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Quote Of The Day.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Want More Ashcroft?

South Knox Bubba would have him, had SKB's rather scathing indictment not been intercepted by Carnivore, and Bubba ordered to report to the "Nearest Family and American Values Camp For Anti-Terrrorist Reprogramming."


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

Back in the USSR

We don't know how lucky we are. Back in the 1920s the Soviet Union faced a crisis. The new nation had just emerged from two revolutions and a civil war, not to mention a pre-Revolutionary past spiked by so many examples of political terrorism that it was possible to say that terrorism had become the main form of political opposition. If you wanted to make your point, you wrote about it first, and then underlined it by throwing a bomb at the Arch Duke's carriage. The tradition of terrorism persisted, and the new country had to decide how to deal with people who thought that the best way to criticize the government was to overthrow it, and who were willing to use violent means to do so. The new government officials were intimately aware of this capacity having been terrorists themselves - many of them. Throw in the foreign agents trying to do everything in their power to undermine the world's first and greatest experiment in the actualization of the Communist Manifesto, the monarchists, and all the disloyal members of the Communist Party, and you have an idea of the terrible situation the government faced. It is a wonder the Soviet Union survived its first decade, much less the better part of the twentieth century. That it did so is due mainly to the wise stewardship of Joseph Stalin, who realized that defeating terrorism, and ensuring domestic safety and the tranquility of the people called for strong measures.

Civil liberties whiners have demonized Stalin over the years, but in doing so they've wrongfully slurred one of the
great political leaders of the twentieth century. Stalin triumphed over Hitler, and more than that he triumphed over tremendous odds and obstacles to create a strong and formidable state. He did so because he realized that security is more important than liberty, and the survival of a state and a people is best achieved through a simple formula: surveillance and detention. Spy on everyone, cultivate sources, infiltrate meetings, listen, learn, and then move and arrest. You may, indeed you will, break a few eggs, but you will survive, and your people will be safe. The good of the many outweighs the liberties of a few, and as even those wrongfully accused of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the state repeatedly acknowledged: you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Ashcroft and the Bush Administration seem to have caught on to the surveillance bit. Let's hope that detention soon follows. Then we may finally be safe from Osama bin Laden, and can sleep secure in the knowledge that our government is actively ferreting out our enemies, and removing them far from us and our daily lives. We need never worry about another 9/11 and when the agents infiltrate our meetings, our email, our web sites, our conversations, we may be secure in the knowledge that the small sacrifice of our privacy will save the lives of thousands. And when they come for us, we may know that our sacrifice is called for by our country, our families, our values, and all the things we hold dear and that it will ensure their continuance, although we may be snuffed out. For too long Americans have been selfish and spoiled; for too long they have cried for their liberties over the screams of their friends. This era of childish repudiation of the common good led directly to 9/11; for had Americans and the imbecilc courts been less chary of their freedom, the terrorists might have been stopped. It is liberty that led to the FBI screw up, and only the demolition of liberty will ensure that the FBI not screw up again. The fact that agents failed to piece the plot together is directly related to their having insufficient power, just as the insufficiency of this power is directly correlated to the selfishness of the American people and their lack of respect for their fellow citizens and comrades in democracy. Fortunately, Sept. 11 changed all that. Let us therefore give thanks to this day of the historic expansion of FBI powers. We may sleep soundly now knowing that although our number may still be up, it won't be Osama holding the card. Let the era of Stalin begin.


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

Struck Down

For the second time. Blanket closings of deportation hearings are unconstitutional. How many federal judges will it take for the Bush Administration to understand that? Oh, wait. What am I thinking? I thought this was the United States of America, home of the Bill of Rights, when actually it's the United States of America, home of Home Land Security and safety trumps freedom any day. I shall have to remind myself of that more stringently from now on, since I somehow keep forgetting it.


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell tells what’s right with America. He writes on the new Dinesh D'Souza book What’s So Great About America. D’Souza, if you recall, wrote Illiberal Education, which blew the lid off campus PC fascism about ten years ago. He also wrote a good biography of Ronaldus Magnus. Here’s part of Sowell’s article:

“In contrast to those who say that we must seek to understand the ‘root causes’ of the hatred of America in the Islamic world, in terms of things that we have done wrong, D'Souza sees the fundamental causes of that hatred in the envy and resentment of American success spawned by the Islamic world's own failures.”

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

Beantown Wrap Up.

What I learned about the North on my trip to Boston:

They advertise liquor stores on the radio and on TV up there. They not only advertise them, they sing while doing it. That’s just weird.

New England has the concentration of muscle shirts in the country. Look left, a guido; look right, a wifebeater. I never saw more muscle shirts (without muscles, don’t ya know) in my life.

All muscle shirts must be accessorized with 4 or more piercings. It must be a law. There were more obvious piercings up there than I have seen outside of a goth club.

CMGI Stadium is the eighth wonder of the world. The Patsies new home is exquisitely badass. It was huge. It had good architecture, for a stadium. Wowza.

The entire state of Connecticut is one large traffic jam. At least it seems to be.

That sums up the sociology of my trip. Everything else was a family thing.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

Public Art Lunacy.

Seattle has finally gone stark raving mad. They are spending tens of thousands of dollars on artwork for . . . the dump. Yup, beautifying the trash dump. Mind you, this is at a time when they are closing public parks due to budget constraints. I think this may qualify as Zen stupidity.



posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

Random Gena Round-up.

This is very random and extremely inadequate. Not all of Gena's hilarious wrongness can be covered, but what the heck.

Catherine Millet. I think the book is called Le Vie Sexuelle de Catharine M. or some such thing. It was excerpted in Vogue months ago. It basically chronicles the dysfunctional sexual life of a French feminist. Unable to handle the emotional rigors of a real relationship she uses meaningless promiscuity instead. She is honest about the emotional toll it took on her and the wild jealousy that consumed her due to her insecurities. On the whole, even though Vogue tried to talk up the book, it came across as being voyeuristic and dull. A bodice-ripper with pretensions. Feminists will either love it for its subversion of the patriarchal sexual paradigm or hate it for revealing the unhappiness of the author in her sexual “liberation.” The conservatives will hate its empty meaningless sex, but will be all over the jealousy and unhappiness Millet’s lifestyle caused her. Either way, it just goes to show that French intellectuals are unable to recognize meaninglessness when they see it. It also goes to show that the Guardian is way behind Vogue on the cultural scene. And so are you. Ha ha ha.

Contemporary Poets. I thought you hated Pushkin. Either way, the best contemporary poet is Charles Bukowski. To prove it, here’s the Charles Bukowski Memorial Center for Classical Latin Studies. Its mission is to preserve the obscenities of classical Latin.

Teen Sex Party. Gena, your teen sex/ riding analogy was the dirtiest thing you have yet put on the site. Go wash your hands out with soap. Seriously, the teen sex debate is a wonderful smoke screen that distracts attention from the fact that the teen tramps (of both sexes) in question are the result of their uncaring, self-absorbed parents. The parents had “decorative kids” and never took the time to raise them properly or instill any kind of moral or ethical standards, or even any self-respect. I know lots of them. They act like animals because they never learned to be civilized people. I will likely find the NRO article (something tells me you didn’t read it either) and tell you what they really said.

Language. Use “suck” if you want to. It’s the curse words I object to. You used “merde” (in English) and it degraded your entire argument. Cuss words should be avoided whenever possible and only resorted to as a last resort. If you have an intelligent argument, you can say it intelligently. And if you want to use slang expressions like “suck” or “freaking” use them correctly. Our thoughts are only as clear as the words we use to express them.

I'd say more about how wrong Gena is, but after 22 hours in a van with my parents, sister, and 2 toddlers, my brain is barely functional.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, May 30, 2002 | link

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Now the American Times Looks Like a Good Idea

Or rather it would if Internet ads actually made money: Sell internet advertising and distribute the proceeds to the people you link to. Seventy-five percent of a thousand dollars distributed to to seventy-five writers is, well, not a heck of a lot of money. Still it's better than nothing, which is what most bloggers are currently getting. So it's tempting, particularly because I need some money, which means that it really hurts to be the one with the bucket of cold water. Can I say it? Oh, ouch, darn, man I want to be paid, oh bite. The American Times is a bad idea. It's a bad idea because there are two ways to look at links. If you have a web site and link to something on mine, I can either say you're doing me a favor by sending me traffic, or I can say you're co-opting my content for your site. The two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but quickly become so the moment money is involved.

The link as favor model is the one current in the blogosphere, and on the net in general, and is so because the Net is currently reader centered. By that I mean that readers are the internet currency. If I post something really great, my reward is the number of people who read it, and if I post a series of really great things, my reward is the people who continue to read my site. The problem is, of course, that I could be Immanuel Kant and posting pure unadulterated works of genius, but it wouldn't matter a whit, if no one knew my site existed. Therefore, when you link to me, you're doing me a favor by sending me a percentage of your readers.

And that's true, but it's also true that you're using my content and my research to build your site. For example, Instapundit links to Andrea Harris and says:

ANDREA HARRIS HAS SOME THOUGHTS ON TEEN SEX and the virtues of unsociability.

That's it. Glenn doesn't add any of his own commentary or ideas. It's just that one sentence, and yet the sentence is intriguing, because, well, who wouldn't want to know both about teen sex and the virtues of unsociability. And you can find out about both of them through just one mouse click. The pay-off for Instapundit is double. Instapundit gets the advantage of the on-site content Andrea's post generated; that is to say he gets the benefit of the sentence he wrote, and of the positive response it will generate in his readers, who will say, "Ah, intriguing," and who knowing that Instapundit has intriguing stuff will doubtless come back tomorrow for more. Yet, there is something else as well. Readers who click on Andrea's post and enjoy it will return to Instapundit, not just because the sentence on his site was intriguing, but because he found an article they enjoyed, and they think that there will probably be a similar article tomorrow. So Instapundit gets the actual benefit of Andrea's content, and not just because he found it. Rather Andrea's content becomes part of Instapundit's site. This has mainly to do with the way web pages are constructed, and the expectations that generates. For instance, if you go over to my biopage, in the contents section, you'll see a category called Essays by Gena. Click on Essays by Gena, and you'll be taken to another contents page, this time listing all the essays I've posted on the web. You might then click on the one I did about Postmodernism, the West, and WWII, and if you enjoyed it, you might come back and click on something else. What you might not have paid much attention to, however, is that you moved through two separate web pages to get to the essay. Both those pages are part of my site as is the essay, but the only thing that connects them is a link. Therefore it is links which hold a site together, and if I link to your content, it de facto becomes part of my site. In other words, a web site is like a magazine: a series of articles stapled together under the auspices of the person who decides they should be there. These articles may all be by the same author or they may be by different authors, but the benefit to the magazine or the site is the quality of the articles themselves. Through the link Instapundit makes Andrea's content part of his site, and his site receives the benefits of the quality of her writing and thoughts. Andrea, in other words, becomes a writer for Instapundit, whose staff presently includes everyone from the National Review to me and Lee Ann.

The response to this is either: Thanks! or Theft! Andrea is probably saying, "Thanks," and that because according to his counter, Instapundit gets an average of almost 15,000 hits a day. If only ten percent of those people click on Andrea's article, that still means 1500 new readers for Andrea. So Instapundit may be using Andrea's content, but he's paying for it by sending her his readers. Now just imagine, however, that the American Times also links to Andrea. The Times sends Andrea traffic, sure, but it also sends her a check. The Times makes explicit, what was implicit before: By linking to Andrea's post, it is adding Andrea's content to it's site and is essentially employing her as a writer. By doing so, it owes her monetary remuneration. Now maybe Andrea wouldn't look at it this way, but you could understand, if she started seeing a fundamental difference between Instapundit and the American Times. Both benefit from her content; both send her readers, but only one pays. Suddenly Instapundit might starting seeming a lot less like Thanks! and a lot more like Theft!

And this would kill the Internet, because the Internet is built around connectivity. The moment people start thinking that people who link to them owe them money is the moment the Internet dies, especially if they try to turn this expectation into law. The Net will die, because people will stop linking to each other. Lee Ann and I can't afford to pay Instapundit to link to his site, just as I would imagine Instapundit couldn't pay Andrea. If payment becomes the reward, then Spinsters, Instapundit, and every other non corporate, and/ or not-for-profit site will exist in isolation, because in the absence of personal wealth or site generated revenue, we couldn't afford to pay for links. At best we would become subsidiary sites of things like the American Times, a group of freelance writers hoping to get noticed and paid. And if we didn't get noticed, we not only wouldn't get paid, we also wouldn't have any readers, or maybe we would have readers, since we would have already built a readership, but the same could not be said for new sites. For who would notice them? Oh, they could write to the American Times, but they could also write to the New York Times, and they would in any case be entirely dependent on the taste of the person in charge. Thus, the inter-connectivity of the Internet would plummet, and a hierarchy would simultaneously be established where what got read would be decided by those who could pay for links.

And how would you find the American Times, if you had never heard of it? Search engines are by no means egalitarian, but they do help you find things, and they help you find it through providing you with links to it, which means that links for pay would kill the search engines as well; which means that you as a reader would have no means of finding sites you had never heard of, including things like the American Times. If links for pay became the model, most of the content of the web would be lost to readers; first because the only way readers could find the content would be through portals like the American Times, which would significantly thin out the content available, and secondly, because readers who didn't know where the portals were would have no way of finding them. Maybe the web wouldn't exactly be dead in this scenario, but its strands would be few and far between, and most of the bugs would fly through. For that reason the American Times is a perniciously bad idea, one bloggers, web designers, and readers should militate against.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 | link

Things I Want to Post On, But Can't

Katie from Loco Parentis sent me an excellent response to my Appalachian "sub-culture" post. The email contained some personal content, however, so I won't post it until I get Katie's permission. The other thing I want to post on but can't is women and feminism. Since this is part of another slug fest between me and Lee Ann, I didn't want to write about it until Lee Ann was around to respond. I had hoped that would be today, but no such luck it seems. Oh, well, the teen sex debate - which is quasi related to both of the above - is still alive and well over at Instapundit. You can go over there, and hopefully Lee Ann will return tomorrow and the spankings will resume.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 | link

Bill Frist

Whose last name incidentally means "deadline" or "time period" in German, thinks terrorists could use HIV as a biological weapon. South Knox Bubba - who still refuses to reveal his identity - says this is balderdash, and explains why.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 | link

A German Conspiracy Theorist

Says Bush was behind 9/11. The Spiegel says he's nuts, but devotes a very long article to him, and places it third on its web site.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 | link

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Monday, May 27, 2002

More Teen Sex

Reader Alex Whitlock writes:

Most of my letters will probably be in staunch disagreement, so I thought I would take this opportunity to say "AMEN" to your post about sex and maturity. It's not about teens having sex and not having sex, per se, it's about not-yet-responsible people doing things that have serious repercussions that require responsibility they are ill-equipped for.

Praise and the promise of spankings to come. Can't beat that. Well, yes you can. Instapundit has some marvelous responses to his critics, especially this:

Unlike some people, I don't feel that I know best for everyone in this regard. If teenagers weren't infantilized in so many other ways, they'd have a better base of judgment and self-respect, and could make better decisions about when they were ready to have sex...

I think that the extended infantilization of teens -- and even twenty-somethings -- in our culture is pernicious and breeds irresponsibility, and I think that sensational treatments of teen sex make that problem worse, not better.

Checkmate. Down goes the king.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 27, 2002 | link

Amnesty International

Bashes Bush for human rights violations, and says his Administration has undermined the concept of human rights by arguing that National Security may require the US to make compromises on human rights, and therefore signaling to other countries that as far as human rights are concerned "anything goes." Amnesty cited the situation in Cuba and the indefinite holding of foreigners without charge as two areas of particularly bad conduct.

And people will no doubt say this isn't fair, we're just doing what's necessary. To that I say, you either have principles or you don't,
and if you stand on the pulpit and say no infidelity, and then run after the first pretty woman who walks by, you don't. The point of having international principles of human rights or a national Bill of them is that they apply in all situations, especially in those in which they are in jeopardy. Throw them out the window whenever there's a crisis, and you might as well not have them. The law may say the king can't chop off your head, but it doesn't offer you much protection, if it ceases to apply every time the king wants to stage a beheading.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 27, 2002 | link

More Knoxville Bloggers

Just when you thought there were too many of us, there are more of us.

First off  is the enigmatic South Knox Bubba, who refuses to reveal his true identity, although he did manage to trick Knoxville's email cadre of lefties into railing against a nonexistent rodeo.

Then there's Bill Hobbs, who may in fact be a Nashvillian - yes, one of those - and who seems to be staging his own private tax revolt of which this half of Spinsters.com most staunchly disapproves.

And finally there's Katie Allison Granju who had the misfortune of getting spanked before even being introduced, such being the nature of this particular web beast.

And thus you see, you will be assimilated. It is only a matter of time.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 27, 2002 | link

Don't Spank a Spinster Day

Look, ma, email you can actually show your friends. The force must have been with me.

Reader Joe Katzman of Sensei Associates wrote to say:

Gena, your "Star Wars" post was one of the deeper and more resonant pieces I've read in a while.

You think I'm making this up, but I'm not. See, look, proof. This time from James Maliszewski:

Thanks for your Star Wars essay. You pretty well encapsulated all my thoughts and feelings after reading Jonathan Last's piece in the Weekly Standard. I think you hit the nail on the head in more than a few places. Good to know somebody out there in pundit-dom understands Star Wars.

Unfortunately Tapped didn't see it that way - or rather at all.

Thanks for the tip. we'll try to check out your site, though we must warn we've been bombarded by sites lately. best, tapped

Notice there's no link on that last one. Tit for tapped.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 27, 2002 | link

For Those of You Who Read German

The Spiegel has a provocative article on anti-Semitism - I was going to translate it, but it's too long. Although I think the author, Henryk M. Broder, is using anti-Semitism the way the PC people in this country use race and gender - that is to say as an ideological cudgel - I also think he is right about some things, specifically:

An anti-Semite doesn't have anything against Jews; they have something against him, and he must therefore arm himself against them. He is the victim, the Jew is the perpetrator. Anti-Semitism was, according to its own self concept, always a movement of self-defense against the presumption and power craving of the Jews. Had the Jews not resolved to conquer the world, the Nazis wouldn't have had to take up the fight against them, for the benefit of the entire world; if in vain. The anti-Semite, therefore, always has a good conscience. Confronted with the consequences of his atrocities, he is unashamed; he feels himself posthumously proven right by the result, for the Jews, however inferior they may be, have once again proven themselves to be unconquerable.

Ein Antisemit hat nichts gegen die Juden, sie haben etwas gegen ihn, und deswegen muss er sich gegen sie zur Wehr setzen. Er ist das Opfer, der Jude ist der Täter. Der Antisemitismus war, von seinem Selbstverständnis her, immer eine Notwehrbewegung gegen die Anmaßung und die Herrschaftsgelüste der Juden. Hätten sich die Juden nicht vorgenommen, die Welt zu erobern, hätten die Nazis den Kampf gegen sie nicht aufnehmen müssen, zum Wohle der ganzen Welt, wenn auch vergeblich. Deswegen hat der Antisemit auch immer ein gutes Gewissen. Mit den Folgen seiner Untaten konfrontiert, schämt er sich nicht, er fühlt sich durch das Ergebnis nachträglich bestätigt, denn die Juden, wie minderwertig sie sein mögen, haben sich mal wieder als unbesiegbar erwiesen.

And also:

In an interview with the ZDF Möllemann nearly said it (ie. that there aren't any innocent Jews): "I fear, that almost no one has given the anti-Semites - who are in Germany, and who we unfortunately must fight against - more traction than Mr. Sharon and in Germany a certain Mr. Friedman with his intolerant and catty manner." The classic cliche: the Jew as the source of anti-Semitism. Let us say, Möllemann is right and Friedman is intolerant and catty and more than that besides. And? Is that enough to factually protect the insane idea of anti-Semitism? Can a Jew not be intolerant and catty, without all the others being held to account for it?

In einem Interview mit dem ZDF sagte Möllemann bald darauf: "Ich fürchte, dass kaum jemand den Antisemiten, die es in Deutschland leider gibt und die wir bekämpfen müssen, mehr Zulauf verschafft hat als Herr Scharon und in Deutschland ein Herr Friedman mit seiner intoleranten und gehässigen Art." Das klassische Klischee: der Jude als Verursacher des Antisemitismus. Nehmen wir an, Möllemann hätte Recht und Friedman wäre intolerant und gehässig und noch einiges dazu. Und? Reicht das, um die Wahnidee des Antisemitismus faktisch abzusichern? Darf ein Jude nicht intolerant und gehässig sein, ohne dass alle Übrigen dafür abgemahnt werden?

And finally although I think this is a bit hysterical, and ignores the fact that anti-Semitism has become less prevalent or at the very least less overt - no quotas, for instance - in the intervening decades after WWII:

For their part, the Jews - who aren't nearly as clever as they're always accused of being - don't understand anti-Semitism. They think that after Auschwitz the air went out of hate. The opposite is true. An idealistic crime, that isn't brought to fruition, screams for resumption, for every survivor reminds the perpetrators, that they're not only criminals but also failures.

Die Juden ihrerseits, die nicht so klug sind, wie ihnen immer nachgesagt wird, verstehen den Antisemitismus nicht. Sie glauben, nach Auschwitz hätte dem Hass die Luft ausgehen müssen. Das Gegenteil ist der Fall. Ein idealistisches Verbrechen, das nicht zu Ende gebracht wurde, schreit nach Fortsetzung, denn jeder Überlebende erinnert die Täter daran, dass sie nicht nur Verbrecher, sondern auch Versager sind.

I should admit that I have no idea what's going on with Moelleman. I haven't been following the story. Although I've met too many out and out anti-Semitic supporters of Israel to believe that anti-Semitism is confined to one side of the Israeli/ Palestinian debate, I do think Broder does a pretty good job of unmasking the anti-Semitism on the pro Palestinian side of it. And he certainly gives an excellent definition of what anti-Semitism is and what sort of attitudes lie behind it.

And since I feel guilty for posting part of the article but not the entire thing, and thus leaving you to wonder what exactly Broder said, if I get more than ten emails asking me to translate it, I'll do it.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 27, 2002 | link

War Poem

NRO has an excellent poem on 9/11 by Robert Bove. And yes, George Bush is an alien; the moon is made of cheese, and I'm linking to the National Review Online.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 27, 2002 | link

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Sunday, May 26, 2002

Well, I wasn't going to post tonight

But then I read this, and well I had to. People say satire is dead, but it's not.


posted by Gena on Sunday, May 26, 2002 | link

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Saturday, May 25, 2002

Ok, So I Think I'm Funny, But I'm Not

When I was little my mother used to always say, "Don't worry Gena. People just don't understand your sense of humor." It's obviously an ongoing problem. Reader Dave Trowbridge of The Redwood Dragon writes:

Forgive me if I am merely being tone-deaf to facetiousness in the last sentence of your post about the Alterman-Sullivan pissing match.

But "landsleit" is Yiddish, not German, and is the plural of "landsman:"

Ok, I'll admit I don't speak a word of Yiddish, but like Instapundit with French, I have it surrounded, so I figured landsleit was probably Yiddish, and not German. Yet, I thought saying that Alterman had misspelled Landsleute would be cutting, witty, and funny, because part of the pissing match was over whether Alterman had misspelled something, and all of it was about Israel, which for the Andrew Sullivans of the world is inevitably indirectly about Germany. That was the intention in any event. The reality was probably that everyone looked at that post cross eyed and then shrugged. So much for my dream of chucking it all and hitting the road as a stand up comic. Spanked for not being funny. Ouch.


posted by Gena on Saturday, May 25, 2002 | link

Knoxville Blogger, uh, Bash

People who meet me usually think I'm quiet and sweet, but actually I'm a fundamentally contentious person and if there's a good fight going on, I want in it. Having the blog all to myself has therefore really sucked eggs, if for no other reason than Lee Ann's not here to get pissed off about the fact I said the word "suck." What's the point of using vulgar language if you can't offend people by it? I'm bored and if you're bored, the best thing you can do is start a feud. Now lots of bloggers have feuds, but they're usually wussy feuds between people who aren't at all geographically connected. This might seem to limit my options, since there are only four Knoxville bloggers, but fortunately all you need for a good feud is one person to feud with.

Now I'm going to be nice and say that I'm certain that in her life outside the cyberspace ether Katie Allison Granju is a nice, interesting person who reads Emerson by a pond on the weekends. On her blog, however, she's an obnoxious little twit who's really cheesed me off and here's why. In a post about teen sex, she says:

The problem with teenagers having sex is that they are notoriously incapable of preventing the potentially negative consequences of sexual behavior. But so are many other sub-cultures within our larger one (trust me on this. In a previous life, I worked as a social worker and did home visits with Appalachian parents who were neglecting or abusing their kids). How come national magazines never run cover stories like this one on the problem of "Irresponsible Idiot Sex!"

Welcome in other words to the everyone-in-my-hometown-is-a-hick-except-me club - located in this case at the corner of Market Square. Yes, the people of East Tennessee are a trailer trash, black toothed, moonshine swilling hoard of ignorant, degenerate Deliverance types who together constitute a "subculture" of child abusing irresponsible morons who are "notoriously incapable of preventing the potentially negative consequences of sexual behavior" and whose very existence proves the absurdity and/or bias of national magazine cover stories about teen sex, since if they weren't biased such magazines would be running stories about "Irresponsible Idiot Sex!:" i.e.. Knoxvillian sex. And you can say that isn't fair, that after all Katie was a social worker and she was just reporting what she saw, sort of like our friend the Olive Garden going Brit. And this would be fine, if Katie had simply said that in her career as a social worker she had come across some irresponsible idiots who abused their children and shouldn't be parents. Instead she defines these parents as Appalachian and uses them as an example of other "irresponsible" sub cultures.

This obviously doesn't include Mrs. Katie Allison Granju herself, of course. After all, Mrs. Granju is a parent... who writes about parenting, who published a book about parenting, who has a blog about parenting, who has a column about parenting, who is an expert about parenting as Instapundit called her. Mrs. Granju is a responsible person. It's just those other East Tennesseans who are the problem - the ones who turn up at the grocery store with her, sit around her in the movie theater, drive down the interstate with her, teach her children for her, ring up her gas for her, and say, "May I help you" to her a thousand times a day. Those are the contemptible hicks, her neighbors. That's the degenerate sub-culture - the people who make her city what it is. And what her city is is the place she's chosen to live in, so irresponsible idiots must have their appeal, otherwise Katie would move.

Now I can't claim to be a parenting expert, but I'd say maturity and wisdom have a lot more to do with being a good parent than being able to make Spanish/ Latin puns. So Katie might take my advice and grow up and have the wisdom to realize that although not everyone in Knoxville has two parents who are professional journalists, writes seriously journalistic 3000 word research articles for Salon, and rides at the all too precious for words Fiesta Farm, this is a good place, and it is a good place because of the goodness of its people. Maybe if she realized that, Mrs. Granju wouldn't be such a nutty parent after all.


posted by Gena on Saturday, May 25, 2002 | link

Our Stupid "Friends" the Pakistanis

Say they aren't afraid of a nuclear war, more than likely for the same reason that a roach isn't afraid of a shoe: it's too dim to realize a shoe can flatten it into a greasy spot on the floor. Musharraf thinks he's being tough, when what he's really doing is taking the dunce cap and putting it on his country's head. And idiot boy in the White House better come up with some sort of foreign policy fast - you know a foreign policy other than that of banging on the table and saying, "You can't do that. I'm concerned about it. It's unacceptable. Hey, I didn't tell you you could..."


posted by Gena on Saturday, May 25, 2002 | link

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Friday, May 24, 2002

Well, I'm Sure the Teen Sex Party

Is probably over - If you have no idea what I'm talking about start with Instapundit and work your way back to the National Review - and I don't really have anything new to add, except:

Back in the good old days, people got married earlier, because they died sooner. If you could count on keeling over at 35, it made sense to start your family at 13 - yes, that's an exaggeration, but not much of one. Biologically, we may be maturing faster, but we're also dying later, and our society is such, that those who would play a prominent role in it, are essentially held in arrested development. There are three reasons for this. First, there is the need for education - lots of it; years of it. Then, there's the fact that during their education people remain dependent upon their parents, and even when they sever the purse strings, they still have a whole slew of surrogate parents - ie teachers - lined up to dictate their lives. And finally there's the knowledge of time. Twenty-five is just starting out, rather than half way ot the grim reaper. All of which is to say 16 year olds today are biologically more mature than yesterday's 16 year olds, but emotionally they're less so. Maturity comes in large part through the expectations that are placed on you. If you are expected to be responsible for your life at 16, you will be. If you are not, you won't be, and you'll do stupid stuff, like have lots of sex. I'm not saying having lots of sex is bad; just that there are bad ways to have it, bad ways which can kill you. Sex like mountain climbing, or fox hunting is a dangerous thing. That doesn't make it bad, but it does mean that if you saddle up for the hunt, when you've never sat on a horse, you are likely to end up on the ground, and if you take off for Mt. Everest with only a tooth brush in your backpack, you are unlikely to come back. Lessons and education would help to improve your riding/ climbing skills, but both riding and climbing also and always require judgment and responsibility. In other words, you shouldn't do dangerous things, if you don't know what the Hell you're doing, and if you lack the responsibility and judgment to do them safely. To the extent teenagers are ignorant of sex, and lack responsibility and judgment, they shouldn't be having it; for the consequences will most likely be bad. Teenagers who are knowledgeable, sensible, and responsible should not necessarily be banned from sex, sex being for them like fox hunting for me - a risk they're capable of assessing, and thus should be free to take.


posted by Gena on Friday, May 24, 2002 | link

Assaulted From Every Corner

The German Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, says Germany could be attacked by right wing extremists, left wing extremists, Islamic extremists, members of Al Quida, and agents of foreign governments. And you thought we had it bad.


posted by Gena on Friday, May 24, 2002 | link

I thought 9/11

Had pretty much killed off "post-colonial" criticism. If so the news of its demise obviously hasn't trickled down to Greg Tate over at the Village Voice. I'll admit that I admire some of Edward W. Said's work - namely his claim that a two state solution to the Israeli/ Palestinian crisis is unworkable. Or rather I should say, I admired the claim back before the situation blew up, and the prospect of a united Jewish/Arab state came to seem about as likely as the United Kingdom of Dogs and Cats. As a literary critic, however, Said sucks, and he sucks for the simple reason that rather than take the text on its own terms, he imposes his ideas upon it, and those ideas rarely boil down to more than "this text is oppressing me." Poor Mr. Tate however just can't say enough about Said and Co's intelligence:

Postcolonial studies—you gotta love it. Supersmart folk of color chanting down white power from within the academy. Supersmart hardly begins to describe the brainpower of the field's star players: Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Homi Bhabha. Palestinian-born Said can wring Mozart from a piano with one hand while banging out learned considerations of imperialism and Western literature with the other. Spivak, who hails from Bengal, produced a translation of Derrida's Of Grammatology so graceful you imagine she does that kind of thing for fun.

Well, I guess intelligence is a relative concept: your estimation of the intelligence of others being directly proportional to the level of your own.


posted by Gena on Friday, May 24, 2002 | link

Contemporary Poets Suck

Says Robert Bove. They think nothing matters and thus make themselves irrelevant. I was going to turn this into another shameless Hoelderlin plug, but instead I'm going to introduce you to Pushkin. There was once a time when poets thought seriously and complexly about the world. Pushkin demonstrates what can happen when they do.


posted by Gena on Friday, May 24, 2002 | link

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Thursday, May 23, 2002

For Those Of You

On the edge of your seats as to why I think feminism sucks, don't worry. I'm still going to explain why it sucks, and how it opened the door for James Tooley. As a bonus, I'm going to throw in why both Lee Ann and Tooley are incontrovertibly wrong about this. Just remember War and Peace. Patience and Time. In other words, have patience with me; I need time.


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 23, 2002 | link

Remember the Great Lee Ann/ Gena Israel war?

Well, Eric Alterman says everything to Andrew Sullivan I sometimes wanted to say to Lee Ann but didn't. Instapundit calls this a pissing match, but if it is, it is something Eric should engage in more often. "Altercation" up to this point has been fitful, lame, and poorly written, which is unfortunate because as this post reveals, Alterman is actually nimble, witty, and not above a punch below the belt. Those are the qualities of a formidable and highly entertaining debater, and thus of a damn good blogger. Welcome, therefore, Eric Alterman. Once you get it going, your blog's going to rock, and in any event a cute, impish-looking guy with glasses is always welcome here, even if he does misspell Landsleute.


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 23, 2002 | link

Ah, The Perils of Online Petitions

Two Australian academics wanted other Australian academics to boycott Israel, so they set up an online petition. Signatories were pretty run of the mill, until the call went out to the afterlife, and every bored dead guy from Joseph Goebbels to Barbarossa started weighing in. Even Osama bin Laden turned up to complain:

May Allah forgive me, but Paradise is a big disappointment. The houris look like Helen Thomas, there's nothing to eat but pork, and there's nothing to drink but beer. It's as hot as hell. It's as hot as .... D'oh!

Something tells me this petition will not be making its way to The Sidney Morning Herald any time soon. The Look Ma I Just Shot Myself in the Foot Almanac might be a different story though. (via Instapundit).


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 23, 2002 | link

Lies Damn Lies

Mark Twain would love this. Using Anne Coulter's method, the Daily Howler proves that the liberal media bias extends to ..... The Washington Times. Ooops.


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 23, 2002 | link

Speaking of Doors the Feminists Have Opened

Feminists may have ideologically opened the door for James Tooley, but they've emotionally opened it for Catherine Millet. I think people may be disgusted enough by feminism's sexual straight jacket to find this book appealing. Millet's is not a lifestyle I would necessarily go for, but that doesn't change the fact I would dearly love to see her book published over here. The reaction of both the conservatives and the feminists would be worth it, and might even reveal something of their affinity.


posted by Gena on Thursday, May 23, 2002 | link

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

On the Patriot Act

I feel bad about picking on Lee Ann when she's not around to defend herself. On the other hand, even Hercules probably couldn't defend this:

As for the Patriot Act, no law can prevent crime if it is not properly enforced...Also, just because a law is broken, doesn’t mean it is an ineffective law. The rape laws get broken. Are they a bad idea too?

This would be a perfectly valid point, if the purpose of the Patriot Act were to outlaw terrorism, rather than to enact a series of measures to prevent it.

Leaving that aside, however, the fact that a group of suspicious stowaways managed to slip into the US and then vanish right out from under the FBI's nose shows that all the new powers our law enforcement agencies have aggregated to themselves have obviously not stopped them from dropping the ball. I'm loath to give up my civil liberties period, but giving them up in exchange for nothing seems an altogether bad trade. And if Lee Ann is right and only God or Stalin could prevent all terrorist attacks, then we might ask ourselves what purpose legislation like the Patriot Act serves. Having majored in Russian and studied German, I know something about terrorism, namely that there are two ways of stopping it. You can slam the lid down on the kettle - ie. arrest everybody suspicious, and monitor everyone else closely. This actually works as any 19th century Tsar could tell you. God help you though if you try to take the lid back off - any Tsar could tell you that too, mainly because most of them tried. The most effective and permanent way to stop and prevent terrorism is to remove the kettle from the fire - ie. eliminate the conditions which are fomenting it. Remember the Red Brigades? No? My point exactly. I'm not saying the terrorists aren't responsible or that they're somehow victims and we should feel sorry for them. That would be stupid. To use another example. Hitler is responsible for himself and his actions, and the German people are responsible for having followed him. Yet, this doesn't change the fact that if conditions in Germany had been different, Hitler never would have come to power. This doesn't absolve Hitler or the Germans from responsibility and it doesn't excusetheir actions. Yet, it does show that evil is to an extent situationally dependent, and that therefore one way to prevent evil is to change the situation. It is a lesson we might apply to the Middle East, especially, since George is in Germany banging the kettle drum.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 22, 2002 | link

The Dog and the Revolution

Lee Ann suggested that my Hoelderlin Translation Page might be more popular if I gave some sort of introduction to Hoelderlin and his work. Being lazy, I scouted through all my old web pages to see if I had already written something on Hoelderlin which might do. I found "The Dog and the Revolution: Hölderlin, Rilke, and Post-Colonial Criticism" which might be more appropriately titled "Grad School: How not to Survive It." If you can get past the trauma of my criticism of Edward W. Said, however, the paper does give a pretty good idea of the complexity of Hoelderlin's work and why you might want to read it.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 22, 2002 | link

"Pretzels Not Bombs"

No, I didn't make that up. It's one of the slogans the Berlin anti-Bush demonstrators are using, although the giant pretzel which was supposed to illustrate it fell apart. And people say the Germans have no sense of humor. The German government obviously has a sense of historical irony, however, since Berliners are saying that not since the days of the DDR has their freedom of movement been so restricted. As one put it:

"Really it's the whole Honecker number/ Wirklich, das ist die komplette Honecker-Nummer."

And just to prove that Schroeder really did mean business, German police fired water cannons at peaceful demonstrators, who were sitting before a Cathedral and beating on drums. The police called it:

Ordnungswidrigkeit von elementarer Bedeutung für die Allgemeinheit

I have no idea how to translate that. Basically, it means "we shot you with water canons because you refused to vacate the pleasure garden."


posted by Gena on Wednesday, May 22, 2002 | link

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Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Instapundit Has a Cool New Site

Or rather site design, which you should check out. And you should also read the poem Glenn linked about "The Dean's Box." This is one reason Instapundit is such a cool site, because he always finds out where the cool stuff is.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 | link

AWOL Spinsters.

Sorry to do it again, but I will be absent from the site for about a week starting tomorrow. I will be on the Great ‘Ski Migration to the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts to pay my respects to my Uncle and visit the family some. If I get to post it would be a miracle. You’ll just have to settle for Gena. Maybe Gena could just write a post every night saying “Gena is so incredibly, unbelievably wrong!” and it would be just like I’m here.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 | link

Evil Unveiled.

The Daniel Pearl snuff film is online. It's at an Islamic recruitment site. Suddenly the word evil seems so paltry. So inadequate. There has to be a better word. Evil just isn't covering it. Neither is inhuman. Rod Dreher at The Corner gives a good summary of the tape and his reaction to it. NRO refuses to link to the video. I do as well. You could probably find the video if you tried, but unless you want full frontal evil in your face, I wouldn't.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 | link

Read This, Gena.

Read this, read this, read this, read this, read this. It’s hilarious. It’s about books. It skewers stupid book reviewers and the even stupider books they review. Read it! I command thee! Seriously. Some goodies:

“The strangest term the reviewers use is ‘unassuming prose.’ They say it in a good way, as though the best prose is unassuming. So how come they never review a book with assuming prose? I don't like my books unassuming. I want them to assume something. I want the prose standing on its head like a Chinese acrobat and doing back flips.”

“And what's with all the verbiage from India? The next time I see a work of fiction described as ‘an inquiry into the consequences of colonialism’ invoking the ‘rich spiritual traditions of a mysterious sub-continent’ with a ‘postmodern sensibility’ I'm going to personally seek out the Berkeley apartment building where all these writers-in-residence sponge off the Rockefeller Foundation and assault it with a sound truck blaring Nine Inch Nails at 3 a.m. Please make a pilgrimage to New Delhi in search of a plot, people.”

“Beware of the word ‘anomie.’ The book will undoubtedly ‘resonate’ with it. Even more ominous, it will probably be ‘Chekhovian.’ "

“Anything a professor does — returning to his rural home, facing his mortality, suffering from ‘ennui,’ enduring a middle-age crisis — should be banned by constitutional amendment.”

This rocks. Read it. Read it, read it, read it.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 | link

The “Gena Get a Grip” Round-Up.

First, nobody can prevent all terrorist attacks. Unless you are suggesting we arrest all Muslims in America, nuke most of the Middle East and give the FBI gestapo powers. Then we’d only have to worry about the environmentalists, the Basques, the Irish, the anti-globalists, and any other loony fringe group du jour. Unless you are under the delusion that W. is omniscient and omnipotent. In which case you’d think he’s God. I like the man, but he’s only human.

As for the Patriot Act, no law can prevent crime if it is not properly enforced. There have been dozens of potential terrorists smuggled through LAX by non-citizen workers. Our entire border with Canada is undefended. We enforce almost none of our immigration laws. Maybe if we enforced our immigration laws and the other anti-crime laws, we wouldn’t have needed a Patriot Act in the first place. Also, just because a law is broken, doesn’t mean it is an ineffective law. The rape laws get broken. Are they a bad idea too?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 | link

Gena and the Feminists.

The Roberts article is a great example of what’s wrong with feminism both in her hysterical response to the idea that women are better off staying home and to the fringe character she chooses to highlight as being indicative of the ideas she hates. As for Tooley, he sounds like an extremist example of resurgent traditionalism, but Roberts is so spiteful I don’t entirely trust her portrayal. Even if he is what she says he is, he is not a mainstream voice and has been a factor in none of the major debates on women, motherhood, and career. Tooley sounds like a nut. But if Roberts wanted to deal with the idea of traditional motherhood and women’s rights, she should have picked a major player in the debate.

Feminism, as personified by Roberts, is exactly why most women are not “feminists.” Her visceral hatred of traditional women’s roles is not shared by most women. The idea that women want to be mothers and want to be able to devote themselves to that choice is not evil or patriarchal. It is what most (not all) women feel. The number one complaint women have about their lives is the conflict between career and family and the difficulty of balancing the two. Full-time motherhood is a viable, laudable choice and should not be vilified by fanatics like Roberts. Your fear would be more justified if it were in response to what was being said by the real movers and shakers within the “traditionalism” debate. Try Maggie Gallagher, Christina Hoff Summers, Rich Lowry, or someone like that. Most of the “traditionalists” are women, by the way. They are women tired of shrews like Roberts deriding them for the choices they have made.

Exactly what tune should I be so afraid of? Nowhere in the article did Tooley say, or Roberts imply that he said, that women should be forced into the home and prevented from having careers. He says it should be advocated and encouraged, but he seems to be fringe enough that nothing he says will matter. Since women have been indoctrinated to think that only full-time career women are valued and that full-time motherhood is horrible, regressive, pathetic failure that should be avoided like the patriarchal plague, why shouldn't a counter to that dogma be raised? If the unceasing denigration of full-time motherhood is not being "miseducated" what is? There has been a great deal of medical and psychological research that says that women (and their children) fare better if the women give birth at a younger (mid-twenties) age and raise their children themselves. While this should be common sense, it should not be controversial; it is by no means grounds for a legal mandate. In fact, nobody other than feminists is suggesting that such research is detrimental to women’s rights. Most women see that research as being valuable information that should be seriously considered when a woman (and her husband, hopefully) decide what is best for her to do in her life. It’s called making an informed decision. Maybe that woman will decide to be a full-time mother, putting off work for a few years until her child is in school. Maybe she will work part-time because she needs or wants to; maybe she will work full-time. Either way, she needs to fully understand all aspects of her decision, and not make such an important choice based on political theory instead of fact.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 | link

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Monday, May 20, 2002

Thank God We Have the Patriot Act

According to the Spiegel, 15 suspected terrorists have slipped into the US on board cargo ships and have vanished without a trace. More terrorists attacks are considered "likely." Well, at least we know now that all that terrorism legislation is working. Or was the legislation supposed to stop terrorists? I get confused sometimes given the results.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Stand By Your Bush

For the first time more than 50 percent of Americans say they doubt whether Bush can prevent another terrorist attack. This doesn't stop them, however, from believing he's doing a good job. The question is, of course, doing what?


posted by Gena on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Don't Get Too Happy, Lee Ann

The evidence for why feminism sucks wasn't meant to be Alison Roberts, but her subject James Tooley, who according to the article believes that women are mis-educated into believing they should want careers, when really they should want - surprise, surprise - babies, babies, more babies, and a dust mop. If you don't see something wrong with that, then you are in serious danger of oppressing yourself. Hating housewives has absolutely nothing to do with it. If I have a serious problem with a book which claims that men are "miseducated" into not wanting to be auto mechanics, then it does not follow that I hate auto mechanics or think that some men shouldn't be auto mechanics. Hating auto mechanics is a possible motivation for why I might disagree with such a book, but a far more obvious one would be that I disagree with stuffing one half of the population into a box, nailing down the lid, and stamping "auto mechanic" onto it. Women shouldn't be "educated" to want anything. That kind of educate is the kind that rhymes with indoctrinate. Tooley has an idea of what's good for women, and he wants to make sure that they get the "education" they need to fall hook line and sinker for his position. The thesis of my feminism post - which I'm not going to write tonight, because I've spent the evening designing my mom's final exam and it's 2 am and I'm tired - is that feminists have paved the way for this sort of thing, and they've been stupid, self-serving, blind, and naive for thinking that if you throw the door open, something horrible won't walk through. Academic feminists have been having their fun, but if you listen very closely, you can hear the Piper playing. It's a tune, Lee Ann, you might listen to.


posted by Gena on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Tapped Doesn't Suck Anymore

And the American Prospect Online has a great article on John Marshall, and how Rehnquist is dismantling his legacy piece by piece. And someday - namely the one when I get my printer fixed - this is going up on my wall:

Marshall's own words might serve as an assessment of the Rehnquist court's tendency (in cases other than Bush v. Gore) to put "states' rights" above the constitution of the United States: "Powerful and ingenious minds," he wrote in Gibbons v. Ogden "taking, as postulates, that the powers expressly granted to the government of the Union, are to be contracted by construction, into the narrowest possible compass, and that the original powers of the States are retained, if any possible construction will retain them, may, by a course of well digested, but refined and metaphysical reasoning, founded on these premises, explain away the constitution of our country, and leave it, a magnificent structure, indeed, to look at, but totally unfit for use."


posted by Gena on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Don’t Try This at Home.

Seattle tries. It really does. Still, it must take more than java-fueled asininity to explain this. It’s trite, yet dull. Tired, yet bland. It’s . . . yet another guide to Red and Blue America. It even has a cartoon to help you tell the difference between them. Yep, it’s that bad. Honestly, it’s worse than bad; it’s stupid. Let’s give it a try anyway:

“On election night 2000, the television networks broadcast maps of the United States that told a seemingly unambiguous story: The Northeast, the West Coast and the upper Midwest were painted blue -- Gore country -- while the South, the Midwest heartland and the Mountain West were red -- Bush territory.” Thank you Captain Obvious.

“In state after state, a person who could see skyscrapers from his or her bedroom window was likely to vote for Al Gore, while a person who lived within sniffing distance of a cow was almost certainly a Bush backer.” In state after state, a person who could see a beautiful woodland from his or her bedroom window was likely to vote for George Bush, while a person who lived within sniffing distance of human feces on a sidewalk was almost certainly a Gore backer.

“We were two nations, divisible.” Move over Kant. Pack your bags Descartes. Hit the road Confucious. The sheer brilliance of this intellect leaves no place in the annals of human wisdom for the likes of you morons.

“Blue and red fuzz into a purple haze making it hard to get an accurate cultural reading.” Purple Haze? Far out man. You have totally broken down the doors of consciousness, man, and have transcended to, like, a higher awareness. Ponderous, man, really ponderous.

“But there are always clues; more nuanced, perhaps, than those perceived by a transvestite from San Francisco walking into a tent revival in Tuscaloosa, but clues, nevertheless.” An amazingly nuanced cultural view in and of itself, eh? Actually, the transvestite wouldn’t fare too badly at the revival. Tuscaloosa is a college town after all. The greatest threat a revival poses is being spontaneously “born again,” not getting gay bashed. I wouldn’t want to be the Holy Roller in San Francisco though; the Bay Area ain’t too tolerant of certain kinds of diversity.

Then there’s the cartoon. The Red State mama is driving her draft age son to the recruiter's office, while the Blue State mama is headed with hers to Canada. Despite the fact that there is no draft! No, there is not a prize for tallying up the most cliches. Thanks to Carol, the Intrepid Foe to all Stupidity, for the heads up on this one.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

For Gena.

Here’s two articles from NRO to feed Gena’s Star Wars addiction. The first deals with politics in the Jedi world. It’s not as long as Gena’s, but it touches on similar topics.

The second is the G-File. Here’s a sample:

"Who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about? Yoda! Right On!”

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

This Should be Fun.

I am eagerly awaiting Gena’s feminism post. I read the Alison Roberts article and found it to be a very bad one. She gets her point across, but she does so in a way as to make her an untrustworthy narrator. She hates her subject, Tooley, and what he stands for. He is even referred to as the “enemy” of all women in her tagline. Roberts obviously despises not only Tooley, but the women who make the choice he advocates. Unfortunately, she rails at him (and full-time mothers, by inference) so much that I wonder how accurately she is presenting his views. Tooley, the hatee, sounds like he is one of many theorists and researchers that have been bolstering the full-time mother without attempting to soothe the egos of the full-time workers with kids. There have been many intelligent, serious debates on this subject within the American media, but this British article is a poor copy of one.

To me this whole argument stems from the inability of the feminist hierarchy and the elite media to deal with the subject of motherhood with anything approaching rationality. The feminists denigrate and deride full-time mothers and housewives and the elite media just sneer at them. Anytime anyone gives any kind of support for or respect to mothers and housewives, the above mentioned groups go ballistic. It’s as if anything that supports mothers and housewives must, by its very nature, be evil and detrimental to working women. Just because one choice is good doesn’t mean the other is evil. Even being less good doesn’t mean bad. It just means less than ideal. The feminists have made such a career out of hating housewives that anything they say on the subject is as unbalanced as David Duke’s opinions on Jews. Either way, I can’t wait for Gena to post. This may even re-ignite the Great Housewife War of ’02.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Let Freedom Ring!

Here’s something you don’t get every day. The nation of East Timor gained its freedom at midnight last night. Freed by the Portuguese in the early 70’s, the Indonesians invaded and held the tiny country in chains until 1999. In that year, the East Timorese voted to declare their independence from Indonesia, which stole their nation in the first place. Indonesian rule has been nothing but religious and cultural devastation for the East Timorese. Indonesia tried to forcibly convert the country to Islam. When East Timor voted for independence, the Indonesians launched a scorched earth campaign of near genocide to punish the East Timorese for their impudence. Where was the U.N. you may ask? They were supporting the invading Indonesians of course. Who cares about religious persecution, genocide, or the rights of a sovereign nation, when the Indonesians have an “existing government” that can be “negotiated with.” The U.N. likes negotiations a heck of a lot more than they like free nations.

“Up to 200,000 people - perhaps a quarter of the population - are expected to pack the site. There's a symmetry in the numbers: 200,000 people are believed to have died during Indonesian rule and about the same number were forced from their homes when the Indonesian army launched its scorched earth policy to punish the people for voting for independence on August 30, 1999. The setting is also apt: like so many places here, Tacitolu was once a killing field and a burial ground for the army's unknown victims.”

The ordeal of East Timor has not gotten nearly the coverage it should. The ignorance, pomposity, and venality of the U.N. was on full display for over 20 years. The NRO has been one of the only places that I have found consistent coverage of the East Timorese fight for freedom. Read as many of these articles as you can.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Spank a Spinster.

I got a very astute email from Britain (good thing he wasn’t here a couple weeks ago) regarding my Hanratty post. This is a combining of 2 emails, both very sharp. Take it away Martin:

“Nice post about Hanratty, but kind of undermined by your point about ‘citizens’ as opposed to ‘subjects’. Its a pedantic terminological point but according to my passport and according to the Immigration and Nationality Act 1981 I am a British citizen. I could send you a scan but you would be forced to look at my passport photo. There has not been such a thing as a British ‘subject’ for some time. Your point was valid, but cute sounding but inaccurate soundbites tend to undermine even good points as those against them tend to pick them up as being indicative of the inaccuracy of the whole point. That particular American prejudice really gets on my goat and is one that really belongs in the 30s. Although opinion polls now support the reintroduction of the death penalty because of a rise in the crime rate over the last half decade, but they didn't in the 60s, not because of the A6 murders, but because of the Rillington Place murders, where incontrovertibly the wrong man was hanged. As recently as, 1989 when the Birmingham Six were acquitted on appeal, polls were generally (albeit narrowly) against in this country.

“We will probably be having a referendum on the European single currency next year, the only other referendum in British history was the 1975 referendum on entry to the EEC as it then was. I think they are a waste of time. Policy should be decided by our elected leaders, not by a series of referenda. The Euro polls were simply to disguise the fact that the politicians could not make up their minds and both parties were hopelessly divided on the issue. The pro-Europeans won in 1975, they will have their work cut out to win the next one.

“Abolition of the death penalty, however, was a platform of the Wilson Labour Government in 1964. You elect a government, you get its policies, Wilson was elected and we lost the death penalty for murder. I wasn't even born in the 1960s, but reintroduction of the death penalty for murder (in fact until this year or last it technically still existed for high treason) has been a platform of many Tory MPs for years and years, and we all no the mess that the Conservative party is in at the moment. So to that extent it has been a political issue and one that people have the opportunity to vote on but referendum on every law and order issue would make Parliamentary democracy a sham.”

The part about not being a “subject” was new to me. I just assume that if you have a monarch, you are a subject. As for the British political system, it is far too confusing and does not seem to be nearly as representative as the American political model. Either way, this does throw out a lot of useful info on the Brits and their political situation.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

Calm Down Gena.

First, lay off the cuss words, this ain’t the place for it. Second, take some Prozac before posting on Schroeder, because you have seriously overreacted. Schroeder is not saying people can’t protest, he is saying that they can’t use Bush’s visit as an excuse to burn down the city, a la the anti-globalists of years past. Hooliganism is not political speech. It is a crime wave. Carry signs and chant slogans if you want, but if you set cars on fire or launch projectiles at people you go to jail.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, May 20, 2002 | link

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Sunday, May 19, 2002

Andrew Long

Over at A Longview has some interesting thoughts on Star Wars, although he somewhat misreads my original post.


posted by Gena on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

Why Feminism Sucks

This shall be the subject of my next mega post - coming Monday. If, however, you just can't wait and want a preview of the results of feminism's titanic betrayal of women, click here.


posted by Gena on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

At the age of 83 Joseph Frank

Has finally finished his biography of Dostoevsky. This is a book to go out and buy and an article to surf over to and read.


posted by Gena on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

It's a Fist Fight in Germany

Over who's George's best friend. Bush is scheduled to visit Berlin. Protesters are scheduled to greet him. The Chancellor is promising to crack down on the protesters: "Whoever mistakes freedom of assembly for hooliganism will be met with the decisive and extremely harsh resistance of the police," said the supposedly liberal Chancellor. That means the police are going to kick the shit out of people who protest. That isn't good enough for the Conservatives who seem to think that Schroeder should prohibit members of his coalition from taking part in the demonstrations - by throwing them in jail no doubt. And all the while I'm thinking that this is a profound demonstration of how the US is different from Europe.Can you imagine what would happen if Bush said what Schroeder did? People would be protesting all right, but they wouldn't be saying that Bush hadn't gone far enough. Sometimes I'm glad I live in America.


posted by Gena on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

Ars Derbica.

I missed this during the week. Derb tackles the old question of why the wicked prosper when they should be suffering. From terrorists to Janet Reno, the triumph of wrongdoing marches on. Here’s a paragraph on the respected Palestinian politician Abu Abbas’ former career:

“Reading about that got me thinking of Leon Klinghoffer. Remember him? He was the 69-year-old disabled vacationer rewarding himself for a lifetime of hard work with a cruise on the liner Achille Lauro in 1985 when a gang of Palestinian terrorists decided to ‘send a message.’ They hijacked the ship and, in a moment of playfulness, shot Klinghoffer in his wheelchair as his wife looked on. Laughing and joking, they then dumped man and wheelchair overboard. Klinghoffer hadn't done anything to trouble them. He was just a Jew who happened to be handy — and unarmed and helpless, which is pretty much the only kind of opponent terrorists care to take on.”

Idi Amin and Gerry Adams get their due as well. He also points out Janet Reno’s less than stellar career. Not the Clinton escapades you may think of, but her career as a persecutor, oops, I meant prosecutor in Florida. She specialized in aggressively pursuing nonexistent sex crimes charges against day care workers. Despite overwhelming proof of innocence, she got several people life terms. Look at her tactics for getting witnesses to cooperate:

“The image that stands out, though — the mental equivalent, for me, of Enniskillen and the Achille Lauro — is of young Ileana Furster, the 17-year-old Honduran girl who, with her husband Frank, ran a day-care center in Miami in the 1980s. . . . The thing I always remember is the words of poor Ileana, after a year or so of solitary confinement and interrogations by bogus 'psychiatrists' on Reno's payroll. . . In a sworn deposition, Stephen Dinerstein, the experienced investigator employed by the Fusters' attorneys, described how the bright, attractive girl with shiny black hair came to look as if she were 50, her skin covered with sores and infections. 'That she is in a cell with nothing in it but a light in the ceiling and that she is often kept nude and in view of everybody and anybody.' Reno personally came to the prison to put on the screws. Ileana, whose condition deteriorated so badly she could hardly move, told Dinerstein that 'the woman State Attorney [Reno] was very big and very scary and made suggestions as to problems that would arise if she didn't cooperate.' . . . Frank Furster, by the way, is still in jail, doing six life terms plus 165 years.”

Not a cheerful column, but an important one.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

Whoo-hoo!!!

It is a darn good week for the Spectator. They are running a special issue on the future of Democracy. The article on special interest groups and the disdain for the people shown by more and more political parties. Also, the great Mark Steyn covers the spirit of liberty and its absence in Europe. Check out the whole issue.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

Diversity at UNC.

Actually, there is no diversity at UNC. Check out this article from the Carolina Journal to see the political monoculture that passes itself off as a university. Check out the chart. Seems the History department is 93% Democrat, the English department is 88% (I expected more, didn’t you?), while the Women’s Studies department hits a full 100%. This might explain the scintillating intellectual climate that failed to permeate Chapel Thrill.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

Hawk Girl to the Rescue!

Alabama’s favorite journalist, Reporter Engel, is back and stupider than ever. I’d mock him viciously, but the Hawk Girl got to him first. Hard to improve on a good, old-fashioned “sod off!” What a gal!

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, May 19, 2002 | link

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Saturday, May 18, 2002

Ok It's Saturday Which Means It's

A) Time for another Gena no posting wimp out

AND

B) Time for another poll.

I'm sure you've seen this one coming.



posted by Gena on Saturday, May 18, 2002 | link

Freeze, Monsieur!

Being unable to compete with Gena’s epic Star Wars post (which is almost as long as the movie), I will instead return to my favorite hobby of taunting the Europeans. No matter how bad things get, Europe can always cheer you up. In fact, things have gotten really bad in Europe. The Weekly Standard has a great article on the growing disparities between the American and European crime rates. The fun part is that while American crime rates are dropping, European crime rates are sky-rocketing.

Check out these statistics: “Crime has recently hit record highs in Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Toronto, and a host of other major cities. In a 2001 study, the British Home Office (the equivalent of the U.S. Department of Justice) found violent and property crime increased in the late 1990s in every wealthy country except the United States. American property crime rates have been lower than those in Britain, Canada, and France since the early 1990s, and violent crime rates throughout the E.U., Australia, and Canada have recently begun to equal and even surpass those in the United States. Even Sweden, once the epitome of cosmopolitan socialist prosperity, now has a crime victimization rate 20 percent higher than the United States.” Even Sweden? Can’t these guys find any other hobbies?

What makes America so different from Europe? Well, both population demographics and gun ownership are factored in for what they are worth, but the main reason seems to be the American police culture. First, Americans actually put criminals in jail. This prevents them from committing other crimes for long periods of time. Secondly, and more important, the way we police ourselves is different from Europe. Thus: “In their quest to adapt to the needs of their communities, the best American police departments have created a culture of innovation. While a handful of larger police departments (New York, Chicago, and San Diego most prominently) do provide many new techniques and practices, at least as many successful innovations come from small and mid-sized police agencies, which centralization has eliminated in the rest of the developed world.” In America, we have thousands of local police departments, while Europe prefers large regional or national authorities. Thus, American law enforcement is more adaptable to local social and criminal realities. It is just impossible for a huge national organization to quickly adapt to changed environments. Look at the FBI. They have a good, basically solid agency (the field offices do their jobs fine), but look at how badly it has performed recently in big investigations. Look at how difficult it has been to implement even blatantly necessary reforms. Now imagine if all our police agencies were that big and that slow-adapting.

Americans also use “community policing” rather than keeping cops in patrol cars or behind desks. From the article: “American police departments can adapt more easily to their communities than their counterparts in the E.U. and elsewhere not only because they are smaller but because they need to respond to local elected leaders and voters.” The vast majority of American cops are on the street. Which is where the crime is. American crime fighting is not perfect, and the failures of law enforcement in terms of rehabilitation, prison conditions, and others are made clear. Still, it looks like America, not Europe, is on the right police track.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, May 18, 2002 | link

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Friday, May 17, 2002

I Saw Star Wars

And it was good. And Jonathan B. Last over at the Weekly Standard is an idiot, who unfortunately proves why George Lucas is a genius. Last's argument is essentially that the Empire is good because it's about efficiency, meritocracy, capitalism, and order. Hey, you say, the Empire is us, or at least us as we should be, in the conservative view of things. That a conservative should say this reaches the height of self parody. Instapundit thinks Last will get a lot of flame mails, but what Last really deserves is the Cross of the Legion of I've just insulted myself. Last falls on his face and goes splat, however, because he misunderstands Lucas's genius and thus the movies themselves.

Star Wars is a science fiction story built upon the framework of a fairy tale, and yet it uses both those elements - science fiction and fairy tale - to create myth. This is a cliché about Lucas, but it is also the reason the ferry departs the harbor without Jonathan Last aboard. A myth recasts the problems, anxieties, perceptions, and dangers of a particular time and place into a completely different vocabulary which gains its own autonomy while still remaining recognizable. In other words, there isn't a one to one correlation between the elements of a myth and the reality the myth is talking about. Nor is a myth illustrative like a parable, which is a way of reconstituting a problem so that its solution becomes more recognizable. Myths have meaning and they sometimes have morals, but those meanings and morals are inevitably complex and literary in the sense of being able to support multiple interpretations. What a myth is however is a mirror in which a time can see itself recast.

The original Star Wars is a great movie, but it is the greatest movie about the Cold War. The Empire is not just a metaphor for the Soviet Union; it is a metaphor for how the United States saw the Soviet Union. The Empire is a cold, mechanized, highly organized totalitarian regime where human life and freedom matter far less than order and control. Pitted against the Empire is a band of freedom loving rebels who value democracy in a galaxy where if you want freedom you have to fight for it. This - for the Jonathan Lasts of the world who didn't get it or failed to remember - is us. During the Cold War, Americans-  the ones out fighting communism, at least - saw themselves as independent, roughish, vastly out gunned, but willing to fight and triumph against a monolithic and vastly superior foe. This is what the movie so brilliantly captures, and why it becomes a movie, and then a set of movies about seeing - how we saw them, and how we saw us, and also how we saw history. Star Wars is a battle movie, and we are fighting the Empire/ Soviet Union, only the Empire/ Soviet Union isn't really the Empire/ Soviet Union or rather it is the Empire/ Soviet Union, but it is also at the same time a further recasting of something else. The Empire/ Soviet Union is Nazi Germany. The Allies defeated the Nazis, but the US went on fighting them, but did so by transforming the Soviet Union into the Nazis. Communism and Nazism became the same thing, the Soviet Union a proxy for Germany, the Cold War a proxy for World War II. Thus, the Empire is the Soviet Union, but the soldiers of the Empire are storm troopers.

Lucas transposes all of this onto a fairy tale framework, and this is how he gets his good/ evil dichotomy, because in fairy tales knights and princesses are almost always good. And if knights and princesses aren't always good, the cowboy rogue who saves the girl from the Indians most certainly is. The cowboy in other words becomes the knight becomes the smuggler/pilot, and Lucas takes America's own fairy tale and set of archetypes, that of the West, and transposes them onto a much older pattern, that of feudalism, which he then sets far into the future. The movies are edgier than this, however, because they deal in perceptions. They aren't representations of us and them, but rather of how we see us and them, and thus the reality behind the archetypes, recastings, and perceptions remains open to question. Who are we really? Who are they? And what is the real relation between us and them?

So far there are four Star Wars movies. I say that because even though the "Phantom Menace" is called Star Wars, it really has nothing to do with either the original movies or with the "Attack of the Clones." "The Phantom Menace" isn't a Star Wars movie for the same reason it bombed: It didn't have a mythic structure, and it didn't have a mythic structure, because Lucas didn't understand the Post Cold War world. Who are we after the fall of the Soviet Union? Lucas didn't have a clue, and he made a meaningless movie as a result.

"Who are we" is a resonant question, and it is the question of the new Star Wars. Lucas saw something between the Phantom Menace and the Attack of the Clones and what he saw was the danger and particularity of our time. If the original movies were about seeing, the new movie is about identity and becoming, specifically about who we are and how we become them. The world of the new movie is one where democracy doesn't equal freedom but rather insecurity, bureaucracy and inefficiency. It's a world of gridlock and corruption where nothing seems to get done, and one which the hero, Anakin, abjures. There are no princesses in this picture. Amidala is a queen, which in the language of fairy tales can be good but more often is bad, fairy tales recognizing that princesses don't rule and thus are innocent of the demands and corruptions of power. Worse however Amidala is no longer a queen, but a Senator, a politician. Much is made of this fact, and of the fact that it makes Amidala untrustworthy. Then there are the Jedi, who - Last is right about this - are arrogant and ineffectual. At the end of the movie the Jedi have to be bailed out by the army of the clones. Not only are they arrogant and ineffectual, however, they are also blind. The Jedi for all their supposed powers don't see what's really going on. Thus, the Jedi fight against the rebels using the clones who will become the storm troopers and do so for Palpatine who will become the Emperor. This attack is led by Yoda, supposedly the wisest Jedi of them all, and Yoda does understand that it doesn't arguer well, but not for the reason that it really doesn't arguer well. Yoda thinks the attack was less than a victory because it started the War of the Clones, and he incorrectly perceives the war as the threat to the Republic.

But the war, of course, isn't the threat to the Republic; it is just the mechanism for threatening the Republic. This leads us to the rebels, and it's here that our friend Last really falls off the wagon. He writes:

In "Attack of the Clones," a mysterious figure, Count Dooku, leads a separatist movement of planets that want to secede from the Republic. Dooku promises these confederates smaller government, unlimited free trade, and an "absolute commitment to capitalism." Dooku's motives are suspect--it's not clear whether or not he believes in these causes. However, there's no reason to doubt the motives of the other separatists--they seem genuinely to want to make a fresh start with a government that isn't bloated and
dysfunctional.

This would be funny, only it's not. The rebels our "confederates" - there's a revealing word - militating for "smaller government, unlimited free trade, and an 'absolute commitment to capitalism" are planning to build the Death Star. And there is reason to question Dooku's motives because at the end of the movie he is talking to Palpatine and they are congratulating each other for having successfully started the war. The rebels aren't in it for freedom; they're in it for money and power. Palpatine is in it for power and order. The heroes of the first movies, the rebels, aren't really heroes, or at least they don't start out that way, and the destruction of the republic is led from within. We become them and they become us. The "Attack of the Clones" is about the fall of democracy and the coming of empire. It is a movie about how and why some people would trade freedom for totalitarianism, about why totalitarianism is seductive: Hitler made the trains run on time. It's a movie about outside threats, war, and security, and about how the beginning of the end is signaled not by the war itself but by the compromises people are willing to make in the name of security. To fight against the separatists, the Senate crowns itself an Emperor. And finally it's a movie about blindness, about how oftentimes even those who are supposed to see the farthest fail to see what is in front of their noses, and fight on the wrong side failing to realize that the the real
threat is not them, but us. It isn't the separatists that are the problem, but the Republic, and the Republic will fall not to Dooku, but to Palpatine. It is no accident that the antecedent of this movie is Rome.

Could this really be our time? I find that incredible. Is the image in the mirror really Rome? To me it sounds unreasonable and hysterical. Myths are mirrors, but they are also warnings, and they are warnings because those they represent are those who will most closely embrace them. You can tell if a myth has hit its mark by those who line up behind it. Thus, Reagan talked about the "evil Empire" and Jonathan Last talks about the good one. Last does so partly because he fails to recognize that the two sets of movies are different because they deal with different times. Yet, in writing a hymn in praise of the Empire he proves Lucas right, and proves why perhaps we live in dangerous times.


posted by Gena on Friday, May 17, 2002 | link

Gena and the Libertoids.

I have managed the read the site (numb and depressed are fine for reading, lousy for posting) and have loved Gena’s thoughts on libertarianism. She is very correct on the fatal flaw of libertarianism, but is a bit out of the loop about conservatism. Which is normal for a liberal.

I posted a quote here long time ago which went like this, “Libertarianism is romantic Republicanism; a right-wing denial of original sin.” I always meant to go back and clarify that. Gena actually did a good job explicating the essence of the quote, although from a “liberal” perspective. The fatal flaw to libertarianism is that it is a utopian philosophy. It sounds great. Everybody gets to do their own thing, unless it harms somebody else. Lots of fun J. S. Mill and none of that bummer Hobbes. Well, that is just the problem. Libertarianism requires you to respect the rights of others as much as you respect your own. Yeah, that’s human nature. What happens when your rights directly conflict with somebody else’s? What if the “harm” isn’t physically tangible? You may think nudism (random example) is healthy, natural, and one of your rights. What if I think it’s sinful, nasty, or downright ugly? Your right to be nekkid conflicts with my right to avoid naked people. The “harm” from your action isn’t physical or easily demonstrable. Yet it is very real in a moral or aesthetic way to me. A good faith agreement that some places will be nudie-free will last only so long as the nudists don’t try to “liberate” the minds of people who think differently from them. Or vice versa. It requires more self-restraint than most of its adherents seem capable of.

The second thing of note in Gena’s essay (very well-written, by the by) is her misunderstanding of the nature of conservatism. While her definitions of “liberal” and “conservative” are historically correct, they do not reflect the current usages of or philosophies of those words.

“Traditionally, liberals have recognized groups while favoring the individual, and in this sense libertarianism is an extreme form of liberalism, since libertarianism upholds the individual while giving no countenance at all to the group. Conservatism, however, has traditionally favored the group over the individual, and thus has absolutely nothing philosophically in common with libertarianism.” Vice versa, actually. That may be true in Europe, but not in America. In America, Conservatives represent the rights of the individual and Liberals champion the rights of the group. Think about it. Who demands that all people be regarded as members of broad groups? Who favors group identity? Who champions that rights of groups, strengthens government, and marginalizes the rights of the individual? The Liberals. Who champions the individual as a representative of himself, not of an amorphous group identity? Who demands that people be judged by their individual merits, not by past injustices or privileges? Who champions the law as guarding individual rights, such as the right to bear arms, the right to private property, or the right to determine your own economic destiny? The Conservatives. Classical liberalism is now the domain of the Conservative. Read NRO for a week and compare the variety of opinions to that of your favorite liberal magazine. It may surprise you.

“The identification of libertarians with the right really has more to do with the fact that liberals and conservatives are having an identity crisis of sorts, in that many people calling themselves liberals are really philosophical conservatives, and many people calling themselves conservatives are actually philosophical liberals.” This has to do with the abandonment of classical Liberalism by liberals and the unique political heritage of America. America was founded on the classical liberal ideals of “free markets, free ideas, free men.” These are the values that the Conservatives want to conserve. Each of these values is part of the conservative platform, not the Liberal one. Liberals are more accurately described as “progressives.” Conservatives believe that the economy should be created by the cumulative effect of millions of individual economic choices, i.e. the free market. They believe that each person has the right to his own money, to increase or lose as he wills. Conservatives regard the Enron affair as a cross between criminal law (fraud) and Caveat Emptor.

Conservatives believe that ideas should be debated freely, not be proscribed as politically incorrect. This is why there are very few “litmus tests” for Conservatives. There are pro-choice and pro-life Conservatives. There are pro-gay rights and no-special rights Conservatives. There are devoutly religious and fully atheist Conservatives. Liberals, on the other hand, have a rigid platform with more litmus tests than Carter has little liver pills. Conservatives also believe in individual liberty. They believe in the right to safeguard your liberty from everyone including the government through the Second Amendment. They believe that the government should not be able to confiscate your property without compelling reasons and just compensation. They believe in judging each person by their merits, with no special consideration or affirmative action for anyone. They believe that the law should strengthen the rights of the individual, not the government.

Liberals want to empower government, believing that the ultimate “group” can solve all our problems. You say that our taxes pay for government “services.” Well, Conservatives are all for ensuring that the government can provide the “services” it should. However, what happens when the government usurps the rights of the people in order to provide “services” it has no Constitutional, legal, or moral authority to provide? What happens when government “services” are unwanted, better provided by the private sector, or flat-out trample individual rights? Don’t ask a Liberal to help you then. A Conservative might be of use though.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, May 17, 2002 | link

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Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
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