Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Leftist Delusions of "reality"

Not long ago, as I was listening to a BBC reporter describing the latest terrorist outrage in Baghdad-scores killed . deteriorating security situation . Iraqi government helpless . military untrained and disorganized . terrorists operating at will, etc.-it occurred to me that, even if all that the reporter had said were perfectly true it was also exactly what the terrorists would have said if they could have written his script for him. Did this matter? Was it just a coincidence that the "reality" of the Iraq war, endlessly repeated and identified as such by the news media, so closely resembled the terrorist "narrative," as our brainy students of textual deconstruction would put it? Or-the question seemed just worth asking-was reality itself being shaped by the terrorist narrative because of, first, the media's predisposition to believe it and, second, the lack of any persuasive rival narrative from those who continued to claim, in more or less vague terms, that "progress" was being made against the insurgency?

I don't know the answer to this question, but one indication of the importance of asking it came as the media themselves, perhaps emboldened by the success of their preferred party in the recent election, embarked on one of their periodic "reality" jags, proudly boasting of their own intimate relations with that elusive commodity and taking the occasion to pour scorn and contempt upon what they take to be the Bush administration's unfamiliarity with same. For even if we are willing to accept that the media's picture of the Iraq war is largely accurate, we cannot regard as credible the contention that not only the President of the United States but also the entire administration over which he presides and the generals advising it are merely delusional. Nor can I share the easy assumption of the substantial Bush-hating faction in and out of the media that our President is so stupid as to be utterly blind to things obvious and transparent to the likes of Frank Rich of The New York Times or Keith Olbermann of MSNBC's "Countdown."

Here is what the latter said, as transcribed by the Media Research Center, about some remarks President Bush made on his November trip to Vietnam: "It is a shame and it is embarrassing to us all when President Bush travels 8,000 miles only to wind up avoiding reality again . . But most importantly, important beyond measure, his avoidance of reality is going to wind up killing more Americans. And that is indefensible and fatal." Well, killing usually is fatal, though it is not always indefensible. But Mr. Olbermann's obvious passion has distorted more than his English. What had excited his wrath was the President's response to a question about the "lessons" of the Vietnam War in which he said that these, applied to the current war, included the fact that "the task in Iraq is going to take a while" and that "we'll succeed unless we quit." It is not so obvious to me as it apparently is to Keith Olbermann that these supposed lessons are misconstrued, but let's say that they are. How does that tell us anything about the President's grasp of "reality"? Does he really think that President Bush-or any American president in wartime-could have said anything else?

It may be, that is, that Iraq is like Vietnam, at least in being not only a losing struggle but an unwinnable one, but even if the commander-in-chief thought so, he would be mad to say so instead of quietly trying to find a way to extricate American forces-which is in fact what he seems to be doing. If Mr. Olbermann thinks otherwise, then he is the delusional one. The same affliction seems to trouble Frank Rich, who professes to believe that his president "isn't merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It's not that he can't handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn't know what the truth is." The blithe insouciance with which Mr. Rich issues such a serious charge is itself evidence of its ridiculously hyperbolical nature. Generally speaking, the rhetorical resort to the popularized language of psychotherapy should be treated as prima facie evidence of a lack of intellectual seriousness, and that applies in spades to any allegation of psychosis against one's political enemies.

If Mr. Rich actually thought that the President was a victim of mental illness, he would have used more sober language and consulted one or two more qualified diagnosticians than himself, rather than simply tossing off the accusation as part of his weekly anti-Bush rant.

Much more here



Why poverty? "Beginning with Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, everyone wants to do something to end poverty in the world. That's supposedly why the World Bank and myriad other expensive international institutions, plus the foreign-aid programs of developed nations, were created. But they've been at this effort for more than 50 years, and judging by the state of the underdeveloped world, there is little evidence of success. Even some of their own experts admit this. Why the poor results? A consideration of the reason for this colossal failure is necessary if we want to help the poor create prosperity. There is no reason why poverty should exist in the world today amid all the modern wonders in technology, agriculture, medicine, and more. Poverty persists because governments in poor countries do stupid things, many of them advised by their well-intentioned charitable donors. Lets point out a few of these obvious but persistent tragic mistakes..... The reasons for the donors' failure is that they allow ideology to prevail over common sense. They invest time, effort, and money trying to alleviate the effects of poverty rather than the obvious causes and thus perpetuate it. If we want to help the poor, let us use our heads more than our hearts.

Crazy "rights" still dangerous: "Over the last couple of years I have explored FDR's Second Bill of Rights because recently some heavy hitters in politics and legal theory (e.g., Cass Sunstein) have made a point of championing these ultimately phony rights. With the Democrats back in power in Washington, it is not unreasonable to suppose that securing and expanding FDR's list of rights-as distinct from those laid out by the American founders in the Declaration of Independence-will once again dominate the federal government's agenda.... FDR's list included some lulus, I must say, but among them what's worth discussion in our day are the so-called economic rights. Take, for example, "The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment." Notice immediately that to secure any such alleged right what would be required is for those who supposedly have them to gain the willing or unwilling services of other people. ... The sorts of rights FDR and his followers promote are instruments of more or less Draconian tyranny. Because they are peddled as well intentioned efforts to do us good, resistance to them is difficult to articulate without seeming to be mean. But resistance to them is nonetheless imperative-it is a large measure of the vigilance that's the price of liberty.

Another large Christian country: "President Putin celebrated Orthodox Christmas in a monastery outside the Russian capital as senior figures in his Government attended a service in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in the city, led by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. National television broadcast footage of Mr Putin crossing himself and lighting a candle at the New Jerusalem monastery, which was turned into a museum after the 1917 Revolution and regained its status only in the 1990s. Despite a career as a KGB officer in the officially atheist Soviet Union, Mr Putin is a publicly devout Orthodox Christian and has cultivated links with the Church's leader, Patriarch Alexy II. In his Christmas message to the country, Mr Putin said: "This holiday brings joy and good expectations in the homes of millions of people, unites everyone on the basis of traditional moral values and strengthens moral principles and accord in society." The Church has enjoyed a significant resurgence since 1991 and says that two thirds of the 144-million strong population are observant."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Pages are here or here or here.


No comments: