Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Bittersweet Triumph

The inimitable Steven Den Beste has interrupted his hiatus to respond to a question that I must admit I had.
Terry writes:
I hope you are well and enjoying your "retirement" from blogging. I find myself reading Wretchard, Donald Sensing, and the Powerline guys and wondering how you see the amazing events unfolding across the middle east. I must say you hit it pretty square on the head in some of your old posts.
Steven (unsurprisingly) nails the dismount. Go read.

UPDATE 3/3: Steven leaves comments at Bill Quick's Daily Pundit post on the falling dominoes in the Middle East, What Lies at the Bottom of This Slippery Slope?. As always, Steven's insight is laser-sharp, and I am glad to read his words again.

Steven says:
This is the payoff. This was always the most important reason for the invasion of Iraq. I am a bit surprised by how fast it's beginning to happen, but I never doubted that any of this would eventually take place. It was always the goal of what we did.

But it is not really the Iraqi election that set this off. It was, in fact, the US election that did it. The entire region held its breath because it needed an answer to this question: Will the Americans see this through? When Bush won, the answer was "yes". Now they know that there will be four more years of American pressure, and they know that 4 years is a long time and a lot can be accomplished in that time.

If Kerry had won in November, turnout in the Iraqi election would have been low and none of the rest of this would have happened. A Kerry victory would have been treated in the region as an indication that the Americans had given up.
Steven made a damned fine argument for this position in his Strategic Overview of the cause of the war from July of 2003, but I've got to disagree - just a bit - with one point. I think if John Kerry had been elected President, the Iraqi election would have been postponed - indefinitely - as "too dangerous." It would have been one of Kerry's first actions, and it would have been the final indicator that America had given up.

Then there's this response to a question of just why Bush's foreign policy is so adamantly opposed by the Left:
(T)heir problem with it isn't what is happening, but rather who is doing it and how they're doing it.

Liberating the world is fine. But it's supposed to be done by transnational governance through peaceful diplomacy. It isn't supposed to be done through military might as an expression of nationalist power.

And the reason they're becoming increasingly incoherent with their anger is that their world-view doesn't even admit the possibility that these things can be done through military might and increasing nationalism.

Nationalism is the big enemy, from their point of view. That's more important than little things like spreading democracy and ending repression. And when the Americans kiss off the UN, the ICC, the Kyoto accords, "international law" and all the other nascent manifestations of world governance the lefties have placed their hopes in, and then the Americans proceed to accomplish more in three years than those nascent organizations have in the previous thirty, it leads to big-time cognitive dissonance.

Because it forces them to confront the possibility that nationalism may not in fact be inherently and unredeemably evil. Nationalism may well be the savior of the race, the historical force which leads to a better tomorrow.

The lefties hate Bush because Bush is unapologetically nationalist, unapologetically American. Clinton and Kerry were at least willing to apologize for their nation; Bush won't. Bush thinks America is a force for good -- and to lefties who are invested in the idea of world governance, that is the worst threat imaginable. Because they cannot establish a world government unless they somehow convince the majority of Americans that the United States as a nation and the US Constitution as a political experiment are utter failures which must be abandoned and replaced by something better -- i.e. by world governance and the emerging socialist utopia predicted by the sainted Marx.
And this follow-on:
I mean where is the evidence that "transnational governance through peaceful diplomacy" has EVER worked?

Joshua, for the lefties that isn't an important question. Transnational governance is such an elegant concept that it must be the correct answer. Old fashioned ideas like "evidence" and "experience" don't affect that calculation.

That's why a century of failure hasn't disenchanted them with the idea of socialism. True, every time it's ever been tried it's always failed, but that was because those doing it were stupid and corrupt. Socialism is fundamentally elegant idea; it simply has to be right.

...even if it isn't.

And this commentary fits perfectly into Jon Stewart's outing of Nancy Soderburg that I posted on this morning.

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