Friday, October 22, 2004

John Kerry is so nuanced, he isn't.

... because he doesn’t really understand nuance. Nuance for its own sake it simply mental indecisiveness and abject moral capitulation. It is what Chesterton described as "using mental activity to achieve mental helplessness." Such will often be the case for those who think Intellect is self-contingent and moral in and of itself (IOW, rationalism). For that reason I don’t think John Kerry is all that sharp either. A man who cannot make up his mind might not have one. At any rate, he, like Al Gore, strikes me as decidedly lightweight.

Nuance enables us to figure out a practical way to achieve an ideal goal, or at least begin the movement in that direction. But the ideal comes first. Other than getting his strange self into the big chair, John Kerry has no ideals. The real masters of nuance are people like the Apostle Paul, who for his ideal -the sake of the Gospel- became all things to all men. Another would be Churchill, who, for the purpose of achieving the destruction of Hitler, was very subtle and nuanced ("If Hitler invaded Hell, I should at least make favorable reference to the devil in the HoC").

I would include Bush in that category because he understands that the Moral must trump the Intellectual, or we will ultimately lose both. Nuance must pay its way, like everything else. History will record that Bush made many understandable mistakes in achieving his One Great Thing -continuing the clumsy but forward march of freedom. But Bush, the Man in the Arena, has dared mighty things, and shall know either real victory, or real defeat. In the event of the latter, the final victory will come through at the hands of others.

And the critics will be carping all the way, before they are consigned to a proper oblivion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Extraordinary ...

This both amazing and strangely cool, and yet, very disturbing too.

One of the three columnists in my Holy Trinity of Punditry, Mark Steyn, has had a column spiked by the UK's Telegraph. Apparently, he was too Churchillian British for Tony Blair's (Not So) Brave New Britain?

There are many kinds of courage in the world. In fact, like C.S. Lewis, I agree that courage is really every virtue at the point of testing. I am not going to say that Steyn has the kind of courage / virtue my cousin - a gov't contractor in Baghdad who has been under fire from mortars three times since I found out he was there and started emailing him- has, although Steyn it must be noted has been to Iraq, and bravely took a look at the situation for himself. But he has clearly demonstrated a kind of intellectual and moral courage that is much needed in this time too.

So it is amazing in that war really does bring out the best (and the worst.) In Steyn, it has manifested not just the "vision of clear seeing" of which he is so marvelously possessedm but the will to stand by it as well, even if it gets a column yanked. It is cool because Steyn is someone I admire, and this event only enhances that admiration.

And it is disturbing because I had not yet gotten a full handle on just how soft the "Dianysian" Brit elites were. One of the great and yet disturbing things about democracies is that democratic nations have the the leaders they want, or at least are prepared to tolerate. So leaders are a reflection to the world of their people and their weaknesses and other characteristics. I think this is also true, and maybe far truer, of more than just democracies or even governemnts / politics in general.

I have recently become convinced by discussions with a Brit of my acquaintance that even if the muslim imams were to preach against jihad as "war with the infidels", they wouldn't last long because the Muslims have the teachers and the teachings they want. Indeed, it is all but certain that the Arab Street has what it wants, because they kill what they don't want, if it within their presently puny power to do so. And we are at war precisely because, in the age of WMD and in light of the fact that genius can turn up anywhere, only a puny few of them have to get lucky and poof! there goes Chicago.

If the above is so, and I think it likely, we are dancing around an unpleasant truth: that we, the nation that more out of necessity than anything else invented religious tolerance, find ourselves at war with a religion. And that it's a war to the death. Steyn, in another column, was right: Daniel Pearl's killers weren't trying send a political message. Pearl's severed head, and every severed head since, is the message.

P.S.- Lest anyone think I intended insult, I am aware that the Brits number many brave people among them, and that many of them are in Iraq and elsewhere now. But it is disturbing to see this lack of clear thinking on the part of Britain's leaders. I am sad for Bigley's family. But as Steyn points out, "in this war the point is not whether you’re sad about the dead people, but what you’re prepared to do about it."

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Damn you, John Kerry ...

Apologies today, but I am ticked. I'll repent later.

I did not watch the debate, for reasons I will not go into now, except to say that I might watch a real debate.

But, now I almost wish I had, just to hear Senator Kerry reveal his true self, and one of his deepest "core" convictions.

KERRY: "Right now the president is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense.

You talk about mixed messages. We're telling other people, "You can't have nuclear weapons," but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using.

Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation."

And that, you pasty, cadaverous reliquary of moribund leftism is why you do not belong within 100 miles of the White House. I congratulate you on being able to insult the entire nation in such a succinct summation. It is something in which are clearly practiced.

Let me hack away the nuance and translate what Kerry just said:

"America with nuclear weapons is the same thing as Saddam with nuclear weapons."

THAT is the "MIXED MESSAGE". America is no better than Ba'athist Iraq. The President is no better than Saddam. No wonder the thugs of this world have thought for thirty years that we didn't have the confidence in our civilization to defend it.

And THAT is the real John Kerry. The twenty-years-in-the-Senate-opposing-every-weapons-system, purile pacifist, sucking-up-to-commie-tyrants John Kerry. To hell with you, sir. Damn your self-righteous leftist, nuclear freezenik, appeasement mentality, moral equivalency arrogance. If you can't tell the difference between a civilized nation with nuclear weapons, and a two-bit thug (with a demonstrated proclivity for using WMDS on innocents) with nuclear weapons, then all your education has made you slightly less intelligent than a bag of rocks. To hell with you, I say.

Somewhere down the line, if we don't build the little low-yield nukes, we may have to use the big city killer nukes, and that will be good for no one. Not us. Not the people we use them on, and not the rest of the world.

As the Derb puts it, where the good guys are concerned:


Update: Hugh Hewitt is hosting a symposium on this and has link to this post. Many thanks. I only regret I have nothing more than an indignant screed to offer at this time.

Right now, as far as conservative talk radio (Radio Free America, I calls it) goes, Rush is king, and then the best of the best of the rest are three Californians: Hewitt, Hedgecock, and Medved, each for various reasons. Hewitt holds second alone, in part because he has Mark Steyn on occasionally. Hedgecock is Rush's undisputed ace reliever. And Medved often hits me with stuff that wows me and provides fodder for many cognitive meanderings.

But in all cases, Rush can be proud of his "progeny". They simply rock.

Further Update: I am trying to contribute to Hewitt's Virtual Symposium here.