Saturday, November 22, 2003

Andrew has an interesting insight on who Bush really is. Here's the snip from a reader's letter:
"While I was in architecture school at the University of Texas at Austin, one of my professors was the actual architect for George W. Bush's new ranch at Crawford. He showed photograph of its construction on a weekly basis during his lectures and had declared that the "governor" (as Bush was at the time) and his wife were the most pleasant and thoughtful clients he had ever had. He would recount stories of how Bush would form friendly and close rapports with him and other associated designers, in spite of their opposite political (and sexual) persuasions. George and Laura would host intimate dinners for my professor and he came away convinced of their capacity for warmth and understanding. My professor credits his ability to employ 'green' building techniques on the ranch to the Bush's willingness to listen. He was distinctly fond of Laura, who would call him every time he drove back from his site visits to see if he was okay. He admitted to his students that he came into the project as a skeptic, but came away as a grateful friend."
He clearly must have been brainwashed by Dick Cheney...

Europe Then -- And Now and Then and Now

David Warren is scorching with "Bush in London". Here's the warm-up uppercut:
Kraemer grasped that it takes more than superior man- and firepower to defeat an enemy that is ideologically driven; that geostrategic contests are determined as much by irrational and immaterial factors. He grasped that the great weakness of the United States and the West, after the defeat of Nazism, was identical with the great weakness of Germany that had allowed the rise of Hitler. In each case, it is the existence of an intellectual elite who think about abstractions instead of realities, and whose instinct to appease a mortal enemy is founded in a lazy, cowardly, and conceited moral relativism. Kraemer was father to the phrase, "provocative weakness" -- in two words, the reason why the West is under attack today from such terror networks as Al Qaeda.
And while you're smarting from that one, you aren't looking for the roundhouse right that puts you on your knees:
In their own subjective world of illusions, the demonstrators demand not surrender, but an unobtainable "peace". However, in the objective world of cause and effect, they are the reliable allies of the people who flew airplanes into the World Trade Centre, who blow up Jews in synagogues and supermarkets, who tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and bulldozed their bodies into mass graves.

The connexion between present and past was well-made in an e-mail forwarded to me, from an American Jew, returning from holiday in Europe. He wrote that, "When my grandfather left Europe in 1937, the graffiti on the walls read, 'Jews go to Palestine'. Today the graffiti reads, 'Jews out of Palestine'. How soon Europe forgets." [Emphasis added]
When you get up off the floor we'll chat more about the unassailable moral superiority of Europe... READ THE WHOLE THING -- AND WARREN JUST GOT ADDED TO MY LINKS. (Perhaps you're thinking you should brush up again on residues? Don't let me slow you down... ;)

Friday, November 21, 2003

Melanie Phillips on blaming the victims. We can only be a stone's throw away from dismantling our police as well. After all, everyone knows that the violence of disarming criminals can only create more criminals -- we absolutely MUST break this cycle of violence you see...

Lileks on the Press and Play-Doh Mania

It's another "why can't I write like that" day at Lilek's place:
You know what? Michael Moore is right. There are many Americans who are ignorant of the world around them. And they’re all TV news producers. Two big bombs in Istanbul, and what’s the big story of the day? Following around a pervy slab of albino Play-Doh as he turns himself into the police. I was stunned to discover last night that Nightline not only covered the Jackson case in detail, but bumped coverage of the Whitehall speech, which was the most important speech since the Iraq campaign began and arguably the most important speech of the war, period.
Oh brother. And that's just the warm-up -- wait til you get to his take on Salam Pax!

Attacking the Baggage Train

Nice post at the Belmont Club on how the two civil wars work together as the world war. First the simple remedial history lesson:
Al Qaeda did what desert raiders have always done when facing a militarily superior enemy. They attacked the baggage train.
Then the ending with a real wallop:
In Coppola's classic film, Apocalypse Now, the character Colonel Kurtz described how his A-Team had at first gone the rounds of mountain villages, inoculating the children against disease and providing medical treatment for the sick in an effort to win hearts and minds, only to find, upon their return that the Communists had lopped off the arms of each and every child who had received a vaccination. Kurtz was struck 'like a silver bullet' by the realization that the Communists weren't challenging his military capability to defeat them; they were challenging his will to win.

The will to resist evil is the most fragile commodity in the West. It is a flame burned so low that Al Qaeda thinks that one strong blast of wind will extinguish it forever. It flickers so feebly that one American Presidential election or a single battlefield catastrophe could set the stage for the embrace of a thousand years of darkness, the darkness that Europe has been longing for this past century. The 'peace demonstrators' in London last week suggested not so much Trafalgar Square in the heart of modern Europe as ancient Gadara.
When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed ... were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way ... And He was asking him, "What is your name?" ... "My name is Legion; for we are many." And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other...? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons implored Him, saying, "Send us into the swine so that we may enter them." And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank ... and they were drowned in the sea.
The precipice has beckoned to four successive generations in the West; and now yet another master calls them sweetly to the dark. [Emphasis added.]
This is some nice writing! His "calls them sweetly to the dark" really just slices through the fog.

And his "darkness that Europe has been longing for this past century" harkens me back to Pascal Bruckner's "Europe: Remorse and Exhaustion". WOW. READ THE WHOLE THING.
Follow the link to bizarro world ... where no courtesy you can pay your enemy goes without demands for even more ... wouldn't want to hurt their feelings you know. After all, that bombing of the Red Cross was really just a cry for help!

A Letter on West

The following letter appeared in the local paper and stands by itself pretty well I think. By today's politically correct incoherence, if we had captured Hitler in WWII we would not have been allowed to call him names for fear of hurting his feelings and stunting his ability to be considered for a chair of "Peace Studies" at Harvard. I'll stop before I tell you what I really think.
West's tactics are justified
By Stanley Kass

This letter concerns a tragedy called Lt. Col. Allan West. I was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, WWII. After the jump in Normandy, the Germans we captured were reluctant to give us any information, even with intense questioning.

And, being GIs we could understand why. To get them talking, we had to use extraordinary measures.

I don't intend to discuss what we had to do, but it wasn't easy to watch. They talked.

Such is the case of Lt. Col. West, who was questioning an Iraqi policeman who knew quite a bit about the terrorist situation but would not talk. West knew he had to create a situation to force the issue. He fired a shot over the policeman's head, which was enough to get him to talk.

He eventually learned enough where he knew it would save American lives. Because of the shot he fired in the air, it is said that he may be court martialed.

I wish the best for his family for what they are going through.

Stanley Kass,
Fort Collins

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A steal from Andrew in the "First they came for the Jews" department:
MEANWHILE, IN FRANCE: "The Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, called on that country's Jewish community to wear baseball caps instead of skullcaps while not in their homes, in order 'to prevent being attacked in the street.' Daily newspaper Le Parisien reported in its Wednesday edition that Sitruk made the comments Tuesday in an interview on Radio Shalom, a Jewish community radio station." It gets worse, doesn't it?
Ah, those sophisticated Europeans. Well, we were "sophisticated" enough not to punish the Nazis and their French collaborators in even a shadow of what we should have wrought. And now the Jews pay the price once more. Pathetic.

Spock is Rolling in Residues

Go read it:
Sometimes when the status quo is intolerable, the best answer is to chuck everything and strike out into the wilderness. If life in the slums of Europe is terrible, the best answer may be to save enough money for a steamship ticket and move to a strange land across the ocean, where they speak a strange language but where there's more opportunity. The great wave of immigration in the sixty years after the American Civil War was a filter; those who said, "It might be better!" were more likely to go than those who said, "It might be worse!"

Achievement builds confidence, and failure erodes it. The 20th century was far more kind to America than it was to Europe. America faced its challenges with a can-do attitude and generally triumphed, while Europe was devastated by two world wars and was the front line in a third (the Cold War), and became increasingly risk-averse. By the mid 1960's most of Europe had achieved a reasonably comfortable life, and the fixation was less on how it could be further improved as on how it might end up getting worse again.

Or, at least, "Old Europe" thought that way. The nations which were part of the Soviet empire during the Cold War, Rumsfeld's "New Europe", have been far more eager to take chances and embrace new ideas because their Stalinist alternative had been pretty crummy. [Emphasis added.]
I couldn't be prouder to be descended from people who got on the boats! And go back and ponder residues again...
There's a mandatory history lesson over at the Counterrevolutionary. No excuses allowed. We're talking jaw dropper territory here... (Hat tip Instapundit.)

Case Opened Wider

Whoops reprise:
The Newsweek authors also cite an unnamed "U.S. official" who claims that the intelligence in the memo was selectively presented and "contradicted by other things." To support this argument, Isikoff and Hosenball cite a late 1998 trip to Afghanistan by Faruq Hijazi. Hijazi served Saddam Hussein both as deputy director of Iraqi intelligence and later as ambassador to Turkey. At that meeting, the authors contend, bin Laden rejected an Iraqi offer of asylum. Their source is Vince Cannistraro, a knowledgeable former CIA counterterrorism official--the kind of expert whose views should be taken very seriously. He may be right. And if his understanding of the meeting's outcome is accurate, that information certainly should have been included in the Feith memo.

But stop for a moment and consider what this analysis means. It demonstrates that at the very least, Saddam Hussein was willing to give Osama bin Laden asylum in Iraq. Is this not precisely the kind of collusion the administration cited as it made its case for war? If such a distinguished skeptic of the links believes that Saddam Hussein would have offered bin Laden asylum, why is it so hard to believe--to take one example from a "well-placed source" cited in the Feith memo--that Hussein sent his intelligence director to bin Laden's farm in 1996 to train the al Qaeda leader in explosives? Or, to take another from a "regular and reliable source" mentioned in the memo, that bin Laden's No. 2, Ayman al Zawahiri, "visited Baghdad and met with the Iraqi Vice President on 3 February 1998"? [Emphasis added.]
Oh BROTHER. Nope, where there's smoke there can be no fire. Absolutely, positively not. Just ask the Californians ;)

Spock on Telegraphy

I'm sure you're still scratching your head about "Bodyguard of Lies". Well Spock has finally lined himself up in my corner: "Telegraphing Your Punches".

Well, of course his piece is meatier because he's -- well -- Spock! And sorry for being so late linking to this!

Humiliation -- Solved At Last

This is just beyond incisive by light-years -- or more... (Hat Tip Roger L. Simon)

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

FBI's Atta Ass Ablutions Spotted In Prague

Don't worry, there is no evidence whatsoever here that the FBI and CIA are trying to cover their asses about 911. And absolutely, positively no possibility that Saddam is linked to 911. Absolutely positively not. None whatsoever. Iron clad shut and closed case. No sane person would suspect such a thing -- unless they actually had a brain:
The Czechs reviewing these visits in retrospect further assumed that Atta's business in Prague was somehow related to his activities in the United States, given that large sums of laundered funds began to flow to the 9/11 conspiracy in June 2000, after Atta left Prague. Even more ominous, if the BIS's subsequent identification of Atta in Prague was accurate, then some part of the mechanism behind the activities of hijacker-terrorists may have been based in Prague at least until mid April 2001.

Czech intelligence services could not solve this puzzle without access to crucial information about Atta's movements in the United States, Germany, and other countries in which the plot unfolded, but it soon became clear that such cooperation would not be forthcoming. Even after al-Ani was taken prisoner by U.S. forces in Iraq in July 2003 and presumably questioned about Atta, no report was furnished to the Czech side of the investigation. "It was anything but a two-way street," a top Czech government official overseeing the case explained. "The FBI wanted complete control. The FBI agents provided us with nothing from their side of the investigation."

Without those missing pieces -- including cell phone logs, credit card charges, and interrogation records in the FBI's possession -- the jigsaw puzzle remains incomplete. [Emphasis added.]
Oh, and the major media apparently can't find their asses with both hands tied behind their back. But I speak only as an observer with a pulse. YOU NEED TO READ THIS STORY.

There You Go Again...

More clearly simpleton nonsense from a hateful warmonger:
Perhaps the most helpful change we can make is to change in our own thinking. In the West, there's been a certain skepticism about the capacity or even the desire of Middle Eastern peoples for self-government. We're told that Islam is somehow inconsistent with a democratic culture. Yet more than half of the world's Muslims are today contributing citizens in democratic societies. It is suggested that the poor, in their daily struggles, care little for self-government. Yet the poor, especially, need the power of democracy to defend themselves against corrupt elites.

Peoples of the Middle East share a high civilization, a religion of personal responsibility, and a need for freedom as deep as our own. It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it. (Applause.)

We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found. (Applause.) [Emphasis added.]
Good thing Bush's critics don't actually listen and ponder or they'd realize the little canary in their brain had long ago been exterminated in their own internal Auschwitz. I'm beginning to realize why the hard leftists are such fans of rehabilitation at all costs -- they secretly realize the need to avail themselves of it...

Sitcom Nation?

I have a new writer to watch:
Every experienced strategist understands warfare is, at its most basic level, a clash of human wills. The motive will of a man who spends years preparing to smash a jet into a skyscraper is large in big letters. His cohorts are betting that America is a sitcom nation with a short attention span. We'll change channels, cut and run.

Mature Americans recognize that everyone has a leadership role, especially in times of crisis. The cooperation and common trust demonstrated by Americans evacuating the World Trade Center not only saved thousands of lives, it was indicative of America's capacity for individual leadership.

Self-critique is one thing, the acid of self-doubt spurred by lies is something else. It's time for every American to be a leader, to bury these lies -- from unilateralism, to quagmire, to "no one told us" -- and get on with the hard business of winning the War on Terror. [Emphasis added.]
As a parent, I feel more and more like a -- ummm, well -- parent. And if you think that means leadership by example of cynicism, self-immolation and doubt -- it ain't happening here...

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Jews Into The Memory Hole

And now it starts here. Time to repeat again I see:
First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller
First, the history of the Jews will need to be destroyed and obscured. After all, wasn't it all the Jews fault? And did the Holocaust really happen? Isn't that a big lie from the Jews? And weren't all the American soldiers who saw the death camps really Jews themselves since Joooos control the United States, so they lied about it? And wasn't Mein Kampf really a book about tolerance and understanding that has been smeared by the Jooooooooooos?

And by then the killings will be rampant -- like they are not far from being in Europe today...

Monday, November 17, 2003

Good Reporting Corroborated, Irony Abounds

Speaking about Kindergarten lessons, P.J. O'Rourke has an interview in the Atlantic about his upcoming piece on Iraq. Check out this snippet:
One example of the kind of reporting that O'Rourke favors is his account of a trip organized by the Kuwait Ministry of Information (part of the Department of Moral Guidance, he notes), during which he covered the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society's distribution of food in Safwan, Iraq, just across the Kuwait border. He watched the chaos that ensued from the top of the aid truck:

There was no reason for people to clobber one another. Even assuming that each man in the riot—and each boy—was the head of a family, and assuming the family was huge, there was enough food in the truck. Mohammed al-Kandari, a doctor from the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, had explained this to the Iraqis when the trailer arrived.... Al-Kandari had persuaded the Iraqis to form ranks. They looked patient and grateful, the way we privately imagine the recipients of food donations looking when we're writing checks to charities. Then the trailer was opened, and everything went to hell.

Most of us have never considered that kindergarten's most important lesson—that of lining up—is somehow related to our society's ability to self-govern. For O'Rourke, the mad dash for food in Safwan represented something more than hunger or desperation:

Aid seekers in England would queue automatically by needs, disabled war vets and nursing mothers first. Americans would bring lawn chairs and sleeping bags, camp out the night before, and sell their places to the highest bidders. Japanese would text-message one another, creating virtual formations, getting in line to get in line. Germans would await commands from a local official, such as the undersupervisor of the town clock. Even Italians know how to line up, albeit in an ebullient wedge. The happier parts of the world have capacities for self-organization so fundamental and obvious that they appear to be the pillars of civilization ... But here—on the road to Ur, in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley ... nothing was supporting the roof.
Now check out this snippet I caught on the web where someone was reporting what he found from a soldier just back from Iraq:
And I am not the greatest narrator or storyteller so much of this is just going to be rambling but you should get the jist of it. First off, I guess I should clue others in that my boy (no, not my son SA :-) ) had just came in Satuday from Iraq and I went over there to shoot the sh*t with him. One of the first things he said to me was how f’ed up the Iraqis over there are. They do not understand civility or rules or kindness, just abuse and total authority over them. He said it was like babysitting whenever he had to work with them. Don’t get me wrong, there were some that understood more than others, but as a whole they are selfish and undisciplined without any sense of community. Also, they lacked common sense. An example of this is when they filled propane tanks for the Iraqi citizens, they couldn’t let it be known where it would be until a couple minutes before hand because of the scrambling of everyone to get theirs first. They even had to put concertina up and form a male and female line so that they can have some semblance of organization in the whole process. Inevitably some people would try to jump ahead in line and that is where the Army would show the Iraqis what a hammer toss is, using their tank as the hammer. Back of the line son !
What the libs don't get is that the precise reason why we may not succeed is the precise reason why we have to! (Since when has the world become an irony-free zone?) You can't let these people have nukes -- they'll put the big red button on their car hood as a bragging right; and then wonder what went wrong when they parked under the coconut tree. And that's the ones who aren't viciously brainwashed to be insane killers. (And irony of ironies, I have great sympathy for the Iraqis and actually believe that they are one of our best hopes to snap out of it due to the very brutality of Saddam's oppression. Check out Healing Iraq, for instance.)

Which leads to the real money quote from the O'Rourke interview:
In your last interview for The Atlantic you mentioned that Chris Buckley and Dave Barry are good friends of yours. What would happen if we locked the three of you in a room—with drinks and cigars, of course—and told you to solve the problems of the Middle East?

First of all, it better be a lot of cigars and a lot of beer! An awful lot of beer, because we're going to be in there for a long, long time. The problems of the Middle East are the problems of mankind since we came out of the trees. They just happen to be a little more intense. When you look at a chaotic region like the Middle East, what you're really seeing is most of human history, and some parts of America and some parts of Europe and a few parts of Asia are glaring exceptions. The kind of peaceful, productive, incredibly wealthy life that we live in these few areas around the world—this has only been going on for a nanosecond as time goes. It's so exceptional I'm not even sure what it means. The whole world might degenerate back into the Middle East, because that's what it's always been. And you can't solve the problem of the Middle East, because it's not a problem, it's a condition. It's the normal condition of mankind.

If you read Donald Kagan's The Peloponnesian War, it's all there. It's been going on like this, time out of mind. Little islands of human happiness, peace, and prosperity are so exceptional at this point in history that I'm not even sure we can draw lessons from them.

So we shouldn't be trying to make sense out of it?

You don't despair about something like the Middle East, you just do the best you can. Do the right thing and be brave and it will never get any better.
There's lots to chew on here, no? The idea that the West can just sit around and have parlor conversations about cricket with barbarians is just the West's "fantasy ideology" to pair up with Al Qaeda's that Allah will make them victorious in the face of an opponent they can barely comprehend. And the real irony here is that implementing the Western Leftist's fantasy world of preemptive surrender is the only plausible way that Al Qaeda's fantasy can happen.

For the unspoken truth is what everyone knows with a moment's reflection -- if the West were actually as evil as Noam Chomsky thunders, then the Muslim world would have long since been rendered as a sea of human lampshades. For that's what the real Hitler did without remorse.

We are once again driven by our enlightenment values to risk our lives and our futures hoping against the clock that measured battle can once again come from behind and defeat the latest barbarism at a price we can pay without overwhelming tears. For if our children's futures clearly become the center of the stakes, as finally became clear in the struggle with Japan, history shows that science and logic continually provide us new tools that ignorant barbarity cannot even imagine...
Andrew nails the Euro-Left and Saddam:
But the alliance between the anti-globalization left and Islamo-fascism is a natural one. It will grow and deepen. They share a hatred of Western freedom, a deep anti-Semitism and implacable hostility to capitalism. The alliance is as predictable as, oh, say that between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. [Emphasis added.]
Bullseye. And I thought Hawaiian Good Luck couldn't be topped today ;)

"Hawaiian Good Luck" To The AP

Look at this picture. Why is it that the meaning is perfectly clear but the AP photographer doesn't get it? Any bets that the photographer is one of those proclaiming Bush to be stupid -- and has just been devastatingly humiliated by one of Bush's "stupid" minions?

If you don't get it yourself then read this -- which is of course now part of US soldier's counter-interrogation training.

The thing that amazes me most about people that go around calling other people stupid is that they haven't even learned the fundamental lessons of the elementary school playground. When shouting erupts about somebody being stupid, nine times out of ten the shouter is the troublemaker -- and likely the stupid one.

Bush is actually driving the loony left into a tizzy using nothing more than elementary school wisdom. Of course, he's a lot smarter than he lets on -- but with opponents like these he doesn't need to be. You can't make this stuff up! (Hat tip LGF)

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Just a Little Item To Close out Sunday...

How could I start a Sunday with the Ten Commandments without closing it with what every Christian must hold dear? But maybe not quite what you expected -- after all, that religion stuff clouds the mind, right? Unmoderated and untethered from logic and nature -- yes. But the same can be said for atheism -- have you somehow managed to forget Hitler, Stalin and Mao? And has Kant's nihilism possibly had a hand in it?

(Large gap follows -- God apparently put a bug in Blogger for dramatic effect ;)

The Lord's Prayer
Our Father Our Creator
Which Art in Heaven Who is Our Cause
Hallowed Be Thy Name Perfect Good is Your Nature
Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven Guide Me to Help Implement Your Will on Earth
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread Help Me to Live In and Realize the Present
and Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those That Trespass Against Us Forgive My Errors While Helping Me to Understand We are All One Family and Free Me from Resentment of Others
And Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us from Evil Help Me Responsibly Meet Increasing Challenges
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory For Ever and Ever Your Power and Bliss are Everywhere and Forever
Amen And It Will Remain So
Bob's Interpretation Heavily Influenced by Emmet Fox

Interesting, there's that avoidance of resentment and mean-spiritedness thing again -- I wonder why that keeps showing up???

Burns on a Burn

Andrew has a great summary and analysis of John Burns' most recent piece on Iraq. It's mandatory that you at least read Andrew's very short take, but I strongly recommend reading Burns himself, it's not that long and captures lots of nuance.

By the way, Burns is one of the few in the media with the guts and integrity to actually expose corruption in the media themselves. THIS IS ONE READ YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS -- AND LEAVES LITTLE WONDER WHY THE MEDIA BURIED IT!
And check out this one from Keith on the "reversal of roles" of the libs and conservatives!

The Analphilosopher is Hot This Weekend!

Speaking of the libs, here's Keith Burgess-Jackson on "Turning Back the Clock":
I'm not taking sides here. I'm trying to understand liberal discourse and tactics. Liberals, for all their vaunted talk about freedom of expression, don't want a robust debate on issues such as privacy, affirmative action, and redistributive taxation. They are true believers--dogmatists--who view opposition to their views and values as malice, ignorance, or stupidity rather than as a reflection of honest and respectable disagreement. In short, liberals have become totalitarians. Whatever happened to the liberal ideal of a free and open debate on issues that matter? Whatever happened to the marketplace of ideas? Conservatives, as such, aren't malicious, ignorant, or stupid; they have a different vision of the just society. They do not share the liberal view that things have gotten morally better. If the concept of moral progress makes sense, then so does its opposite, moral regress. Progress is in the eye of the beholder.

I said at the outset that I was once a welfare-state liberal. Everyone should be, at different times, a liberal and a conservative. When you're immersed in an ideology such as liberalism, you come to take its principles for granted. You cease interrogating them. You stop thinking, questioning, and examining. If and when you leave the ideology, you see it in a different light. You gain the detachment that allows you to see what was previously invisible. You lose your blinders. I've been inside and outside the liberal circle. I believe this gives me an epistemically privileged vantage point. How many liberals were at one time conservatives? I'm not asking you to accept what I say on authority. I'm asking you to think things through for yourself, Socratically. After all, the unexamined life is not worth living.

As someone who grew up with a staunchly conservative father and a strongly liberal mother, I also have a bit of perspective on this matter. To accuse either of them of being corrupt or mean-spirited would be just risible. They were (Dad) and are (Mom) two of the nicest people in the world.

Most people in this country are of generally good will. Look around you -- to believe that we could achieve the level of prosperity and cooperation we have by being a herd of mean-spirited morons just brings tears of laughter to my eyes.
Belmont Club has an interesting article on the "Jihadi Air Defense".

The Ten Commandments and Ancient History

This being Sunday, I thought I'd post what my wife took to Sunday School today to teach her pre-schoolers:

The Ten

1. You must not worship any other gods.
2. You must not make any idols or images to worship.
3. You must not use my name wrongfully.
4. You must not work on the Sabbath day.
5. You must honor your father and mother.
6. You must not kill.
7. You must not take someone else's husband or wife.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not accuse anyone unjustly.
10. You must not covet things that belong to other people..

Remind me again why they are so hated by liberals? If you give them a moment's thought you realize that it's only the last six that are the "meat of implementation" -- the first four serve as operational glue and binding if you will. If we leave aside the first four for now, which are constantly and egregiously violated by liberals -- not to even mention conservatives -- I find it interesting that there's a particular lib (and socialist for that matter) focus on 9 and 10.

[UPDATE: Of course, as a one-time atheist myself, what I meant to say about the first 4 is that they will be violated as a matter of course by all non-Jews and non-Christians; I'm pointing out that the last six are candidates for achieving a "universal" applicability. Another context to think of this in is the recent quote from Thomas Friedman about Bush something to the effect of "just because George Bush believes it doesn't necessarily make it wrong". Are libs really ready to go so far as to claim that murder must be right just because Christians believe it's wrong? I never in my wildest dreams could have believed we could reach such a point -- but maybe the mass murder of Christians for being "too stupid" is becoming conceivable after all? And scroll up to check out my comments on the latest from the AnalPhilosopher!]

I believe there's a method to the madness and I'm going to be spending some words on it in the future.

To expand the vein of ancient wisdom, the libs have also buried and reviled the cardinal Greek virtues of moderation, courage, justice and wisdom. I believe this is also no mistake.

The most hilarious recent anecdote on the subject of classicism occured at a recent DC lecture by Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian. Upon the introduction of VDH as a classicist, one of Nancy Pelosi's staffer's jumped up and left shouting words to the effect that he wasn't going to be hanging around to listen to any "classist"! The very descriptor, much less the effective teaching, of ancient history has been expunged from our vocabulary. Even more to the point, the phrase "ancient history" has become a term of derision...