Saturday, October 06, 2007

Easy To Be Hard; Easy to be Cold

I have an article at Pajamas Media entitled "Pinning Down Patriotism". It essentially examines the difference between two kinds of patriotism. The first is an allegiance to a potential country; the other to the country as it exists.

Patriots of the first kind owe their loyalty to the nation they hope the current one may some day become. The second sort is prepared to accept and defend the nation that is. Both elements are normally present in the patriotism of an intelligent, well-educated person. Every nation is compounded of aspiration and reality; and that consequently we owe our duty to something that is partly here and partly to come. No country is so perfect that it can be liked entirely for what it is. But no man is so abstract that he can limit his loyalty only to what might become.



We exist in the present; so do our friends, neighbors, home, the family pet, etc. They all occupy the time we call Today. Actual love and loyalty have no field except Today. Without a minimum regard for what surrounds him Today it's hard for any person to claim a full role in his society. That minimum must include a commitment to keep the ordinary population safe and to "do no harm".

There are currently millions of people around the world in dingy, poor little countries that are struggling against their governments. Many are disgusted with the habits and attitudes that have kept their societies unequal and oppressive. Yet practically none of them would remark after an attack had killed thousands "The chickens have come home to roost. The victims deserved to die. They are all little Eichmanns." That such statements have become not only acceptable today, but can actually be uttered as proof of a higher form of patriotism indicates that the sense of the word has been corrupted.

Today many Burmese are doubtless angry at their government; many undoubtedly frustrated at the passivity or gullibility of their fellowmen. But none of them will call Burma unworthy of existence. On the contrary, in the midst of all their disappointment, most of them -- probably nearly all of them -- will conclude that Burma, flawed Burma, poor Burma, trampled Burma; is worth living for, and perhaps even dying for.

Therein lies the problem in claiming that "real patriotism" consists exclusively in a commitment to dissent; in an obsession with rebellion and in a total rejection of the present. Those who go to that extreme forgo all love for the present for the exhilaration of allegiance to the country of their fantasy.

It is the unspoken things, compounded of memories of eating crayfish and chili by the river; of opening the door at midnight to a friend who has just been thrown out of the house; of experiencing the pangs of disappointment of first love -- that root us to our place. Patriotism at its most basic is not an unquestioning worship of the symbols of one's country, but only the human equivalent of a dog's attachment to it's bone. Unless a man can know home and recognize family, he can never be your brother. A person who loves only his vision of the future can only love himself.

47 Comments:

Blogger NahnCee said...

Where in your discussion of patriotism does concern for what your next-door neighbor is doing behind closed doors occur, or concern that your next-door neighbor has nicer doors thn you do and a desire to make what is is yours?

Surely both of those concerns should be factored as part of "patriotism" since they both seem to lead to the practice of taking up arms and going after your next-door neighbor.

10/06/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

---
Enveloped in Patriotism.
Christopher Hitchens writes a moving tribute to a great American.
- Hewitt
---
"Anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (
though there are countless like me)

.… Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics.
"

---

I had already guessed that this was no gung-ho Orange County Republican clan. It was pretty clear that they could have done without the war, and would have been happier if their son had not gone anywhere near Iraq. (Mr. Daily told me that as a young man he had wondered about going to Canada if the Vietnam draft ever caught up with him.)

But they had been amazed by the warmth of their neighbors' response, and by the solidarity of his former brothers-in-arms—1,600 people had turned out for Mark's memorial service in Irvine.

A sergeant's wife had written a letter to Linda and posted it on Janet's MySpace site on Mother's Day, to tell her that her husband had been in the vehicle with which Mark had insisted on changing places. She had seven children who would have lost their father if it had gone the other way, and she felt both awfully guilty and humbly grateful that her husband had been spared by Mark's heroism.

Imagine yourself in that position, if you can, and you will perhaps get a hint of the world in which the Dailys now live: a world that alternates very sharply and steeply between grief and pride.
---
And there was Mark's widow, an agonizingly beautiful girl named Snejana ("Janet") Hristova, the daughter of political refugees from Bulgaria. Her first name can mean "snowflake," and this was his name for her in the letters of fierce tenderness that he sent her from Iraq. These, with your permission, I will not share, except this:

"One thing I have learned about myself since I've been out here is that everything I professed to you about what I want for the world and what I am willing to do to achieve it was true. …

My desire to "save the world" is really just an extension of trying to make a world fit for you.
"

If that is all she has left, I hope you will agree that it isn't nothing.

10/06/2007 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger sbw said...

Neither A nor B, but C gets my vote. C is slightly different. It's a commitment to the process that allowed America to become what it is. We are proud of what is, and prouder still of what can be. Our process is built on the humility that we are not perfect. We are embarrassed by some things that have gone before, but are not be held hostage to that history.

Humanity is distinguished from the rest of the animals by its ability to project a better future, and only a fool does not try to achieve it.

Leave angst on one side, and brittleness on the other side, both home.

10/06/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

nahncee

Sorry, but your post is unreadable and seems related to the topic only because you included the word patriotism.

10/06/2007 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Thanks for the link, Doug. What a heroic, patriotic young man.

10/06/2007 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

Nahncee
I believe what you are referring to is called envy. Envy is part of patriotism only in so far as it is part of being human. Should anything that's part of our humanity be part lumped in as part of patriotism, like digestive juices or the capacity inject fatuous nonsense into a discussion?

10/06/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

W,
Excellent as usual. I would add a corollary to this:

"No country is so perfect that it can be liked entirely for what it is."

How about something along the lines of this? America is not so imperfect that it should be loathed by those reaping the greatest benefits of citizenship by virtue of doing little more than professing disdain for it.

You're far more eloquent than I and could undoubtedly turn a better phrase from that, but you and the readers here get the gist.

10/06/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

wretchard:

The “patriotism” you refer to could just as easily refer to the United Nations. At one time, I supported the United Nations not because of what it was but because of what I desired that it could be. This is “liberal internationalism”. Alas, “conservative internationalism” has taken over, where some people support the United Nations not for what it could accomplish but for what it really is. The Harry Limes of the world are a powerful constituency.

The United Nations is admired in some quarters for being a meeting house for platitudes, a playground for tyrants, a cash cow for the corrupt, a forum to vent hatred against America and to function as an all-around “counterbalance against the United States” – all while taxing Americans to fund it all. The United Nations is a place where genocide is condemned but never punished, a place where diplomats debate the meaning of terrorism while thousands more die in the real world, a place where rich nations drop their money in the vain hope they will be spared the wrath of the inheritors of ideals of the Bandung Conference.

True enough. But can the United Nations be reformed? Should the United Nations be reformed? I am increasingly doubtful that the United Nations can be reformed in a manner that allows it to function as I think it ought to. At the very least, I don’t think the United Nations will cease to be a cesspool of anti-Americanism unless and until the headquarters of the General Assembly leaves the United States. Familiarity breeds contempt, and unfailing hospitality also breeds contempt. Foreign diplomats fail to respect America precisely because they take New York’s shopping for granted.

In an international sense, I am only supportive of the United Nations that I imagine could exist sometime in the future. I am flatly contemptuous toward the United Nations that actually exists.

10/06/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

George, in words of one syllable, wars are caused by two things: people wanting what the other guy has, and people wanting to tell the other guy how to live.

Maybe you're right in your snarky denseness, though, and patriotism has nothing to do with war. However, I notice I do NOT see you putting any ideas culled from the vacuum between your own ears forward for consideration.

10/06/2007 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Stanley Cavell on cynicism

This is not a particular moral demand, but the condition of democratic morality; it is what that dimension of representativeness of democracy comes to which is not delegatable. It is the force of Emerson's endless harping on the individual as inheriting the predicates of majesty (autonomy, authority, bearing, magnetism, followers), why his message to the scholar is to raise and cheer, as if the alternative is not to be ineffectual (which one might either fear or desire), but to depress and cynicize and ironize, which in a democracy are political emotions. So that conformity is not a mere lack of community, but its parody, learning and teaching the wrong thing of and to one another.

10/06/2007 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

The best way to analysis patriotism is to consider it a form of love. As with the other forms of love; romantic (love of a spouse) and familial (love of children or parents); patriotism undoubtedly has a biological basis. As humans evolved, adherence to a wider group favoured the survival of offspring, whereas over the generations those who favoured a solitary life outside of the constraints and protection of a group produced fewer surviving progeny.

Since the nation state as we know it is less than five hundred years old then surely patriotism in its original form was linked to much smaller groupings: a clan, tribe or even extended family. And since the dawn of civilization humans have organized themselves into ever growing and more diverse groupings and the resulting patriotism became more ambivalant, as many potential conflicts grew between sub-groups, often based on religion, economic class, ethnicity, and the classic urban vs. rural dichotomy. As external threats would arise, the people instinctually dropped their differences and adhered to the larger group but as the danger subsided the old fault lines of division would reappear. And one recent development in advanced societies is the ubiquity of sports teams which tend to concentrate patriotic feelings and safely channel these latent divisive torrents towards frivolous seas.

By using the analogy to especially familial love (parent to child), it is possible to deepen our understanding of patriotism. First we have to decide which party is the parent and who is the child. The American constitution clearly sets out that the citizens should be the parents and the state is their child to discipline and scold when necessary to set on a correct course, but to also nurture and protect in order that it may flourish to its full potential. Other societies may see it the opposite may; the state is the parent and the people are the children. This fits much closer the Asian authoritarian model of society.

The genius of Greeks and the superior organizational model they have bequest us is the idea that while authoritarianism to the model for the private sphere (within the family); in the public sphere the heads of the households would work together as equals to steer the ship of state. In Asia the family authoritarian model has been for the most part transferred directly to the state so that in the same way a man rules his family, the state rules the man. The great ideological battle of the 21st century, already underway against Jihadi authoritarianism, will be between these two organizational principles, broadly pitting the democratic societies of Europe and America vs. the authoritarian world of Asia. The key to this struggle will be Japan and South Korea and whether these two authoritarian leaning cultures will maintain their American inspired democratic political systems.

But as usual I digress. Back to the subject of patriotism, what are the duties and limits of love shown by a parent to a child, especially a grown child and by analogy what does that tell us about patriotism and our relationship to our state? Is it wrong in any circumstance for a parent to criticize a grown child? I have a cousin who did time for raping a four-year-old child. His mother (my aunt) asked my father (her brother) to let the rapist live in a trailer on our property after he was released from jail. Now his mother always took the attitude that her son was a blameless victim and never showed neither the least remorse for what the little girl suffered through nor did she ever reproach her child molester son. This would be the equivalent of blind patriotism--as your country is marching the weak into death camps; you stand by cheering and waving a flag.

My father told his sister no dice. My cousin eventually moved to Thailand. The key being that a parent and a citizen must never shrink from taking a tough moral stand concerning their children or their state.

Now the opposite of this extreme is surely possible, the hectoring, judgemental, obsessed parent who relentlessly criticizes every action their children undertake and applaud loudly, and say “I told you so” when catastrophe strikes their children’s lives. Surely this is the way to classify the following statement after 9/11 by Jerry Falwell:

And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen.

The chickens’ coming home to roost indeed.

But in the context of this century’s democratic vs. authoritarian struggle it is critical that the citizens of the democratic societies continue to lead and direct their states. Inevitably part of this process will involve criticism of the current state of affairs of the state. It only serves the authoritarian cause to try to stifle this citizen control with ignorant appeals to patriotism. Indeed it is critical to have a vision of what you want your country to become and work to achieve that goal. The moment that citizens become complacent is the time the authoritarians start to exert their influence.

10/07/2007 03:32:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Whether one wears a flag lapel pin is not that big a deal. It is interesting though when one hears the reasons why many on the left intentionally do not wear one. After 9/11, MSM talking heads were claiming that it violated their journalistic neutrality. This past week, Barack O'Bama said he didn't want the pin to be a substitute for patriotism.

Intentionally not wearing one and calling attention to the fact says something about a person's beliefs and values. No big deal...unless that person is running for President of the United States.

10/07/2007 03:47:00 AM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

There are currently millions of people around the world in dingy, poor little countries that are struggling against their governments. Many are disgusted with the habits and attitudes that have kept their societies unequal and oppressive. Yet practically none of them would remark after an attack had killed thousands "The chickens have come home to roost. The victims deserved to die. They are all little Eichmanns." That such statements have become not only acceptable today, but can actually be uttered as proof of a higher form of patriotism indicates that the sense of the word has been corrupted.

Wretchard,

May I have your permission to reprint and quote you on this? It is simple and eloquent, and there is no shortage of opportunities to use this paragraph of yours on the internet.

10/07/2007 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

stephen,

Sure.

10/07/2007 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger R C Dean said...

wars are caused by two things: people wanting what the other guy has, and people wanting to tell the other guy how to live.

Perhaps, if by "wars" you mean "aggression."

An actual war occurs only when those who are the targets of aggression defend themselves. We often sum up their motivation doing so in the word "patriotism."

10/07/2007 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

"An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-'60s."

Reagan's Farewell Speech

"For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us." John Winthrop, 1611

People who do not understand and appreciate "what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world" and that the Founding Fathers truly did lay the plans for the City upon a hill are ignorant. In the case of most academics that ignorance is willful, but ignorance none the less.

10/07/2007 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kevin,
I thought I'd have to rack my brain to reply, but Boston makes my job easy at this late hour:
---
"Since the nation state as we know it is less than five hundred years old then surely patriotism in its original form was linked to much smaller groupings: a clan, tribe or even extended family.

And since the dawn of civilization humans have organized themselves into ever growing and more diverse groupings and the resulting patriotism became more ambivalant, as many potential conflicts grew between sub-groups, often based on religion, economic class, ethnicity, and the classic urban vs. rural dichotomy.

As external threats would arise, the people instinctually dropped their differences and adhered to the larger group but as the danger subsided the old fault lines of division would reappear.
And one recent development in advanced societies is the ubiquity of sports teams...
"
---
While that may all be true, everything Boston says IS true, and to me represents a further evolution in the ascent of man, unique to those of us privileged to have been reared in such a Golden Age in what was, by all reason, a shinning city on a hill in comparison to a multitude of other lesser examples.
That so many on the left revile that which should be held sacrosanct, is something you might be able to address:
I know for me, it had the effect of temporarily derailing all of the positive things Boston refers to, as I went down the left's dead end road of trying to atone for our sins (of being human) by deprecating the very things that made this country more admirable than any other.

Sometimes I regret that the GI Bill brought me back to an institution that produced the likes of Joe Wilson, Barbara Bodine, and many others, as well as making me feel less than proud of everything I was exposed to growing up, and while in the Army.

At least the Detour was only temporary.

Perhaps you could try to justify how the left's overblown critique of what this country was (before the left became ascendant) deserves anything more than cursory inspection, followed by rejection?

10/07/2007 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"In the case of most academics that ignorance is willful, but ignorance none the less."
---
Ignorance can be innocent, as in having never been exposed to the truth.

Willful ignorance has to do with the involvement of less than healthy psychological processes.

10/07/2007 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

rc dean,
"An actual war occurs only when those who are the targets of aggression defend themselves.

We often sum up their motivation doing so in the word "patriotism."
"
---
At present, those who don't want to defend this country and themselves, could best be termed "Dhimmis."

Sadly,
Well before 9-11 raised our conciousness, the same prostration in the face evil pertained:
It was called,
"Political Correctness"

10/07/2007 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and thus there was a grain of Truth in what Rev Falwell had to say.

10/07/2007 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Democracy in a Chinese classroom

Thousands of years of life under a feudal system in China have fostered a culture where official power and authority have seldom been checked.

10/07/2007 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Doug: Thousands of years of life under a feudal system in China have fostered a culture where official power and authority have seldom been checked.

The operative word there is "thousands", which beats our "hundreds" by a factor of ten. Something the Chinese are quite proud of.

10/07/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"A person who loves only his vision of the future can only love himself."

F'in' Tony Robbins culture...wholly brainless positivity.

I do not understand how someone cannot value and protect what they have merely because it is not what they would have it be ultimately; for instance, the silence of Western "women's" groups regarding the fate of women under Sharia because they do not like Bush43 strikes me as insane.

10/07/2007 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

3CASE: ...the silence of Western "women's" groups regarding the fate of women under Sharia because they do not like Bush43 strikes me as insane.

Groups of "intellectuals" tend to become insane because they have no accountability. There were 88 professors who defended the Duke "rape" accuser and called for the heads of those three boys on a silver platter, but to this day no one has stepped forward to disavow their consensus, because their high-tech lynching was a evil means to a good end. The National Organization for Women went with Slick Willie over Bob Dole despite his incessant womanizing and adultery because Bob Dole would have appointed John Roberts types instead of Ruth Bader Ginsberg types, once again an evil means to a good end.

10/07/2007 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Perhaps, if by "wars" you mean "aggression."

An actual war occurs only when those who are the targets of aggression defend themselves. We often sum up their motivation doing so in the word "patriotism."


RC Dean - would you call Iran's activities toward the U.S. since 1979 "war" or "aggression"? Possibly, since we didn't pay much attention or fight back, it was merely "aggression". However, it seems to me that Iran has been at war with both America and the West since at least that long, and the reason for Iran's war-like behavior is the two things I listed: they want what we've got, and they want to tell us how to live.

I'm not sure if that's patriotism on Iran's part, or just the Islamic commandment to go forth and kill the infidel. I have to think that part of it is patriotism, however, since there were reports that Ahmandwhoosit's speech at Columbia went over well in Iran, because it demonstrated to the Persians that Iran has a place on the world's stage. Delusional thnking like that has *got* to be patriotism.

10/07/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Doug,

It all boils down to whether you believe n the American democratic way where the people (by the means of the constitution) lead the government or the Asian authoritarian way where the government (by means of dead ancestors or the Koran) lead the people. Leadership takes vision, the leader who is happy with the status quo doesn’t stay leader very long in a competitive, dynamic environment.

But all through American history there has been one of strain of political DNA that has always resisted fulfilling the visions of our founding fathers of a land of expanding liberty for all Americans. hether as Tories supporting the absolutist monarchy in Britain during the Revolution; or when forcing a war over that most authoritarian of all institutions, slavery; or when supporting the huge trusts over the common man; or when forcing their absolutist vision by implementing prohibition (admittedly aided by some progressive elements), or when tying FDR’s hands as he tried to aid a struggling England as she alone faced Nazi Germany, or during the Civil Rights era when Americans were beaten in the streets for wanting to be Americans. But the grievous crime was committed just after 9/11. After being attacked by crazed religious fundamentalists, did Jerry Falwell call on Americans to unite and attack his fellow travellers in Al Qaida who he so strongly supported during the 1980’s when they were known as “freedom fighters”? No, like the true coward he is he instead tried to divide America by saying the very victims were the cause. Instead of rallying Americans to take out the Madrassas in Saudi Arabia he instead tried to get us to attack dyke bars in North Oakland.

And that’s patriotism?

10/07/2007 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Theresa....The operative word there is "thousands", which beats our "hundreds" by a factor of ten. Something the Chinese are quite proud of.

And well they should be. Their civilization has (and has had) its terrible flaws, just like ours. We will more likely have peace and progress if we acknowledge the positives that all civilizations offer, while realistically seeking an end to all their flaws (one child policy leading to government enforced abortion -- organ harvesting ---anyone?')

But be careful, Theresa. You and I think of those Chinese who are proud of their thousands-of- years-old civilization as appreciating the good things that that civilization has produced -- art, music, poetry, language. That might be termed patriotism.

On Nahncee's planet those proud Chinese are would-be agressors who want to steal the resources of the rest of the planet, and inexplicably want to know what is going on behind the doors of their neighbors. Apparently there is a terrible homophobic strain in Chinese civilization.

10/07/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

George: You and I think of those Chinese who are proud of their thousands-of- years-old civilization as appreciating the good things that that civilization has produced -- art, music, poetry, language. That might be termed patriotism.

There is a continuity in Chinese history that not even their current flirtation with communism will break. A thousand years from now they will look back at this era as the time of the "peasant emperors". They will praise the great rise in the standard of living for millions of Chinese and damn the wholesale pollution of the air and water those millions must have to live.

10/07/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We will more likely have peace and progress

There are more important things than peace. When-ever I see anyone yawping about the necessity of peace, I interpret that to mean that they're afraid of and can't handle change. In other words, stupid people in unearned positions of power.

George also drags in a red herring in using China as an example, instead of the Middle East as an example of people who want to know what we're doing behind closed doors. And I do not mean just in the bedroom, either, which is another red herring.

But you keep swinging, George. Sooner or later you'll post an idea that's actually on-topic, creative and lucid.

10/07/2007 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

"An actual war occurs only when those who are the targets of aggression defend themselves. We often sum up their motivation doing so in the word "patriotism.""

Wars are almost always caused by miscalculation. No sane person would ever engage in war knowing the probable outcome. The best supported, best armed side almost always wins. This is the functional purpose of democracy...to gauge support of the given sides of a conflict prior to engaging in an actual shooting battle. The best supported side in an election wins.

10/07/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Reports from Red China lately point to significant increases of repression, and constraints on freedom.

"peasant emperors" or not, how can anyone address the ills of Red China only by mentioning the pollution of the environment, while leaving out the barbaric justice system, police-state repression of dissent, censorship, aide for Hellhole regimes such as Burma, exploitation of the people and environment of Africa, etc etc etc?

10/07/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

To understand the dramatic tension of Wretchard's proposition listen to two versions of Somewhere over the Rainbow.

Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole

Connie Talbot

10/07/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Doug: how can anyone address the ills of Red China only by mentioning the pollution of the environment, while leaving out the barbaric justice system, police-state repression of dissent, censorship, aide for Hellhole regimes such as Burma, exploitation of the people and environment of Africa...

I've been watching stories for the last year or two of tech companies in the US from Microsoft to Google helping China stamp out online dissent, for money. I've heard right-wing talk show hosts express admiration for the way the Chinese put their equivelent of the Food and Drug Administration chief to death for allowing the poisoned pet food scandal curtail the flow of money. I've seen how the regime in Burma makes all its money from sending natural gas through pipes to China. The imperialist conquest of Africa and the Americas by China for resources and access to the NAFTA superhighway is in the pursuit of money. In fact, the answer to your question, Doug, can be summed up in one word: money.

10/07/2007 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk said...

Teresita,

"The National Organization for Women went with Slick Willie over Bob Dole despite his incessant womanizing and adultery ... once again an evil means to a good end."

Or, in actuality, and evil means to an evil end, don't you mean?

10/07/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"iIn fact, the answer to your question, Doug, can be summed up in one word: money."
---
Money and some of the ills of human nature are present in both countries.
To cite that, or any number of other ills in service of the FALSE proposition of some kind of equivalence, strikes me as naive, or "willfully ignorant" (in support of the falsehood of equivalence)

10/07/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Or, in actuality, and evil means to an evil end, don't you mean?

It depends on where you're coming from. For N.O.W., keeping abortion legal is good. For Catholics, it is evil.

10/07/2007 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Who were the cited "right wing talk show hosts," and can you swear it was not said somewhat in jest.
If true, should we overlook the FACT that such takes place there as a matter of policy, and does not here?

10/07/2007 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

For N.O.W., COERCING OTHERS into funding abortions is an evil paraded as a good.
If they like it so much, why shouldn't THEY pay for other people's abortions?

10/07/2007 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kevin,
I might call that strand you refer to "human nature," would you contend that it has been, or is now, more associated with one party, or political ideology in this country than another?

10/07/2007 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Doug: Money and some of the ills of human nature are present in both countries.

Hopefully, with Mattel lying about the cause of the lead paint in their toys (lead-free paint was not in the specifications) combined with China's propensity to shoot first and investigate factory owners later, nobody died. But it takes two to tango, and if we're enabling the Chinese regime to do all those bad things, we ought to think about placing our orders domestically.

10/07/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agreed,
Any practical ideas would be appreciated:
Overregulation, taxation, and general intrusiveness of Big Government come to mind for me.
And the sick promotion of "free trade" as an absolute, w/o restrictions.

10/07/2007 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Kevin,
Calling Al Qaida "fellow travelers" with the late Dr. Falwell is the kind of ignorant drivel rabid secularists are guilty of in public dialog.No matter whether you were purposely using hyperbole in accusing Falwell of inciting attacks on "dyke bars in North Oakland": it is still so far removed from any sense of reality to make you sound like a fool.
By the way, did you climb down from your moral high horse long enough to warn Thai authorities that your pedophile cousin was on the way to their country where abuse of children is rampant?

10/07/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A virtual paradise to some.
And, if he's clever, he can figure out a way for a free trip back to the USA, if the authorities there become a bother.

10/07/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thot you were going to ask:
Did you or your father notify authories at that time, when he did take up residence somewhere?

10/07/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Judy Garland - Somewhere Over The Rainbow

10/07/2007 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Doug@06:17AM, juxtapose willful ignorance with deliberate denial and note the differences please.

10/08/2007 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Beyond The Rim... said...

The problem with the present is that it contains real people. The future possibility is abstract. The abstract is always easier to embrace, no matter how many real people it destroys. They can be dismissed as collateral damage to arrive at the abstract ideal.

The shift from the real to the abstract portends real upheaval ahead. The times they are a'changing.

10/09/2007 03:46:00 AM  

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