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January 20, 2005


Seems to me the point of the article is to imply quite strongly that non-republicans love taxes and pointless rules for their own sake, as administered by a huge and aggressive government; that we think that freedom is just a patronage perk dealt out by said government and that humans are essentially valueless in themselves; that we dislike America, and see nothing unique or extraordinary about it; and that our childish worldview renders us craven, reflexive pacifists.

Gosh! Who would ever vote for a party full of such evil and cowardly people? And who would ever vote against the heroic cadre that Thomas describes?

"It means a belief that not only are all Men created equal, but also that it is an innate condition of human beings, not an arbitrary gift of government. It means that all humans carry within them, inseparably and without any need for government affirmation or provision, certain basic rights, not the least of which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Hm. I seem to remember making a very similar argument here, on Tacitus, WoC, dKos, and various other places. Someone who believes in these principles should abhor Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and this administration's morally bankrupt posturings about "illegal combatants", to name but a few.

There's simply no reconciling this statement of principle with the notion that we can indefinitely detain someona and arbitrarily declare them as having only the due process rights that we are generous enough to grant them.

In all, Thomas makes a beautiful argument, one which not only epitomizes the ideals of many Republicans, but indeed of many Americans. Unfortunately, it bears little resemblance to the GOP under George Bush's leadership.

It means a belief in the rule of law, not of men

Feingold was concerned with another section of the memo, one in which the administration claimed that during wartime a president could ignore laws that might affect his handling of the war. "In light of the President’s complete authority over the conduct of war," the memo said, ". . . we will not read a criminal statute as infringing on the President’s ultimate authority in these areas." In simple terms: A wartime president is above the law. The immediate point concerned the use of torture, and the argument was that if the commander in chief orders torture, it cannot be illegal. But this finding had a much greater sweep. Suppose Congress banned the use of biological weapons or acts of genocide. Under this interpretation, the president could shoot Capitol Hill the finger and do as he pleases

LA Weekly

It means believing that, generally, the fewer rules and taxes laid down on human enterprise, the better.

So which recent president really deserves credit for trimming Washington down to size? The man who proclaimed "the era of big government" over: Bill Clinton. In 2000, federal spending fell to 18.4 percent of GDP, the lowest since 1966

Big Spenders

It means a belief that not only are all Men created equal, but also that it is an innate condition of human beings, not an arbitrary gift of government

“The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

“National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct. … It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.”

National Review, 1957

It means that we believe America is a shining city on a hill, the last, best hope of Mankind. That though America is not perfect -- and never will be -- we are the best thing going

"One of the advantages of living here is that the United States has become, over the years, a very free country. Not as a gift from the gods, but as the result of plenty of popular struggle, it's become an unusually free country, uniquely so in some respects."

Noam Chomsky, 2003

It means that all humans carry within them, inseparably and without any need for government affirmation or provision, certain basic rights, not the least of which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The Military Order vests the President with complete discretion to identify the individuals that fall within its scope. It establishes no standards governing the use of his discretion. Once a person has been detained, the Order contains no provision for him to be notified of the charges he may face. On the contrary, the Order authorizes detainees to be held without charges. It contains no provision for detainees to be notified of their rights under domestic and international law, and provides neither the right to counsel, nor the right to consular access. It provides no right to appear before a neutral tribunal to review the legality of a detainee's continued detention, and no provision for appeal to an Article III court. In fact, the Order expressly bars review by any court. Though the Order directs respondent Rumsfeld to create military tribunals, it sets no deadline for his task. And for those detainees who will not be tried before a tribunal, the Order authorizes indefinite and unreviewable detention, based on nothing more than the President's written determination that an individual is subject to its terms.

Rasul v. Bush

It means knowing that sometimes the dark and terrible things of the world can and should be allowed to die their own deaths, and sometimes, rough men must gather their arms and march into battle to defeat them

The Reagan administration repeatedly insisted that the Salvadoran government and armed forces were not responsible for the violence . . . As President Reagan himself declared in a speech . . . in July 1983, "Much of the violence there - whether from the extreme right or left - is beyond the control of the government." A month later, Abrams (Elliot Abrams, the head of the State Department's human rights bureau) insisted . . . it was "unfair" to blame the military for the violence because "we really don't know who the death squads are."

Raymond Bonner, from Weakness and Deceit, via Whiskey Bar

Let me sum up: by the standards under consideration, Bush is not a Republican, Clinton is, the National Review wasn't in the 1950s, Chomsky is, Reagan wasn't, and hilzoy is.

Perhaps the writer of that bit of propaganda might want to spend a little more time holding Republicans to task for the standards he sets forth for them, and less time taking credit for the product of other peoples' blood, sweat, and tears.

I guess Thomas thinks that to be a Republican these days is to hold dear the ideals of the Democratic Party, but just not act on that impulse.

shorter Thomas: Republican = all that is good.

implied Thomas: everyone else wants to take your money and burn it on the lawn.

Oh, that guy sure writes pretty.

The gospel of Matthew comes to mind in rebuttal, specifically chapter 7, verses 16 and 21.

You did a particularly tactful job with the american exceptionalism clause. While I pretty much agree with you in your "rational patriotism" argument, I'd be a lot ruder about american exceptionalism as a way of thinking that has a tendency to undermine all the other fine points Thomas made.

In reference to the Republicans not believing that government should be overly intrusive, I got this information in an email night before last. I have been expecting to see some comment about it, but have yet to hear/read any. I have not tried the Supreme Court link to verify, although my source is very reliable. Consider this a "head's up", not a change of topic, please. (I tried to put it in italics, but it looked like I would have put all the comments into them also. Sorry.)

"High Court Asked to Overturn Roe V. Wade

47 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The woman once known as "Jane Roe" has asked the Supreme Court to overturn its landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion 32 years ago.

Norma McCorvey, whose protest of Texas' abortion ban led to the 1973 ruling, contends in a petition received at the court Tuesday that the case should be heard again in light of evidence that the procedure may harm women.

"Now we know so much more, and I plead with the court to listen for witnesses and re-evaluate Roe v. Wade," said McCorvey, who says she now regrets her role in the case.

The politically charged issue comes before the court as both sides gird for a possible bitter nomination fight over Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's replacement should the ailing justice retire this term. At least three justices, including Rehnquist, have said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned.

Two lower courts last year threw out McCorvey's request to have the ruling reconsidered.

But in a strongly worded concurrence, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge Edith H. Jones criticized the abortion ruling and said new medical evidence may well show undue harm to a mother and her fetus.

The last major abortion decision by the Supreme Court came in 2000, when the court ruled 5-4 to strike down Nebraska's ban on so-called "partial-birth" abortion because it failed to provide an exception to protect the mother's health.

Justices since then have shown little interest in wading back to the emotional issue.


On the Net:

Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/"

"Here I sit so patiently
waiting to find out what price
you got to pay to get out of
going through all these things twice...

Oh, mama, can this really be the end?"

"Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again"
Bob Dylan

Welcome home, hilzoy! The decoder ring is in the mail. ;)

It's true, it seems: Silliness is the tribute inanity pays to virtue.

Yes, I just implied I'm virtuous and you're not. I wouldn't want to leave any stereotypes unconfirmed.

I see why Moe left you guys. The big action is over at Kos's site, you know.

Thomas: what about my post, exactly, did you disagree with?


you should look at Thomas's site for a sense of his where he's coming from. Here's a excerpt:

Redstate is the shiznit, kids. Talented bloggers (and me!), coming together to irritate the hell out of Jimmy Carville, drive Mary Beth Cahill to use as many mind altering chemicals as her old boss, and, speaking positively, to push forward conservatism in (and with) the Republican Party.

Edward: yikes! I'm almost proud to have my virtue impugned by someone who whose idea of humor includes this:

"DEMOCRAT Presidental Candidate John Forbes Kerry announced today a new program to shore up his support with African-American groups, a key constituency in any Democrat bid for the White House.

Called the "Bling Bling" Initiative, the plan would give millions of taxpayer-funded pieces of gaudy jewelry to African Americans as part of the Kerry2004 economic platform.

I mean, like, wow.

I mean, like, wow.

Not just your garden variety wingnut, for sure.

Definitely not. You can tell because he has special telepathic powers, which is why he knows why Moe left, not to mention the state of my moral character. (He may, for all I know, have spoken to Moe, but he does not know me, so he must have paranormal powers.)

not to mention the state of my moral character.

Maybe he's read Von's Legal Bleg and knows you're literary? Being literary, after all, probably means you're not virtuous.

Of course, being ahem is worse. ;-)

Jes: maybe that's it. Being literary is almost like being French, after all.

Hey now. Thomas' own words are enough to chew on. The speculation about his beliefs and attitudes is wandering into pot/kettle territory.

sidereal: Qu'est-ce que vous dites? Je ne comprends pas -- je parle seulement le freedom.

Même les Français peut être sage, mon chou-chou.
"Ceux qui vous font croire des absurdites, vous feront commetre des atrocites" - Voltaire.

This mind reading exchange reminds me of one of my favorite little jokes. (The jokes are for me, if you laugh that is just a bonus). I get to use it at least three or four time a year when I know something through observation that doesn't seem obvious. I'll often get a response of: "How did you know that, are you psychic?"

I always reply: "Yes........but that's not how I knew."

(Hmm sounds funnier in my head).

(Hmm sounds funnier in my head)

No, it doesn't.

(Wait, was that too obscure?)

Sidereal: Funny you should mention that quote: it figures in a story that, for me, sums up one aspect of my Mom. I was sixteen and Christian; she was neither; we were arguing about faith, with me pro and Mom con. (You'd have to know my Mom to realize how completely the idea of believing something on a basis other than rational examination goes against her grain.) Anyways, there came this moment when she, exasperated, said, as a kind of summation of everything: But Hilary, as Voltaire once said, He who can make you believe an absurdity can make you commit an atrocity! This mattered so much to her, and she was so horrified.

I love my mom.

hilzoy, pourquoi vouvoyez-vous-nous?

(Hmm sounds funnier in my head).

No, it sounds funnier in mine.

rilkefan: franchement, je n'ai aucune idee. Peut-etre la politesse etourdi?

(Je ne sais pas comment faire les accents, et j'ai peur que si j'essais, les gens avec autres browsers verraient seulements symboles bizarres. Alors, pas d'accents.)

Voila comment faire ça.

rilkefan: merci.

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