Mailvox: two takes on today’s column

LW is impressed:

Your column makes me shudder. It sounds like a liberal leftist propaganda to make us give up our will and allow enemies to rule us. But you present sound facts and reasonable interpretation. In that, I hear shades of Jeremiah, and understand better (all the time) how his contemporaries could brand him a traitor to God and country. Nevertheless, he was presenting truth, and exhorted them to repentance so they could follow God’s plan and truly succeed for Him.

Glen from AOL, on the other hand, not so much:

Your grasp of military history is bunk. Technologically advanced societies defeat less advanced societies nearly every time. That is why Europe dominated the world for the past 700 years, why English is the international language spoken at every airport control tower, why the dollar and Euro are the international currencies why Israel exists and why this is the year 2006.

You pick a few categories of weapons where the Germans were superior in World War II, but they were not the important categories that won the war. Big deal. So what the if Germans had better machine guns, submarines, tanks and rockets that were superior to ours? Assuming that theirs were superior in quality, they were inferior in quantity and they did not have four-engine bombers, long-range fighter escorts, aircraft carriers, or good airborne radars that could locate submarines at night. They wasted their effort developing rockets that were so inaccurate that they could barely hit London and had nothing like the P-51 Mustang, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator or the B-29 Superfortress (with or without atomic bombs).

If we have the weaker horse, it is because we have too many liberals, pacifists and isolationist conservatives like you.

Yes, those Messerschmitt 262s and 163Bs had nothing on the American prop jobbies. And I’m curious to know why the Germans would have concerned themselves with hunting submarines when their surface navy was confined to port for most of the war. As for the Euro, I’ll just leave it to Glen to discover for himself what currency was weighted the most heavily when it was created.

As for the weaker horse, pointing fingers doesn’t even begin to change the fact that national will, let alone hemispheric will, to win the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism simply does not exist. Why it doesn’t exist and who is responsible is almost completely beside the point.

Neocons and neoconservatism

Goldberg considers Fukuyama on NRO:

So the great irony is this: In Fukuyama’s telling, the new neoconservatism of Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan emerges as in many respects the opposite of the old neoconservatism of Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. This younger generation, which never went through a disillusionment-migration cycle from Left to Right, simply never internalized the lessons of being deeply wrong about something truly important.

Good piece, I wish I’d written the first half of it. It’s interesting to see how Fukuyama pinpoints the Leninism of the current Republican administration; it’s the same reason I refer to them as World Demokratic Revolutionists.

As for the latter half, since I support neither neoconservatism nor neocons, I regard the difference as being trivial and primarily a matter of varying enthusiasm for the use of government force.

Didn’t they try that already?

And here I thought we were all were big on free speech:

Jewish groups have called for Oscar-winning American actor Mel Gibson to be ostracised from Hollywood and investigated for breach of race hate laws after his drunken anti-Semitic outburst to a Los Angeles police officer.

Gibson issued a lengthy statement Saturday apologizing for saying “despicable” things to sheriff’s deputies when he was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The U.S. Anti-Defamation League said that the apology was not enough and that Gibson should be ostracised by his peers.

Considering that the last time Hollywood decided to ostracize him for his anti-semitism, he made a bajillion dollars and created an alternative distribution channel, old Abe and company might want to rethink their customary point-and-shriek strategy. What Mel said certainly wasn’t polite, but neither was it criminal. I get email saying worse about me nearly every single week, why isn’t the Anti-Defamation League calling for the investigation of my critics?

In defense of anti-semitism II

From the NY Times:

After her family moved to this small town 30 years ago, Mona Dobrich grew up as the only Jew in school. Mrs. Dobrich, 39, married a local man, bought the house behind her parents’ home and brought up her two children as Jews. For years, she and her daughter, Samantha, listened to Christian prayers at public school potlucks, award dinners and parent-teacher group meetings, she said. But at Samantha’s high school graduation in June 2004, a minister’s prayer proclaiming Jesus as the only way to the truth nudged Mrs. Dobrich to act….

The Dobriches eventually sued the Indian River School District, challenging what they asserted was the pervasiveness of religion in the schools and seeking financial damages.

This reads like a caricature of stereotypically Jewish behavior. If an author made up something like this in a novel, he’d be reasonably castigated for overt anti-semitism. But if there are any Jews who still can’t figure out why so many people come to hate them, this should serve as a sufficiently explanatory example. People have been living in this town for hundreds of years, then a single Jewish family moves in and eventually files a lawsuit demanding that literally everyone else in town modify their behavior in order to accomodate their delicate sensibilities and pay them off on top of it.

This isn’t merely outrageous, it is the sort of behavior more remniscent of an overt agent provocateur than anything else. And, sure enough, negative results became quickly apparent.

Mrs. Dobrich, who is Orthodox, said that when she was a girl, Christians here had treated her faith with respectful interest. Now, she said, her son was ridiculed in school for wearing his yarmulke. She described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”

In other words, the townspeople were perfectly happy to leave her alone and allow her to live her life in peace as long as she was willing to do likewise. Then, their latent “anti-semitism” appeared as if by magic once she started filing lawsuits against them in an attempt to exert control over their behavior. No doubt the townspeople would have been just fine with everything had it only been a Hindu or a Muslim trying to wax dictatorial….

It seems that some particularly short-sighted Jews are eager to expand the definition of anti-semitism to encompass a desire to live according to one’s own beliefs. If so, they should not be surprised when everyone who values individual freedom then embraces anti-semitism. Already the once-explosive charge has become ineffectual in Europe, where political leaders on the right and the left alike are immune from it, and if Jews continue to behave in the reprehensibly boorish and dictatorial manner exhibited by Mrs. Dobrich, they will fully deserve any future unpopularity in the USA as well.

I’m not anti-semitic myself, (at least by the classic definition of Judenhassen, although by Abe Foxman’s expansive definition, I, along with every animal, vegetable and mineral on the planet, would be), I’m sure my Jewish business partner would take at least passing exception to that. And I fully support Israel’s right to attack Hezbollah in response to an open act of war, even if their attempt to win by the use of air power is doomed to failure. But it’s not hard to understand how anti-semitism develops as a response to what appear to be intentional acts of provocation such as Mrs. Dobrich’s. As I’ve written previously in a column entitled “Christkillers”, I think there is a spiritual element to this as well, but this cycle of provoke-and-suffer appears to be the way in which that spiritual element repeatedly creates such predictable ill will.

The NY Times on Dr. Greg Boyd

And the Woodland Hills political controversy:

Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

I don’t always agree with Greg. But he’s a good man of rare intellect and honor, and I have little patience or sympathy for his detractors.

Pandagon: a perfectly parochial American

Amanda starts to correct herself, then decides against it:

In the meantime, I need to correct for a rather sweeping generalization I made about how the left isn’t harboring racists of our own. I should have known better than to be so simple about it; god knows I’ve seen enough liberals making racist and sexist and homophobic jokes that one can’t just dismiss it out of hand. Nonetheless, I think my basic point stands. If you are an honest-to-god hateful racist who uses politics as a way to beat up on other people for being different, you know what political party is yours—the Republicans. If you’re firmly committed to eradicating prejudice, you’re going to be pulling the lever for the Democrats.

Clearly the girl has never met an Italian Communist, a Swiss SPS member, a French Socialist or anyone from the British Labour Party. These people tend to be just slightly less anti-Semitic than your average Palestinian suicide bomber, moderately less anti-black than David Duke, (they’ll drop the word “nigger” as freely as a gangster rapper, although in their defense, I’ll point out that they honestly don’t realize that it’s supposed to be offensive), and many are openly avowed Marxists, if not Marxist-Leninists, whose leftist credentials would put Hillary Clinton and Betty Friedan to shame.

Amynda is also clearly unaware of the history of the modern Democratic Party. George Wallace was a Democrat and the only member of the KKK currently seated in the Senate happens to be its ranking Democrat. These days, the only people advocating legal racism are Democrats.

This serves as a reminder that the average leftist’s attempt to pose as a sophisticated intellectual nobly battling against the benighted bourgeoisie of Middle America is just that, a pose. The reality is that the vast majority of them are myopic and monolingual morons, too parochial and poorly read to grasp that their political spectrum is a rainbow that ranges from red to blue the short way round.

One for the whining warmongers

From Jim Dunnigan’s Strategy Page:

Many of the people involved in doing development work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places frequented by Islamic terrorists, actively discourage reporters from “telling the good news” about their particular project. Aid workers have concluded that when word of a successful project gets into the media, the terrorists will sometimes learn about it and target it. This has happened many times in Afghanistan, in the aftermath of news stories about schools for girls, and rural education in general. This is where the Internet comes in, because that’s how widely dispersed Islamic radicals can stay in touch. For these fellows, publicity is very important. And when they see a story that appears to disrespect them, like girls going to school, retaliation is discussed, and eventually someone follows through.

I don’t think that the pro-war commentariat is stupid because they hold a manifestly indefensible position, but rather because they so reliably demonstrate their ability to understand why things happen the way they do and to foresee the probable consequences of the actions they so loudly recommend. Their feeble capacities can be seen by the way in which they regard “well, we have to do SOMETHING” as passing for a defense of the Bush administration’s bungling.

The fact that they cannot even recognize that the enemy follows the Western media, (despite the way in which numerous organizations and individuals have played it so adroitly), does not lend credence to their assertions that the only thing standing between the USA and victory over “Terror” is will. This is, in fact, a monstrously stupid supposition, the same one that lies behind numerous 20th century military disasters from the Somme Ypres to Barbarossa and the Six-Day War.

Any adroit student of military history knows that the two previous waves of Islamic expansion were not defeated by offense, but by defensive measures. The Crusades were a near-complete failure; what little success was enjoyed by the first Crusaders was entirely dependent upon the unstable nature of the Dar al-Islam. I will post more on this soon, but as has been obvious from the start, a winning strategy in this latest round of Islam vs the West requires understanding the lessons of past successes as well as failures.

Great to a point

From a comment thread at Femistasi Central:

Glaivester Says:

I’m not certain how it would work for fathers, but there is a biological reason for men wanting their wives/girlfriends to be monogamous. Most men do not want to get into a relationship, have a child with the woman, and then find out that the child isn’t really his. Part of the “slut-shaming” is a strategy by males to make certain that they aren’t saddled with another man’s child. (I am not saying that this is a conscious thought proces, but it is the biological basis behind this tendency).

Women are less concerned about “slut-shaming” men because they can have great confidence that their baby is theirs.

Female promiscuity and controls on it are less stringent (on average) in a lot of sub-Saharan Africa, because the men are much less likely to be expected to care for the kids, so a father does not have the same paternal investment and therefore less to lose if “his kids” aren’t really his.

zuzu Says:

Well, Glaivester, that’s a great argument for matrilineal and matriarchal societies.

Sure, as long as you don’t mind living in a mud hut without tap water or electricity and dying at 30. I’m telling you, feminist blogs are the Comics section of the blogosphere.

Explaining the arrogance

Peggy Noonan alerts us to breaking news:

William F. Buckley this week said words that, if you follow his columns, were not surprising. And yet coming from the man who co-fathered the modern conservative movement, carrying the intellectual heft as Reagan carried the political heft, the observation that President Bush is not, philosophically, a conservative, had the power to make one sit up and take notice.

I have had reservations in this area since Mr. Bush’s stunning inaugural speech last year, but Mr. Buckley’s comments, in a television interview last weekend, had the sting of the definitional.

What has Peggy been doing the last six years, coloring in her Ronald Reagan coloring books? Seriously, it’s only taken them about seven years to notice what was obvious from the start. The remarkable thing is that Noonan and Buckley are among the more intelligent members of the conservative commentariat.

It’s not that I am impressed with my own intelligence, there are an abundance of things I do not understand. But the deep and abiding moronism that abounds in the media, left and right, seldom fails to astound me.

Why do people pay attention to anything they say? They are dependably wrong, often reliably so! I’m thinking of starting a tracking service to note various pundits’ predictions. I’ll bet aside from a handful of commentators, most of them bat well below the Mendoza line.