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Fears and Loathings

Libertarian takes. Fighting off the libertines. Stomaching Rick Warren. High cynicism. Dreck the Halls. Plus much more.

12.5.06

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LIBERTARIAN LINES
Re: John Tabin's Cold Fusion:

Tabin nailed it. I sure can't speak for other Libertarian types (I'm of the "small-L" variety), but opposing the hard-nose (religious) right finds me totally and absolutely divorced from the GOP -- and No Way I'd ever cozy-up to the demented Democrats. Never! A few I knew and strongly backed some years ago in Alaska, when the Democrats were the fiscally conservative (Bill Sheffield, Hugh Malone, Oral Freeman and Steve Cowper among 'em) and Republicans the big spenders -- a juxtaposition of today's realities maybe? Like Ted Stevens rivals Robert Byrd in pork, and I'm appalled at the massive change in Don Young. He once was a conservative, believe it or don't.

No, the Morality Police scare the hell out of me about as much as the Pat Leahy-Teddy Kennedy-Nancy Pelosis, et al. They make my skin crawl with their sanctimonious and pious platitudes and condescension. Thus, exactly where the twain will meet, if at all -- that's a mighty big question!

Damned if I see any resolve, and I'm sure not going to again settle for the "Lesser-of-Evils" either. No way!

One additional point concerning our cojonesless president. My guess is that if he'd not weakened into a Politically Correct "containment" or no-win wrap-up of the mess in Iraq, we'd've been out of there already. How he could condone those so-called "insurgents" taking pot shots at our Marines from a mosque and doing Nothing is totally beyond my comprehension. Anyone with even the most marginal recollection of history would agree that the only thing the folks in the Middle East understand is strength. STRENGTH, got it? Dubya and his mickey-mouse McClellens in the Pentagon make me ashamed, and it appears that Dr. Rice has been sufficiently brainwashed by the State Department to have evolved into a terminal blah.

Again, if we'd've done this right, perhaps all I'd have to bitch about is Dubya's exerting his hallow'd First Veto on stem-cells when it should've gone to the humongous spending/pork and growth of government, so much under the auspices of the Republicans.

Yeah, we of the semi-libertarian persuasion have "had it" with the wimpy and inept GOP as we have with the goofy, opportunistic Democrats.

Trent Lott or Chris Dodd? Pardon the vernacular, but they and their good buddies make me want to puke.

Color me thoroughly pissed-off as I continue searching for the next Barry Goldwater.
-- Geoff Brandt
Quintana, Texas
(yes, a veteran who voted for Dr. Ron Paul last month)

John Tabin writes "If foreign policy remains the primary fault line in American politics, dovish libertarians may be bound to the left for the foreseeable future".

The fault in Mr. Tabin's fault line analysis is that anything fundamentally human is rational. It isn't. People of all political persuasions, sexes, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, ages, religions, socio-economic status, are overwhelmingly emotional, making virtually all of their decisions emotionally, but then retain the most infinitesimal remainder of conscience to hastily reverse engineer "objective" reasons for their out and out emotional decisions.

Once it is accepted that American political reality is emotional, not rational, the question them becomes what issue generates the most emotional reaction, and given the answer to that question, one can accurately predict individual conclusions and trends. I suggest the most emotional reaction in America today is triggered by any issue of sexual license, be it that of a woman to have sex with a man she does not want to have children with (thus the need for abortion), or that of a man to have sexual relations with another man (thus the need for laws postulating the equivalence of such associations with heterosexual ones), or of any man to do what his bloodstream testosterone suggests might be "fun."

The real world consequences of non-sexual license, e.g., narcotics legalization, another one of the commandments on the libertarian stone tablets, are only hinted at by Mr. Tabin, see "If there's one surefire way to make sure America never reforms its drug laws, it's telling the public that step one in 'drug reform' would be to have taxpayers foot the bill for morphine clinics, needles, and the local addict's relapses." Thanks to the liberals that Mr. Tabin considers might be allies of libertarians, the tobacco industry pays for advertisements that advocate not using their product, because tobacco might actually result in clipping the three or four final and most Medicare expensive years off the tobacco user's life. But libertarians insist that there is a real world where your local ShopRite will have shelves stocked with products previously supplied the year before by the Mob, which if used "as intended" will result in your immediate death, rather than some sad emphysema in your early 70s.

Honestly, Mr. Tabin is correct, libertarians and liberals have more common ground than libertarians and conservatives. But the reason is because conservatives understand that there is such a thing as sin, even if many, most and probably all conservatives are sinners. Libertarians and liberals, on the other hand, insist with a straight face that there is no such thing as sin, no such thing as societally determined (or divinely determined) right and wrong, and thus whatever emotionally pleases, is the way to go.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

The most vocal strain of modern Libertarianism has become more concerned with lifestyle liberty then traditional economic and political liberty. This strain of lifestyle Libertarianism is as much a product of the 1960s counterculture then an outgrowth of von Hayek and Friedman. You could say it is the fusion of Ayn Rand and Timothy Leary. Lifestyle Libertarians seem to be quite willing to sacrifice political and economic liberty so they can enjoy the triumvirate of drugs, sex and rock n' roll. Ultimately, this disregard for fundamental liberty for the sake of living the libertine lifestyle is corrosive to true liberty. I would rather live in the "repressed" 1950s social climate and have meaningful freedom then sacrifice my economic and political liberty for the sake of a few passing carnal pleasures.
-- Jerrold Goldblatt
Arlington, Virginia

It would have been interesting to hear John Tabin take on immigration. Liberals [the progressives] favor open borders. And so do many of the libertarians that I come across, but for different reasons.

Leftists are self-hating. They feel guilty about America's prosperity and power and have a irrational fear of the envy of other. Liberals would not mind submerging the nation with Third Worlders; it would be a way of assuaging their troubled souls. This is the same mental disorder that is afflicting the elite of Europe where many of their elite are actually cheering the prospect of the continent becoming Eurabia. Go figure.

The libertarians, on the other hand, idolized the individual and place individual rights over country -- and often over family and God, too. No society can be built on libertarian principles. God created man as a social being, and that's something the Cato Institute can't change.

Liberals and libertarians what a match. I say let them have each other.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

DELUSIONAL REALISTS
Re: Joel Himelfarb's Talking to Syria and Iran:

Congratulations on this fine tale of 30 years of serial woe by the U.S. I have a friend, a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts and she told me once that a definition of insanity is to repeat behaviors that have failed while expecting a different result this time around. By this definition, America's efforts to deal peacefully with Syria and Iran are completely, howling naked at the moon insane. Calling the likes of James Baker "realists" for promoting diplomacy with the most untrustworthy, ruthless and worthless people on the planet is the most bizarre and nonsensical act of ridiculous rubbish I have seen in many a year. Instead of these "realists" I would much prefer to hear from the dreamers who think in terms of a laser guided bomb from a stealth bomber falling unheralded through the ceiling of the master bedroom of the presidential palace in Damascus. Now that is my idea of a wakeup call. If America wants to send a message to Syria then that is the most direct and unambiguous available -- all the diplomats can take a holiday and take their kids to the beach, they won't be needed any more. The day I hear that this has happened will be the day that America's problems in the Middle East melt away faster than a snowball in the middle of July.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

LOW HOPES
Re: William Tucker's Democracy in a Tribal World:

"If we can put them under the glare of world opinion, they may learn to get along better" -- that's a big "if," followed by an unrealistic "may." The world doesn't expect much of that corner of the world, and most would rather they just keep fighting -- especially the "realists." Why get along when killing each other produces such excellent results, like the U.S. leaving? Until oil becomes a much less valuable commodity, the possibilities are endless. People seem to forget that our problem is mainly with dictators. I respect Mr. Tucker's cynicism more than his high hopes.
-- M. Scott Horn
Akron, Ohio

Mr. Tucker's essay is an interesting, thought-provoking piece. It reads well and one finds no serious disagreement until one comes to the language suggesting that letting the Muslim world know that America casts a "nuclear umbrella" over Israel so as to save that nation. That thesis fails for two reasons. America's left has demonstrated to the world countless times that submission rather than conflict is the preferred solution. They caused a genocide in Southeast Asia and are about to unleash a similar holocaust in Iraq by a precipitous surrender there. The majority Muslims will kill the minority and they both will kill Kurds who in turn, etc., etc.

So a nuclear umbrella is good only as long as rightists are in power and we know the cowards that comprise the present day American population will vote them out and the leftists in at the first sign of any difficulty. The nuclear threat is immediately removed and we begin negotiations of what part of Israel must be surrendered to the Arabs. Democrats see Jews as donors and nothing else. So the "nuclear umbrella" is an oxymoron under any circumstances. Then to be complete, let us look at the Muslim side of the coin. These people truly believe they will get 72 virgins (always assuming there are that many left somewhere in the world) if they die murdering innocents in the name of Allah. So why wouldn't the fanatic, ignorant men that lead these countries see an nuclear exchange as a consummation devoutly to be wished?

If we follow Mr. Tucker's plan, the people of Israel might want to begin leaving that poor beleaguered nation in droves first thing tomorrow.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

WARREN PIECE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Pastor Primavera:

You are being way too kind to Rick Warren. As his co-religionist I can assure you that he is simply an egomaniacal hack who will say anything or do anything in order to obtain face time with the Almighty (Larry King) and flack his abominable books.
-- Steve Gingerich
Battle Ground, Washington

A big "amen!" to Mr. Homnick's fine article. Regrettably, as an evangelical it seems that I hear more "sermons" from the pulpit regarding the topics of the environment, poverty, racism, and AIDS than I do regarding scripture itself. If such malpractice occurred in other professions licenses would be revoked.

What is especially irksome to me is that in such sermons often the debate is so framed that there is no debate to be had. For example, I've heard from the pulpit that global warning is a scientific fact and that our response to it should be thus and such. Excuse me, a scientific fact? What gave the preacher the right to claim that? Insofar as I know he has no scientific training beyond the typical college graduation requirement of an introductory course in kiddy chem., baby bio, or football physics. And he hasn't studied climatology beyond listening to the evening weatherman tell us things we don't understand or care about. Nevertheless, there he was proclaiming from the pulpit -- yes, the pulpit -- that a hypothesis was no longer open for debate.

Legal work should be performed by lawyers, doctors should practice medicine, pilots should fly planes, barbers should barber, candlestick makers should make candlesticks, and preachers should preach from the scriptures.
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

Thank you, Mr. Homnick, for your most excellent column. As the Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, I understand how difficult it is to walk the line between espousing legitimate moral opinion and overt personal advocacy from the pulpit. I have long admired Rick Warren and his success at Saddleback in bringing people to the Lord. I do not, however, agree with his recent posturing on the issue of global climate change, primarily because I believe that much, if not most, of what masquerades as environmental activism has less to do with the environment than with controlling the behavior of others for social purposes.

The purpose of the church of Jesus Christ is to proclaim the Gospel. When people accept the salvation of Jesus Christ then their actions are to be changed in accordance with their new nature. I remember environmental activist Jeremy Rifkin, who is not to my knowledge a follower of Jesus Christ, suggesting a few years ago that if the world is to survive, it will be because people have begun to adopt the standards of self-denial and concern for others such as those manifest in the church of first century Christianity.

On the issue of whether Rick Warren should give a forum to Senator Obama, I will suggest that if God is not in it, it will soon become apparent. I remember when the Clintons visited with Pope John Paul II a decade or so ago, after the meeting they were queried about their conversation with the Pope on the issue of abortion. President Clinton made a comment the gist of which was that their discussion had helped bring about a better understanding of each other's views which had helped to bring them closer together. A few short moments later a spokesman for the Pope interrupted the press conference to issue a statement to the effect that if the Clinton's and the Pope had come closer together on the issue of abortion it was not because the Pope's pro-life, anti-abortion position had changed one little bit.

The people in Rick Warren's church always have the option of voting with their feet if they do not like what they hear from Senator Obama, or believe that he has acted inappropriately.

The bedrock foundation of our Constitutional Republic is that there is a level playing field for all points of view to be heard but that government does not take and active role in the promotion of one religion over the other. Having said that I also believe strongly that a government such as ours was founded on Christian principles and cannot survive without our recognizing that the phrase "One Nation Under God" establishes an irrefutable and irreplaceable moral foundation for all that we do. We will have a Christian nation in truth, when those who profess to know Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives begin to live that truth, and demand adherence to that standard both at the ballot box and in the Halls of Congress.
-- Reverend Joseph Phillips
Red River, New Mexico

I agree with Mr. Homnick completely. However, I think the issue goes even deeper. Mr. Obama's main solution to curtail new AIDS cases is to distribute more condemns!! To allow this brilliant and revolutionary (heavy sarcasm here) idea to be put forth from his pulpit, this is also an endorsement for "safe sex." I have yet to find in the Bible a passage or verse that allows for safe sex! God makes it so simple: if you are not married, don't have sex. And if you are married, only have sex with your spouse. The guarantee for stopping the spread of AIDS!

In other regions that have put abstinence into practice, the drop in new AIDS cases has been dramatic. God knew what He was talking about. Imagine that!
-- Margee

Thanks to Jay Homnick for a discouraging word -- finally -- about the pasta driven pastor, Rick Warren. Given his avoirdupois, Warren could hardly have chosen Starvation as his gig -- so it was AIDS.

God does move in mysterious ways. A couple of months back, "Pastor Rick" went to some little African country to spread the Word. As he left, secure in the knowledge of doing the work of the Lord, his helicopter blew the roof off their only school. The article did not say who replaced it -- or if it was replaced.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Sorry, Rick Warren's church is not in Florida. You'll probably receive hundreds of these.

Enjoyed your article and concur with your comments.
-- Kathryn

IDENTITY POLITICS
Re: Quin Hillyer's Please Torture Me:

Current interrogation techniques are less tough than the methods the U.S. military uses to train its own personnel. No interrogator wants a long stay in Fort Leavenworth and an interview by Larry King. If I had to chose, I would take the former.

BTW, I have been unimpressed by Sen. Lindsey Graham ever since the Clinton impeachment hearings in 1998, when then Representative Graham played it just a bit too cool.
-- Name Withheld
Former U.S. Army interrogator in Iraq

Mr. Hillyer, you have been waist deep in politics at various levels long enough to know how people like Sen. Graham get their minds changed. I am perfectly prepared to take you word for the "real" issue that is stuck in the Senator's craw. I certainly do not know.

I would suggest, however, that the solution to the problem of getting Sen. Graham to at least quit fighting the Haynes nomination has been available for more than enough time to have accomplished the task. Unfortunately, we currently have a president that refuses to use common political practices accepted on both sides of the aisle to confront his opponents. Lindsey Graham has had numerous things that he has wanted the White House to accommodate him on. I would ask you, Quin, how many of those things has he lost White House co-operation on due to his intransigence?

It has long been obvious that Sen. Graham is little more than an obedient puppy dog to Sen. McCain. Is it really McCain that is behind the denial of a judgeship for Mr. Haynes? If not, then why hasn't the President used the many pressures available to him to cause McCain to rein in Graham?

I find it simply incredible that the President of the United States cannot perform a successful "come to Jesus" intervention on an ambitious Senator of his own party. I could list for you a whole plethora of political leaders in both parties, starting with FDR and coming forward, that would have long since dispensed with this problem. I am sincerely hoping that the good people of South Carolina will solve this problem for our country at the very next possible occasion.
-- Ken Shreve

Miss Lindsey Graham, handmaiden to Senator McCain, has set her sights on the position of Attorney General in a McCain Administration. Poor ol' Lindsey has fallen far since her days on the House Impeachment Committee. She used to be a good Conservative. That went by the way when she became a Prancing, Preening Senator with a very large ego. I mourn our loss.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

No. The sun will rise in the west 10 years before RINO Lindsey Graham will even think about doing the right thing.
-- John Gridley
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

DRECK THE HALLS
Re: James Bowman's review of Deck the Halls:

James, Jimmy, the Jimster, Jimbolaya...lighten up! I think the problem with "you critics" (I'm lumping you all together), is you lose sight of some of the simple pleasures in life. Any Average Joe, watching a commercial for Deck the Halls, can surmise that they are not going to see an epic motion picture, should they decide to view Deck the Halls. They are going to see a Christmas-time-of-year, slapstick comedy. Once the Average Joe sees the commercial, he is either content with that notion and will consider going to see said movie...or, he will not, perhaps looking for more substance, as you obviously were.

Deck the Halls is a goofy, run of the mill comedy, and they make that pretty obvious in their commercials. I can picture you copiously taking notes in a dark theater and noting things like "number of Xmas lights unrealistic," "power source not sufficient for number of lights," "sleigh scene would never happen in real life," "Danny Devito's wife way too hot for Danny Devito, unless she married for money...and he appears to have no money," "valuable vase would Never be sitting in the open such as it is,"
"note to self: check to see if any real trees were harmed in the making of this motion picture," etc.

I don't believe Deck the Halls camouflages itself to be something that it is not. However, "you critics" (there I go again) have a way of constantly dishing out this "if ONLY I had made this movie, I WOULD HAVE," type attitude. If you had made it, it I'm sure it would have been a much deeper and much more boring affair. I imagine you "don't get" the Three Stooges, either. Perhaps you should stick to critiquing European art house flicks...

I saw Deck the Halls with my son and it was fun --not rocket science, just fun.
-- RR
Wisconsin

Hollywood, running short of sizzling ideas for Christmas movies?

May I submit a few royalty-free suggestions:

X-Men Xmas
Start Trek: Ebeneezer Spoc
Rambo Santa
Xno Xmas
-- David Govett
Davis, California

HAT TRICK
Re: Sandra Todd's letter (under "Avoiding Failure") in Reader Mail's Losing Iraq:

Sandra Todd thinks that claiming that any Democrat wanted to redeploy the troops in Iraq to Okinawa is a "hateful and sinister thing to say." Yet on the June 18, 2006 Meet the Press, John Murtha did just that. In fact here is just what he said;

"We can go to Okinawa. We, we don't have -- we can redeploy there almost instantly."

Hateful and sinister indeed.

No wonder she wants us to "just shut up shut up shut up" as that would prevent us from pointing out the obvious fallacy of her position.

If having the simple truth pointed out to Ms. Todd irritates her this much already, then she is in for a long two years.
-- Scotty Uhrich
Glyndon, Minnesota

Dear Sandra: Your wonderfully incoherent rant sent chills down my back as I contemplate the reality that fools like you now control Congress. You are factually incorrect (or as you might put it: "REALLY REALLY REALLY SERIOUSLY WRONG!!!!!!") on a number of issues, specifically this one: senior Democrat and all around corrupt thug John Murtha specifically advocated redeploying the forces in Iraq to Okinawa in an interview with Tim Russert. So tell me, do you seriously believe that Okinawa is anywhere near any Iraqi border that you claim noted plagiarist (and Hair Club for Men Spokesperson) Joe Biden has been "SCREAMING" about? Oh, you do? I'm not surprised; your Senator, Ron Wyden (ahem… Democrat), couldn't find Bosnia on a map either. God help this republic.
-- Steve Gingerich
Battle Ground, Washington

Oh my gosh, where has this lady been. Murtha is the one wanting to redeploy to Okinawa. I guess you only watch the MSM so you don't hear what the Democrats REALLY say, only what they want you to hear. We have not won a war since WWII and if we try to finish this one being PC we won't win it either, I don't care who is running the show.
-- Elaine Kyle

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