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Remedial History

Hit the books, Barack. Shreve on the scene. Kids these days! Mike and the libertarian. Plus much more.

7.18.08

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HISTORICALLY CHALLENGED
Re: Philip Klein's Forgetting the Forgotten War:

Some weeks ago, I named and described him as "Obama the Exempt." That nickname gets more apt every day. Mr. Klein has just expanded it to include exemption from respecting the facts of History.

Who's surprised? Raise your hand.
-- A. C. Santore

In the Korean War, the party out of power (Republicans then) did exactly what the out-party (Democrats) attempted to do during the Iraq War: use the general unpopularity of war, any war, to get itself into power, never mind what was at stake. The Korean War and the U.S. aim to build South Korea into a free, prosperous nation were a spectacular success, right next door to a miserable hellhole that was the alternative to U.S. (UN) victory. The scripts and rhetoric then are the same as now; only the party spouting them is flipped around.
-- Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Mr. Klein demonstrates the incredible lightness of historical being that is Barack Obama, as manifest in a completely vacuous foreign policy speech.

At the Tehran conference of the Big 3 during WWII, Roosevelt included a statement, forced on Churchill and Stalin that glowingly promised Iranian autonomy after the War. His advance man, General Patrick J. Hurley, produced a White Paper enthusiastically detailing how Iran could be supported as a democracy in the Middle East, with American support and guarantees of independence. Truman actually used the statement of Iranian autonomy from the Tehran Conference to insist on Russian troop withdrawal from Iran after the war, the only area occupied by Russian troops from which they withdrew in the aftermath of the war. This allowed Iran to elect Mossadeq as Prime Minister. He was overthrown in 1953 in the famous coup engineered by the CIA at the behest of the British, whose oil interests had been nationalized by Mossadeq. The Shah assumed power, reluctantly, as an American surrogate, leading ultimately, with a little help from Jimmy Carter, to today's situation of an Iranian Islamic Republic characterized by totalitarian extreme religious ideology and confrontation with the West, terror support, and nuclear weapon development.

Roosevelt had planned to use Iran as a model for American support of Democracy around the world in the aftermath of WWII, a prospect that "realists" circumvented as described above, in the new Cold War. General Hurley's white paper had vigorously supported this approach to independence, autonomy, and democracy around the world as a counterbalance to totalitarian systems or prior colonialism. The sainted Dean Acheson, along with Rostow, responded to Hurley's paper, calling it "Messianic global baloney." They were completely wrong in that assessment of Hurley's paper, and had Hurley's (after Roosevelt) recommendations been followed, the situation that we confront today in Iran most likely never would have occurred. Nevertheless, Acheson's description applies very well to Obama's supposed vision of a new direction in American foreign policy.

That policy appears to be an extension of Obama's approach in Chicago, and consists of throwing money at kleptocratic regimes, just as Obama threw money at kleptocratic "real estate" functionaries in Chicago (Rezko) to provide improved housing to his constituents (except that the point was to line the pockets of cronies, never mind his constituents lived in filth in hardly habitable housing and saw no benefit whatsoever from the taxpayer money Obama threw at the problem). The same result is likely to ensue around the World with Obama's approach, one that has been tried with disastrous results for years in developing countries. His praise for the UN is laughable. NATO is a shell. The World Bank is irretrievably corrupt and does more harm than good, along with the IMF. The institutions and approaches that Obama would use have failed or are failing everywhere. The $50 billion he would spend annually within 20 years will equal what Johnson arranged to spend on poverty to end it, and the result will be at best the same, more likely far worse.

An entirely new set of institutions, such as an Organization of Democracies, with adjunct institutions promoting global security and economic development through strong military alliances and universal free trade with strong and stable currencies, along with the enlightened rule of law, is needed to supplant the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, NATO, etc., etc. Obama's approach reflects the failed policies of the past. If his is a Messianic vision for the future of the world, the world is better off in its current nightmare. He clearly has no clue regarding the type of global institutions needed at this juncture in history. He will lead the nation and the world to the conditions that fomented the global wars of the last century, and he has no capacity to win, or interest in winning any such wars. He has neither the experience, decency, common sense, let alone any grasp of international affairs, or the tenacity of a Truman, who was a vigorous cold warrior, a parsimonious Senator who decried waste in the war machine, much as John McCain does now, was a Cyrus for Israel (Obama would cashier Israel in a heartbeat if he thought it were politically advantageous), and had a profound love of country and democracy. Obama has none of these characteristics. His is simply a tired socialist-internationalist refrain that reflects failed ideology, and refuses to recognize the abject failure of that ideology world-wide, coupled with a remarkable indifference to and toleration of terrorism and corruption.
-- Kent Lyon
College Station, Texas

Mr. Klein makes many accurate observations -- in his response to Obama's adulation of Truman as a model for foreign policy -- concerning Truman's tenure as President and his creation of the blood bath that was Korea.

I would add that Mr. Truman had no qualms with dropping the "Big One," twice, on Japan even though they had already been all but bombed into submission (see the McNamara documentary, "The Fog of War"). Truman, in fact, was perhaps impatient (see David McCullough's Pulitzer prize winning biography), for the completion and development of "the bomb" so that he could put an end to the war in the Pacific. An act that the likes of Barry Obama would, in all probability, shamefully apologize for today.

Germany had already surrendered "unconditionally" and it was not until after the dropping of "the bombs" that Japan was willing to do the same. It may have been nothing more than this one condition of "unconditionality" that was the biggest factor in destroying tens of thousands of Japanese lives. What say you, Big O.
-- Jim Jackson

Obama definitely follows Truman's dictum of "The Buck Stops Here" religiously. In Obama's case the buck stops with the people he tosses under the bus.

As for the inconvenience of recalling the Korean War and Truman, Obama has a ready stock response: "That is not the Truman I knew."
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

GENTLEMANLY DISCOURSE
Re: Quin Hillyer's Who's Number Two?:

The over-arching problem with the article by Mr. (Mr. Shreve is having a temper tantrum) Hillyer is that he goes to the same "Professional Republicans" that have been telling us who to pick for decades to get his list of candidates. These same pundits, national party activists, think tank ideators, and media members have been leading the GOP down the path to the cliff for decades. Many of them are the same ones that tried their best to stop Ronald Reagan, only to jump on board as so called true believers when they could not prevent that train from leaving the station. They are the ones that throw temper tantrums whenever anyone dares question their exalted advice. They are the ones that insisted on throwing open GOP primaries to independents and cross-over Democrats. They are the ones that continue telling us that, if we will just endure this one more pander to some particular liberal demographic voting bloc, the members of that bloc will abandon the Dems and vote Republican. Of course it never works, but then they -- and we -- never learn.

Now accepting that the Veep job "isn't worth a bucket of warm spit," never the less can we be serious just this once and try to think about what the average GOP voter might want? You know, someone that might actually excite the run of the mill voter enough to make them want to go vote this time. I am sure that every one of the mentioned folks are simply wonderful men. I am sure that they are devoted to their spouses and kind to their kids. I would bet that some of them would be great to sit around and have a beer or two with and talk about just plain old "stuff." That does NOT make them scintillating Veep candidates. Let us look at the proffered list in no particular order.

Chris Cox -- Seemingly a good Conservative. A former legislator. Now a federal bureaucrat. How many people outside of the professional GOP ranks, and folks that follow politics closely, even know the name, much less anything about him? Is he going to make the average GOP voter get exited and write a check to the McCain campaign? Is he an outstanding orator that can give stem winding stump speeches to make up for a Presidential candidate that has less oratorical skill than I do? How many votes is he going to draw from Dem leaning states, or save in GOP leaning states?

John Kasich -- He was a good Congressman. He seemed to have good conservative instincts. He also tired of the game and retired from Congress from a relatively safe district. Now he is more than likely making a good living on the outside of the halls of Congress, and can satisfy his desire for notoriety and TV face time by appearing on FOX as a "contributor" and by filling in for O'Reilly. Why is he suddenly going to get all fired up to get back in the game for the Veep job? Also, what is the evidence that he is enough of an attack dog to go after the Dems, which McCain simply won't do.

Mike Huckabee -- This one is not serious, right? Another RINO, or moderate Repub, or whatever you want to call him. The only thing that he brings is the pro-life evangelicals. Other pro-life voters can be attracted by others that have been named. At least he would give the GOP two nominees that the Dems like moderately well, and that they think they can beat handily.

Tim Pawlenty -- The same folks that damn Romney for being a moderate from a liberal state, somehow manage to project Pawlenty as a conservative. The only thing that I can see about him that is conservative is that he seems to be ever so slightly to the right of the average Dem in his liberal state. I also noted that no one quoted in the article cited him with any enthusiasm. Just what we need in a Veep -- a candidate that the professional nominators are not enthused about and that few outside of political junkies know.

Thune, Ryan, Pence, Ensign, Burr -- They are doing varying degrees of good work in Congress. Can we not further reduce our numbers in the halls of Congress, where they are sorely needed now, and are going to be needed even more in the next session? Beside that, the executive branch of government needs somebody near the top with some executive experience. I personally would prefer a Governor as the Presidential nominee. Since that is not to be, can't we have some executive experience in the Veep?

Mitch Daniels -- Here is a governor that, indeed, may make a good national candidate, but not this time. He needs to stay where he is and rack up some good leadership and a successful re-election. Beside that, his time in the Bush administration is so recent that it makes him a very attractive target for the Dems. That isn't fair, but it is reality.

Mark Sanford -- He might be a good choice, but I need to know a lot more about him. What is his reputation outside South Carolina and the surrounding Southeastern states? What has he done on a national stage. What is the proof that, by getting him, we would not be getting another Lindsey Graham, whose main value is as McCain's puppy dog? If Sanford is truly influential, how is it that he could not succeed in getting a replacement for Lindsey Graham nominated in the primaries, and if he didn't try, why didn't he? Is he a true conservative or simply a well placed "good old boy" in the arcane web of South Carolina politics?

Bobby Jindal -- This is perhaps the next thing that the GOP has to a shooting star, a brilliant nova. With seasoning and careful handling, he has the potential to be a truly great national leader. Unfortunately he is simply too new. Look, he was not an elected member of Congress long enough for anyone outside the political professionals and insiders to know his name. He has done wondrous and amazing things in Louisiana since he became Governor the first of the year. I wish him nothing but the utmost success. I can see him possibly being at the top of the ticket in 2012 or 2016, after getting a re-election or two under his belt, and after doing some events that get his name on the national stage. I would like to see him in a featured speaking role at the upcoming convention so that I can see what kind of an orator/communicator he is. We have all seen young sports stars that have been brought along entirely too rapidly. Suddenly, they are in the big leagues too soon, and they are classic busts, burned out before their prime, never to be heard from again. Please let us not do that to Governor Jindal.

Mitt Romney -- Certainly not my first choice by any stretch. That said, he does have some specific advantages. First he has long and successful executive experience. He has run the organizing and hosting of an Olympics. He is a successful executive in the private sector with his investment firm. He does have an MBA. By getting elected to the Governorship of Massachusetts as a Republican, he had a higher profile that many a Governor does. He didn't do a terrible job, given that the Democrat party through total control of both houses of their legislature, and through total control of the courts, and through total control of the state, county and city bureaucracies, really determine what is done and what isn't. Somewhat perversely, they seem to like having a Republican in the Governor's mansion from time to time so that there is someone to blame for all the things constantly going wrong within the state. Anyone that thinks that old time Democrat machine politics is dead doesn't understand the situation. I don't know what to make of his conversion to conservative principles on the social side. He has been sort of conservative on the economic side, tinged with what was realistically possible to enact. Some of his moderate stances on the social side have been out of step with the values of the Mormon Church, and his move to the right more closely aligns him with his belief system. Changing ones mind on issues is not always bad. Sometimes it is merely becoming right after being wrong. Romney also brings a much better skill set in the oratorical arts than McCain. This is the only name on the list that could induce me to, reluctantly, support McCain.

Perhaps in his next installment, Mr. Hillyer can visit a few barber shops, family pubs, bar-b-que restaurants, and the like, and bring us the views of real people, instead of the "professional Republican" crowd.
-- Ken Shreve

Quin Hillyer replies:
Mr. Shreve, who remains one of my favorite correspondents, does his usual fine job of making his points quite trenchantly. I appreciate his feedback. I respond only to correct his factually inaccurate description of the people I interviewed. Far from being the people who "tried to stop Ronald Reagan" and did all the other unconservative things Shreve bizarrely accuses them of, they are instead people I chose SPECIFICALLY because of their true Reaganite credentials. Keene, Bell, Carmen, Pickering and Shirley were with Reagan in 1976, fergoshsakes, AGAINST the establishment Republicans. Edwards has been a leading conservative since the Goldwater days. Regnery's Reaganite bona fides are beyond reproach and beyond question. Santorum was a superbly conservative senator, and the two think-tank heads are at the vanguard of the conservative ideas crowd, against the Beltway GOP mentality. And Norquist, of course, is a movement conservative superstar. Mr. Shreve's descriptions of them are not mere opinion, but demonstrably untrue.

None of which takes away from the worthiness of Shreve's opinions about the various VP possibilities. I thank him for his thoughts.

FALSE PROPHET
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Prophet Obama:

I generally avoid disagreeing with Bob Tyrrell because I admire him. That said, his assessment of McCain's chances against the "Prophet" Obama are, well, tinted with rose colored glasses. I've yet to see this steely toughness from the McCain campaign, that Mr. Tyrrell boasts of. Instead, I've seen an awful lot of pandering, (La Raza, per uno and A.G.W. for two, for all you bi-linguals) a whole lot of Republican and conservative bashing, a refusal to take the gloves off with this lightweight, Obama, per the Marquess of Queensberry's rulebook, and the insane refusal to knock sure fire issues out of the park for a 40-state landslide. Can anybody say more energy, less talk? How about the Dow is down: thank a Democrat. It's real easy, and you don't have to be a clueless Washington strategist to play.

Pelosi and Schumer want to sue OPEC for more oil, yet thousands of new American jobs are waiting to be created, if we'd only shelve the lawyers, and let the energy companies make energy. Jobs, energy, and economic / national security. Did I say 40-state landslide?

So, Mr. Tyrrell, you can make mention of Rush Limbaugh and his humor aimed at Prophet Obama, however, from what I see, not many others are joining in on the laugh. This campaign is McCain's for the losing, and a President Obama will be no laughing matter.
-- A. DiPentima

BEFORE ECONOMICS 101
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III's College Nightmare:

G. Tracy Mehan probably thought he was writing a critique regarding the high cost of college. But his last three paragraphs are the kicker: kids who used to go off to college on "one suitcase" now require a "minivan" for all their "stuff."

Question: if kids already have all this stuff before making an honest buck in the real world (and far too many of them do) -- why do they need college?
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

You would think that with the stratospheric cost of college tuition that the hardware would be included. My eldest attended college for a business degree and although we helped him pay his way he still has a sizable student loan, to my dismay. He wound up working as an auto mechanic (which was always his interest). The thought of him buying his own home in the near future would be difficult to manage. By contrast, his younger bother attended a trade school after high school and is now certified in Microsoft and other related software, he has a good paying job and his student loan is a fraction of what his older brother's is.

My advice to young people today is that most would be better-off avoiding the ridiculous high cost of college (and the liberal brainwashing) and pick a profession that suits you and go to a vocational school. Companies are looking for new-hires with this kind of training and you'll save yourself from a burdensome student load.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

I am sure my freshmen year at WVU in '66 was fairly typical: separate dorms with curfews, one pay phone per floor, communal showers, one TV in the basement lounge (3 channels), bologna turning green on the outer window sill in February. We had no microwaves, cars, nor calculators (remember the engineering students with their slide rules?) But we had a great time, didn't we?
-- Robert C. Bailey
Huntington, West Virginia

CONSERVATIVE PHILOLOGY
Re: Chaplain Michael Tomlinson's letter (under "Hanging Curve") in Reader Mail's Little Big League:

Chaplain Michael Tomlinson makes a confusing argument about the stakes of the Conservative movement with the Republican Party. He also seems to be saying that the Conservative "media" was too clever by half by throwing the monkey wrench into Hilary Clinton's campaign machine

I am not at all convinced Obama would have prevailed in any event because the "Democrats and the electorate were less than enthralled with another Clinton Presidency. It is true that a year ago a large number of Democrats supported Hilary despite a lack of enthusiasm because of her supposed "inevitability." But without some guerrilla warfare engaged by some Conservatives, that "inevitability" would have carried Hilary to her coronation in Denver without a scratch. That was the whole point: it was to our advantage to play "let's you and her fight." While it is true most Conservatives had it in for Hilary for a long time, the real point of the "mission" was to have Obama and Clinton rip into each other because McCain and the Republican Party would not and will not. Democrats are not gentlemen and ladies during election contests. They play for keeps and they love drawing blood in the process and they make no apologies for doing so. Meantime, Republicans act they are running to be Treasurer for the fifth grade student council.

Quite frankly, Conservatives have grown tired for being lectured by the Republican Party that we are to get with the program. The fact is it should be the reverse. It was Conservative ideas and involvement that brought the party beyond an also ran. Yet, the divines of the Republican Party refuse to dance with the ones that brought 'em. Instead, the Party responds "well, now that you won we're ready to lead." Republicans in Congress took decidedly unconservative positions, sponsored legislation any Democrat would be proud of, wouldn't fight, and sucked in the pork (talk about "destroying Ronald Reagan's legacy") but when all this leads to defeat -- somehow this is our fault!

Conservatives under considerable stress had supported and defended Bush even when he pushed statist legislation through Congress such as the Kennedy education bill, the expansion of the Medicare prescription benefit and a "campaign finance reform" that is a direct attack on our freedom of speech. We even defended Bush from the constant barrage of attacks when he and Republican Party couldn't bother themselves to do so. The breaking point came with aftermath of the 2006 elections. We simply resolved we will not carry the water for anyone in the Republican Party when they refuse to do so for themselves. The final straw came when Bush and the White House, without a hint of gratitude for past support took Conservatives to the woodshed for not supporting his odious Immigration bill. That was it. The Republican Party is going to have to either sink or swim. Frankly, at this point, the Party needs us more than we need them.

And so what has our Republican Party given us? A man has in the past gone out of his way to poke Conservatives in the eye and time after time rescue defeat from the jaws of victory. A man known in the Senate for promising his vote to you today and then voting against you tomorrow without so much as a Hallmark card. Yeah. Some coalition-builder. The McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance reform Act which limits political speech is enough to have his head put at the end of a pike.

McCain and the Republican Party are going to have to do more than occasionally turn our way and blow kisses to us. The Party must return to being the Party of Lincoln while also becoming the true Conservative Party of the United States of America.
-- Mike Dooley

Some Republicans, as exemplified by Michael Tomlinson, almost get it; but not quite. John McCain can not win the Presidency without Conservative votes. Granted. The Republican loss of the US Congress in 2006 may have been due to the fact that a significant number of Conservative voters stayed home. But no one ever asks: why?

Conservatives and conservative voters have been the mainstay of the Republican Party since WWII. Yet, we still have not seen a truly conservative Commander in Chief in the White House in all of that time. Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, GHW Bush, GW Bush and even Ronaldus Magnus [Ronald Reagan] were not Conservatives. And yet, Conservatives voted for them. Why? Because they made promises to adhere to and advance Conservative principles. Unfortunately, they largely failed. They advanced mostly Liberal policies and seated largely socially liberal Supreme Court Justices. Oh, they advanced some conservative programs, but by and large, they ruled left of center.

None of these Republicans could win national office without Conservative support. Why did we have eight years of Bill Clinton? Because Conservative voters felt that GHW Bush had betrayed them with his tax hike and the Republicans ran another socially liberal candidate against him in 1996. Conservatives stayed home. Yet in 1994, the Republican Party ran a host of very conservative Congressional candidates and swept the Congress. GW Bush ran as a conservative in 2000 and won, barely. In 2004 he was re-elected largely because Conservatives refused to see John Kerry as Commander in Chief in a time of war. Do you see a pattern here? Conservatives vote, Republicans win. If you do not run a socially conservative candidate Conservatives stay home. So who is the Republican Party poised to run for President in 2008? The one man in the Republican Party who is most loathed and mistrusted by Conservatives. If he fails to gain election to
the White House, the Republican leadership has no one to blame but themselves.

Now, Conservatives might vote against Barack Obama. We do not desire to live in the People's Republic of North America. But, no Conservative is going to vote FOR John McCain. In fact, the best thing that ever happened to McCain's candidacy is Obama. I seriously doubt that very many Conservative voters would have gone to the polls if the choice was between McCain and Clinton. The Republican Party might want to think about that before they run liberal-moderate candidates in the future. If they want Conservative support, that is. As I said, some Republicans almost get it.
-- Michael Tobias

GOLDWATER VS. McCAIN
Re: Quin Hillyer's reply to Edmund Dantes's letter (under "Homespun") in Reader Mail's Arrogant Nonsense:

It's not that I disliked Mr. Hillyer's speech. It conforms nicely to the demands of the Toastmaster's Handbook, and is in every way appropriate for delivery in a small room full of people not given to political discourse. But it is inappropriate for inclusion in a magazine read by well-informed conservatives searching for a reason to vote for John McCain.

Nor do I doubt that Hillyer believes his effort to compare McCain to Barry Goldwater was meant as "the highest of praise." Unfortunately, McCain suffers badly in the comparison.

I doubt Goldwater would have spent much time talking about immigration "reform" as a wave of illegal immigrants, and God only knows how many terrorists, crossed an undefended American border during time of war. I don't doubt that he would have demanded that a fence ten feet tall and fully electrified be erected along the entire length of that border, or that he would have mentioned that fence daily until it was a fact of life. Discussion of such a fence has been in progress for several years, but McCain has been significantly silent on the subject. Is he more interested in the pursuit of power than in the best interest of his constituents? Goldwater wasn't.

I doubt Goldwater would have had many qualms about methodologies used in the interrogation of men dedicated to using suicide bombing, biological warfare and atomic weapons in an effort to make America into "a shadow of itself." I do not doubt that if he were now president, Iran, Syria and at least one Latin American nation would know what a bad idea it is to aid and abet those inclined to use terrorism and/or extortion against the United States and its allies.

I likewise doubt that Goldwater would have appointed judges "no worse" than the loathsome Kennedy and O'Connor, or that he would preside over an administration "no worse...than a holding pattern."

I know there would be no Goldwater-Feingold Act depriving Americans of their freedom to speak in the weeks immediately prior to a presidential election.

I am one of many people who, on the basis of promises made late in the campaign, voted for Bush against my better judgment. We were betrayed. We now seek a credible reason to vote for John McCain, but so far find none. Comparing him to one of the giants of conservative thought only lowers my opinion of the man.
-- Edmund Dantes
Coshocton, Ohio

Quin Hillyer replies::
Mr. Dantes is mistaken if he "doubt[s] that Goldwater would have appointed judges 'no worse' than the loathsome Kennedy and O'Connor," seeing as how it was Goldwater more than anyone else who convinced Reagan to appoint O'Connor in the first place, and that it was because of Jerry Falwell's complaints (in retrospect, on-target complaints) about O'Connor that Goldwater said that every good American should give Falwell "a swift kick in the a$$."
-- Quin Hillyer

A LIFE OF ITS OWN
Re: Mike Dooley's Letter (under "The Last Word") in Reader Mail's Little Big League:

Nothing like a discussion of abortion to get people really going. With all respect to Mr. Dooley, please realize a couple of things. The frost's arguments are more typical liberal arguments in support of abortion than the usual Libertarian arguments in support of allowing the practice. These are two very different arguments. As a more conservatively minded Libertarian myself, I can't find any arguments in support of abortion. However, the frost's terminology is correct and accurate. This doesn't make his arguments right, just the terminology. Both Dooley and Arand present valid arguments against the practice of abortion and you'll find that I myself would support the position that it is wrong and should be properly ostracized and condemned. However, this doesn't mean that it should be outlawed. Yes, abortion is immoral. But so is adultery, lying, and several other practices and actions that are still legal. As is using police power to force your ideas onto another. In fact, the act of abortion and the act of using police power to force your ideas onto another are both equally immoral, so how do we decide the best course of action? Because I do believe that forcing ones ideals onto another is of equal immorality as abortion, I realize that we must allow the practice to be available for moral reasons, even as we advance a position where an abortion is deemed immoral by the vast majority of people. What, I ask, is wrong with this position?

The case of 'when life begins' can be argued indefinitely using scientific ideals such as genetic identification or gross physical structure. We need to avoid using such to defend our position. We must realize that the choice of having an abortion is a serious, moral choice and should remain as such. The only acceptable answer to lowering the number of abortions in this country is through proper moral teaching. And being clear that our objection is a moral one, and we want people to be properly educated and taught, not be forced through our legislatures. Sometimes abortions are necessary, and for a variety of reasons, usually very good ones. We need to respect each other enough that we trust others to make the right decision, even when some do not.

As for Mr. Dooley's general description of Libertarians. I suggest you review the works of Thomas Jefferson and respected Libertarian thinkers. You will quickly find, as I have, that our country was founded on Libertarian ideals more than anything else. Yeah, we have our moments of arrogance and condensation. So do liberals. And so do conservatives, come to that. And everyone else. When I can't get that conservative churchgoer off my porch with a polite 'no thank you,' it starts to become annoying, even as I recognize that he is just doing what he thinks is right. There is more arrogance in that action than there is my defending my position with reasoned argument. So please, be careful when you paint we Libertarians with too broad a brush.

And the frost is correct on one point. If you agree with the death penalty for any crime, you are not 'pro-life.' Someone who is truly pro-life would be against any taking of life. That's what the word 'pro' means. Conversely, if you think any substance, statement, service, or much of anything else should be outlawed or controlled, you are not 'pro-choice.' The terms 'anti' and 'pro' abortion are far more accurate titles for the sides of this issue than the euphemistic 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life.' So, to you 'pro-life' folks out there, I ask you: What's wrong with being anti-abortion, exactly?
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

Mike Dooley needs to hang out with a wider spectrum of libertarians. There is libertarianism beyond the various lunacies of the Libertarian Party. The base political principle of limited government libertarianism is that government is instituted to protect individuals from those who would initiate force against them, or who would commit fraud against them. Abortion is not in accord with true libertarianism in that it deprives a human being (the baby in the womb) of its most basic right to life due to the so-called "choice" of the mother (and her medical accomplices) to initiate force against this fellow human being. I certainly agree that libertarians don't believe that there is a moral order to the universe. There is no morality inherent in mountains on Earth or wastelands on Mars. Morality is inherent to the human condition in which man needs to discover how best to live in accordance with his nature. Libertarians generally support the concept of natural rights, derived from an understanding of what best supports man's life as a rational being, and political principles of "classical liberalism" are applications of that understanding. Nowhere in real libertarianism can you find any justification for the murder of dependent persons, whether babies in the womb, infants, or disabled oldsters. Of course, the support of such persons would be the responsibility of family members and associations of benevolent individuals, not the state via tax theft.

Libertarians may not have "cornered the market on rationality," as we do not claim infallibility. But we at least do not try to associate non-libertarian conservatives with the American Revolution and libertarians with the French Revolution. I don't think even the wackier libertarians would be up for kangaroo courts sentencing people to the guillotine for thought crimes. And I seem to remember that the grievances of the American Revolution included most prominently taxation and the oppression of King George's swarms of officers busybodying into American life. There are still conservatives who would gladly serve as tax collectors for the welfare state (even after Reagan supply side successes), and "national greatness conservatives" want to use government for "good" ends, as opposed to the poor policies of the liberals. I would hardly think that TR can be fit into the ethos of the American Revolution. Oh, and let's not forget Madison (foremost writer of our Constitution) and his dislike for "sumptuary laws," the victimless crimes of his day. When conservatives start proposing laws beyond the operation of national defense, police, and courts, they become merely another interest group dedicated to imposing force and theft on their fellow men. I note how many conservatives on the American Spectator blog support John McCain for President, and suggest Mitt Romney for Veep. While I can understand some stretch to support the lesser of evils, this is certainly too far for me. And I doubt that should a President McCain actually be elected (unlikely as that may be), that even conservatives will end up being very happy with the Nixon II outcome. Even his judicial appointments are likely to really disappoint. Some rationality as to long-term effects of a McCain/Romney administration might well be in order here. I see conservatives reacting to their emotional dislike for Hussein Obama, rather than coolly considering the real effects of the alternative on the long-run prospects for a more limited state, and for an eventual protection of the right to life for babies in the womb.
-- Stephen Zierak
Kansas City, Missouri

GOOD BOOK READINGS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Big O Losing Big Mo:

The reason Obama and his campaign are collapsing might be found in the Bible's Gospel of Matthew.

To describe the consequences of those who build their lives on Christ Jesus versus those who don't, that gospel records Jesus speaking of the parable of the two foundations. One was built on a rock by a wise man. The other was built on sand by a fool.

When the rains fell, floods came and winds blew, the wise man's house stood. No surprise, though, the foolish man's did not. Jesus' words recorded in the Book of Matthew, in Chap. 7, say, "and it [the foolish man's house] fell, and great was its fall."

Perhaps Obama's supporters, devotees and news-media shills, as well as other Americans, experience now the rude awakening that, undeniably and in his totality, Obama is the house built on sand -- and that they are or might be the foolish man ifthey continue to support and promote him?
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

Lisa Fabrizio replies:
"By their fruits you will know them..." (Matthew 7:16)

ON TOUR
Re: Ryan L. Cole's Vietnam Syndrome:

Perhaps my memory (old as I am), is failing me, but I do not recall Kerry serving a full tour in Vietnam. Certainly not enough no where near enough to call extensive. Many of us served at least one year, some much more. Slanted ? Maybe.
-- Msgt Paul L. Chappelle

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