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April 04, 2006

Comments

"obscenely dim clowns like Sean Hannity..."

I wish I had written that. Rhetoric like that gives one hope that Hannity and company won't need to be physically restrained at some future date.

Nice post, Von. And, congrats on the birth of your child. It's all fun.

I sort of put my main comment elsewhere, but I'm with John (though I'm not sure about the plural marriage part): good post.

Good post von.

The point about exporting democracy is exactly that - it is an export. And that, almost by definition, means change and revolution. Also, American neo-conservative opinion is, in itself, a hugely radical concept for a large section of the public in the Third World. A conservative here is for Church (Islamic or otherwise), State, aristocracy and feudalism. An American neo-conservative, being as he (or she) is for pluralism, women's suffrage, equal opportunities etc etc has a long way to go before persuding the largely conservative majority about the validity of that viewpoint.

Manish Ghosh

like the post - like even more the foot-stomping from his commentors : "EUreaucrats as super-Senate", and the delicious "I hope that my CinC is successful in creating sane and rational government in the muslim sphere, but I'll settle for their destruction."

nothing says "the whole democracy-promotion notion is a scam" like "I'll settle for their destruction."

the UN obsession is cute, too.

Nicely excerpted. Thanks for pointing us to it.

WFB is above this inanity, and privately is likely embarrassed, to the extent he even pays attention, when the likes of Derbyshire revel in alerting us that he doesn't give a damn that 1,000 Egyptians are dead in a ferry disaster.

I highly doubt it. For all his intellectual trappings, Buckley was the Coulter of his day. The fact that his refined and erudite wingnuttery has been superseded by a louder, cruder and stupider variety doesn't entitle him to any props in my book.

Well, I'll repeat myself from a post above this one.

From some bloggers like Gilliard, Yglesias, and Klein I see "pull out from Iraq" without an analysis of the consequences. Some like Juan Cole say that whatever small difference our troops can do is better than doing nothing, that the consequences would be horrific. I see much analysis of the costs and difficulties.

Thoma Barnett is one of the few (maybe Sen) who is looking far enough down the road to ask whether the liberalization (economic, social, or institutions if not full democracy...China not doing too badly) of the "Rim World" is necessary. I hear how difficult, or costly, or politically challenging to develop the will, but if it has to be done, then we have to try.

As we approach global warming, resource scarcity, gaps of orders of magnitude in technological and cultural development, I think we are facing horrific challenges of the like never seen before. Billions of people are at risk, with secondary consequences like refugees and other expressions of desperation. Leaving aside idealism or morality, a foreign policy realism may require interventions far beyond our comfort level.

a foreign policy realism may require interventions far beyond our comfort level.

But what a noble burden.

Empire or republic, Bob. Which side are you on?

"Empire or republic, Bob. Which side are you on?"

Benevolent hegemony. Oh hell, give some hypotheticals.

Myanmar over a period of fifty years develops a new breed of pandemic flu every five years, each spreading beyond its borders and killing millions. We could wall it off, starving the population.

Bangladesh goes under the sea due to global warming.

Brazil and Indonesia, on the downside of peak oil, burn their forests to the ground, releasing buchu carbon and removing the carbon sink.

In all these cases, and many more, local dictators refuse outside assistance and interference.

Hey, sue me, it is a global village and we are the cop. I would prefer peaceful solutions, but feel a compulsion to solutions. I have this crummy attitude that it is better that a thousand Americans die preventing the death of a million others overseas. Even if I can't point to direct American costs. But increasingly I think I will be able to.

I have this crummy attitude that it is better that a thousand Americans die preventing the death of a million others overseas.

Name one instance where American voters have been willing to do anything of the kind.

And on the other hand, The Poor Man finally explains what "Whatever It Takes" really means (with relevance to the Promoting Democracy thread to boot!):

Now, I readily admit that a program of mass crucifixion in the Middle East may seem a bit extreme, and perhaps it is. We are Americans, after all, and with that comes a solemn responsibility to be somewhat less cruel and evil than the most cruel and evil people ever.

I continue to be surprised and outraged at speech that advocates the death of millions, or even a billion or two, of Muslims so that America can be made "safe" from the Islamofascists. I understand and support the need to do everything we can to work agains terrorism on all fronts. Is this, however, what we have become? Genocide writ large?

Is it a wrong impression, a surreal illusion of evil, or do the terrorists most to be feared wrap themselves in an American flag? After all, what nation has the might, the bomb, and a large radical political movement espousing genocide?

What kind of poison has crept into our national heart that we don't reject this speech, this hateful ideology, out of hand? Are we really that ill?

Jake

"What kind of poison has crept into our national heart that we don't reject this speech, this hateful ideology, out of hand?"

The usual for nations with heavy percentages of aggressive and sometimes violent chauvinism. Fear, ignorance, arrogance, and a general unwillingness to believe we could do signifcant wrong.

I would in no way be intending to make any sort of direct comparison or analogy if I pointed to Germany as another nation where people of much culture, philosophy, art and science, who thought of themselves as sophisticated good people, once did various things that were not. But really, that sort of thing is quite common in history. I'd arouse vastly fewer hives if I pointed to Great Britain instead. Or Belgium. Japan, Sweden, Rome, really, you name 'em, it's a very long list.

This is not to say that I agree with all the presumptions in your comment, since I don't.

Gary, with what presumptions do you disagree? Just curious.

Jake

Jake: "Is this, however, what we have become? Genocide writ large?"

Talk and action are different. We are not, in fact, out there bombing Mecca and slaughtering Muslims because they're Muslim, no matter that it's a popular notion in comments at such sites as LGF and their ilk.

And on this: "or do the terrorists most to be feared wrap themselves in an American flag?"

I'll listen to debate on this, absolutely; I don't agree at all with those who automatically reject such debate as unthinkable and crazy, only a nutbar leftist could say such things, blahblah, but neither do I automatically accept or agree with the question as if it were a correct conclusion. I think it's a valid topic of debate, not an assumption I accept or think people should necessarily presume.

Gary, that's pretty much why I posed them as questions.

Nonetheless, there is considerable "talk", and not just in the lunatic sites, that goes like "the solution to Iraq is to kill more Muslims." That's a little like "the floggings will continue until morale improves" - except not funny.

I accept this as accurate: "The usual for nations with heavy percentages of aggressive and sometimes violent chauvinism. Fear, ignorance, arrogance, and a general unwillingness to believe we could do signifcant wrong." But it doesn't answer my question - I want to know why such speech is acceptable. THAT, I don't get.

Jake

"Gary, that's pretty much why I posed them as questions."

Sure, and I didn't jump on you and start yelling that you'd said something awful. I made a passing disclaimer, which you asked me to explain. So I assume we're all clear now. :-)

"Nonetheless, there is considerable "talk", and not just in the lunatic sites,"

I suppose it depends on what one considers a "lunatic site." Certainly you can find people with "credentials," such as Daniel Pipes, say, or maybe James Taranto, and well-known bloggers who have respect on the right who say such things, as well as people at "Town Hall" or "Tech Central Station," maybe, or "The Corner," in other highly right-wing publications.

But that doesn't mean I wouldn't say anyone writing in such venues who overly generalizes about All Of Muslimdom isn't writing in a lunatic way. Ugh, triple-negative. In other words, if you're writing like a lunatic, you're writing like a lunatic, no matter where it's published. Be it John Derbyshire or Malkin or Daniel Pipes or whomever. God knows there are thousands of lesser right-wing bloggers who mirror or amplify such insanity, although also there are many right-wing bloggers who do not.

"But it doesn't answer my question - I want to know why such speech is acceptable."

I suppose it depends what one means by "acceptable." Free speech, and all that. I don't think any of those writers or bloggers or commenters should be censored (individual sites/blogs can censor/edit as they wish, of course, but I mean overall) or prevented from writing and publishing such views, no matter how lunatic or offensive.

Of course, then we may react as we wish, within the confines of appropriateness, by then saying what we think, in turn, and if appropriate calling them lunatics who are being offensive and wrong and advocating polices that are utterly self-defeating, as well as morally indefensible, and otherwise acting in appropriate manner towards them, perhaps such as shunning or boycotting them for their views.

I'm not sure if that answers your "why such speech is acceptable" question or not; I have the feeling you might have some other question actually buried there, but I don't know.

Gary, you spoke to my question - but you specifically addressed censorship, and I don't desire censorship.

Maybe I just don'g get it. Maybe there is no need to disavow such speech becuase it DOES remain outside the mainstream. Maybe it is just a blog thing, and not really speech in the "national" dicourse, whatever that might be.

But people who get quoted freely as the leading lights of modern day conservatism don't disavow this speech. Or if they do, perhaps it is just me that doesn't hear it.

And by not disavowing the hate speech, they give tacit approval, at least in my mind.

You brought up prewar Germany. I agree.

Jake

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