(Page 2 of 9)
Jed Babbin aptly quotes Charles Krauthammer that a nation’s decadence is measured by how willing it is to defend itself. It called to mind the controversy over the whole “Cool Britannia” efforts of a few years back when PM Blair and his government were promoting the UK as a vacation destination. One of the divisive issues then was the replacement of the Union Jack on the vertical stabilizers of British Airways aircraft by multicolored artworks representing of the countries that the airline serviced. This created enough of an outrage in Britain that the company partially reversed itself, returning to a stylized flag (basically a swath of red, white and blue) with a color scheme that evoked the Union Jack. But the flag itself is still gone from BA jets (although it has been picked up by BA competitor Virgin Airways).
In 1965 Canada forsook the long-used Union Jack/Canada Shield flag for the current maple leaf flag, in an officially announced policy to promote “national unity.” While this is certainly a laudable goal, changing the flag didn’t seem particularly effective, given that Quebec’s secession efforts reached their zenith several years after the flag was introduced. Also around this time the Canadian Ministry of Defense abandoned traditional names for the military branches like the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy and adopted the rather sterile term “Canadian Armed Forces.” That can only have weakened Canada’s connection with the valorous military service of His Majesty’s Canadian subjects during two world wars.p>In both these cases I see an abandonment of important elements of national heritage for very dubious reasons. This in turn weakens the process of assimilating immigrants, or more precisely, Anglicizing them in the U.K., making Canadian immigrants Canadian, and Americanizing them in this country. As we now realize, such assimilation is indispensable in fighting home-grown terrorism and creating love of country. As for Great Britain, I agree with Mr. Babbin that the Brits have gotten a wake-up call. It’s worrisome that despite the terror attacks we’ve endured in the United States many of us are still asleep. br> — Paul DeSisto br> Cedar Grove, New Jersey /p>
I hope you don’t mind if I drop in this one time to respond to some questions asked in your referenced article. You did call for debate. I apologize up front for this getting a little long.
But first, I wanted to say what a delight it was to hear you on Hugh Hewitt’s show last week. I thought you were hitting it out of the ballpark whenever I happened to be listening in.
I have been thinking much about the anti-terrorism measures that Tony Blair announced on Friday. I was listening to Blair announce these live, and my reaction was probably closer to the leftists than to yours. I was especially concerned about the threat to close down mosques if they harbored speakers of pro-terroristic speech and the requirement for new citizens to speak English. However, I am also concerned about well-intentioned restraints on speech leaching out in unintended ways. While the suddenly right-of-center Mr. Johnson and I were debating this point on Saturday, I used the exact example that I later read in your article — that of a student being suspended from school for making a gun form with his thumb and finger.
Jed, I want to win this war. With every cell of my being, I believe that we are in a just war, that military action was needed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that it will be required elsewhere before this is all over. When my son is recalled, I will proudly say “Godspeed and good bye for now.” If my other son didn’t have asthma, he would have been in the Coast Guard. I had five uncles who served in WWII, one was captured by the Germans. Two of my three brothers were in the military. A man who worked down the hall from me was on flight 103 over Lockerbie when it was blown out of the sky. A friend of my niece’s was killed in the Khobar towers attack. Every other Friday night, I strap on my ballistics vest and Taser gun to go out and help our city’s police. In other words, I am no panty-waisted peacenik. The “war on terror” didn’t start on September 11, 2001 for me.
However, the thought of some government board regulating what is legal to say sends shivers up my spine. Who shall we trust to define what is acceptable and what is not? Wouldn’t it be vastly better if those of us who really long for peace and justice learn to speak in a way that is more attractive than the rhetoric being spewed by the likes of Mohammed Nassem? Winning the war against Islamofascism by criminalizing radical speech seems to me to be as likely effective as winning the war against drug abuse by criminalizing drug use. The latter is clearly not working.
We must eliminate the leaders of this Islamofascist menace by whatever means available. Innocent people will be sacrificed in the cross-fire. This is war. But I am concerned, very concerned, about a handful of people telling others — then me — what can and cannot be said. What we will end up with is more ten year old children being suspended from school for perceived “terror threats” within the natural banter that goes on every day in every school yard in the world. I think there has to be a better way.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?