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Archive for September, 2004

Thursday, September 30th, 2004


In a previous post on the war T.M. Lutas raised the following issue about the prosecution of the war and party politics in the comments:

“One of our greatest challenges is internal. The neo-McGovernites are so powerful in the Democrat party that it is constantly wedged between the responsible and the irresponsible. For us to win the GWOT, we need to come up with not only a conservative “sun” coalition to fight this war but also a “moon” coalition that will not completely bollix the process in the inevitable event of a need to replace a corrupt/incompetent Republican here and there. The “one-and-a-half” party system with a dominant “sun” party and a lesser “moon” party is a long-term feature of US politics. We’ve got the “sun” working out ok. It’s the moon that really has me worried.”

Me too. What kind of numbers are we talking about in the Democratic Party and among Democratic-leaning moderate independents ? Dick Morris cited a poll in his most recent column that gives us a clue. Here is the breakdown in regards to Iraq:

“The latest poll data from Scott Rasmussen underscores Kerry’s dilemma. Should we commit more military force, the same amount or less to Iraq? Of Kerry’s voters, 40 percent want less force, 15 percent want the same — and 28 percent want more. Are the people of Iraq better off than under Saddam? A quarter (26 percent) of Kerry’s voters say yes; 34 percent say they’re worse off, and 24 percent say it is about the same. “

From this we can gague approximately a third of Democratic voters are hard-core adherents to the blame-America first critique that has been propagated since the Vietnam war by the then emerging and now graying New Left . We can add a few percentage points in terms of population to account for the crackpot elements on the Left who vote Green or for a minor Socialist party but since these people see the two major parties as one corporate-fascist monocracy, their votes are usually wasted in the final analysis, except to the extent that they indirectly help elect Republicans. The main point is that this is the voting bloc, the irresponsible Left, that we need to marginalize and isolate the way the Henry Wallace Left was marginalized and discredited in the 1948 election.

Destroying the political viability of the Antiwar/Crit/Po-mo/Progressive/Chomskyian faction so that they no longer exercise a stranglehold over the Democratic Party will allow the the formation of a long-term vital center on the War on Terror. The Democratic Party will then, like the GOP from 1946-1980, become the ” Moon Party” of T.M. Lutas – they will still elect presidents and occasionally Congressional majorities as well but they will always be intellectually in orbit around the ideas of the Sun Party. National Security will not be rattled when the executive branch changes parties and prosecution of the war will take on a reliable consistency, much like American foreign policy in the heydey of the Cold War.

Thursday, September 30th, 2004


Israel signals that decision time for Iran to comply with the demands of the IAEA draws very near.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004


I’m in the midst of teaching my students a crash course in how Western Civilization reached modernity in a roughly 400 year explosion of cultural evolution, as a preface to exploring American history. Part and parcel of that is getting them to understand the encompassing power of a worldview and how people and societies react when the dominant worldview is challenged by an alternative model.

Along with many historical examples I borrow liberally from, among others, Alvin and Heidi Toffler and Thomas Kuhn as well as some recent elements of popular culture – I like the scene in The Matrix where the Neo/Anderson character played by Keanu Reeves is led by Morpheus to discover that all his previous conceptions of the world are false in the most radical way possible. It illustrates the point rather well for Generation Y which usually keys into visual and cultural references more readily than literary ones.

The West survived and prospered from its multi-century crisis in shifting paradigms precisely because in an earlier stage, it adopted and assimilated an epistemological approach that allowed it to resolve definitively important social questions around concepts of truth, evidence and proof which were more or less understood and held universally. So it has remained at least until the arrival of ultimately foolish arguments from irrationalist philosophers, quietly trying to bury their Nazi affinities under a guise of pop trendy sixties radicalism.

The Muslim world unfortunately has not internalized such a mechanism. Instead it relies on a consensus without authority approach where problems of great import are effectively insoluble, except by force utilized by a local despot. In the event of a controversy – say over the morality of killing women and schoolchildren – at best Muslim religious authorities may offer an opinion, or even a Fatwa, that many Muslims may accept. The flaw in the system is that the Muslims who are perpetrating these outrages are free to disagree or follow a clerical opinion from some radical sheikh that is more to their liking, which they do.

It is the lack of any accepted system of definitively resolving any questions coupled with the socially accepted and intimidating recourse to violent means that undergirds both our problem of Islamist terror and the centuries of decline and stagnation suffered by the Islamic world. As a civilization they have painted themselves into a corner and they are unable to emerge from this blind alley without adopting at least some of the tenets of our modern worldview – the very worldview whose challenge to the Islamist mentality sparks such intense rage and fear.

Solutions are not obvious. Secular education and a culture of literacy, which is not widespread in the Arab-Islamic world, would help though this would be a solution with a generational time frame. Connectivity between the Muslim world and the Core is the answer but the way is blocked by creaky, authoritarian regimes that fear their own people or Islamist sharia states whose raison d’etre is to keep Muslims poor, ignorant and under control. I can see no piecemeal approach except unrelenting, overwhelming, pressure on the entire, rotting structure of states in the Mideast to comply with civilized norms, handing out carrots and incentives to be sure but only those that will speed the process of reform.

Sometimes there are no easy answers.

Monday, September 27th, 2004


At the Belmont Club.

Monday, September 27th, 2004


Former President Jimmy Carter became the ideological point man of the DNC’s campaign to delegitimize the results of the 2004 election before the balloting has yet to take place. This is a short-sighted strategy designed to throw red meat and cull donations from the type of Noam Chomsky reading,” Bush is Hitler” idiots who populate the comment boards over at Atrios site.

However it’s a dangerously irresponsible idea for the health of the Republic and cartoonishly hypocritical as well. One wonders where Mr. Carter’s concern was when his party was systemically attempting to get votes from felons and illegal aliens. Indeed, liberal academics have pushed for the Democratic party to make restoration of the voting rights of felons a long term legal strategy for victory and to extend voting rights to illegal aliens.

Mr. Carter does a lot of good in the world and in general, his conduct as a former President is admirable. That being said he is also quite capable of petty outbursts and egotistically driven grandstanding behavior, foreign policy freelancing and bitter partisanship. Today’s commentary by Mr. Carter falls into the latter category.

If it’s not close not only can’t they cheat, their whining will be less credible too.

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