter to Bush is that Bush actually has the intestinal fortitude to carry through with such missions, regardless of setbacks. Carter just used up 18 people's lives for no gain to America, our hostages, or our national security.

That's not so much a "true believer Christian": that's a gutless coward.

To Ymar's point, the SAVAK did weaken considerably under pressure from Carter, but it was the SAVAK that created a very strong anti-Shah sentiment in Iran, and the Shah was always seen as an American puppet.

There are anti-Saudi Arabian sentiments in Saudi Arabia, you know. But that doesn't cause the Royal Family to flee the country, now does it. There are anti-American sentiments in America as well. But you don't see it causing the nation go revolutionary and try to oust the sitting President and have him and his family executed. So it doesn't matter what SAVAK did or did not do. It only matters that Carter did create the Iran hostage situation from wayy back when the government of Iran wasn't the Revolutionary Council of Mullahs.

Now you bring in many points and different scales of balance on this question. That's fine. If you want to talk about the Shah and how he didn't do things right by your book, that is legitimate. Certainly we can all criticize foreign leaders for not behaving according to the right consensus or path. In this case, however, much of the Shah's intent for Iran was to modernize Iran with Western, notably US, support. Given the proflicacy of the Western government types and the greed of the UN, the Shah presumably believed that showing his nation as a wealthy and clean tourist vacation, with lots of palaces and parties for the dignities from foreign nations, would net him a good result due to his gamble. It didn't, mostly because Carter, not Reagan, was in power in the US.

And, of course, a lot of things Democrats blame on the US or on Republicans concerning "blowback" from nations weren't caused by Republican administration and foreign policies. That is almost never recognized these days when people want to talk about who caused Iran to go Revolutionary.

I think one gets a lot further making the argument that an opponent's policy proposals stink than making the argument that an opponent is hiding bad ideology or some mental condition.

If that was true, many women and moderate voters wouldn't have stopped their support of McCain because they believed in the attacks on Sarah Pallin.

Yes, but. Even if all that is true I don't see any evidence that trying to make that argument (or the "Obama is a socialist" or the "Obama is a radical") got much traction during the election.

The people making such charges weren't those like me or those like Sarah. So of course it wouldn't get much traction because they wouldn't have been doing it right.

These are not arguments to put up in a debate for points. These are general narratives, propaganda targets, designed to influence people's thinking. Optimally, they can arrest the terrain from a neutral party or weaken the hold of an Obama loyalist. It is connecting "Change" with revolution and all the death and mayhem that will result, while tying this in with various Obama campaign intimidations and malfeasances. This is Change but not for the Better.

McCain, instead, opted for "we are the party of change too". Of course, that is true, but that's not what you need to win propaganda wars. You can't arrive on the field a day late and short a division or two and expect to just walk into the enemy's fortified territory and take it away from him. He got it there first with the mostest and that is the only thing that matters.

It's like the stupid "Bush is a dry drunk" claim. My response to that has always been, "So what?" If his policies are good, it doesn't matter. And if his policies are bad, it still doesn't matter.

Of course it matters. By tying Bush into being a drunk with Bush's drunk spending, drunk use of US military power, drunk sacrificing of US military personnel, and drunk violence and abuse of the US military and the American nation, you get what is known as a meta-narrative. A narrative encompassing all other narratives, and it is these narratives which form the context from which you then make attacks or defenses or justifications of specific policies or incidents.

This matters solely because the human brain needs to form connections in order to make sense of things and to rememeber them clearly and easily. Most of what we do isn't "critical thinking", the making of new connections or breaking old connections to replace with newer and better ones; most of what we do is simply recalling from memory our previous thoughts or beliefs or having our brain synthesize and project what we expect to see. Narratives and meta-narratives provide the overall story and connections for the human brain so that it is becomes easier to believe in such narratives than it is to think of why it is wrong or think up your own story.

This is why we have the news in the form of newspapers. People want to be told what is going on; they don't want to go out and look for themselves. This is a time issue, yes, but it is also a psychological one as well.

Propaganda, not specifically psychological warfare, takes advantage of how the human brain works and utilizes the security gaps to start controlling how people think and how people perceive the world around them.

Advertisements are there to get your attention and thinking on their product the way they present it for 15-30 seconds. People talk about subliminal messages but do they really understand the actual techniques used in advertisements to get their attention, manipulate their emotions, and to get them thinking the way the advertisers want about their product? No, they do not. People don't know the actual techniques nor do they catch themselves and say that their response is due to X factor as opposed to Y factor.

It is why folks laughing at the Daily Show don't want to talk about what makes them laugh because then it no longer becomes funny. They would rather continue to be entertained than have someone like me argue about what "funny is" and how it is they find one thing funny as opposed to another; that's too much for such folks, too boring. Of course it is too boring. I am arguing a point. Whenever I am arguing a point rather than forcibly invading another person's thinking using propaganda, of course I am going to lose out to those using propaganda while I am using "rational" arguments. Rational arguments do not work as effectively as propaganda, period.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 02:39 PM

Elise,

Now, concerning where we agree, that is a simpler and shorter issue. Do I believe that propaganda and such issues of abstraction concerning Bush or Obama matter in terms of reality or actual policy consequences? No. As I said before about Mao, ideology does not dictate policy, what kind of person in power dictates policy and the consequences there of.

When you say that Bush's policies are not good or bad depending on his being a dry drunk, that is only true to me if Bush's character has surpassed the drinking issue. And being a "dry drunk" is by definition having alrady overcome a drinking issue. Bush's policies, then, will depend on Bush's virtues and vices, such as his moderation (lack of ruthlessness, same trait McCain has) towards domestic opponents and towards the policy of executing captured terrorists once they are no longer useful for intel yet still are a threat to women and children (not necessarily American women and children either).

Concerning Obama, his policies will matter much more than his stated beliefs. Just like propaganda can't ever re-attach a dead man's head back unto his body, Obama's ideology will not make his policies better (although it may make it worse). Irregardless of his policies, the consequences of those policies will definitely be independent of ideology, for the real world doesn't give a damn what people wish is true.

Now having said that, what I believe you are missing here, Elise, is the power of propaganda. Notably the power of changing reality by changing people's perceptions of it and people's beliefs on it. By changing people's beliefs, you cannot change reality, no. Making someone wish that they were rich and powerful is not going to change reality by itself. However, if you can get a whole slew and mob of people believing in the same thing and if you can convince them to do things, then you will have changed reality, so des neh?

And my point in talking about nationalism versus transnationalism was to find a way to talk about two different views of America's path without by definition slotting one of them into the unpatriotic bin. Saying that the entire purpose of transnational progressivism is to destroy America's sovereignty is pretty much the opposite of what I was hoping to accomplish.

I think one gets a lot further making the argument that an opponent's policy proposals stink than making the argument that an opponent is hiding bad ideology or some mental condition.

Now, my view on those two quotes is that it doesn't work. It doesn't work because there is no Mutually Assured Destruction here preventing people from using what would give them a first strike advantage. When mcCain talked about Obama's policies, what prevented the counter-charge of McCain being a racist? Nothing. The racist charge worked and McCain talking about policy differences with Obama didn't work. Of course, McCain was McCain, so you can't even expect much out of policy proposals, but I am assuming your argument is true and then reverse engineering it. There was no mutually assured destruction here. And transnational progressivism is all about transforming beyond the nation. You can't transcend the nation without getting rid of the nation. And in so far as patriotism means loyalty to your nation first and only, patriotism and transnational progressivism are mutually exclusive. Now you could be a Benedict Arnold type of patriot and say that what is best for the people of America, not necessarily the nation of America, is to help foreigners defeat America, but that is only patriotism to Benedict Arnolds, Elise.

(And I hate calling liberals "progressive" because that seem to leave conservatives labelled "regressive"?)

Fake liberals are progressive. You should be more concerned about calling fake liberals "liberals", as if they were as they claimed they were on civil liberties and human rights, far more than on the "progressive" issue.

People who are progressive is just for change. The Apocalypse is change as well as a nuclear fallout: both are changes and both are progress. What progress you may say? Progress towards Final Entropy where the heat death of the universe occurs, where all parts of space have the same temperature and thermodynamic equilibrium and where no work can be done using differences in temperature (internal combustion engine for example).

A "liberal", however, says they are for more liberty and more human rights. Calling fake liberals "liberals" is far more of a communication problem than calling them progressives, Elise. For if fake liberals are "liberals" and true classical liberals like us are "conservative", that would make us naturally evil for refusing to recognize human rights and also mean towards the poor.

Cricket,

Ymar, always good to read you.

Entertaining you, Cricket, is one of the perks of being at VC ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 02:59 PM

Like I said, ya can't make this stuff up.

I think you both made those things up. There's no way Obama would never believe in such people. You have to place your trust in the Great Leader and stop raising all these irrelevant points about the past, Bill and Mike.

I will report you two to the Obama Revolutionary Guards if you keep this up.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 03:01 PM

I said "there is no way Obama would ever believe in such people". Somebody edited my comment...

This whole blog might have to be reported in.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 03:02 PM

My favorite bit of revisionism I get on this "Global Cooling" stuff is "but we have better models now". Well, that's certainly a relief isn't it? I mean, here we were back in the 1970's and ALL the modeling, and the consensus of climatologists were telling us that the Earth was entering a man-made Ice Age, and that we had to act now, or else we were all doomed. But thankfully we're MUCH smarter now, and certainly wouldn't fall for that, because we have better computer models. So THIS time, we better act now or we're all doomed.

Seriously, does no one think this crap through? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, right? Well, they had their free shot. They sold us a line of bunk 30 years ago about man-made global cooling, and we fell for it. Now it's warming, and we're supposed to swallow that? I can forgive my friends who think of the 1970's as the Dark Ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth and slide rules did all our math. But someone who lived through the 1970's (like modern climatologists) OUGHT to know better. They NEED to sell this if they really believe it, and "the discussion is over" isn't selling.

Posted by: MikeD at November 17, 2008 03:14 PM

I believe conservatives are more likely to support that belief than are liberals.

I believe that the classical liberal camp in the GOP believes that nations would be better off working with other nations. The limitation we put on such things is that we demand those "nations" be willing to reform to our standards: our standards being American standards of liberty and human expression. But we are also not bullies or colonialists, so we are restricted from running their system as we run ours (because we can't annex them as a US State). This means that we have to let the local leaders figure out their own rate of reform, like the Shah of Iran, like Musharraf of Pakistan, and like Maliki of Iraq. This is what we believe.

When others say that these leaders of such nations, like Diem, need to be "replaced" because they believe some other leader would make Iran/Iraq/Vietnam/Pakistan reform faster, classical liberals like me instantaneously recognize them as fake liberals or wannabe colonialists.

Conservatives or simply people that have an American first priority can be convinced of the classical liberal camp's arguments because liberty combined with security is the best way to secure America and prevent endless American loss of treasury and blood (to such nations as France, Germany, Europe, et all).

Isolationists, however, cannot be.

When Democrats talk about "working" with other nations, they are speaking of a Master-Slave relationship, with the US either being the Master or the Slave depending on what entity we are talking about (the UN or nations like Iraq or Iran). This is completely anathema to classical liberal philosophy, Elise. We do not believe that simply because another nation has less power and less secure institutions than us that we can govern them like a colony and expect them to make decisions that we believe is right without prioritizing the safety and interests of their own people first and foremost.

Carter is the perfect example of somebody expecting the Shah to bend knee to the US demands and disregard the Shah's own people. That is not consistent with classical liberal philosophy and principle.

So in relation to your original point, Elise: conservatives will find it difficult, but not impossible, to support a Master-Slave relationship amongst international agreements involving the US. Democrats, fake liberals, and their Leftist allies are far more likely, however, to agree that such a relationship is a good idea than conservatives.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 03:17 PM

They NEED to sell this if they really believe it, and "the discussion is over" isn't selling.

They are already selling this. Why do you think they are making a big deal out of this and getting funds for their research and pet projects right now?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 17, 2008 03:18 PM

"but we have better models now"

And we also have access to more and better data.

And the *data* says, "Bundle up."

Odd that the Dems don't believe that, since it worked so well for them in fundraising...

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 03:49 PM

"but we have better models now"

And you can make a model do whatever you want it to do. The GIGO Rule hasn't changed since computers used vacuum tubes.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 03:55 PM

The point is, they (the man-made global warmist folks, hereafter referred to as MMGW) claim that all the best data humanity possesses points to a coming global warming catastrophe. The PROBLEM is, the climatologists in the 70's said that all the best data that humanity possessed then pointed to a coming global cooling catastrophe.

"We know better now," is NOT a rational explanation. Based on that track record, I'd be sorely tempted to point out "Yeah, but what if we have even BETTER data thirty years from NOW that shows how we were wrong?" I guarantee if you had a time machine and went back thirty years to ask that very question to the world's leading climatologists, they'd laugh at the idea. Just like the ones today.

So clearly hubris is playing a part in this charade. Politicians and governments are rushing to 'find a solution' when, we've got no earthly idea if they're going to end up just as wrong as the folks thirty years ago were.

Posted by: MikeD at November 17, 2008 04:01 PM

BillT: We went to *Russia* -- specifically, Arkangel and Murmansk....SCOOOORE! This has gotta be a first...

yeah, yeah, yeah

so what

BFD

:-P

I knew that.

I was in a hurry.

uh.. well you know.

:-(

Truth is, I was thinking Manchuria (??) but also, I couldn't even remember the name of the Czech group (Czech Legion), only the bits and pieces of the story of how they commendeered the train and pretty much fought and robbed their way back to Europe....

MikeD & BillT: I don't know about the right or wrong of the global warming issues, but I watched some pretty interesting stuff on a series recently called the Blue Planet. Was very good, and we're waiting for the DVDs to arrive so I can watch it again, but it seemed to me that while we may not be doing quite the damage some say, that we are indeed doing some real damage. Of course, it may just be the system 'balancing' itself again, but for example, the Aral sea has always been a shrink and grow wet-spot, but in the past decade, it's supposedly got out of cycle and cannot recharge as it used to. Also, I was reading some reports a few months ago about the rising water level in the Adriatic and the Black Seas which is causing problems with off-shore oil-platforms and terminals. Not sure how much of that is true, how much is man-caused, but I just can't image we haven't had some negative impact on the environment. I just wish people would ratchet back the rhetoric and give us a list of things that need fixin' so we can get after it. Know what I mean?

Posted by: SangerM at November 17, 2008 04:05 PM

BillT: And you can make a model do whatever you want it to do. The GIGO Rule hasn't changed since computers used vacuum tubes.

And you remember that?

Wow! I mean I worked on Radars that had them, but computers? Double wow.

:-D

Posted by: SangerM at November 17, 2008 04:08 PM

Yanno, Sanger, I'm reeeeeally starting to wonder just why it is I thought I missed you so much.

Heh.

BTW, the Aral Sea shrinkage has nothing to do with climate change, it has to do with land use. Back in the '60s, the Sovs decided that the USSR would become self-sufficient in cotton and rice production, so they diverted the water from the only two rivers that fed the Aral into irrigation canals and paddies.

No water to replace the evaporation in the Aral = receding shoreline and a smaller Aral. Same thing's happening with Lake Chad. People are causing it, but not by changing the climate.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 04:43 PM

I was reading some reports a few months ago about the rising water level in the Adriatic and the Black Seas which is causing problems with off-shore oil-platforms and terminals.

Just did a quick search -- the water levels in the Black Sea have been rising continuously for at least 10,000 years. It's been rising at an average rate of several inches per year. The Adriatic is an arm of the Med, so there should be increased water levels throughout the basin, but there's nothing to show that's what's happening. I'm wondering if it's land subsidence rather than rising water.

Posted by: BillT at November 17, 2008 05:05 PM

Anyway, that's enough for now. I know that should come with a lot more explanation, and I regret packaging it as sloppily as I've done, but I think I've got my point out here. I hope it made sense.

Things would have made more sense from your end if you stopped using personal attacks against people who simply disagree with you, Sanger. I suppose that is too much to expect, neh, given that people are either dumb or smart to you based upon your own particular brand of prejudice filters.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 18, 2008 01:55 AM

*tsk*

The message, not the messenger.

Posted by: BillT at November 18, 2008 03:16 AM

I usually only judge people (myself included) as idiots or non-idiots, and even that's not a permanent categorization, except in the most advanced cases of atrophied idiothood.-SM

That's one of a kind.

You didn't happen to have answered this question already, didja? Humble apologies if I had missed such.

If you don't know why this is wrong, telling you isn't going to matter because you wouldn't believe it anyway. Jeez, Louise... Are you alone in there?-SM

Are you reduced to ad hominem attacks now that my arguments have been proven superior?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 18, 2008 07:19 AM

Ymar: "Carter certainly didn't mind sacrificing 18 SF personnel to save those hostages. The difference from Carter to Bush is that Bush actually has the intestinal fortitude to carry through with such missions, regardless of setbacks. Carter just used up 18 people's lives for no gain to America, our hostages, or our national security."

Eagle Claw was the most ill-conceived SF operation ever, but I can tell you one thing: Mr.Carter didn't plan it, and he certainly didn't fly the helicopters, nor did he cause the sandstorm, nor did he give the unusual instructions to fly below 200' (with radar contacts only at 3k), nor did was it his meteorological failure to predict the sandstorm (they are predictable sometimes), nor did the US have any experience with successful hostage rescue missions like this. Nor did any nation! This scenario was much different than those played out in Germany and with Israel where the hostages were located at airports and in the open.

Eagle Claw revealed that our SF capabilities were severely lacking in terms of hostage rescue and in particular in terms of low-altitude rotary aviation. We spent much of the 80's crashing our helicopters into hilly terrain at night in the US, developing this capability, albeit at a price.

Carter *should* have took one look at Eagle Claw and said 'no f'ing way this will work.' My impression is that he was quite skeptical of the plan, but when he started to run out of options, he was willing to try it. Now you call that 'sacrificing' our SF operators. I would venture that every operator on that mission was a fully willing participant, probably fired up to go.

Now you seem to argue that Carter was a wimp and that Bush would have 'carried on regardless of setbacks.' That doesn't make any sense. First off, the US military *did* carry on, coming up with plan #2, Credible Sport, which was even more ridiculous. However at that time the hostages had been scattered around Iran. So how exactly do you 'carry on regardless of setbacks?' The difference between Carter and GW.Bush in this situation is that GWB would launch 6 more Eagle Claw's before realizing he needed to fire the planner and come up with something better.

Ymar: "So it doesn't matter what SAVAK did or did not do. It only matters that Carter did create the Iran hostage situation from wayy back when the government of Iran wasn't the Revolutionary Council of Mullahs."

Sigh, you really think it doesn't matter what the SAVAK did huh? That the Shah used them to crush all political resistance, that they arrested all dissidents, and were the skilled practitioners of torture thanks to their degrees from the CIA Institute of Torture. All this takes place before Carter shows up.

Ymar: "the Shah presumably believed that showing his nation as a wealthy and clean tourist vacation, with lots of palaces and parties for the dignities from foreign nations, would net him a good result due to his gamble. It didn't, mostly because Carter, not Reagan, was in power in the US."

So you're saying if Reagan was President, the Iranian Hostage Crisis and/or the Iranian Revolution would never have happened? Wow, that is a bold claim. BTW, what is that 'good result' the Shah is looking for? Pure altruism for 'his people'? By showing off his palaces to dignitaries? How would Reagan have affected domestic sentiment towards the Shah? The only thing Reagan did differently than Carter was agree to sell arms to the Iranians; that was the key to getting the hostages, and it was something Carter wouldn't do on principle. Call that what you will; pragmatism must dominate a Presidency and that was Carter's biggest failure.

So the reason for the Revolution couldn't possibly be that the Iranian people were socially conservative and basically fundamentalist in their believes, and that the Shah's reforms were a direct and forcefully imposed assault on this? A good analogy is the outrage Christian conservatives share over gay marriage; imagine that times about 100 and you're close to the disruption in Iranian society. But your argument is that its basically Carter's fault and Savior Reagan could have kept it from happening??? Seriously?

But I want to go back to something you said: "The difference from Carter to Bush is that Bush actually has the intestinal fortitude to carry through with such missions, regardless of setbacks." What does that mean, 'intestinal fortitude'? There are lots and lots of places we could throw soldiers' lives away and stay fighting for years, maintaining our 'intestinal fortitude'. If we had really wanted, we could probably still be fighting in Vietnam. We wouldn't have won; we'd still be in the middle of a fight, but it would show our great 'resolve'.

Sometimes knowing when enough lives have been lost is the *better* part of judgment. Certainly your Savior Reagan made that distinction when he left Lebanon, despite both he and his VP saying that the US would stay and not be intimidated by terrorists, and that we would find and strike those responsible (which we never really did). Is that 'intestinal fortitude'? Did Clinton lack 'intestinal fortitude' to pull our troops out of Somalia (after they were put in by HW.Bush) after the 'Black Hawk Down' incident? IMHO, not at all; his only mistake was not to leave sooner; that place is a mess where we can't do anything.

Having the will to commit troops and stomach casualties and having 'intestinal fortitude' as I'm perceiving it are not the same thing. I do not believe there is a significant difference in parties in terms of *Presidents* on this issue, with perhaps the exception of GWB and Carter at the extremes of the spectrum. FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and yeah to some extent even Clinton all showed both strong 'hawkish' aspects when pressed to defend the country, and restraint when called for. The best example I can think of is the Cuban Missile Crisis; a young President who had screwed up the Bay of Pigs now faced nuclear war. And thankfully he didn't say "I looked deep into Khrushchev's eyes, and I saw his soul... and I said: 'Bring it on.'"

Posted by: libtard at November 18, 2008 08:45 AM

Did Clinton lack 'intestinal fortitude' to pull our troops out of Somalia (after they were put in by HW.Bush) after the 'Black Hawk Down' incident? IMHO, not at all; his only mistake was not to leave sooner; that place is a mess where we can't do anything.

They were put in by GHW Bush to protect the UN food distributors, and were scheduled to depart right after Clinton took office. Clinton ordered them to remain and *changed the mission* to one of keeping the warlords under control, which they weren't equipped to do. The task force commander requested armored vehicles *twice* and his requests were denied.

Remember what triggered the incident? Bill Clinton ordered the task force to arrest Mohamed Farah Aideed in retaliation for the clan murder of 12 *UN* peacekeepers...

Posted by: BillT at November 18, 2008 09:22 AM

BillT: Like I said, not sure about the reasons for the Adriatic sea level rise. I recall the article said it was up in the air re: causes, and I cannot recall if there was an even rise across the whole Med, but that would seem to make sense, eh? Once again, I'd just like some straight facts and a 'do' list. I really don't need to be convinced one way or the other, but all the noise is clouding everyone's judgment I think.

Libtard & BillT: Your points about Desert one, Somalia, Carter, and Clinton (and all the rest) are dead on. I worked for 3 years where a bunch of SOF types gathered for school and where really-truly-been-there-done-that experts came to speak all the time about real-deal stuff. The discussions were always candid and always aimed at preventing similar things from happening in the future, and there was never a hint of self-defense, or an attempt to gloss over failings. I listened to people of all ranks and job titles who had eye-witness or blame-line experience talk about Desert Storm, Somalia, Desert One, Son Tay, Beirut, 9/11, Panama invasion, Haiti invasion, Khobar Towers, and on and on--I even got to meet General Dozier, who had been kidnapped by the Red Brigade in Italy (his advice, "Don't answer the door."). It was often hard to hear, but always it was clear that the people involved were there because they chose to be, that they were doing the best job they possibly could given the time and circumstances, and that they would go back to do it over if only to try to make it right. So what's my point? That you guys have it right and that the folks who see conspiracy or ineptitude at every level are either immensely uninformed and don't care to get a clue, or they are intentionally self-blindered ('cause it feels godly to have all that power to be passionately ignorant, dontcha know). As I've said all along, I despise Carter, but the Shah was the main reason he lost his throne, and as you have pointed out so well, it wasn't Carter who made Desert One fail; moreover, and some good did come of that, though it's only recognizable as such in hindsight.

V/R

Posted by: SangerM at November 18, 2008 10:44 AM

I don't know about the right or wrong of the global warming issues, but I watched some pretty interesting stuff on a series recently called the Blue Planet.

While the footage was very pretty, I couldn't stand watching it. First off, it was boring as hell. I could take only so much of Sigourny Weaver's monotone drone before changing the channel. Second, there was a LOT of global warming propaganda. I remember catching part of the Polar episode. And after hearing how the penguins had to travel farther and farther in order to reach the sea because of global warming (apparently, it's harder to find open water amongst all the ice because it's hotter?) and then being told about the poor polar bears starving to death and drowning because of the lack of sea ice (while that's at least not as nonsensical sounding as the penguin bit, it's still untrue), I had to flip it off. Take that how you will. I don't mind someone making a program talking up their theories and opinions. But don't lie and present them as facts.

The only program that gets under my skin more is that foolish End of the World show where they pick the five most likely means that humanity will die. They go through the classics like an asteroid hit, nuclear war, and even the Grey Goo of nanobots gone crazy. And what do they pick as the #1 greatest threat to the survival of mankind? Global Warming. I mean COME ON! Even at the most insane estimates put forth by the MMGW folks, I've heard 10 foot rise in sea level and the bread baskets of the world moving north (so Canada will have the corn and grain belts of our Midwest). And all this on less of a temperature increase than the world saw during the Medieval Warm Period (when the best wines came out of England rather than France). And they couldn't even explain how this was supposed to kill all of humanity. They just kept talking about how "it's coming and there's nothing we can do to stop it". Ok... but your program is about how all of humanity will die. If you can't even tell me how it's supposed to kill anyone not stupid enough to ignore the rising sea level for 50 the years it would take to drown them, then how am I to believe it will "kill us all"? Just dumb and scaremongering.

Posted by: MikeD at November 18, 2008 11:37 AM

...the penguins had to travel farther and farther in order to reach the sea because of global warming

Everybody knows seawater freezes solid when it warms up. That's no longer a subject for debate, by the way.

...then being told about the poor polar bears starving to death and drowning because of the lack of sea ice

Actually, they're dying of arteriosclerosis caused by eating all the baby harp seals that can't hide under the ice any more.

Ok... but your program is about how all of humanity will die.

Nup. Their program is all about *ratings*.

All of humanity will die of frustration, wondering why we didn't send the Gorbal Worming mob up to take water samples off Ellesmere Island in January, dressed only in ice-blue thongs, when we had the chance...

Posted by: BillT at November 18, 2008 01:03 PM

BillT: "They were put in by GHW Bush to protect the UN food distributors, and were scheduled to depart right after Clinton took office."

Sorry Bill, you got that one wrong. On Dec 4th, 1992, HW.Bush announced Operation Restore Hope, the US contribution to UNITAF, which was a transitional UN effort to stabilize Somalia. Now, you are correct that the UN scheduled UNOSOM II (the relief effort) to take over on March 26, 1993, but this did not occur until early May, and it was noted that the security situation was not notably improved under UNITAF. At this time (early May), Clinton reduced the level of combat troops and ordered them replaced with UN troops. So we went from 25,000 troops to 1200 combat and 3000 support during this time.

Now, US troops were also always intended to be part of UNOSOM II; remember HW.Bush offered the UN the UNITAF/UNOSOM II plan in Nov.1992 after the spectacular failure of UNOSOM I. So one month after UNOSOM II actually starts up, Aidid, who's still got his war going, proposes talks between the warlords.

Before that can happen, 24 Pakistani soldiers with the UN get ambushed and killed in an Aidid area, which thus resulted in the passing of UN resolution 837: basically "go get the ba$tard". Your take was "Bill Clinton ordered the task force to arrest Mohamed Farah Aideed in retaliation for the clan murder of 12 *UN* peacekeepers..." Just saying there is a bit of a difference.

Clinton ordered them to remain and *changed the mission* to one of keeping the warlords under control, which they weren't equipped to do. The task force commander requested armored vehicles *twice* and his requests were denied.

Clinton did not change the mission; the UN transitioned to UNOSOM II before security was ever established, and certainly the mission of UNITAF was to control the warlords, to which our troops should have been prepared.

As for the armored vehicles..hmm..I seem to remember this complaint just recently: against IED's in Iraq. The answer? "You go to war with the army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have." (Rumsfeld) Now the denial of *reinforcements* to avoid the perception of 'too big of a force'; you're dead-on: a dumb move by Les Aspin/Clinton.

Anyway, Clinton certainly was not any kind of genius in dealing with this situation, however I do think its unfair to pin the blame so squarely on him

Posted by: libtard at November 18, 2008 01:03 PM

...to which our troops should have been prepared.

Which means they should have gone over *with* armor, and were told they'd be doing without. After arriving and viewing the mess, they twice explained the situation on the ground, twice requested armor, and were twice refused by SecDef.

...however I do think its unfair to pin the blame so squarely on him

As it is unfair to poke GHWB and downplay Clinton's role.

However, dynamite research job on the events prior to and resulting in the Mogadishu fiasco -- I was citing from my memory, which is evidently in need of some cobweb removal.

Posted by: BillT at November 18, 2008 02:45 PM

More on Lib's goodies later.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 18, 2008 07:57 PM

Mr.Carter didn't plan it, and he certainly didn't fly the helicopters, nor did he cause the sandstorm, nor did he give the unusual instructions to fly below 200' (with radar contacts only at 3k), nor did was it his meteorological failure to predict the sandstorm (they are predictable sometimes), nor did the US have any experience with successful hostage rescue missions like this. Nor did any nation! This scenario was much different than those played out in Germany and with Israel where the hostages were located at airports and in the open.

When you are the chief exec, all blame falls on you when something goes wrong. The only way that is tolerable is that all credit falls to you as well if there is a success. Had Carter successfully gotten those hostages back, he likely would have been re-elected.

So "Mr. Carter didn't plan it" sounds like the Gestapo when they said "I didn't plan it, I just ordered it".

Now you call that 'sacrificing' our SF operators. I would venture that every operator on that mission was a fully willing participant, probably fired up to go.

So they fired up to go risk their lives so that Carter could pull a coward and not send anybody else up to finish the job if something bad happened on the op? The SF didn't join up to sacrifice their lives for Carter's image, Lib. The SF joined for many reasons, one of them being De Oppresso Liber.

Now you seem to argue that Carter was a wimp and that Bush would have 'carried on regardless of setbacks.'

Bush has carried on regardless of setbacks on Iran, and more than 18 died for OIF and Petraeus' Surge: more died than that in Fallujah 1 or 2.

Reagan would have carried on regardless of setbacks as well.

So how exactly do you 'carry on regardless of setbacks?'

I'm sure it is easy for you to sacrifice, in vain, the lives of 18 people and then just say "ah, it's hard, I'll just stop here". That sounds like you, Lib. Sounds like Carter too. Heck, it is Carter.

Sigh, you really think it doesn't matter what the SAVAK did huh?

If it mattered that much concerning SAVAK's actions in Iraq, it wouldn't have mattered, for they would have killed Khomeini when they had caught him. At least, they would have kept him locked up forever under daily torture. Khomeini and much of his network of operators: why do you think Khomeini stayed in Paris so long?

Wow, that is a bold claim.

Just as bold as your claim that you'd order 18 people to their deaths and then drop the mission obj once it got hard.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 19, 2008 10:46 PM

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