Monday, June 25, 2007


From the July/August issue of Orion:
In the wake of George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004, frustrated liberals talked secession back to within hailing distance of the margins of national debate—a place it had not occupied since 1861. With their praise of self-rule and the devolution of power, they sounded not unlike many conservatives had in the days before Bush & Cheney & Limbaugh wedded the American Right to the American Empire.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Snippy Prissy Little Columnist

One of my Guilty pleasures is Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column at NRO. His column yesterday was the ususal goldmine of snotty comments and pompous asides. The only thing missing is a fawning reference to his hero, Dick Cheney. For Nordlinger, Democratic candidate, John Edwards is no Cheney:
John Edwards is a prince of the Democratic party, that party’s vice-presidential nominee last time around, and a contender for president this time around. Have you been following his words, policies, and actions? Last week, he had this to say: "Today, as a result of what George Bush has done, we have more terrorists and fewer allies. There was no group called al Qaeda in Iraq before this president’s war in Iraq."

Yes, it’s true there was no group called al Qaeda in Iraq -- instead, al Qaeda was in New York, Washington, and elsewhere. And the cowboy from Texas did not invent the Qaeda threat.
. . .
Also, consider the phrase "this president's war in Iraq." Is that the way would-be presidents should talk? Does Edwards have the judgment and breadth -- or even the simple class -- to be president?

Furthermore, Edwards said this: “If Mayor Giuliani believes that what the president has done is good . . . and runs a campaign for the presidency saying ‘I will give you four more years of what this president has done,’ he’s allowed to do that. He will never be elected president, but he is allowed to do that.”

He is allowed to do that. Why, thank you, Mr. Edwards. What a snippy, prissy little . . . candidate.

So, what's wrong with the phrase, "this President's war in Iraq"? I'm not really sure, but since Nord believes that the Invasion of Iraq routed al Qaeda from New York and Washington, I'm not expecting much in the way of logic. I also don't understand his objection to the line about Giuliani, other than it is an attack on one of Nordlinger's macho-man Republicans; but if anybody has no business describing someone else as "prissy" . . .

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Frumian Correctness

David Frum, the author of "Unpatriotic Conservatives" is now saying this:

My own working theory till now has been that the anti-Klein sentiment exposes the tyrannical impulses of the American Left. Being a left-leaning journalist is not sufficient, comrade! We demand total unquestioning obedience! You are guilty of deviationism and individualism: Go practice self-criticism until you are prepared to submit to the perfect correctness of the thoughts of Chairman Kos!

Deep Economy

This week's Metro Pulse features my review of Bill McKibben's Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future:
Since World War II, the United States has grown fantastically wealthy and, consequently, Americans consume mightily, but we haven't become happier than we were a half-century ago. In fact, the trend lines are moving in the opposite direction. The author details, via numerous studies, the grim results of our explosion of prosperity. The results indicate that, beyond a point, we are less happy with more stuff. He even notes one recent study indicating that the " average American child reported now higher levels of anxiety than the average child under psychiatric care in the 1950s: our new normal is the old disturbed."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Vanity of Human Wishes

"The liberal, old style or new style, swears by the evangels of Progress; he thinks of society as a machine for aggrandizement, and of happiness as the gratification of appetites.

The conservative, on the contrary, thinks of society as what Burke called the great mysterious incorporation of the human race, held together by tradition and custom and immemorial usage, a living spirit; and he thinks that happiness comes from duty done, and from an understanding of the vanity of human wishes."--Russell Kirk


This (via Michael Silence) is madness. Long time News Sentinel feature writer and new blogger for them, Fred Brown responded to A.C.'s now infamous "button men & pawns" post by suggesting that:
Today, our men and women in uniform are far away fighting the toughest of battles: against an urban enemy who lurks in the dark corners and . . . sends IEDs at our men and women . . .

The least we can do is to keep our traps shut and our opinions to ourselves. We owe that to the young men and women who are in Iraq fighting, whether or not you agree with what is going on . . .

I dearly believe that, although we have the inalienable right to disagree with our government, our local state and national leaders, a powerful right under provisions of our U.S. Constitution, to do so when our troops are struggling daily for their lives in extreme environments, is a disservice to our service men and women.

I can't help it. We are at war. Time for debate has passed . . . Can you disagree with the war and its management? Of course. Do it privately . . .
This is a recipe for permanent war. The notion that what we "owe" to our fellow Americans who are daily being maimed and killed is to shut up and ignore the fact that their lives, health and (sometimes) sanity are being sacrificed in a cause likely detrimental to the national interest is insane. And we can't even publicly disagree with the war's "management", so a disasterous manager like Don "the Army you have" Rumsfeld would get a free pass from public criticism. The great American Patriot, Smedley Butler, whom I've often had reason to invoke; knew from experience and observation what happened to men in war, and he choose not to remain silent:
I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men--men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital at Milwaukee . . . told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed home. Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed . . . Then suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face"! This time they had to do their own readjusting, sans mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice, sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more . . . Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face."