I ain’t any ‘ism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberalism…Conservatism…Libertarianism…

Lately I have been involved in a number of discussions with people who read this blog regarding just what the hell is it I believe in. My liberal friends mostly think that the copious amounts of Tequilla consumed in my well documented ridiculously over extended youth have finally killed off too many brain cells and that I have lost the ability to reason beyond “old way is good…new way is bad”, while my conservative friends, when they discover that my social views are quite accommodating to all who wish to play, regard me as they would a cigar butt suddenly surfacing in their half consumed bowl of soup.

In the early days of the “blogosphere” following the events of 9/11/2001, Steven Den Beste’s intellect and prolific essay writing skills on nearly any subject you could imagine burned like a super nova for a couple of years before one day, leaving a short post saying he had had enough, he faded back to where ever he had come from (personally I think it was the distant future, or maybe that planet on Star Trek populated by the guys with the giant throbbing brains showing through their paper thin skulls). In 2003 he wrote a brief (for him) essay in which he theorized that as he was a liberal in the historically classical sense of the word, this made him a Conservative in todays political universe. This essay still comes the closest to anything I have read since that describes my world view. The only significant area in which I would differ from Mr. Den Beste is that although I am not a religious person, I wouldn’t self identify as an atheist. I mean…why take the chance. If God does exist, the last place you would want to be was on his radar if he happened to be watching as you so self identified. It doesn’t cost me anything to say I believe in God and the potential downside of spending eternity laboring in some sort of surrealistic steel smelter or something, if the pictures are to be believed, should be avoided if at all possible.

  I have reproduced his essay in full below. I hope this clears everything up. 

I am an atheist and a humanist. I believe in the fundamental dignity of the individual and the inherent right of self-determination. I am an engineer and “ruthlessly pragmatic”, which means that I understand that everything is tradeoffs and that no right is absolute. But I believe that society works best when it imposes as few constraints on individual choice is possible, consistent with fulfilling other competing public benefits such as maintaining a reasonable degree of public safety. 

I think that the single most fundamental right of humans, and the one we should be most wary of trying to infringe, is the right of free thought and free expression. I believe that people should have the opportunity to seek out and listen to as wide a range of opinions as possible on any subject, so that they can then come to an informed opinion of their own based on how persuasively each alternative was presented. 

And it is thus essential that humans have the right to make choices that others around them will consider deeply unwise, and to hold and express opinions that others find to be strongly offensive. True freedom is only possible when I have the freedom to make stupid mistakes, and where the consequences of doing so arise only from the direct consequences of my mistake and not from externally-imposed legal sanctions. And it means that I must be free to offend those around me, for if I cannot then I am free, but only to do things my neighbors don’t condemn. And such freedom is illusion. 

I don’t want anyone forcing me to think and act in certain ways solely “for my own good”. I want the right to make my own decisions about what’s good for me, even if it turns out I’m wrong. I want the right to hold an opinion even if most of those around me disagree with it. 

It is better to be free than to be correct

I therefore oppose any case where a single overriding moral force comes to dominate the political system. I fully oppose the idea of any state religion, and strongly support the legal firewall between government and religion which is in the First Amendment. In fact, I think (and have said more than once) that the First Amendment to the US Constitution is the single most important and profound sentence ever written in the English language. 

I am no anarchist. I believe that there must be a system of laws, and that the purpose of the law is to maintain the peaceful and successful operation of the society. But I take a very practical view of law, and strongly dispute the idea that law is an extension of morality. I believe that acts should be made illegal because they threaten the fabric of the society, not because they are considered evil or because the majority disapprove of them. 

Thus I strongly support the gradual process over the last thirty years of dismantling a body of law regarding consensual sex. I have always believed that what consenting adults do behind closed doors is their business alone. 

I support the idea of legal and formal gay marriage. I think married gays (and I mean “married to each other”) should be permitted to adopt if they are otherwise qualified as parents. I favor legalized prostitution as long as it is regulated sufficiently to make sure that the prostitutes themselves are kept safe from disease and pimp violence and customer violence, which is why I think that it should be handled through formally-licensed brothels (as is the case in Nevada now). I favor legalization of marijuana. 

And I think that the single most basic right we have, and the true measure of whether our freedom is real or illusion, is the right to scandalize the neighbors. (As long, that is, as that’s the only harm done.) We, as citizens, must tolerate scandalous behavior by our neighbors as the price of our own liberty. 

Government exists to serve the people; it is a construct of men and women, and it has no inherent right to exist except to the extent that it is supported by the women and men who live under its control. 

I am a humanist. I am a liberal, in the classic sense of the term, meaning that I think that the goal of a political system should be to liberate the individuals within it to have as much ability to make decisions about their own lives as is practical, with as little interference by other citizens or the mechanisms of the state. I strongly believe in diversity at every level: diversity of opinions, diversity of political beliefs, diversity of lifestyles. When in doubt, permit it unless it is clearly a danger to the survival of the state or threatens the health and wellbeing of those within the state. 

Which, in 2003 in the United States, makes me a “conservative”, at least in the reckoning of self-anointed “Liberals” in this nation. I’ve never been comfortable with that term, myself, and indeed I’m uncomfortable with almost any “ism” as a label for my beliefs (except for “humanism” and “populism”). Is there such a thing as “ain’tism”, as in “I ain’t any ism”? 

Part of why I’m uncomfortable being labeled “conservative” is that those who categorize me in that way then group me with many other “conservatives” with whom I deeply and fundamentally disagree, and try to pretend that I must agree with them and defend them and partake of their attitudes. For instance, it’s hard to see how I could disagree more strongly with anyone than I do with the so-called “Christian Right”, as epitomized by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. With their belief that we should establish the US as a Christian theocracy, and their desire to use the legal system to enforce orthodox behavior and punish sinful lifestyles, not to mention their wish to use the school system as an extension of the church to indoctrinate all children, I oppose their programs as strongly as I possibly can. I have been opposed to Falwell as long as I’ve known about his political agenda. 

But part of why I get labeled that way by leftists is because I believe in private property, and because I oppose the use of taxation as a way of legally compelling redistribution of wealth. Like nearly everything else my feelings on this are relatively centrist; I don’t believe in totally abolishing the “social safety net”, for instance, but I strongly disagree with the idea that wealth is automatically sinful. I’m not one to try to abolish taxation, but I view it as a way of raising revenue for legitimate government operations and generally oppose its use as a direct tool of social engineering. 

Equally, I get labeled as “conservative” because I am unashamedly patriotic. I do not think that my nation is flawless, but on balance I would much rather be a citizen of the US than of any other nation I know of, past or present, and I strongly support my nation. I think the US has done much that is wrong, but I think we’ve done a lot more right than wrong. All other things being equal, I’d like my nation to continue to exist and to prosper. I certainly have no sympathy at all for the Chomskyite idea that the US is the root of all that is evil in the world today, and thus ultimately even responsible for the attack in September, 2001. 

And I think that there are things which are worth fighting for. I think there are fates worse than death, and choices worse than killing. I wish it were possible to avoid killing or dying, which are certainly terrible, but sometimes we face situations as a nation where all paths which do not involve death are worse than the ones which require war. To refuse to face terrible realities and to instead embrace pleasing fantasies is to me the ultimate intellectual sin. 

These things are all consistent with my basic liberalism, which is to say my belief in liberty as an ultimate good for myself and my fellow citizens. I know that my liberty is fragile and easily destroyed. That liberty can only exist as long as my nation continues to exist to defend it. Our lives as citizens exist inside an artificial bubble which is constantly under greater or lesser threat and which must be actively maintained. There’s nothing natural about our lives. The natural state for humans is barbarism, cruelty, violence and death. 

When the challenge to my nation becomes sufficiently great, nothing less than war will save it, and I consider destruction of my nation and eradication of the liberty it provides to its citizens to be a far greater evil than war. I do not wish to see war; I’m sorry we’re in one now. But I cannot in good conscience turn away from it and pretend that it doesn’t faces us now, or refuse to participate in making the hard decisions needed to triumph in it. We didn’t choose this war, and we didn’t start it. But we can’t make it go away just by wishing really hard, or by pretending that it doesn’t exist. 

The irony of modern American political labels is that “Liberal” is used to refer to a deeply illiberal point of view. 

Of course, “Liberals” are at least as varied as are “conservatives”, encompassing positions as deeply contradictory as my position is compared to Falwell’s. But there’s a strong strain of “Liberalism” which is sometimes referred to by its opponents as “bleeding heart Liberalism” or “Berkeley Liberalism”, which is nearly as much my ideological opposite, on the other side, as is Falwell. 

But in fact that’s not really surprising, because Berkeley Liberals and Falwell actually agree much more closely with each other than either does with me. 

Both believe in using the power of the state to “do good” by directly interfering in the lives of citizens and applying legal sanctions to those who don’t live good lives. They disagree about what that means, of course, but both are strongly illiberal in believing in active government interventionism in our lives in ways which go well beyond the minimum needed to keep us safe and free. Falwell would use the law to punish immoral behavior (according to his morality) which would include such things as recriminalizing homosexuality and recriminalizing pornography. 

And the Berkeley Liberals also want to use the power of the state to do good, only what they wish to ban is much deeper, for they want to infringe my freedom of thought and of expression much more profoundly. 

Equally, both of them wish to use the power of government to deeply indoctrinate the citizenry, especially the schools. Falwell wants the schools to teach Christianity; the Berkeley Liberals want to use it to indoctrinate children with their own version of “right thinking”. 

With regards to any dedication towards freedom, what Berkeley Liberals say and what they do vary dramatically. They give lip service to the idea of free speech and free expression and diversity of opinion, but everywhere they’ve ever gained temporal power they have used it to try to forcibly suppress political ideas strongly counter to their own. Mostly this has happened on certain college campuses, where they’ve created an entirely new crime: insensitivity. 

The idea is that anyone holding or expressing certain points of view is a thought criminal because what they think or say deeply offends someone else who is a member of a “victim group”. In essence, they say you do not have the right to scandalize the neighbors; you do not have the right to hold opinions which are unpopular or which others might find offensive. But not every other; only “victim” others. 

Of course this is, or should be, a two-way street but in practice it isn’t applied equally, as has been amply documented

Unfortunately, there’s the US Constitution standing in the way of all this, and so the degree of ability they’ve had to actually impose punishment has been severely limited in most cases. The usual punishment is to academia’s equivalent of the Soviet Gulag. Those who are “insensitive” must be indoctrinated through compulsory attendance in what they refer to as “sensitivity training”. 

But if you ignore the rhetoric and pay attention to how this is being used – ignore what they’re saying and look at what they’re doing – then it turns out that they are attempting to squelch dissent against a certain specific orthodox liberal position. Any indication of divergence from that position is a “thought crime”. And any idea that we as citizens should tolerate outrageous behavior by others as the price of our own freedom to act outrageously has long since fallen by the wayside. 

In fact, what becomes clear is that there are no more strong proponents of intrusive censorship in the US today than its hardcore leftists. Falwell just wants to make sure no one can buy pictures of naked titties; the leftists want to censor any attempt to discuss political positions in opposition to their own. 

But because of our legal protections in the US, they have not gotten far in this effort. However, it’s instructive to see how their avowed ideological allies in other nations have used their temporal power when they actually control the government and are not constrained by the kinds of limits we in the US have laid on our government. 

As an advocate of maximum free expression, I fully support the right of all to say what they really think, even if it is deeply offensive. For example, I deeply support the right of such disparate groups as the North American Man-Boy Love Association, the American Nazi Party, Jerry Falwell, and Noam Chomsky, to think what they want and to talk about it in public without legal peril, with their friends and also with the rest of us, even though I emphatically disagree with them all. 

And I strongly oppose all legal attempts to restrict “hate speech”. When others preach hate, the answer is for the rest of us to explain why they’re wrong rather than to try to use the power of the state to suppress their message. For me, that applies just as much to the leftists as it does to the Nazis. 

But to that end I do not advocate any kind of violent crackdown or persecution. It is the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to adopt all or part of the ideology of transnational progressivism. It is equally my right to argue against those principles, and the proper way, the only acceptable way, for me and those who agree with me to struggle against it is through exercise of our right of free speech and our attempts to make a persuasive case to the majority of our fellow citizens that those who advocate TP are wrong. (And part of that is to alert them to the fact that it even exists.) 

We will win not by shooting adherents of TP, or arresting them, or suppressing them in any way. We will win by making convincing arguments so that we retain a majority in elections. If we can’t win that way, we deserve to lose. 

Equally, I have written about why I support the right of the members of NAMBLA to try to deliver their message, even though I myself find that message deeply repugnant. I deliberately chose them for my example because they advocate something (pederasty) that nearly everyone considers utterly revolting – but I fully support their right to think about it and to talk about it, as long as they don’t do it. (As soon as they do, they’ve committed statutory rape.) 

Unfortunately, the ideological allies of America’s Berkeley Liberals have used their governmental power in Europe to pass laws criminally punishing hate speech, and they’re trying to go much further than that with a new treaty, which paints with a very broad brush. It terrifies me, quite frankly, and I’m damned glad it won’t apply here in the US. Once in effect, online advocacy of a broad range of political positions would become crimes which could be punished by imprisonment. 

Berkeley Liberals advocate strong use of governmental powers in many other interventionist ways, always with the best of intentions, but with little concern for my fundamental right to be left alone. And that is why they are not liberal, because the fundamental liberal position is that government should not needlessly meddle in the lives of citizens. 

Thus the paradoxical result: I am a “Conservative” because I am a liberal. Berkeley Liberals are “Liberal” because they are not liberal. They believe in government intervention, including censorship and direct punishment of dissent, so as to enforce orthodox thought and behavior. That’s not liberalism, that’s tyranny. 

Update: Kyle sends this link to an article which goes into much greater depth about how postmodernism ends up opposing free expression. (Yeah, yeah, yeah; it’s on an Objectivist web site. So sue me.) 

The point it makes is that campus speech codes are of a piece with the leftist idea that equality of results is more important than equality of opportunity. Since the leftist message isn’t getting “it’s share” of attention and publicity in the wider nation, then there is a need for what amounts to affirmative action in academia at the level of discourse, so that the ideas common in the mainstream are suppressed within academia to provide more room for the postmodernist message. Just as you are morally justified to discriminate against white males for college acceptance in order to make room for students who are part of “victim groups”, so you are morally justified in suppressing expression of conservative attitudes in academia to make more room for the neglected but vitally important hard leftist message. 

Update: Michael J. Totten comments. Yes, there is clearly a line over which speech is not and should not be protected. The courts have been dealing with this for a long time now. Directly threatening someone with violence, or actually deliberately trying to incite crime or insurrection, or “fighting words” are not protected speech. But the kinds of speech codes which are in place on some campuses go well beyond that. I do not see the two issues related. 

Update 20030223: Matthew Yglesias comments. I’m not sure just how he came to conclude that I “support the Republicans”. I don’t support any party; I make decisions about issues and support whichever party is closest to my position on that issue. For instance, I oppose the Republican plan for massive tax cuts, but I also oppose the general Democratic tendency to increase spending on social programs. I favor the war and the Republicans are on the right side of that issue, but I’m also in favor of abortion rights and the Democrats get the nod on that one. 

Update 20030224: Among all the other things I’m not, I’m also not libertarian
 

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18 responses to “I ain’t any ‘ism.

  1. OK, that was one of the best pieces of political writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

    I’ll vote for making it mandatory for every grade school aged child to recite that every day instead of that scary National Anthem. It’s a lot more relevant, and much more under attack, every day in modern-day America.

    Thanks Westsound. I’m going to save that one – And make every person I know read it.

    At gunpoint. heh

    Regards,

    Joe

  2. Better hurry up before Obama takes away your gun you bitter clinger!

    It’s not government per se that I have a problem with Joe but rather the Federal government encroaching into areas better left to state and local municipalities. Politicians of both parties have incrementally increased the Federal governments control over citizens for nearly a hundred years and this administration seems hell bent on putting the final nail in the coffin.

    It’s important to realize I think that any power that the Fed’s accumulate will not go away when an administration less sympathetic to your ideals assumes power as it certainly will sooner or later. More Federal power is always at the expense of local power where it actually stands a chance of doing some good.

  3. Follow some of the links in the essay for more of his thoughts Joe. Fair warning, this essay is one of his shorter!

  4. Westsound,

    Speaking of freedom of speach, I watched the movie “Larry Flynt – THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE” just a few nights ago. In case you haven’t seen it, well; you should watch it.

    If you weren’t a fan of Larry Flint and his battle for the first amendment before; after you watch this movie you’ll be a huge fan. Now
    there is a guy that has spent his whole adult life providing a legitimate product (that people can choose to buy or not to buy) and then spending a huge portion of his honest income defending himself in court from thought police; on both sides of the spectrum. Really interesting movie, and a super smart guy. Just watch it – do it.

    Oh yeah, just one more thing: Watch it.

    Regards,

    Joe

    • Seen it. Woody Harrelson was great in it although I think the guy is kinda a douchebag in real life. Y’know, Larry Flint is probably a douchebag too but you gotta admire him going all out to defend his principles. Screw mag was genuinely offensive but as the man in the essay says “If it doesn’t hurt anyone, permit it”.

      Mark

  5. Mark,

    But don’t you think that in this day and age, your neighborhood, or valley, or region, or coast, or whatever you call the area you live in, is just the same, but by a different name, as your official US “State”? In the old days, the next valley over was a long ways away; Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, all may as well have been on Mars….

    So, don’t you think we would be better off as a country if we could somehow move past the debate about states rights, federalism, etc, and unify everyone to concentrate more on our basic constitutional rights – like the first amendiment? Are we making ourselves weaker by being divided (and therefore possibly conquered) by some right wing thought control group like Focus on the Family, or Tipper Gore telling us what music to listen to?

    I’ll have to read him some more.

    I must say, you redeemed yourself quite a bit with that last poast. If, that’s truely what you believe in…..

    Good night,

    Joe

  6. Wrong movie.

    I can’t remember what the movie with Woody Harrelson was called, but this is the documentary made a few years ago that is just his story and his battle for the first amendment.

    It’s called: The Right To Be Left Alone.

    Watch it. Do it.

    I would never recomends a movie with Courtney Love in it. Period.

    Good night,

    Joe

  7. Whoops! My bad. I’ll watch it.

    Courtney Love is a major skank. I used to go out with a woman years ago who hung at the clubs in Portland back when Love was in Hole and knew her pretty well. Apparently she would strap on her rig, shoot up right at the bar between sets, and then vomit all over who ever happened to be unfortunate enough to be in close proximity. Class act all the way. It’s no wonder Cobain blew his brains out being married to that sperm ditch.

    For all the fretting about our culture wars and lack of civil discourse, I think our system is working about as our founders intended even if they might be horrified by the results from time to time. Free people arguing and debating among themselves under a system of checks and balances to find a better way forward. Talk of unifying and bi-partisanship from both sides of the political aisle for common cause merely seems like a nice way of rationalizing one party rule. It is human nature to drive to win is it not? If the guy who comes in second just accepts it as his lot he should get out of racing!

    Too much wine…cryptic analogies…must go to sleep.

  8. One thing that strikes me after reading this again is: Why is it OK, and should be protected, to hold a KKK or Nazi party rally on a state funded university campus (all the while inciting people to violence and the oppression of a specific group of people) but it is a felony to even joke about carrying a bomb, or any weapon for that matter, onto a comercial airliner. It seems both examples should be protected under free speech; No? Neither one is actually causing direct harm to anyone.

    However, both are threatening direct harm to innocent people.

    The KKK are inciting violence against a group that had no choice in their skin color,; and the would be bomber or hijacker against the rest of the innocent passengers on the plane. Do you have to wait until he or she blows up the plane – then prosecute them (or their remains)? Or is that the Blacks, or Jews, or Gays, aren’t truely innocent bystanders in the “debate”

    As even this guy admits; you have to draw a line when it’s something that is truely distructive to the very fabric binding society. It just depends on what you consider distructive to society; is it pornography? Is it pedophillia? Is it violence against innocent bystanders?

    He says he supports the war by saying we didn’t start it (written in 2002) but would he still be keen on invading Iraq today after knowing how the neo-cons were looking for any reason, no matter how fabricated and perjurious, to invade Iraq? Now the line is: so we’re there, what do we do now? That’s like breaking into your neighbors house because you think he is threatening your family, killing his wife and children in the process; then, when you realize he just didn’t like you or the way you run your house (even if he was an asshole to your other neighbors, that cannot be a legitimate excuse or we would be the de facto police force for the world) Then, when the police get there, you simply shrugg your shoulders and say: “So, mistakes were made, he was still an asshole – and he had it coming to him… Would that stand up in court? Never. Is it different if they are dark skinned, or Muslim, or have resources you want or need?

    Just be honest about your intent and let the people decide. Americans can see Hyprocricy and deceit; and they voted for a lesser version of it in 2008. Do you not think the rest of the world can tell the difference?

  9. Granted, free speech can be messy and I think we all share the tendency when hearing something that truly offends to say”Hey!! You can’t say that!!” but as someone once said, I can’t remember who, “representative democracy is the worst form of government…except for all the others.” Another good example is our domestic violence laws regarding stalkers and such where some creep can repeatedly threaten, follow, and generally make someones life miserable and the cops say “We can’t do anything until the guy actually kills you. So sorry”. Reason enough for strong 2nd amendment rights I say.

    Regarding Iraq, many people seem unable or unwilling to understand the strategic reasons for invading this country when the 9/11 attackers were Saudi and trained in tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although there were of course selfish reasons involving our national interests regarding oil and such, I think it was a sincere attempt to strategically reform the political paradigm in the middle with the hope that if some sort of democracy were to take shape in the Mesopotamian heart of the Muslim world, no matter how imperfect, perhaps the pathologies that affect this particular region would begin to turn inward and they would fight among themselves regarding what kind of political systems would evolve there rather than turning them outward as they have done, blaming the West, the Jews, the Hindu’s, etc.

    There can be no denying that the Iraq campaign was certainly a mess early on under Rumsfeld’s direction with poor intelligence, terribly uneffective counter insurgency strategies, etc, etc. but I think it would have been a huge mistake to stir up such a hornets nest and then simply leave the Iraqi’s on there own after we got stung a few times. The surge seems to have worked resonably well for now but only time will tell if the strategy chosen by the Bush administration was a wise one or a fools errand.

  10. And, you can disagree with Noam Chompsky all you want (like I disagree with Glen Beck) but when he says that part of the responsibility of 9/11 lies with us, he is being honest not cowardly. The whole world now has instant access to the Internet – and all the information it provides (right or wrong); so when a rock-throwing Palistinian kid sees the hypocrisy and blatant double standards in our foreign policy in relation to Israel, do you expect him to continue throwing rocks at the (US supplied) Tanks, or should he find something more effective; like a bomb strapped to himself, or his sister?

    I’m not saying everything that happens to America is our own fault – and neither is Noam Chompsky; but it also doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Foreign policy designed to solely serve shortsighted goals has always had dire repercussions. The only differences are that those poor savages now have instant access to the Internet and all the “news” it contains – and they also have access to the means and the tools, to fight back more effectively.

    We’re not over there fighting a single Nation like with Japan, or a single crazy person like Hitler. It’s a war on ideas and beliefs. In their ethnocentric view, we are the haves and they are the have-nots; black vs white, very simple. And, they have nothing to loose (except their lives) and everything to gain: ie: Liberty, Freedom, control over their own destiny….

    So, what would you do if you were in the same position?

    Joe

  11. That was Churchill who was quoted as saying: “Democracy is the worst form of government – unless you count all the others that have been tried in the past” Although, there are claims he plagiarized it from someone else.

    He did say: The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter”. He wasn’t real keen on Democracy as a whole.

    My point with Iraq is this: Honesty and openness goes a long way; not just with the people who vote. People aren’t stupid; whether they have dark or light skin, they can figure out your true motives – sooner or later. And when they do, you’ll have some real ‘splaining to do…

  12. In my opinion, the “double standards” applied to our relationship with Israel and the Palestinians could be solved by the simple declaration of the Palestinians to acknowledge Israels right to exist. When the head of Hezbollah is quoted as saying “We are not fighting so you will give us something…we are fighting to eliminate you” it doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for negotiation.

    It seems that no matter the form Israels government has taken over the years, liberal or conservative, returning land to the Arabs or building settlements in disputed territory, the Palestinian response has always been consistent. Rocks, then missles, to be followed by?….once Iran aquires nuclear weapons.

  13. Thanks for finding and reposting this, Mark. Den Beste was always amazing in regards to his ability to make his points clear. I truly despise the word liberal being used for leftists.

  14. Suffice to say that I would despise the word Liberal being used by a conservative. The only true remaining leftists have all morphed into paranoid hippies growing weed in the hills of Humbolt. And they’re now driving $125K Turbo Porsches.

    I wrote up a big long winded response to the Israeli double standard debate on my iPhone about how the state of Israel was given to the Jewish people by the British in 1948; and what would you do if China came in and gave the USA back to the Mexicans or British, or Native Americans; and how far back do you go to establish ownership of a land, 60 years, 200 years, 500 years, 2,000 years, etc, etc, but the battery died, and I lost it – so, you’ll never know all the great points I made, or didn’t make….. Oh well, such is life. Another day.

    I will summerize by asking: So where is the big stretegic importance, and the cost/benefit analysis of The US taxpayers fully paying for the defense of Israel; all the while turning turning every Muslim in the world into our sworn enemy? If I were a Zionist, or even remotely Jewish, I guarantee you I would be all for it. But I’m not; and I don’t really like The way Isralies treat non-jews in Israel. And please, don’t pull the “you’re an anti-Semite” card on me. I have no problem with Jews, but I have a serious issue at times with Israelis – and Zionists.

    I just want to hear your reasoning behind the unconditional support of Israel that the right seems to endorse without question or serious debate.

    That was supposed to be much shorter. Ow, my carpal tunnel! heh

    regards,

    Joe

  15. I would hazard to guess that the weed growing, Porsche driving hippies in Humbolt County are more the pure free market Libertarian types than Leftists. They probably were Leftists at some point, I mean c’mon…this is northern California we’re taliking about, before they got their first ride in a 911 and concluded that maybe capitalism wasn’t as bad as they had been told.

    Again, I will say that a simple declaration by the Arab countries of the middle east that Israel has a right to exist would probably tend to loosen up our attitude toward them. Regardless of how the Jews came into possesion of what is now Israel, they are there now and unless you advocate evicting the entire population en mass the only solution is for the Israeli’s and Palestinian’s to get along and live side by side. Something that the Pal’s and Arabs in general have shown absolutely no inclination for. As far as how the Jews in Israel treat their fellow Arab citizens, I imagine that they have become very suspicious of them over the years and I am sure they are treated poorly by some, maybe most. I can’t say as I have never been to Israel. It seems to me however that perhaps being surrounded by millions of hostiles for 60 years who regard you as the offspring of pigs and monkeys and constantly propose extermination or being driven into the sea as the only solution might breed a bit of resentment. In relation to the treatment of Jews in the Arab lands throughout history, the Jew’s of Israel have been remarkably tolerant of their Arab citizens in my opinion

    Perhaps it would be a mistake to think of our support for Israel as purely a strategic issue but simply a matter of doing what is right given the history of the Jewish people.

    And I don’t think you’re an anti-Semite. But I do think you’re an idiot for typing out long posts on a phone! I can’t even text a short message on mine without wanting to throw it across the room.

  16. My point exactly in regards to the “lefties”. The only real lefties are the ones who haven’t yet discovered that $ = freedom in this world. Freedom to travel where you want; freedom to tell others to “git orf ma land”; the freedom to be left alone.
    And also my point with regards to Israel; You absolutely have to look at the history of how a nation was created and who it was taken from. You can’t just say “regardless of how the Jews came into possesion of what is now Israel” – this is the middle east we’re talking about; where a fued with your brother could go on for generations. 60 years is nothing.

    If Brazil gave Texas back to the Mexicans, or the Mexicans just decided to invade it, or better yet; Athiest Mexicans – I would venture to say that the “true Texans” would never even come close to recognizing their right to exist. Just saying. I think the ONLY way for Israel to hope to exist if to continue to show tolerance – no matter what the neighbors throw at you. I would say that bombing a Palestinian village isn’t a stellar example of displaying tolerance.

    Couldn’t we have just given them Wyoming?

    And I am an idiot for texting dissertations on my iPhone.

    Joe

    And the Arabs – and the rest of the world’s Muslims – don’t give a crap about what is right by way of the Jews. It’s not their history.

    • Your observation that 60 years means nothing in this part of the world is certainly correct, indeed they can regard something that happened 600 years ago as if it happened yesterday but I think you draw the wrong conclusions. Before Palestine was Arab land, it was the Historical home of the Jews who were forced to vacate so any attempt to determine who “owns” what is now Israel becomes an issue of two parties holding valid title to the same piece of dirt. In the aftermath of WWII the UN acting as judge determined that the Jews held sole ownership. As the Arab world had largely allied with the Axis powers and were very sympathetic with Hitler’s views on a final solution to “the Jewish problem”, the Palestinians are merely paying the price for the fecklessness of a previous generation of rulers allying with the losing side in a war. Not particularly fair from the contemporary individual Palestinian’s viewpoint I am sure but victory and defeat, and the consequences arising from each, is just the way of the world I’m afraid. At some point the defeated must adjust to their new circumstances or choose to continue fighting to the last man. The problem Israel faces in the future of just continuing to accept whatever the Muslim’s throw at them is well and good until Iran get’s nukes, and then all bets are off.

      Personally I kind of like Wyoming. What say we give them Wisconsin instead. Of course we would then be faced with this sort of scenario.

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