Friday, December 31, 2004
The Council Has Spoken !
Best Council Link:
Spinning the Numbers Alpha Patriot
Best Non-Council Link:
Academic Freedom, Hate Mail and David Horowitz La Shawn Barber's Corner
This week's submissions are all excellent. Check out all the winners at the Watcher's blog "Watcher of Weasels" !
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Some New Year's Advice
P.S. I'll be back posting on Saturday afternoon!
Happy New Year !
I never imagined how much fun it would be or how addictive! I have tried to bring my own special areas of expertise into my blog. There was a lot to learn and early on (and still!) but I discoved that it is very exciting and humbling to have others read and comment on my posts. I am grateful to all the bloggers that have linked to me--large and small. I am grateful for all the comments and email my posts generate
The blogsphere is like a cornucopia of wonderful treats and delights. I was honored (and still am)to have become a member of the Watcher's Council and look forward to continuing my participation there in the new year.
I have put together below a listing of some of my favorite posts of the last six months. It actually serves several uses to do this! One is to have a central place where my favorite pieces are all located, and the other is to introduce to my newer readers some posts I wrote befoe they visited for the first time. I am certainly grateful for all those who take the time to read this blog, whether they agree with me or not--even whether they like me or not! Blogging is a wonderful way to express one's ideas, opinions, thoughts, and emotions. I recommend it to everyone--just be prepared, because in the free market of ideas you will inevitably run into those who won't like yours and have no hesitation in telling you so!
If you have some extra time to read this New Year (e.g., in-between football games) I recommend the following two long pieces: 1) Norman Podhoretz' writes in Commentary Magazine on "World War IV: How it Started, What it Means, and Why We Have to Win"; and 2) this post from Winds of Change, summarizing and analyzing OBL's audiotapes over the last month and what they might mean (hat tip: Papa Ray, from my Comments section).
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL !
Now, here are some of my favorites from my own blog. Cheers!
35th Anniversary of Apollo 11
Psychiatry 101 : Psychological Defense Mechanisms
Optimism versus Pessimism
The Wonderful World of Denial
Histrionics As A Determinant of National Policy
For Our Children's Children
Defenders of Truth
The Doctor is Somewhat Confused About These Memos...
It's So Unfair
Enabling Behavior For Terrorism
The "Girlie Women" of Today's Feminist Movement
A Lesson in Narcissistic Rage
The Psychopathology of Terrorism, Part I
President Bush's Optimistic Vision
The Left's Rainbow Hypocrisy
John Kerry's World
A Short Course on How to Be A Victim
That Way Lies Madness
The Psychology of Bush Hatred
The Psychopathology of Terrorism, Part II
The Pirates of the U.N.
A Nuanced Meaning of Tolerance
The Psychiatric Costs of War
Arafat Burial Suggestion
Best of Dr. Sanity's Election Posts
Come Back When You Grow Up, Girl
Poor Man, History Has Passed Him By
Polish the Boot
Delicious Blasphemy (The Taliban Rag)
Paranoia and Projection
Projection is attributing one's own unacknowledged feelings to others; includes severe prejudice, severe jealousy, hypervigilance to external danger, and "injustice collecting". EXAMPLE, EXAMPLE, EXAMPLE, EXAMPLE, EXAMPLE . Most young children use projection as a defense mechanism, and it is considered normal for a child.
Projection is never a good long-term strategy--nor is it healthy--in an adult; and using such a defense mechanism represents a primitive attempt to shirk the responsibility for one's own feelings, thoughts, and actions. It causes and has caused much human misery, death, destruction and some of the most horrific acts that humans are capable of. When entire countries subscribe to a projected delusion (e.g., the "Jews" are to blame; the "Blacks" are the cause of all of our problems; "Republicans" are evil) it can lead to genocide and other behaviors that are paranoid and psychotically delusional. Full-blown paranoia occurs when one's mind severs the connection with reality entirely. Paranoia is a symptom of mental illness.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Standing on the Sidelines Sneering
In other words, support for Bush's Iraq policy is an astounding half again as big in the active military as in the American body politic.
And, in the words of the Army Times report on the poll, "Support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting."
It seems that the people who are actually putting their lives on the line believe in what they are doing — and that those who have spent the most time in harm's way are the most passionate of all.
Job satisfaction in the military, the poll found, is a breathtaking 87 percent, and only a quarter of those polled say they want out.
Podhoretz goes on to say:
But what is not heartening is this sobering fact: We can locate the decline in support for the war effort almost entirely inside the Democratic Party.
By a margin of 80-19, Democrats now say they oppose the decision to go to war. The margin among Republicans is exactly the reverse: 80 percent of GOPers support the war, while 19 percent disapprove.
This is not only a partisan divide. It's a cultural divide. As the year 2004 ends, the rank and file of the Democratic Party has turned decisively and profoundly against the military effort in Iraq. And there is reason to believe it won't be long before they turn on the military as well.
Throughout the year, Democratic politicians have been trying to split the difference with the military — saying they support the troops while opposing the war. But that kind of sophistry won't stand.
The military wants to fight this war. Democrats don't. How long before Democrats decide that our men and women in uniform are just extensions of the president and party they detest — a bunch of warmongering, bloodthirsty and stupid imperialists?
Democratic Party bottom-feeders — like the odd and unpleasant people who inhabit the comments sections on Web sites like dailykos.com and democraticunderground.com — have already long since started spewing their bile at our soldiers, sailors and Marines.
I agree with Podhoretz that this is a cultural divide, but it is also an ideological one. It is reflected not only in the Democrat's unwillingness to do what needs to be done to win the war on terror; but also in their unwillingness to find fault with the UN; unwillingness to acknowledge an ailing and overburdened Social Security System that cannot last forever; and unwillingness, frankly, to move into the 21st century.
The so-called "Progressives" have become regressive and demand that there be no changes to the old ways; no new ideas or perspectives. They yearn for the utopian Clinton years when they felt they could understand the world. But things have become topsy-turvy and all the old formulas and slogans have lost their meaning (if they ever had any) since Fukayama's end of history.
Michael Barone opines on the transformation from forward to backward-looking here. New ideas, new perspectives--hell, even new threats--aren't enough to convince the Democrats and other assorted Leftists that they should move into the new millennium. They prefer to go kicking, screaming, sniping, and whining. Hindrocket at Powerline puts it very well:
This is, of course, the fundamental political debate of our time. It is between those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and try to make the world a better place, and those who offer no alternative but prefer to stand on the sidelines and sneer.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
A Sense of Entitlement
This attitude is normally seen in toddlers, who want what they want and they want it now. Every parent has had to deal with this kind of whining. When you see this attitude repeatedly in an adult, then you know you are dealing with psychopathology. Many adults whimper at the slightest inconvenience, delay, or restriction. Why? Because, like toddlers, they are convinced they deserve what they want when they want it. They are "entitled" to it.
That brings me to the latest whining from the United Nations. It is impossible to make this stuff up:
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."
"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."
This unbelievable statement was made after the U.S. made an initial $15 Million dollars available (the most of any country of the world) for immediate aid to the striken area. This does not even include the food and other humanitarian aid that the U.S. is making available, nor does it count the enormous private efforts of U.S. citizens which will be forthcoming and likely be substantial.
In an incredible turnaround, it is the "World" which seems to believe that the U.S. "owes" it a living. There seems to be no end to the sense of entitlement that every country in the world directs towards the U.S.
Like the toddler whose endless demands are interspersed with the "I hate you! I hate you!" when they don't get their way, the many countries of the world seem to think that the U.S. is a neverending source of money and goods that flow effortlessly from some mysterious source. I especially like the comment that "there would be more available if taxes were raised".
If it wasn't clear before, it must be crystal clear to Americans that the U.N. believes the benefits of their work and effort are to be redistributed to the entire world--if the oil-for-food scandal hadn't already awakened them.
American generosity and goodwill takes second place to noone. And I have no doubt that the generous people of this country will be contributing substantially and probably in greater amounts than any other people--all WITHOUT a raise in their taxes. But WE really are not the problem. The problem is the narcissistic sense of entitlement, perfectly exemplified by an official of the United Nations. This sense of entitlement led these same officials to waste billions of dollars (most of it American Taxpayer money) increasing the wealth of one of the world's greatest desposts. Not only are they in no position to make moral judgements on the U.S., but the fact that they continue to do so indicates a degree of psychopathology that is unlikely to change by any rational appeal to their good sense, because they clearly have none.
Why does the U.S. have any need to placate these narcissistic, entitled, whining, incompetent thugs? It is time for the U.S. to do the civilized thing. It is time to get out of this League of Looters.
UPDATE: (via Instapundit) "Stingy, eh?" - my sentiments exactly.
UPDATE II: The Amazon.com site above has now collected over $2Million and growing.
UPDATE III: Jonah Goldberg has some interesting statistics in his column about US support of the UN. Check it out. And this NY Post editorial.
The Santy Name
"Santy" is actually a shortened Italian name. My father told the story that when he entered the Marines in WWII, his drill instructor ordered him to shorten it so that it was pronouncable. Hence the original name "Santanastassia" became "Santy". I don't know how true this story is, but some of my relatives spell the name "Santi" and some "Santy". The original Italian was likely "Sant'Anastasia" --or Saint Anastasia.
On the northern slopes of Mt. Vesuvius is a village called St. Anastasia. This is near to Naples where my grandfather was born, and it is likely that at one point our relatives came from that village. In the past, it was common in parts of Europe for the surname to come from the village or town a person was from. My mother's family (Rizzi) came from Bari, Italy, so both sets of grandparents were naturalized American citizens, with my parents being 1st generation American citizens.
St. Anastasia was a very interesting saint (see here) and is associated with Christmas since she was martyred (by beheading) on December 25th sometime in the 4th century in Rome. She is commemorated in the 2nd mass of Christmas, and was once considered an important Italian saint.
My only regret is that my father shortened the name, since I think it is rather a special thing for our family to be named after a saint. As opposed to a computer virus!
Monday, December 27, 2004
1. Anyone in Iraq who is predisposed to actually believe Bin Laden (“The constitution imposed by the American occupier (Paul) Bremer is blasphemous ... and anyone who takes part in this election consciously and willingly is an infidel.” ) will not vote, thus eliminating any candidates that might lean in Bin Laden's direction.
2. If I know human nature, those who AREN'T predisposed to believe (or believe in) Bin Laden will be ticked off that this non-Iraqi is trying to interfere in THEIR election, and will be MORE likely to vote.
3. OBL actually endorses the murdering Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq! Any Iraqi with any sense realizes that this scumbag has been murdering Iraqis indiscriminately and basically using the same terror tactics that Saddam used to keep them in line for three decades. Does anyone think they want to go back to those idyllic days? (except, of course, for the moonbats of the world).
4. Once again, OBL shows the world his contempt for the process of freedom and democracy.
Yes, Indeed. It is clear that Osama is desperate. Just as he was when he released the videotape before the US election. He can't actually DO anything, so he must bluster and fatwatise. All he can do is issue videotape messages to the media from his cave.
Tony Blair gets it just right: (from the Weekly Standard, January 3/January10 2005):
Sometimes when I see some of the reporting of what's happening in Iraq in the rest of the world, I just feel that people should understand how precious what has been created here is. And those people from that electoral commission that I described as the heroes fo the new Iraq--every day...a lot of them aren't living in the Green Zone, they've got to trave in from outside. They do not know at any point in time whether they're going to be subject to brutality or intimidation, even death, and yet they carro on doing it. Now what a magnificent example of the human spirit--that's the side we should be on.
Make no mistake about it--this is a battle over whether the human spirit --that yearns for freedom and self-expression in every living soul--will be free at last in Iraq; or enslaved once again--this time by fanatics like Bin Laden and his allies whose only goal is to destroy that spirit.
Which side are you on?
What Cannot Be Forseen
In an abstract way, the information flows surrounding the Tsunami of December 2004 structurally resembled those preceding the Pearl Harbor and September 11 attacks. The raw data announcing the unfolding threat was there, yet the pattern so evident in hindsight was invisible to those who were not looking for it. But if tsunamis and asteroid strikes are rare events, they are comparatively more common than that still rarer object, the unprecedented event: the something that has never happened before. Threats like that can emerge suddenly out of chaotic systems, like WMD terrorism or new viral plagues. Against such events, specific precautions are impossible because no one can prepare for what cannot be foreseen. The real challenge is not so much to create a new dedicated network of staring systems against known threats but to tie current sensors to systems which are capable of cognition. The most valuable survival asset is situational awareness -- the ability to recognize threats you have never seen before and respond in an evolving manner -- and that capability has not yet come to the world as a whole.
The Belmont Club's analysis and analogy is ever so much more helpful than the sniping that has already begun (and is documented in Wretchard's post) to try to blame the loss of life in this terrible natural disaster on...who else? Here's a few samples from the Sydney Morning Herald quoted by Wretchard:
A pity our army is busy fighting America's immoral war when they should be
providing assistance to the affected areas. - Shane Arnold
These divine winds show that the Gods are displeased with the world's state of affairs. - Tomoyuki Yamashita
An opportunity for western governments to divert some funds to aid
assistance projects rather than their billion dollar war obsessions. - Mother
This latest tragic disaster should open all our eyes to the fact that the world seems to already have its "hands full" coping with seemingly ongoing natural disasters rather than creating such man made disasters as we have contributed to in Iraq. - wayne gregory
Dont expect a genuinely compassionate response from the U.S. Government, as a "war on earthquakes" will not be as profitable as good ol' terrorism - Nick Loveday
Isn't the Left lovely? They never miss an opportunity to advertise their slogans or show their compassion (except check out which states are less generous here). However, the private citizens of the U.S. donate more money, goods, and disaster relief to the world than any government on earth (here, here).
What is interesting about Wretchard's analysis is that there is something to be learned from this most horrible of natural disasters in which more than 21,000 people died.--not only in preventing future natural disasters, but in general in preventing "what canot be forseen". Read the whole article.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
2004 According to Dave Barry
Weekly Insanity Roundup
1. Proof that "no Muslim could be a terrorist?" Yeah, right.
2. John L. Kerry? (hat tip: LGF) I wonder what the "L" stands for?
3. Kofi Annan, master of the understatement. Ususally I find it particularly difficult to believe anything he says.
4. Bowling for Palestine. Sheeesh.
5. I'm just shocked by this. Who would have thought? It's probably Bush's fault.
6. Unbelievable. It's clear that someone has stolen the brains of the writers and producers anyway. UPDATE: Oh My God! The infection is spreading! Will these people believe anything?
7. The cat came back.... We thought he was a goner!
8. Losing his grip on power? He lost his grip on reality a long time ago.
9. Popular video game....or insidious Communist propaganda tool??? I report, you decide! (via The Corner)
10. Clearly the Martians are more advanced than we thought! But...carwashes?
11. Alaska??? And they still haven't counted the ones in my garage! (As my old boss at NASA used to say, we'll just keep on trying until we get the "right" answer)
He Will Blog No More
I discovered the USS Clueless blog about a year ago when I first started reading blogs. I thought then (and I think now) that Den Beste has a brilliant mind and I always found the material on his site to be thought-provoking.
I am sorry for his illness and I wish him the best in whatever he decides to do in the future.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Happy Christmas to All !
And, for your Christmas enjoyment:
Track Santa with NORAD (via Rantingprofs)
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
Nuts to Them !
On Dec. 22, 1944, almost 60 years ago to the day 22 people died in a mess tent in Mosul, Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne, surrounded in Bastogne, Belgium, by a German offensive that was not expected, responded to a Nazi surrender demand with the famous one word response: "Nuts!"
Things don't always go as planned in war. We certainly found that out in World War II, when our first encounter with the Nazi Wehrmacht, at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, in February 1943, using outdated tanks and tactics, was a disaster.
As Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld put it recently: "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have." We learned from our mistakes at Kasserine, and we went on from there to victory. Yet there were more surprises to come.
One wonders how today's press would have handled getting bogged down and taking heavy casualties on Omaha Beach or plodding through hedge row country. Yet nobody said the D-Day assault on Hitler's Festung Europa was badly planned or mismanaged. Our eyes remained on the prize.
On Dec. 16, 1944, Allied forces were surprised by Hitler's last great offensive, and found themselves in the single biggest engagement in which U.S. troops have ever fought. Yet no one demanded Eisenhower resign because he didn't expect the Battle of the Bulge.
Allied intelligence had reports of a transfer of German troops from the Russian Front to the Western front in the fall of 1944, and there was evidence they were regrouping in the Ardennes. But six months after the invasion of Normandy, the war seemed won. The information was not forwarded up the chain of command. In today's vernacular, nobody had bothered to connect the dots.
The battle would involve three German and three American armies and three British divisions, more than a million men. Americans would suffer 80,000 casualties and 19,000 dead — 500 a day. Yet few demanded to know why our intelligence failed. There were no hearings, no demands foe Eisenhower's scalp.
The Nazis had taken everything into account except the sheer determination of the American GI and a nation that knew victory would be worth the price being paid. Operation Iraqi Freedom should be no different. Patience and courage won the day in the Ardennes. It will again in Iraq.
Like General McAuliffe, I say, "Nuts!" to the terrorists; "Nuts!" to the Mainstream media; and "Nuts!" to all the doom and gloom purveyors on the Left and Right. If you can't see what is at stake here, then you have lost any credibility with me. I am glad you not around when my father fought in WWII.
In the safe retrospect of 50 years, you praise him and his brothers as "the Greatest Generation"; but you haven't the sense to see that OUR generation is engaged in a war whose outcome may determine the course of human events for centuries to come. And our response to this challenge will determine our place in history. Will we live up to our fathers' sacrifices? Or, will we be known as the "Loser Generation" --the ones who abandoned the fight for Liberty and Democracy because it was too hard? Nuts to that.
The Council Has Spoken !
Here are the Winners for Best Council Link:
#1 Witchhunt Dr. Sanity
#2 Castro: US Equals Nazis The Sundries Shack
(and I highly recommend How To Be a Liberal University Professor, a Case Study by The Resplendent Mango)
Here are the Winners for Best Non-Council Link:
#1 Ratman of the Far Abroad The Diplomad (great analogy)
#2 Ten More Reasons to Hate Rumsfeld Sean Gleeson (very funny!)
And, for an extra special present in your stocking, check out all the winners at Watcher of Weasels for this week!
Thursday, December 23, 2004
VDH on Donald Rumsfeld
The Washington Post recently warned that doctors are urging interested parties of all types to get their flu shots before the "scarce" vaccine is thrown out. But how is such a surfeit possible when our national media scared us to death just a few months ago with the specter of a national flu epidemic, corporate malfeasance, and Bush laxity? That perfect storm of incompetence and skullduggery purportedly combined to leave us vulnerable to mass viral attack. So how can the Post now characterize something as "scarce" that is soon to be discarded for a want of takers? Was there too much or too little vaccine?
The answer, of course, is the usual media-inspired flight from reason that overwhelms this country at various times — hype playing on our fears and groupthink to create a sudden story when there really is none. And now with the renewed attack on Donald Rumsfeld we are back to more of the flu-shot hysteria that has been so common in this war. Remember the pseudo-crises of the past four years — the quagmire in week three in Afghanistan or the sandstorm bog-down in Iraq?
Let us not forget either all the Orwellian logic: Clinton's past deleterious military slashes that nevertheless explained the present win in Afghanistan, or his former appeasement of bin Laden that now accounts for the successful doctrine of fighting terror. Or recall the harebrained schemes we should have adopted — the uninvited automatic airlifting of an entire division into the high peaks of Islamic, nuclear Pakistan to cut off the tribal fugitives from Tora Bora? Or have we put out of our memories the brilliant trial balloons of a Taliban coalition government and the all Islamic post-Taliban occupation forces?
So it is with the latest feeding-frenzy over Donald Rumsfeld.
VDH is always worth reading, but his military perspective is especially welcome in this discussion. Read the entire essay.
Victims of Life
I am writing to you because a student recently contacted me to question her final grade in my class. First, she wanted me to explain our complex grading system. As you know, this involves adding your three test scores together and dividing by three. Fortunately, I was able to convince her that there had been no computational errors so we could move on to the issue that was really bothering her. She had had a “rough” semester and wanted me to give her some “consideration” for the difficulties she had encountered, which, according to her, adversely affected her performance in my class.
In addition to breaking up with her boyfriend, this concerned student was having difficulty paying her bills and had to work 30 hours a week while taking fifteen credit hours last semester. These difficulties added up, in her opinion, to at least a one letter grade drop in her class performance.
I remember one first-year medical student who was in a class of mine on medical interviewing. This student spent the entire year goofing around; making jokes and generally disrupting the class (I will admit he was very funny); but for me the clincher was that he never turned in homework or demonstrated in any way that he had learned anything. He was outraged that I gave him a "C" in the class (which, by the way, is considered a really bad grade in med school because of issues of grade inflation which I won't get into here).
"You have ruined my medical career!" he shouted angrily at me.
"Nonsense," I replied. "Besides, you're lucky I passed you at all since you goofed off most of the year."
"But I though you liked me and the jokes I made!"
Well, yes, I explained to him. I did like his jokes, although I had told him more than once that they were somewhat disruptive of the class. And I liked him for what it was worth. His grade had nothing to do with not liking him. I though he was a funny and interesting person. But he didn't complete the work of the class and his being a funny interesting person didn't compensate in the least for that. Needless to say he was shocked, and ended up filing a complaint against me (nothing ever came of it, since I kept good records). But the point is the incredible sense of entitlement some students have. They expect that without work; without effort; without thought--that they can charm their way in life. Or excuse themselves with the "I'm just a poor victim"line. Just as in Adams' class the girl expected that events in her life should compensate for her poor performance. (I can hear it in her future job, say as a safety inspector at NASA: "Well, but you don't understand! I just got a divorce, so I shouldn't be expected to be able to pick up every mistake in my section of the Shuttle inspection! It's not my fault the bolt came loose on re-entry" etc. etc.)
Unfortunately, both my student and Adam's are probably somewhat correct in their philosophies. Many individuals who use the same techniques as our students, not only get by, but are rewarded for such behavior as adults.
A White Christmas
When I was little, my mother used to play "White Christmas" with great fanfare on the piano--it was her favorite song and I could listen to her play it over and over again. I suppose that is the origin of my love affair with both winter and Christmas.... Of course, living for 15 years in the hot, humid, miserable climate of Houston, Texas very likely reinforced it. But...enough psychologizing...I'm going out to play in the snow.
Here's a "White Christmas" link you might enjoy (those of you who are stuck in non-wintery environments especially).
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
I wonder what would have happened in WWII if the death of every soldier was trumpeted across the headlines as evidence of hopelessness and imminent defeat? I wonder how the American people would have responded? I wonder if bloggers like Kos living then would have said: "FDR Destroys 20,000 more families" after Iwo Jima? I wonder why these people cannot allow themselves to believe that anything is worth dying for? I wonder why freedom is a meaningless concept to them? I wonder why they think that our soldies are all conscripted and forced against their will to be in the military? I wonder when they will get a clue?
Yes. I wonder all these things, too. I wonder why the media are so hellbent on encouraging the terrorists to think that if they continue their bloody murders and attacks that democracy won't happen in Iraq. I wonder why Afghanistan success meant nothing to them? I wonder why they hate America so much?
I wonder all these things and more. Then I remember that I am a psychiatrist and I look at what's happening with my psychiatric hat on. And I don't wonder any more. I begin to see a pattern in all the anti-American behavior and rhetoric; in all the anti-democracy, anti-globalization; anti-Imperialistic; anti-War; anti-Israel; anti-freedom screaming and hysteria. I begin to see the narcissistic, self-serving delusions of people who absolutely refuse to face reality and expect reality to conform to their ideology and not the other way round. I see anger, hatred and fear disguised as intellectual superiority and rationalization. I see people who are fanatic about moderates and moderate about fanatics. Who give a free pass to evil because that way they can blame the usual suspects (you know-capitalism; greed; selfishness; the U.S., Israel; ) and not have to take any responsibility for their own behavior or beliefs.
Let me quote from Jean-Francois Revel, whose book Anti-Americanism was a revelation for me when it first came out, and continues to inspire me as I read it again during my Christmas vacation:
Europe in general and [the]Left in particular absolve themselves of their own moral failings and their grotesque intellectual errors by heaping them onto the monster scapegoat, the United States of America. For stupidity and bloodshed to vanish from Europe, the U.S., contrary to every lesson of real history, must be identified as the singular threat to democracy. Even during the Cold War, although it was the U.S.S.R. that annexed Eastern Europe, made satellites out of several African countries, and invaded Afghanistan, and although it was the People's Republic of China that marched into Tibet, attacked South Korea and subjugated three Indochinese countries, it remained dogma amond Europeans [and all Leftist intellectuals- ed.]--from Sweden to Sicily, from Athens to Paris--that the only power that could be fingered as "imperialistic" was America.
Just as in the Cold War, where the Communists and Socialists (whose policies resulted in the death of millions; and who managed to increase the human misery index to unheard of heights while impoverishing every country where they came into power)--were given a free pass by the Left; these same so-called Leftist "intellectuals"in Europe and in America now give a free pass to the human scum who practice the murder of innocents and behead people while mouthing religious slogans. They rave about "women's rights" trampled by George W. Bush; while simultaneously praising a culture where women are no better than dogs; where they can be murdered for daring to speak out against their oppressors. (If you can stomach it, go here to link to pictures of the latest atrocity meted out to a woman in the enlightened Muslim country of Iran--via Pejmanesque)
During the Cold War, these "intellectuals" made a mental alliance with Communism and Socialism; now they have made it with Terrorism and Islamofascism. They used to cry that it was because of the poverty inflicted by Capitalism that people justifiably turned to Communism; now they cry that it is the poverty in the Middle East --caused, of course, by the West and Capitalism--that leads to the heinous acts of terrorism around the world. Studies that show that Terrorists primarily come from the middle class and that Freedom (under which Capitalism can thrive) squelches terrorism--do not deter the anti-West proclamations . The Left's strategy is the same now as it was during the Cold War: declare everyone supported by the Left as "victims" since it is the easiest way to prevent any criticism of them. Thus, perpetrators of terrorism are simply poor, helpless "victims" of U.S. Imperialism or Capitalism etc. etc.--you get the idea.
History, which has shown repeatedly that Capitalism has been the only system to bring large numbers of people out of poverty, is ignored; and despite all evidence that poverty is only increased or maintained and spread by the totalitarian regimes that adhere to rigid Socialist or Communist philosophy, the people of the Left remain religiously devout to their creed.
I call these people "intellectuals"-with the quotes- for a good reason. They should be called "hysterics" in the classic sense of the word, because their emotions are what control them, not their intellect. They seem incapable of learning from the history of the 20th century, and tragically seem impelled to repeat the same mistakes in the 21st.
I wonder if they are capable of any psychological insight into their own feelings and behavior? Or have they gone beyond in their mind to a place where reason is not able to reach anymore? I wonder....
A Window into Al-Qaeda
- There's been a solid string of captured couriers with audio casettes or letters from bin Laden to his subordinates and senior lieutenants since roughly August 2002, nearly all of which have been intercepted coming out of the Afghan-Pakistan border region. Recent information recovered from Fallujah has led US intelligence to believe that bin Laden is also in touch with Zarqawi through electronic means, though I have no idea as to exactly how.
- Spain may have given al-Qaeda their first victory, but Garzon, Spain's top anti-terrorism judge, is an apolitical kind of guy [Hispalibertas.com says: political] and hasn't let up on the fight against the organization. This apparently led to a plan by the remnants of the cell that carried out 3/11 to off him and destroy all the information he had on the group by staging a massive bombing of the national courthouse. I hope he has somebody starting his car every morning.
- Everyone at the conference seemed extremely confident that we had thwarted a pre-election terrorist plot of some kind. No clue what, when, or how and Shukrijumah unfortunately remains in circulation.
Read the entire summation, which is loaded with information on Al-Qaeda.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
From a Marine's father: (via PowerLine)
If [our son] had been killed, we would have been first informed by a visit - in dress blues - from a condolence team typically consisting of two Marines and one Navy Chaplain. We know many families who've received that knock on the door. No letter is required. No words are required. A simple peek thru the view hole in the door and the sight of dress blue blouses, white covers and white gloves tells you all you ever need to know. A letter of condolence from the SecDef is, honestly, not even worth opening. Families are much more interested in hearing from the men who served with their son and from their families. We share the constant knowledge and fear that it could be our door bell being rung. Sec. Rumsfeld doesn't know our son. He's a Lance Corporal. He directs a machine gun team. He is a vital link in the line that protects our way of life. He doesn't fight for his country, he doesn't fight for the SecDef, he doesn't even fight for his mom and dad. He fights for the guys on either side of him and for his team. He fights to secure his objective of the moment, which he may or may not understand or agree with. Sec Rumsfeld doesn't need to take time from his day to sign a form letter of condolence and he certainly doesn't need to take time to figure out what the LCpl was doing when he was killed or what kind of a man he was. His job is to make sure the LCpl didn't die in vain and that only as few LCpl's as possible will have to die to end this war in a successful manner.
Don't get me wrong, we would appreciate the condolence letter from the SecDef, as well as one from the White House and from our Senator and Representative, from the Mayor and Governor. But none would bring back our son. And they are all form letters, signatures be damned. A letter from his 1stSgt, from the men we know in his unit would be a treasure and a comfort.
I don't know what happens in other branches, or even other units. But in 2/4, I know the 1stSgt's personally contact the surviving family with letters, emails and phone calls of condolence.
By the way, we know families of fallen Marines who've been flown to sites where President Bush was speaking. He met with them privately after his event, never any press coverage, and the families have said that - after being given an agenda for their time with the President and being told that he's on a very tight schedule - Mr. Bush talked to every family member as long as they wanted to talk, never hurried anyone, cried with family, hugged everyone and they all felt like he had nothing else to do for the rest of the day but bring comfort to them. For that, George W. Bush has my eternal respect and gratitude. And there was NEVER one word of publicity surrounding any of these meetings with families. (I have pictures to dissuade doubters.)Bottom line, we support Sec Rumsfeld. The people who are making a big deal about this have their heads up their collective a****. They need to have a serious priority check on what people in positions of responsibility should be doing with their time. They should also chat with some military families if they could figure out how to contact them.
An email from Texas to The Corner:
Clinton has been out office for 4 years, the Twin Towers pulverized 3000 souls and yet even Conservatives can’t let go of the “it’s all about my feelings” ethos of the 90s. Am I appalled that Rumsfeld might use an auto pen to sign letter of condolence to the next of kin? Absolutely not. I want him working full bore 24/7 to re-organize the Army and win the war in Iraq. Let’s be honest here. How important is a form letter from the Secretary of Defense intoning, “On behalf of the President and………..”
You know what the families crave, honest to goodness personal letters from the commanding officer of their loved one’s company and battalion. These are real people who knew the deceased. People who can honestly say, “I was there when John pulled one of his squad members out of the ambush”, or “Mary upheld the highest traditions of the Army”. This is just another weak criticism of a man who has a difficult job. It appears that the only way his opponents can attack him is to nibble him to death.
What do people expect? For Rumsfeld to personally go to Kuwait and bolt armor on Humvees? Do they want him shed tears for the dead? As any veteran will tell you, there’s time enough for tears after the battle is won. Just months ago, some media morons were echoing this choice morsel, “Why doesn’t the President go to Dover and meet the coffins of the dead?” Isn’t this just too ludicrous for words? The President and the Secretary of Defense owe a greater duty to the living than the dead. Even as late as the Vietnam era, the response of the American public was to suck it up and drive on.
Eisenhower would probably agree with the statement that “every life is precious”, but that does not change the military and moral calculus on the beaches of Normandy. Sometimes soldiers die. The duty of the chain of command is to see to it that a soldier’s death is a positive contribution to a just and moral end, not an offering to Odin.
The Satellite of Love, Blogsphere Edition
In any case, reading about ‘The The Eye Creatures’ makes me nostalgic for the real cult classic, MST3K. I really miss that show; about the crappy opening credits for 'The the..' and the costumes in which the zippers and black sneakers were clearly visible, Crow, Mike Nelson and Tom Servo agreed – the producers ‘just didn’t care’.
I miss MST3K, but I think the concept of heckling junk entertainment (and turning hours of snark into a decent show) inspired us all.
What are fisking and blogs but an updated version of the Satellite of Love? Trapped with no escape from cheesy news, the worst ever made – we’ve got lemons, we make lemonade.
CNN and the Times make 'Eye Creatures' look like high art. They just don’t care. Too bad it's not just a show. (emphasis mine)
Wow! What an incredible insight! This is exactly what inspired me to begin blogging in the first place. I will treasure the image of bloggers, their outlines stark black against the screen, making ascerbic and witty comments about the cheesy news. Thanks, Mary!
Crow, Mike Nelson and Tom Servo watching a cheesy movie on the satellite of love.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Come Back When You Grow Up, Girl
Come back when you grow up, girl
You're still livin' in a September 10 world
Thinkin' ain't easy, writin's twice as tough
So come back, baby, when you grow up
You write real bad like a child now
Your mind hasn't gotten the message somehow
That we're in a war and wars are rough
Come back, baby, when you grow up
Your cutesy talk and your wide-eyed innocence
Has really messed up your mind, yeah-eah-eah
'Cause you can be so bitchy, baby
In every single written line
Come back when you grow up, girl
You're still livin' in a September 10 world
You'll never be a journalist; you can give it up
Come back, baby, when you grow up
Top 20 Most Annoying Liberals
USA Today Article
/modestly bows head
What's It All About, Algae?
If I see a guy with a "Save the algae" collecting box, I'm happy to chip in five bucks. But, at the same time as the Royal Institute and the eco-left and all the other progressive thinkers are in a mass panic at the thought of the krill having to adjust his way of life, they're positively insouciant about massive changes to our own habitat. You're not entirely cool with gay marriage? Or the U.N. as a world government in embryo? Tough, shrugs the Guardian. Stuff happens, things change, adapt or die.
As they say: Read the whole thing.
Upcoming Iraq Election Information
And here is Arthur Chrenkoff's latest in the WSJ on the good news from Iraq, with some pre-election polling.
Looking For A Few Good Blogs
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Person of the Year - 2004
Time Magazine Person of the Year: "For sticking to his guns (literally and figuratively), for reshaping the rules of politics to fit his ten-gallon-hat leadership style and for persuading a majority of voters that he deserved to be in the White House for another four years, George W. Bush is TIME's 2004 Person of the Year"
Weekly Insanity Roundup
1. Isn't this pediatric profiling?
2. Scientific Proof that you can be an historian AND and idiot at the same time! Amazing!
3. What a bunch of CHICKENS! Nyah. Nyah. Nyah.
4. Trick or Treat in Costa Rica.
5. Even Conan Doyle wouldn't have believed this case.
6. Hey! I think I found some Washington State uncounted ballots in my garage!
7. Vilification Legislation? If I lived in Australia, I'd be in jail, I guess.
8. Pagan symbols are OK. Thank God!
9. Et tu, ACLU?
10. Still crazy after all these years. (At least delusional)
11. Daring sea rescue. (hat tip: Betsy's Page)
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Heal Our National Rift !
Pfizer, has concluded from its research that Celebrex in higher doses results in an increase in cardiac problems. Instead of 1 out of hundred people getting these problems, it is actually 3 out of a hundred.
I mention this issue because it happens to be something that really irritates me--the reflex anti-pharmaceutical industry mentality that somehow seems to believe that drug companies want to kill all the people who purchase their products. Doesn't this seem absurd to you? What would be the point? The profit motive is not generally supportive of inducing death to paying customers. I mean, what possible gain would any company get from that?
The ridiculous reporting on issues in medicine in general--you know, the stories that intone that there is a "three-fold increase in deaths" and such--are designed to inspire fear, not information to the public. What exactly IS a "three-fold increase in deaths" anyway? Well, to judge that you have to go to the original study and see how the study was done (something that somehow never makes it into the news story). In Celebrex's case, the death rate went from 1 out of 100 to 3 out of 100. In other studies it might be 10 in 10,000 going to 30 in 10.000. In either case, the odds are that a person taking the drug WON'T die. But there is a slightly increased risk, which means that if millions take the drug, that increased risk will be evident.
Hello??? Newsflash: EVERY SINGLE DRUG ON THE MARKET - EVEN OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS - HAVE SIDE EFFECTS AND POSE RISKS TO ANYONE WHO TAKES THEM. Let's take aspirin, for example. Did you know that it can kill you if you take a modest overdose? That it can lead to disastrous internal bleeding (that can kill you)? I personally know some people who have developed irreversible tinnitus (ringing in the ears) from taking it? Yes, this is ASPIRIN for God's sake! I won't even go into Tylenol (acetophenamine)--but it can destroy your liver and is potentially kill you. So can Ibuprofen. So can any pill you take for any reason.
The Pharmaceutical industry in this country spends billions of dollars to develop drugs for all the things that ail us. They have to jump through the FDA hoops (I wonder if anyone has calculated how many lives are lost while waiting for cutting-edge drugs to make it through the absolutely insane FDA approval process? I would bet it is a THOUSAND times more than the number lost because of "bad drugs"). The drug companies get a bad rap for every single problem, no matter how idiosynchratic the reaction. It is ridiculous to expect that drugs must be 100% safe for 100% of the people who take them. Insisting on such an unrealistic goal is not only foolish, but counterproductive.
Our society is fast becoming completely risk-aversive. Like anything else in life, taking medication means weighing the pros and cons. There are risks to taking the pill and risks if you don't take the pill. In the case of Celebrex, many many people's lives have improved on a day to day basis because they are able to move around and function without pain. Let THEM make the choice as to whether the risk is worth it to them. Only the individual can make the decision whether the risk vs. the benefit is acceptable in their specific case.
Let's stop the witchhunt and give some credit where it is due. The pharmaceutical industry has made medicine in this country LIGHT-YEARS ahead of the rest of the world. Our life-spans have increased and our ability to actually FUNCTION in this increased lifespan has been due in part to their efforts. They are not by any means perfect in all that they do, but I, for one, do not begrudge them any profits they can make on the products they develop and test. All I ask of them is to give me the information about the risks, so that I and my doctor can make an informed decision.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds comments, "If a drug company did this it would be a huge scandal. But it's the government, so it's okay!"
Friday, December 17, 2004
Some Americans get angry at parents who want to ban carols because they tremble that their kids might feel "different" and "uncomfortable" should they, God forbid, hear Christian music sung at their school. I feel pity. What kind of fragile religious identity have they bequeathed their children that it should be threatened by exposure to carols?
I'm struck by the fact that you almost never find Orthodox Jews complaining about a Christmas creche in the public square. That is because their children, steeped in the richness of their own religious tradition, know who they are and are not threatened by Christians celebrating their religion in public. They are enlarged by it.
It is the more deracinated members of religious minorities, brought up largely ignorant of their own traditions, whose religious identity is so tenuous that they feel the need to be constantly on guard against displays of other religions -- and who think the solution to their predicament is to prevent the other guy from displaying his religion, rather than learning a bit about their own.
To insist that the overwhelming majority of this country stifle its religious impulses in public so that minorities can feel "comfortable" not only understandably enrages the majority but commits two sins. The first is profound ungenerosity toward a majority of fellow citizens who have shown such generosity of spirit toward minority religions. The second is the sin of incomprehension -- a failure to appreciate the uniqueness of the communal American religious experience. Unlike, for example, the famously tolerant Ottoman Empire or the generally tolerant Europe of today, the United States does not merely allow minority religions to exist at its sufferance. It celebrates and welcomes and honors them.
America transcended the idea of mere toleration in 1790 in Washington's letter to the Newport synagogue, one of the lesser known glories of the Founding: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights." More than two centuries later, it is time that members of religious (and anti-religious) minorities, as full citizens of this miraculous republic, transcend something too: petty defensiveness.
Merry Christmas. To all.
Krauthammer hints at the underlying psychological processes (he is a psychiatrist) of those who would try to stifle others' religious expression. It is the same self-absorbed, narcissistic envy so prevalent in our society that is behind the petty complaints and "feelings of exclusion" that appear to trump constitutional rights of free expression.
If "diversity" REALLY meant anything, then we would be joyfully celebrating ALL holiday traditions and there would be no whining about feelings being hurt by one religion's symbols or another's. Merry Christmahanakwanzakah to you!
The Council Has Spoken !
Best Council Link:
Fixing Our Broken Borders at The Education Wonks
Best Non-Council Link:
Juan Cole Is Pond Scum at BuzzMachine
Check out all the winners at the Watcher's site !
Because They Are Losing
JON HENKE NOTES A BIN LADEN FLIPFLOP:
One year ago, Al Qaeda believed they should work against the United States,That's because they're losing.
rather than working to destabilize the Arab regimes. One year ago, Al Qaeda was
focusing outward, rather than inward. One year ago, Al Qaeda believed in
coexistence with the House of Saud.
One year ago, Al Qaeda believed the Caliphate could best be established by detente with the House of Saud, and War against the United States. Today, Al Qaeda seeks detente with the US, and war against the House of Saud.
You may have noticed that Bin Laden and his minions have not been able to touch the homeland U.S. since 9/11. He has had to settle for softer targets. The U.S. has not captured him, but he has been kept on the run and risks capture with every move. He can pretend that the U.S. is his main target, but the truth is that he has been forced by U.S. actions to change both his overall strategy as well as his specific tactics. He must now focus on a growing fissure within Islam itself; and deal with the tide of freedom and democracy that is overtaking the Middle East. From his perspective, this tide has been not only unwelcome, but wholly unexpected in the 3 short years since 9/11. Who could have predicted that his carefully crafted safe haven in Afghanistan under the malicious Taliban would be wiped from the earth to be replaced by a democratically- elected government of the people.
If Bin Laden is as religiously fanatical as he postures, then he must conclude that it is all Allah's will. And he must be wondering if Allah, in his infinite mercy, has decided that Life is better than Death; Freedom better than Enslavement; and that maybe he, Bin Laden himself, has been judged and found superfluous to the future of the world. Inshallah, indeed.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The Best of VDH
Is The U.N. Worth Saving?
Cartoon from Cox and Forkum, of course!
UPDATE: Roger Simon has more on Kofi and the UN and their passive aggressive behavior toward freedom and democracy.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Rocking the Casbah
The really fascinating aspect of both men's analysis is the idea that freedom and politics are really going to be the agents of destruction for the "ancien regime of tyrant and terrorist", not as a figure of speech but as literal truth. The role of the US military would be strategically indirect and subtle: to ensure that the old regimes cannot contain the forces that would naturally spring up against them.
In this view, victory against terror need not take the form of the 101st Airborne marching into Teheran. It would be enough to merely hold the ring in Iraq to win over the Mullahs. Nations often return to strategies which they are most familiar with. Iran instinctively turned to the Lebanese experience to model its confrontation with America. It was natural that the United States might remember Europe and Korea when at war again. In both cases America won a decisive victory not by marching into Moscow or Pyongyang, but by merely ensuring that Western Europe and South Korea developed separately. In Iraq the old was new again.
John Burns of the New York Times describes the potential of the Iraqi election to rock Damascus, Teheran and even Washington.
In Khomeini's Own Words
As Khomeini himself put it: “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world....But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”
The goal of this conquest would be to establish the hegemony of Islamic law. As Khomeini put it: “What is the good of us [i.e., the mullahs] asking for the hand of a thief to be severed or an adulteress to be stoned to death when all we can do is recommend such punishments, having no power to implement them?”
Khomeini accordingly delivered notorious rebuke to the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace crowd: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter [their armies].... Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.” (emphasis mine)
Folks, it can't be articulated more clearly than this. The Islamofascist terrorists are just trying to make it happen faster. But if anyone still has any questions about what the goals of Islam are for humanity, I recommend that you check out some of the articles here.
As if to confirm that I was indeed just being paranoid, I sat through 50 minutes of my first faculty meeting on the campus with nary a mention of politics. I must have read the parking lot wrong, I thought. Then, in the final few minutes of the meeting, a senior faculty member arose to make an announcement: A faculty panel would discuss the impact of September 11 on the United States, with the dean of the college offering summary remarks.
There was no hint of a leftward lean -- until, that is, the senior faculty member added, "And just in case the students don't get our message on how to vote in November, we have arranged for a showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 directly after the panel."
Having sat through such political torture myself a number of times, I know just how this new faculty member is feeling. By far the most disconcerting aspect of being a conservative in a liberal enclave that supposedly exists to facilitate learning, is the casual and complete cluelessness about the possibility of other viewpoints. These liberal minds cannot conceive of anyone at their intellectual level disagreeing with their political position. It's breathtaking to observe. Even after the election, when more than 50 % of the country did not vote their way, they are incapable of understanding it and prefer to use concepts like "ignorant masses"; stupid rightwing nuts" etc. etc. They look in the rear mirror of their imported, upscale cars and see the traffic, but somehow never manage to check their blind spot. I suppose that's why they keep getting run over by the truck.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Islam and Women, Again
And for the female apologists for Islamic culture: when you are free to CHOOSE to wear a burqa or veil, and not FORCED, then you will be free. Until then, you are simply deluding yourself. (Similar psychologically to the German Jews who, hiding their Jewish identity or ties, supported the Third Reich--its called "identification with the aggressor)
I have frequently thought that the one good point about Islamic societies is that they are the perfect example of why the concept of "multiculturalism"(every culture is as good as every other culture) is completely ridiculous. Islamic culture is mired in medieval times and promotes medieval thinking: it is not only primitive, it is barbaric. And nowhere is that more obvious than the manner in which women are treated.
A Very Good Day For Medicine
A SIGNIFICANT breakthrough in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease was announced yesterday after scientists discovered 10 smells which can be used to predict if patients will develop the condition. The remarkable results of research have shown that the inability to smell certain odours can determine which patients with minimal or mild cognitive impairment will go on to develop Alzheimer’s. Researchers have now produced a list of the top ten smells which they believe are the best predictors of the disease. These are strawberry, smoke, soap, menthol, clove, pineapple, natural gas, lilac, lemon and leather. (emphasis mine)
The research on Alzheimer's was done at NY State Psychiatric Institute. And, while we're discussing scientific breakthroughs, this article also suggests a major advance in HIV treatment from Rutgers:
Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a trio of drugs they believe can destroy HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a published report.
The drugs, called DAPYs, mimic the virus by changing shape, which enables them to interfere with the way HIV attacks the immune system.
Tests conducted in conjunction with Johnson and Johnson have shown the drug to be easily absorbed with minimal side effects. It also can be taken in one pill, in contrast to the drug cocktails currently taken by many AIDS patients.
Wow! This has been a very good day for Medicine!
He Knew Jihad
John Quincy Adams possessed a remarkably clear, uncompromised understanding of the permanent Islamic institutions of jihad war and dhimmitude. Regarding jihad, Adams states in his essay series,
“…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.”
It appears that over time, people tended to forget this essential truth about Islam. Here are several more recent pieces of evidence about this: Outlawing Blasphemy and Ayatollapalooza (both from The Corner) and more on the "moderate" Muslims in Texas celebrating Ayatollah Khomeni, the "Great Islamic Visionary."
Monday, December 13, 2004
The Cultural Ignorance of the Left
True or false: The average resident of New York City, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles or San Francisco knows more about life in France than they do about life in South Dakota.That question came to mind while listening to some of the establishment Democratic media discuss November's election results.
For just a little while, they noticed the rest of the country. I heard one correspondent joke that maybe they should send some foreign correspondents to the Midwest. Urban, blue state opinion is so uniformly liberal, it was hard for them to believe Bush could win. They didn't personally know many Bush supporters. They're seldom exposed to opposing points of view, and they never have to intellectually defend what they believe.
For them, every election like this is a reminder of how strange we red staters must be.One reason is that, despite the homage the urban liberals pay to the idea of diversity, you have to live in rural, red state America to experience intellectual diversity.
We hear both sides of the story. On abortion, the environment, gay marriage, war, and taxes, we hear the liberal side from the national media, and we hear both sides in the local media and radio. Sure, we hear the liberal side twice, but at least we hear the conservative side once.Another reason liberals never hear the other side is that they're such bullies. Intellectual bullies, that is.
Things like this are hard to quantify, but you can detect it in how liberals argue their political positions. Consider hate crimes laws. They criminalize thought. We can all agree that things like assault, murder, and theft should be illegal, but only an intellectual bully is interested in whether you had the correct thoughts about those you were murdering or assaulting.
Read the whole piece. And if you want an example of the smug, intellectual superiority that simple oozes from the people the author is describing, you couldn't do better than to read the comment section of the previous post (The Invisible News). "Mitzell" has the blue-state mentality down pat and there ain't nuthin' gonna part him from his stereotyped view of anyone who has ideas different from his.
The Invisible News
Internal Army documents advocate changing Pentagon rules on mixed-sex units in a way that critics say will risk placing female soldiers in ground-combat situations. The Nov. 29 briefing to senior Army officers at the Pentagon, presented as part of the service's sweeping transformation of its 10 war-fighting divisions, advocates scrapping the military's ban on collocation — the deployment of mixed-sex noncombat units alongside all-male combat brigades. The briefing contained the phrase: "The way ahead: rewrite/eliminate the Army collocation policy."
Some argue that this paves the way for women to be in combat units. I say, why not? If a woman meets all the physical requirements and wants to be in a combat unit--what's the big deal? The usual responses to this question are the following:
1. War is too uncivilized for women. This agument conjures up the frail, helpless stereotype from century before last. It does a great disservice to men. If it is too uncivilized for women, why isn't it too uncivilized for men? The truth is that "war is hell" for anyone with any common sense, no matter their particular gender. Let the individual male or female decide.
2. But..but..motherhood! What about..fatherhood? Children need both their parents--at different times. This is true. I see no reason why this fact could not be accommodated by the modern military. There is also a wonderful technology called "birth control" that might be applicable here. For both men and women.
3. But they might get pregnant. See above-mentioned technology. They also might get pregnant working in an office. These days, people can decide if they want to get pregnant or not. It's a matter of technology and free will. Yes, mistakes will happen. So what. The Army isn't capable of eliminating irresponsible behavior, though it tries (see Grhaib, Abu for details).
4. But men will get overprotective of women in combat and put their own lives in jeopardy! This might be true for a little while, but I suspect common sense will eventually prevail. And, maybe some of the little women might put their lives in jeopardy protecting some big, strong men. It's called comraderie, and putting yourself at risk for your fellow soldier and its a big part of being in the military.
5. People won't like to hear about female casualties during war. Again, so what? No reasonable person likes to hear about any casualties or deaths. Every individual life is precious, men's included. If we agree that there are some things in life worth fighting for, then women are as entitled to fight for them as men are. If you don't agree, then no part of this discussion has any meaning for you.
The truth is that putting women in combat requires an almost herculean effort to change one's thinking about the world. To finally admit that some women ARE the equal of some men in every way; and in every endeavor-no matter how brutal or primitive. That women equal men in their longing for justice and freedom at any price; in their fierce desire to do their duty; and in their capacity to kill, if necessary to serve their country. And that's just scary to a lot of folks.