Friday, September 12, 2003

Yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's radio talk show, a guy named Scott called in and chastised conservatives for implying that liberals are unpatriotic. Hugh took strong exception and asked him to back it up. It struck me that I've heard an awful lot of that kind of non-argument coming from the left. They don't say conservatives are wrong on policy--Scott started by saying that he supports the war in Afghanistan and Iraq--but that they are wrong for impugning the patriotism of their opponents.

I sent Hugh the following:
Sophistry and Logical Fallacy!

The first response is "So what?" It's a free country. Even if you or your callers did impugn somebody's patriotism, it has nothing to do with the merits of the argument. If it were illegal to be boorish and snotty, Maureen Dowd couldn't work.

Secondly, it begs the question of what patriotism means and what the duties of citizens in a republic are. It's one thing to criticise as the loyal opposition, and its quite another to attack the men and women who are engaged in fighting our enemies. This is, as James Taranto pointed out yesterday, the Copperheads' tactic, trying to undermine the war because they can't stand not controlling the government. Patriotism is love of country. Under that definition, a lot of liberal academics and pundits ARE unpatriotic. Noam Chomsky comes to mind. They can all claim that they love America but hate its foreign policy, but they go beyond that. They accuse the American economic system of being the greatest threat to the world. They are saying that America is evil, but that they really love it. Sure, just like you can hate sin and love it at the same time.

So, my reply to Scott would be, "And what if somebody did impugn the patriotism of the left? They impugn the intelligence and motives of the right on a regular basis. But the real question is whether the President's policy is working or not. In this country we have freedom of speech, so, if your feelings are that tender about your patriotism, maybe you don't belong in the debate."

Canadians need some introspection apparently:
"There's a very bad fit between our self-image and what we actually deliver," he contends. "We think we're better peacekeepers than we are. We think we're better at development assistance and helping poor countries than we are. And we think we're innocent. We think nobody would possibly hate or want to kill a Canadian.
I've heard several reports on Canada's lax policies for granting refugee status to foreigners who have terrorist ties. What I found most curious was the excuse, "Canada's growth depends on immigration, to supply workers in its industries." Maybe they need improved sex education.

(Via Best of the Web)

I suppose that I should comment on this anniversary of the attack that launched us into war against terror. I'm not eloquent enough to match James Lileks, but I did read something in a column by Claudia Rosett. It's a quote from William Faulkner:
I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
I would add that there is more good in the world than there are people like bin Laden, Saddam and Arafat. Most of us don't want wars. We just want to live our lives in peace. But the ones who make history seem to be the ones driven by pride, greed and hate, and those who defeat them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Dan Weintraub writes that Cruz Bustamonte doesn't understand how California got in its budget mess. David Letterman remarked on Gray Davis quip that no one should be governor who can't pronounce "California," saying that no one should be governor who is unable to govern California.

In Utah, the Republicans pretty much have a lock on state-wide politics, but Utah is ranked as the best managed state in the Union. California is one of the worst, and it won't improve as long as it's run by Democrats.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

If I were president, I'd announce to the world that we are going to support Israel in taking whatever means are necessary to find and eradicate Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian terrorists. The first step should be hanging Arafat. He's had it coming for the last 50 years.

The Paletstinians are being fed a continuous diet of pie in the sky by the terrorists. Maybe the Sherman option is in order. Cut off the aid to the Palestinians and make its restoration conditional on ending terrorism. What they need to understand is that their lives will be better if they receive the Jews as deliverers of economic progress and prosperity than as enemies. If they were to leave the area tomorrow, the Palestinians move back and the whole nation would be back to its pre-1945 poverty within 10 years. Of course, that would apply to the entire Arab world, because without the Jews, there would be no reason for our huge aid payments to Egypt and support from other Arab states. Maybe they could get help from the Saudis and Iranians, but I doubt it.

John Hamre of the Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that the main thing Iraq needs is electricity. The biggest problem is petty thievery and sabotage, but he says that he didn't meet any Iraqis that wanted us to leave. They all told him they were afraid we'd leave too soon. Maybe the RNC can recruit a few of them to make some campaign ads.b

Senator Byrd, of all people, is lecturing the administration that "The Congress is not an ATM!" Daschle says the Senate can't support the spending the president has asked for to rebuild Iraq, unless he delivers an agreement from the "international community" to chip in. That'll really help. If we have the U.N. and a bunch of NGOs under foot there, he's gonna need more money from American taxpayers. I think the most important thing we can do is keep training Iraqis and educating them on what freedom really means.

I'd really like to see Instapundit's idea of a trust shared by all Iraqis to own the oil resources, and let it pledge part of future profits to repay the coalition nations for the costs of ridding them of Saddam. They need to learn that freedom isn't free. It may come as a gift, but the upkeep is not cheap. Of course, that will give the Democrats and the whiners in Europe something new to whine about. They'll claim it's proof that we were only after Iraq's oil, but I don't think that we should be ruled by the anticipation of lying accusations. It's the Little Red Hen principle.

A new Gallup poll says that 69% of Americans believe that the Patriot Act is "just about right" (48%) or "doesn't go far enough." (21%). 22% agree with Glenn Reynolds.

I was thinking today about President Bush's speech on Sunday evening. From all the hate speech against him, I'd have expected a swaggering hick in a cowboy hat to come out and spit before, launching into a jingoistic tirade. Where was that guy? It seemed pretty somber and thoughtful to me. It's the Democrat 9 that look like cowboys, making all kinds of challenges they can't back up.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Read the comments to this post by Tim Blair about the flight of the NGOs from Iraq. Apparently the NGOs can't handle it when they have to compete with an a government bent on independence and self-sufficiency.