Re: George Neumayr's Desperate for Defeat:
The Democrats would prefer to fight the War on American soil instead of Iraqi, Afghan, Syrian, and Iranian. They have forgotten about the over 3,000 dead American citizens. Power is what they covet more than anything.
-- D. Doran
Why all the pussyfooting around, George? Simply state it as follows:
"The Democrats want a society based on a socialist/communist philosophy of equality of outcome and expect the U.S. military to follow those same beliefs. No winners. No losers. Being a loser may instill feelings of inadequacy. All are equal. Except Americans. Americans are to carry the mark of Cain. And be a scapegoat for any and every society's failure."
Sort of like an eleventh commandment. Except that calling it a commandment smacks too much of religion. Or mentioning the mark of Cain or scapegoating. That would violate the rules on separation of church and state.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Mr. Neumayr offers an insightful assessment of the weird fetish for failure currently afflicting many liberals. That fetish is largely a function of poll-worship, at the expense of principle. I do disagree with Mr. Neumayr's idea that Democrats are inherently against America's superpower status. Should Democrats ever control all three branches of government, you can be sure unilateralism would no longer be a dirty word to them. Fortunately, the prospect of liberal ascension is several ice-ages away.
Aside from that, there is an important lesson here. The Democrats (with rare exception) have shown a willingness, if not a will, to see Iraq descend into a black hole from which democracy could never emerge, in order to damage Bush. They seemingly have made the political calculation that delivering a victory to Islamic fascism is preferable to Bush leading a successful effort in bringing democracy and human rights to millions in a tortured region. I won't go so far as to call their actions unpatriotic, but they certainly are stupid and disgraceful. Every time an elected representative tells the waiting cameras how wrong, how misled, how illegitimate, how futile America's effort is, he has just given heart to heartless killers. When common purpose and resolve is required, liberals instead offer defeatist gibberish. Talk about breeding terrorism.
The Democrats are now so heavily invested in their own left-wing disinformation campaign (i.e., Bush lied, Iraq is a quagmire, unwinnable, no WMD, the war is illegitimate, the world hates us, ad nauseam) that they have put themselves in the unenviable position of being advocates of failure. A successful outcome in Iraq will discredit the Bush-haters and vindicate Bush. This dilemma leaves the Democrats in a political no-man's-land, stuck between Iraq and a hard place.
Your article sounds so much like 1968, when the Vietnam hawks were saying the same lame line. We don't win this type of war -- we just put dictators back in office to do our whim. We are not afraid that America is winning, or might win. We are certain that we cannot win; that we were lied to about getting into the war; that we had no plan once we got there; that we have no plan to get out; and that we cannot justify staying there, letting our armed forces slowly die. Just as sure that you think we're going to win, we are certain that we will not win.
Arabs don't have a very good history of democracy. They tend to kill each other and others who don't agree with them. From these good people we received the word "assassin." Their religion and culture don't allow for democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, or women's rights, let alone freedom of religion.
Remember, these good people in Iraq might object to getting themselves blown up, but don't have a problem with Americans, Brits, French or Jews being slaughtered. Not a bit of a problem. So what... are we still doing there? Time to get out.
-- Dan Robbins
Since Carter's administration, the Democrat party platform has consistently been "Peace through weakness." They should carry that banner throughout their conventions. The other banner for the Democrat/Socialists (as you so aptly identify) is "Play to tie not to win."
I have four of my young adults (they once were called my children) serving in the armed forces. Three of them are in Iraq. They play to win (and the numerous times they have beat me at chess confirms this).
-- Fred Edwards
I agree completely. I think their fear in Iraq is not just that the U.S. might win, but that a conservative (at least semi-conservative) would lead the victory. It would be even worse if it leads to a radical restructuring of the Middle East.
That means when the liberals regain control, the U.S. will have an institutional memory of how to deal with terrorists AND WIN. So when (not if!) terrorists strike again most of the U.S. will expect the libs to take decisive Bush-like action. When the libs wuss out, voters will stage another 1994-type rout.
Libs know this. And fear it. Their worst nightmare: performance standards. Sort of like "No Child Left Behind," etc. They don't want the bar set so high they can't compete.
-- Nick Osborn
Unfortunately for America, many or most in the Democratic Party today, in my opinion, have a hatred for President Bush that is far stronger than their love for America. It is not difficult for most to observe and conclude that the Democratic Party has hitched its wagon to failure of our mission in Iraq and indeed, the War on Terror as a means to get back in power. To those senators, and you and I know who you are, be very careful what you wish for. You just might get it. The next terrorist attack or battlefield just might be in a city in your own home state. And history will judge you harshly. Your fear of success in Iraq and the war on terrorism far exceeds your fear of terrorism. And personally, I find that very frightening, given the positions you hold in government.
We are a nation at war against terrorism and as such, we should be unified in that effort. It is okay to disagree with this president. It is not okay to call him names or send an ex-left wing liberal, commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States to an area (Dubai) that is very close to the war in Iraq and criticize that effort.
Also, just because you might have served in Vietnam, that does not give you the right to puff your chest feathers in a bunch like a rooster in a henhouse and call your opponent a coward because he got a deferment or served in the National Guard. Remember Mr. Clinton's stellar war record? Indeed, I would challenge you to strap on a fighter jet and fly it. Cowards do not fly fighter jets in peace or in war and live to tell about it.
Thank God for President Bush and thank God for the president's courage in the face of nuclear attack by the mainstream media and the left wing of the Democratic Party. The president is indeed a courageous and rock solid, steady leader and a true man of conviction. God Bless you sir and God Bless America and her men and women in the Armed Forces.
-- Jim L
East Sandwich, Massachusetts
Democrats hold no American interest above their base pursuit of power. To them, America is the global fount of evil that only they can stanch. To that end, they use our media and schools to teach our children to hate our history, our institutions, and our place in the world. Democrats would collapse this Republic from within, if that would attain their ends. As such, they are fit only to betray, but not to rule. Their interests are counter to America's.
-- David Govett
I think you are wrong.
The Democrats of the hard left most definitely want the U.S. to lose; they just can't come right out and say it because it will reveal to all what they really stand for; and this will dash all their hopes for re-election. So, this forces them to make totally absurd, logically inconsistent, incredibly stupid statements that defy all common sense.
When somebody assumes what the vast majority of folks would consider an indefensible position, the verbal and (il)logical gymnastics required to simultaneously defend and obscure this position are worthy of straight "10's" from all the Animal Farm judges.
Just like folks like Noam Chomsky can't admit publicly that he admires Pol Pot or Joe Stalin -- because it would lose him all credibility and even worse, cut off the flow of money pouring into the (legal) tax-avoidance trust funds he has set up for his family, the hard left is compelled to distort and lie in their effort to defend and promote their views.
Further, the pseudo-religious zeal the hard left demonstrates in their efforts to (re)assume power subordinates all other concerns. A complete and total defeat of the U.S. in Iraq would be more than welcomed -- though silently -- by hard left Democrats, if it would provide them the keys to the White House and Capitol Hill. The ends justify the means as long as they get you where you want to go.
Most folks who vote Democrat are more or less moderate everyday folks. However, they are too busy trying to make a living to pay attention to the dirty politics of Washington D.C. The Democratic Party knows this, so they repeatedly lie in public statements and these distortions are repeated, without question by America's Pravda and Izvestia -- the mainstream U.S. media -- to be consumed by the public. The Republicans are too inept to adequately and forcefully counter the propaganda of the Democratic left.
The Democratic left have mastered the tactics of Joseph Goebbels and the double-speak skills of the "more equal than others" leadership committee of George Orwell's Animal Farm. Given the incompetence of the Republicans, the hard left Democrats are succeeding in their efforts to regain the White House.
-- Alex Custin
Several years ago I recall reading a curious newspaper article about a youth soccer game in suburban Virginia. One team was trashing the other team badly, so the sensitive soccer moms decided to remove a player from the winning team to even things out. The game went on and the winning team continued to dominate so they removed another playerï¿½ and so on. Time ran out and at the end of the game, as I recall, the winning team prevailed with half of its starting roster on the field.
Where on earth did this type of thinking come from? Our feel-good, fuzzy government school system?
I suspect the origin lies in the notion "ï¿½from each according to his abilityï¿½" blah, blah, blah. This new American concept of competition and fair play, where every kid gets a trophy, where there are no losers (including our enemies), has now emerged in the loony wing of the Democrat party. Let's hope this silly thinking dies out with the old hippies.
-- Don Biddle
Mr. Neumayr's cogent article is exactly correct. I would add this to it. By constantly voicing the sentiment that the United States is wrong and ought to cut and run from Iraq and our other responsibilities, Democrats increase the fighting will of our enemies.
I have just finished a book by Vo Nguyen Giap. In it he said he was sure the war in Vietnam was lost until Ramsey Clark and Hanoi Jane Fonda came to Hanoi. Then he said he knew of the lack of courage of America's politicians and stepped up the killing on American soldiers without regard to his own casualties.
I was there and have always held those two people responsible for perhaps as many as 15,000 American soldiers' deaths.
Let us hope that these morally bankrupt, Democrat politicians will have more courage than did Ms. Fonda and Mr. Clark. Let us hope they will stand up, proudly, and say: "We don't care if hundreds of American soldiers die, winning in 2006 is more important to us." Because elections are the only business of Democrats.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Mr. Neumayr's analysis of the Democrats' position is, I believe, correct. But I think he is being too generous by saying their objective is a "tie." As I have listened to the socialist Democrats for the last month and more, I have become more and more convinced that only an American defeat, outright defeat, will satisfy them.
They and their MSM transcription service will do literally any and everything in their power, short of actually voting for defeat (good move, House Republicans), to achieve that. That includes creating an alternative universe constructed totally of lies, then using the tactic of The Big Lie, pushing it down the throats of the American public. When the history of this era is finally written, if it is in English and not Arabic it will be thanks to George W. Bush, not the socialist Democrats.
-- John Jarrell
San Antonio, Texas
Look, they are traitors and they know it!!
Just look at Kerry last year during the campaign. Bush and Cheney were careful not to "question Kerry's patriotism" yet Kerry was defensively trying to get cover by saying not to question it.
They do want us to lose because they are not the ones in power.
Lastly, the outcome in Iraq is assured. We will win and are winning but the Democrats and their allies in the press will portray it as a defeat -- witness Afghanistan. Remember all of the cheering for our victory there and the resultant democracy? Neither do I!!
-- John Sorg
Thank you for this excellent article. You have truly cut right through all the rhetoric to the heart of the Democratic mind-set. But the Democrats faced openly with this observation would surely bluster, decry and deny such statements and would certainly attack with ferocity. That is always their response. I am realistic enough to question the total honesty of both parties, but obviously those Dems in power, will not and cannot, risk exposing their true beliefs to the American public. The elitist nature of many, who view the "masses" of probably not being ready for such enlightened thought and world view, must couch their remarks in rather obscure declarations. Shouldn't they have the courage of their convictions? I am discouraged as I once again see a group of congressmen declaring how they can fight a war better than our military all for political gain. Most of these career politicians need a reality check of facing what our wonderful soldiers and Marines must deal with so we have the freedoms we so take for granted.
I fear for our nation and its future, and I pray the American people are able to understand where policy decisions of the kind so embraced by the left will lead us. We must be vigilant and understand the freedoms we are blessed with must be constantly fought for. Freedom is not free and has always come with a price. Thankfully our military is willing to pay that price. Thank you again.
My high school senior and his classmates did a survey for their American Government class last week. Fifty percent of people who identified themselves as Democrats or Independents answered, "Not at all," to the question, "Do you consider yourself patriotic?" I don't understand why we allow people who don't appreciate how extraordinary an accomplishment our civilization is, to set the terms of the debate and undermine our ability to defend ourselves.
-- Ann Blumenthal
Sir, I don't want your ego to become too large, but your "Desperate for Defeat" which ran today is nothing short of a brilliant piece of writing. Very nice.
-- John Zupansic
St. Paul, Minnesota
Re: David Holman's Purposely Misleading:
The last sentence (the old standby), "Don't believe everything you read in the papers," should be changed to "Don't believe anything you read in the papers" to reflect the temper of this new age of "baby boomer journalism" which now cannot even match National Enquirer for integrity.
Thank God for the Spectator and NRO and other participants in the "new media," for without you guys, I dread to think what the state of our country would be like...
-- Alex Pinsdorf
Lake Success, New York
The sad thing about the malicious reporting regarding VP Cheney's AEI speech is that it also infects the local reporting here in Detroit. I heard the WJR news reader say, "Cheney lashed out," then they played a recording of what he actually said. The two statements contradicted each other, but the premise (however faulty) had been set. The congressman who read the Marine letter about "staying the course" and "cowards don't run" on the House floor was similarly maligned. Even the dailies, which have more than enough time to read the transcripts of official hearings and events, have defaulted to the wire services reporting, and thus we consumers are at their mercy as well.
Laziness has set in many newsrooms with the convenient collective parroting of AP, the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, etc. The news media it seems, has taught a large contingent of Americans to "see" and not "listen" or read news. And a great many newsreaders and reporters have been "unofficially" kicked upstairs to the many editorial positions without public announcement. Thus, very little real news gets reported any more.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
Thanks to DARPA for the Internet. Had the Democrats known of its power to circumvent their gatekeepers of information, they would have strangled it in its worldwide crib.
-- David Govett
Which is the reason I do not read and listen to very much of what the MSM have to say. It is always leaning to the left and mostly distortions.
-- Elaine Kyle
Re: Christopher Orlet's Best in Show:
I take issue with only one point in Mr. Orlet's essay on Noam Chomsky: his contention that 9/11 is what "more than anything else rescued him from obscurity." That just isn't the case.
While Chomsky's popularity has waxed and waned many times since he first emerged as a "public intellectual" in the 1960s, he has always maintained a large cult following. Even during the periods when the mainstream media completely ignored him, his ponderous tomes were never out of print and could be found in the current affairs section of all major book chains. Somebody was buying them and they couldn't all have been college kids assigned to read them by their professors.
Chomsky may have been operating below the radar but he was there. 9/11 may have given him a chance to reach a new generation, but he had a base to build on. For a certain segment of our society, Chomsky has never gone out of style.
-- Sean Higgins
Noam Chomsky began his career as a chemist, but switched to linguistics because he reasoned that it would be easier to become famous in that relatively uncompetitive field. This is an intellectual?
-- David Govett
MORE ABOUT THE MISSUS
Re: Ashby M. Foote III's Extreme Makeover -- Gulf Coast Style:
This was a very good article to explain things to us that have mostly heard about New Orleans and not much about Mississippi.
-- Elaine Kyle
Re: Ben Stein's As Thanksgiving Approaches:
Kudos to Ben Stein's thumping "As Thanksgiving Approaches" in the wake of the reprint of his October "Unshared Sacrifice." In the latter, however, Ben talks vaguely of the obligation of the rich to pay more taxes in support of an armed struggle defending a West that affords them the opportunity to be rich.
But I think it would be better, and more concretely to the point, for the rich (as well as the rest of us) to turn some share of their investments toward a generous and regular purchase of Patriot Bonds. When my family started doing so three years ago in support of the war effort, one of my sons looked hard at the bonds' schedule of maturity and suggested that the return on the investment is awfully modest. "Only financially," my wife and I responded.
We don't need more taxes. We need more seriousness. And it would sure help if the President would start making a continuously strong and specific public case for the war effort, with regular appeals for voluntary financial support, appeals of the sort that Americans saw in every theatre lobby in the country during World War II. Who cares about the rug-rats in Hollywood and the union bosses and the cheap politicos in Congress and the boutique expounders of treason-chic in academia? It's time to put aside the fawning nods to the nostrums of the pseudo-sophisticates. Support the war against Islamofascism! Buy U.S. Patriot Bonds!
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ben Stein for your very inspiring and encouraging article! My prayers are with you. May God continue to give you strength and courage and bless your work.
-- Ernestine Clemons
Here is proof that Ben Stein is correct regarding a blood bath of the first order, should the Coalition Forces withdraw before the Iraqi government is strong enough to enforce domestic tranquility, much less to protect from an outside enemy. In Al Anbar Province, American forces were prematurely withdrawn from communities before local police were strong enough. On one day the mujahideen attacked and killed many of the police in those communities and several community leaders. Now with the return of U.S. forces to the area, no Iraqi understandably wants to be a policeman. Extrapolate these events to the whole country.
-- SPC Snuffy Smith
Operation Iraqi Freedom
It is no small feat, in these times of "far" lefts, rights, and betwixt, to have such a wonderfully well-spoken writer as Ben Stein presents his thoughts with intellect and integrity. I regret that I have only recently discovered Ben's on-line writings and he has become a sought after source of clarity in my weekly "expedition" for some honest op-ed/investigative journalism.
His reminder to be thankful for the sacrifices by our military and their families is well received in my family.
May God keep them from harm's way and give them the strength to persevere and see their duty clearly. Freedom comes dearly.
Thank you for making Ben available to those of us in the cheap seats...
-- John Curtis
This is so right on. Please keep up the excellent work. Stinking Dems will do anything to win. They are shameless!!!! Unlike you, I cannot talk about them without swearing. If we brought our troops home just for one day, Thanksgiving, the country would see why they are there.
Our military should be top priority. Our money should be going to providing our troops with the latest and best weapons. Willie Peter works real nice. We should be using it. Shoot first, and let God sort them out. Put the antiwar loudmouths in jail for treason till the war is over. This is going to be a long war.
-- Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire
What I like about Mr. Stein is his practical take on things. One of the things I notice about many on the left is a knee jerk reaction without any thought to the underlying problem they are addressing. Mr. Stein seems to think things through before writing about them. His practical nature makes him conservative as it does my husband and me. We have looked at every issue that comes to our attention and try to see all sides. Sometimes a more liberal way is better but most of the time the opposite is true.
We have come to the conclusion that many of the ills of the world come from record numbers of unemployed young males. If the world really has six billion people then about three billion of those are males. Almost every article written about them is to state that most are under 30. There is nothing more dangerous than an adolescent male with nothing to do. The "terrorists" are the ones using these males.
Scientific work on the human brain has shown that adolescents don't even use the practical part of their brains. This is not lost on bin Laden and his ilk. Promise a young man who does not have any outlet for frustrations that he will have all his desires met and you have a bomber on your rolls. We need to look at fighting this war in much different terms than any in the past. I think we need to stay the course. The ones who know are the soldiers. If they still believe in their mission so should we. So for all the wonderful things in this country I am thankful for I add Mr. Stein and your magazine.
-- Nolan Clinard
WANDERING WITHOUT GOD
Re: George Neumayr's The Origin of Speciousness:
Reason tells us that if the universe had a beginning, the conditions that gave rise to intelligence through evolution must have existed prior to the space-time universe in some form. Reasonable people require evidence to the contrary before believing something to the contrary. But those opposed to intelligent design being taught in schools are not reasonable. They argue (irrationally) that intelligence is necessarily limited to the material universe of space and time; that intelligence doesn't exist if it didn't evolve in space and time. It is a dogmatic and intolerant philosophical position that can be arrived at only by ignoring the extreme improbability that mere chance produced the exacting conditions that make evolution possible. It is a philosophy that, to use Charles Krauthammer's words, "violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable." Clearly, opponents to intelligent design are either ignorant of what constitutes real science or have an antitheist agenda.
Contrary to what propagandists would have us believe, theistic evolution and intelligent design are not the same. Theistic evolution is untenable because it places God outside of nature and is inconsistent with the idea of his infinity. As a theory, "intelligent design" places God within nature. It implies that "God" is the name people give to the personality of the unity of infinity, which is an experiential and wholly subjective reality. It implies that God is the Reality in whom "we live, and move, and have our being." (Acts 17:28) Darwinists fear intelligent design because it puts the onus on them to empirically prove their assertion that unguided laws of physics can self-organize in a way that gives rise to something that is entirely absent in themselves. But if they're right, nothing -- including all their ideas and opinions -- is anything more than the product of mathematical probabilities, algorithms, particles, and whatnot. It makes them and everything work and stand for no more meaningful or significant than a rock.
Experts who say that Darwinism is an intrinsically atheistic theory may be good scientists, but they are lousy philosophers of religion. It is not a stretch to call them fools. One doesn't need to be a theologian or scientist to understand that an extremely large, complex, and highly automatic-appearing system naturally tends to conceal the intelligence behind it from any and all inhabiting intelligences very far below the originating intelligence. The concept of evolution, therefore, isn't "anti-God" at all, but only constrains what one can reasonably believe about God -- and that's a good thing for religion. After all, "A doctrinal fetish will lead mortal man to betray himself into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties." (The URANTIA Book, P.969 - section 5) Rather than challenging religion, science forces religion to rid itself of such thinking.
Strangely enough, materialistic scientism -- the idea that energy and matter is all there is or at least the bottom line -- is by nature dualistic despite its claims to the contrary. Religion, on the other hand, is typically monistic (The Zen master saying to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything," comes immediately to mind.) despite its mostly dualistic ("God is love") language. Materialism, scientific and otherwise, is inherently dualistic because the observer cannot be the thing observed; evaluation demands some degree of transcendence of, or separation from, the thing which is evaluated. By itself, it makes man feel like an outcast in the universe. Materialism (secularism, dualism, existentialism, sentimentalism, nihilism, etc.) is therefore an ideal which, once having found a voice, feels it is justified to impose its values (or lack thereof) in order to attain its goals, goals which are -- to put mildly -- confused.
It's easy to prove this by simply pointing to where the absence of religion has taken us: Large numbers of people think homicide-bombers who target innocent children in the process of killing themselves and those who fight them are morally equivalent. It's thought that those who commit such atrocities aren't evil, but are "misled" or simply have a different point of view. There's a concerted effort to change the definition of marriage without regard for the majority opinion. Freedom of speech is regarded as a license to offend, but truth is banned if it's deemed offensive. Tenure gives instructors the right to propagandize. Lawsuits are a way to instant wealth. Accountability has vanished, so blame falls on the bartender or gun manufacturer. Double standards are the norm. Perverse lifestyles are celebrated. Self-discipline and decency are unfashionable. Civil rights are worth dying for, but those who fight for others are saps. The list goes on and on and on, but you get the idea. "Without God, without religion, ï¿½this secularistic human society, notwithstanding its unparalleled materialistic achievement, is slowly disintegrating." (The URANTIA Book, P.2082 - section 2)
Right or wrong, the pedestal upon which materialistic Darwinism stands will fall, but religion will never go away.
-- Merlin Bird
I agree with Wilson and am puzzled by the article. Of course evolution is godless. The comfort both explanatory and psychic that religion provides is the "reason" that it persists. Atheism whether acknowledged or not is very widespread among educated Western elites. Get over it.
-- Noah Praetorius
Re: TAS Online's Reader Mail:
You have some of the most insightful readers of any publication I've had the privilege to read. The sergeants Shoup and Miller; Elaine from East Texas and reliable Pete -- plus recent writings by Joseph Baum, Brian, and that terrific letter from Winfield Sterling.
As Dubya and the disasters in the GOP threaten to become as demented as the Democrats, yeah, maybe there is room for some optimism. Maybe.
-- Geoff Brandt
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