Sunday, July 15, 2007


Vanderleun has some thoughts about the childish people who expect America to be perfect -- when perfection is arbitrary anyway. Some excerpts:

In the discussion of a previous post, a commenter delivers a vest pocket critique of America seen from abroad. The salient part reads:

As for the last paragraph - well, personally, I don't give a damn whether Americans kill themselves through gross overeating and under-exercising, filling their food with chemicals for short-term profit or turning their cities' air into poison gas - not to mention handing terrorists billions of dollars to kill Americans (and others) with.

What I do mind is that Americans are setting a bad example for everyone else; as a small example the streets of Britain are filled with grotesquely large 4x4s. I am quite sure the fashion comes from across the pond. As another, the Chinese might well ask why they should restrict their economic growth when America already uses many times more fuel than they do - and they'd be right.

By way of example, my day-to-day experience tells me that while the lumbering results of having "way too much food" are more than visible in America, so is the cult of "way too much exercise." They are the opposite ends of the bell-curve. In the middle I see that most Americans are mindful of what they eat because the can afford to be. Making this possible is a system of food production and distribution that delivers such a wide-spectrum of food choice at cheap prices (organic, non-organic, and junk) to every niche of the landscape. Indeed, the system is so advanced and sophisticated that we have achieved a society in which one of the major problems among the poor that remain is obesity....

The impression that Americans are "turning their cities' air into poison gas" is likewise well-meant but ill-informed. It is demonstrably not true. It is not true from a look at the steadily declining levels of emission in a steadily increasing and mobile population over the decades. It is can be seen to be obviously untrue from the simple fact of living in America for six decades -- decades that have seen more deep and lasting social change than at any other time in the history of the country, perhaps the world. I was, as constant readers may know, born in Los Angeles six decades ago. I remember the poison air of the 1950s. I remember the smog alerts, the soot that would settle on the windowsills and grind its way into the clothes, and the black smudge that would be visible within a block of my front yard. I saw it again some three decades later, but not in Los Angeles, but in London.....

As is often the case in the envious world today, we encounter -- in the commenter's plaint and elsewhere at home and abroad -- a mindset in which "the perfect is the enemy of the good." It is a mindset that views anything less than some imagined perfect state as somehow failing and worthy of excoriation. It is a mindset in which, if the real world falls short of the imagined perfection, it is the real world that is ill rather than the mind of the imaginer. It is a mindset which finds nothing is impossible as long as others much do the work and pay the price. It is a mindset forever doomed to disappointment; a doom in which it takes a strange and almost masochistic pleasure.....

The commenter seems to feel that it is there is some implicit global responsibility of America to set a "good" example rather than, as he feels, its current "bad" example. He seems to feel that as America goes, so goes the world; that the Brits drive big cars in Britain not because they make that choice as free people but because 'American mind waves' force them to do so against their will; that the Chinese, if impressed by some future America's return to some eco-idyllic state, will shrug off the desires that the increasing wealth and semi-liberty of their situation affords them and return to the days of the ox-cart, the rickshaw, and famine. In short he places too much power in the hands of America and too little in the hands of the human individuals in the rest of the world. To this way of thinking the example is all, and that only if the example is a "good" example can the world be perfected.....

We don't try to force our example on the world. If we did want to do that we could force it easily enough by becoming a real imperial power, but that would mean building the military to a level that would not make for a good society. (Something discussed extensively in The Federalist Papers and since and always discarded.) Some of course will rise to object that our current war of intervention is proof at last of our imperial ambitions, but this is only because they have little insight and understanding of exactly how gently and carefully we are moving in Iraq; that they do not comprehend just how great a power we hold in reserve and still abjure to use. Iraq is not a war of conquest. It is a war of patty-cake.....



If you don't know who FDT is yet, you had better read this.

Controversial BBC chief knew that footage of Her Majesty was misleading: "Peter Fincham, the controller of BBC One, was facing a battle to save his job yesterday after the corporation's Director-General described the edited footage of the Queen shown to the media as "incorrect and misleading". Mark Thompson said that he planned to introduce a series of measures to tighten standards after the error, which Mr Fincham was forced to admit having known about on Wednesday evening, although he did not apologise until Thursday. Mr Fincham's fate will most likely be decided by a meeting on Wednesday of the corporation's regulator, the BBC Trust, for which Mr Thompson has been asked to provide a full report as to how pictures of the Queen walking into a photo shoot came to be presented as footage of her storming out."

Peace hypocrite wants to kill GWB: "In a keynote speech at the International Women's Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally. "Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas." [She has subsequently apologized for her remark but that does not alter the hypocrisy in her attitudes]

The politics of accepting defeat: "Contrary to what you've read in the newspapers, we are not debating whether to "change course" in Iraq. We are debating whether to accept defeat in Iraq. Contrary to what you've seen on television, there is no way for us to "end the war." If we retreat from Iraq, the war will not just continue but expand. The only difference is that a battlefield on which we are now killing our enemies will be transformed into a base from which our enemies can safely plan to kill us."

Surrender At Any Cost: "Well, the Surrendercrats have done it again. By a vote of 223-201 in favor of the measure, the House of Representatives called for troop withdrawal from Iraq by Spring 2008. If the House gets its way, troops will begin leaving Iraq in 120 days and be completed by April 1, 2008. It seems the House of Representatives knows better than the Commander-in-Chief and General David Petraeus when we should deploy or redeploy the troops. Americans were absolutely phenomenal on the immigration fight and we need to respond the same way on this troop withdrawal issue. We cannot have politicians dictating how the military conducts war."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

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) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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