Reader Mail

Essential Truths

A missed opportunity. Din-din with the Dems. Stomaching Eminem. Neumayr and Evolution. Last word from Chris Mark. Plus more.

11.11.04

NOVEMBER 11
It would have been nice today to see at least one mention, either in "Reader Mail" or in the posted articles, of the fact that today has been Veterans' Day, or, as they called it when I was in grade school, Armistice Day.

But no, not at all. Instead, I had to "settle" for a well-written op-ed piece in USA Today. I'm very disappointed, if only because it would have been nice, amidst all the partisan blather, to commemorate a non-partisan honoring of both veterans and the difficult search for peace. There really is more to November 11 than mall sales, closed banks, and no mail delivery, after all.
-- Richard Szathmary

SIDNEY POITIER COUNTRY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Guess Who's Coming To Dinner:

This article nails an essential truth. This country has always needed, and always will, the "loyal opposition" party; a counter balance, a stabilizing influence, an infuriating nitpicker, a warning voice, a tickling kidder, a supportive rival, a subtle whisperer in Caesar's ear.

The Republicans may forget that in their elation. Because the Democrat party seems to have forgotten it already. The Democrats lost the election because they have defined opposition as hostility, once too often. Republicans will lose their voice as well if they raise it too often in superior screeching.

I am deeply grateful that George Bush, a decent person, won this election. I also sincerely wish that a sense of decency and moderation (without weakening policy positions) becomes the voice of President Bush's party. The Republicans do not have to dance with the Democrats, but they should invite them to the party, greet them at the door, and treat them with the warm civility that has been lacking for too many years.

That is just leadership. Thank you for an excellent magazine.
-- Peter Hughes
Sacramento, California

The best way to define the Red voter and the Blue voter is to ask the public to have dinner in a downtown diner at 8PM and take a stroll through the downtown area from 11 to Midnight. If you can do this and remain safe and with your life still intact you are in a Red area. If not, you are in a Blue area and if you survive it may be time to think about moving to a Red area.
-- Kenneth Parady
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Thank you, Mr. Tyrrell. Excellent, insightful post-mortem of why the liberals' and Democrats' lost. I agree their contempt and ignorance finished them politically.

You've given sound advice to sensible Democrats about rebuilding their party. Perhaps they should start by restraining the insensible ones or purging them from the party?

Besides recognizing the legitimacy of Republicans -- I add conservatives, who, I suggest, are not always Republicans and vice versa -- and identifying the legitimacy of our values, there are at least other two fundamental things. One, understand they may not anyone's support, other than that which they have already, if they attempt to define moral values through a secular perspective. Two, see that America needs, if not yearns for, a loyal opposition, no matter who's in power -- not a divisive, hate-filled coalition that loves power more than people and country, and that will do or say anything to achieve that.

But what do I know? I'm just another redneck, hick, hillbilly, ignoramus, bigot, dolt, "Christian jihadist" and "American Taliban" -- some of the printable names Bush supporters have been called these past few days by Dems and liberals -- from one of the many states that re-elected W.

By the way, should we take a taster to dinner with us?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

The currency of many liberals before, during, and after the election is condescension and contempt. And their post-election "self-examination" is not a true questioning that grants any credence (even for the sake of argument) to the merits of their opponents' views or allows for the possibility of any change of heart, evolution of thought, or actual self-criticism. Rather it is an exercise intended only to reaffirm their superiority -- which is central to their problem to begin with! And thank God for this impulse of theirs, because the more unshakably convinced they are of their own superiority, the more they will be rejected, and the safer and saner will be this nation and the world.
-- M. Young

"Once the game is over, the King and the pawn both go into the same box."
-- Italian proverb

Your observations are probably correct as far as the social aspects of the liberal intellectual are concerned. I have observed them myself. But I do not believe that the electorate voted as they did on the basis of a social science experiment.

The Republicans are now in dangerous territory. The electorate has for the last three election cycles delivered to the Republican Party a growing plurality to the point now they are the controlling majority in the two major branches of government. Electorate did so not out of disgust but because there is an expectation of change and results. And therein lies the danger, should the Republicans not deliver, they could be tossed out just as quickly. Remember the correction of '96 in the House? Need I say "Great game kid, but don't get cocky"? And this time around the electorate observes that the Republicans have sufficient majority to get the job done.

The Republicans need to deliver on either tax reform, Social Security repair or tort reform, all domestic issues. Delivery on any one would be sufficient to lock in Republican gains for the future. But to get there they will have to seek out more moderate Dems to provide sufficient plurality to pass the bills. This time though, the Republicans need not take it on the chin. Artful use of the obstructionist club along with the carrot should deliver enough votes to make things happen. If the Dems remain obstructionist then the Reps majorities will rise again the 2006 midterm cycle as there are sufficient Red State Blue senators to be placed at risk.

To paraphrase an old boss of mine -- "Republicans great job! But what have ya done for us lately?" You have two years.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Evan Bayh, like Zell Miller, is in the wrong party. An accident of birth exiled him to the equivalent of political Siberia. The only thing that keeps the leftists in the Democratic Party afloat are rents extracted through their control of educational institutions, labor unions, environmental regulation, subsidized media conglomerates, and the plaintiff bar. Once their hands are pried out of these cookie jars, they'll have nothing left.
-- Jeff Davis
Atlanta, Georgia

WHO DOESN'T LOVE M&M'S
Re: Shawn Macomber's Stolen Hope:

You remind me of the prissy little sissies at National Review. If someone spit in your face in a bar, I imagine you'd try to rebut him over his breach of civility. Eminem spits on you and your family (and mine and everyone else's), and you talk about his rights! You have a truly warped sense of principle and that effete caution that Dr. Johnson said "stems from cowardice and is attributed to policy." Act like a man. Demand, rather, that Eminem gets what he preaches (and deserves), like maybe some jail time with Bubba. Eminem has probably already framed your article.
-- Dan Smith

I really enjoyed Shawn Macomber's article on Eminem and music theft. The truth of the matter is that wrong is wrong as right is right no matter the size or organization that is hurt or benefits. Stealing is stealing pure and simple, even if it is from a self-absorbed jerk. Aside from that, there are many people whose jobs are impacted by music theft. These are not the big "superstars," but rather the people that work at the replication houses, the studios, and the warehouses.

As a singer myself, I am completely aware that while I might not be a multi-platinum selling artist at this time (I struggle in the club's), I would like to be someday. The ease both of technology and conscience to take another's work without compensation only makes that goal harder.
-- Jim Sayer
Ohio

Shawn, Shawn, Shawn, I'm going to ignore your glib generalization of death metal as "satanic, church burning" music because I really enjoy your columns. I do however want to point out a few things you didn't think about. As a local "starving" musician myself, I have a slightly different take on piracy. Depending on whom they are and what their goals are, I think musicians can see piracy in one of two ways. Piracy can be considered theft, or it can be considered advertising.

First I'll deal with piracy as theft. For Eminem, and indeed many local musicians who rely on their music as a source of income, piracy is the theft of their intellectual property. While this has almost no effect on Eminem, it is devastating to the local musician, and your point about less mainstream forms of music like jazz is well taken. Where I quibble with you is, exactly who are the thieves, and what is the best course of action for stopping them? In the case of mainstream music, it seems self-evident that the theft is an inside job. The music industry sends promo copies of their new product to any number of people inside the music industry such as radio stations, music magazines, and MTV. These promo copies of the CD are the only way it could be released prematurely on the Internet. Who is the thief here? Is it little Johnny who downloads the music on his computer, or is it the industry insider who released it in the first place? I compare it to someone standing on a street corner handing out copies of a pirated CD like so many Chinese Buffet fliers. If you want to stop the flow, do you chase down every person who grabs one on the way by, or do you grab the guy handing them out? The music industry needs to take a serious look at itself if it truly wants to solve the problem.

As for your fantasy about better CD copy protection, you need to wake up and smell the genius. I've seen "unbreakable" CD protection broken in a matter of days. The pirates have a gigantic network of nerds who just live to prove they are smarter than the software security giants, and for that reason they will always be one step ahead. There are also personal property rights issues to consider. If I purchase a CD, I have the right to create backups to protect my investment. Several years ago, I had my car broken into and over 100 CDs stolen. I vowed on that day that in the future I would leave the CDs at home and only play copies in the car. How would I create backups if there were a truly unbeatable copy protection system?

You also contend that record companies have had to add value to their products to encourage people to buy them. Isn't this how a free market functions? Maybe the reason piracy is such a huge problem is that people are paying $18 for a 12 song CD. Perhaps people would be more inclined to purchase the CD if the price were topped off at about $12, or if extra content like DVDs were included. If there is a reduction in demand, the price needs to be reduced or value added, correct? Bottom line, I think the music industry needs to take a serious look at itself and solve some problems from within. Will piracy remain? Sure, but I think the effect would be diminished if you could kill the early release factor, and listen to your customers' complaints.

On the piracy as advertising side, this of course is a narrow personal view, but many of the bands we have met in the course of playing shows feel the same way. We have released many self-financed CDs, which we sell at shows and on the Internet. Of course, collecting money for these CDs helps to finance the CD that follows, but making our money back is not our goal. Our goal is to get as much exposure as possible. Therefore we could consider the costs of recording and reproduction to be an advertising budget, which we only hope to recoup in the long run. We give away at least as many CDs as we sell, and we encourage people to spread the CD around to their friends as a kind of "audio flyer" to get people to come out to see us live. For my band, living in our little bubble, piracy is actually a good thing.
-- Chuck Lazarz

SMART MOVES
Re: Christopher Orlet's Looking in the Mirror:

"Liberal billionaires like John Kerry and George Soros prove that there is no biological impediment excluding Democratic voters from being well off, nothing except individual initiative and intelligence."

Christopher Orlet needs to stop smoking those funny cigarettes. George Soros may prove something of the sort, but all John Kerry proves is the wisdom of marrying the widow of a REPUBLICAN whose forebears amassed a fortune. Kerry's individual initiative and intelligence consisted of zeroing in on his second wealthy "bride." No wonder some folks were suggesting that his campaign theme song should have been "Just a Gigolo."
-- Joseph DeMartino
West Palm Beach, Florida

THE ED BOARD IS INFALLIBLE
Re: John Tabin's A Few Dark Clouds:

J. Tabin's take on "A Few Dark Clouds" is completely wrong. Your editorial board is showing signs of Democratic Party insanity by wanting to "head to the middle." What a joke! Some people just can't accept the fact that America IS a conservative nation and is heading even further to the right. Don't knock success -- the reason Bush won WAS morals -- I'm out here in red country and know it. Believe it, understand it, accept it -- don't give idiotic warnings about it. Embrace success and GO WITH IT. Let the democrats decompose in their own moderate cesspool why we walk to the right around it.
-- R. Collins

THEOLOGY 501
Re: George Neumayr's Intellectuals Without Intellect:

I just read George Neumayr's article "Intellectuals Without Intellect," published 11/10/2004. While I agree that liberal ideology is primarily based upon emotion and not reason, I must warn you and Mr. Neumayr that attempting to debunk Darwin's Theory of Evolution is also a matter of emotion over reason.

The fact is that Evolution is NOT a theory, it is a simple fact. Evolution is well documented.

Creationism, on the other hand, is nothing more than wishful thinking -- utterly lacking in scientific proof. Creationism is simply a fantasy that some religious people hold onto because they know nothing about the science of Evolution. They also do not interpret Genesis but read it literally instead of figuratively. As a result, they believe that Evolution somehow contradicts Genesis and therefore it is an attack upon their belief in the existence of God.

I am a conservative and a Catholic and very much believe in God. My belief is founded solely on "faith." To have faith in God and Jesus and His virgin birth means that one must believe in these things even in the absence of any fact to support that belief. Faith is a mystery. A beautiful mystery. This is why I can so easily accept and acknowledge Mary's Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth of Jesus. God is God, after all, and all things are possible through Him.

But to "believe" in Creationism is to believe something of a spiritual nature even in the PRESENCE of scientific fact. The Old Testament is filled with stories we now know to be symbolic and allegorical.

The Catholic Church has a wonderful view on Evolution. It is this:

Evolution is God's Creation in our time. In other words, the Creation started by God billions of years ago, and described so beautifully in Genesis, continues to this day. We are still part of God's Creation -- it is not something that was completed years ago before Man even existed; it is occurring right now, in our very presence. God's handiwork is all around us, and His enduring Creation -- His most important work -- proves His existence.

It is absurd to claim that belief in Evolution is emotional and unreasonable while belief in Creation is logical and reasonable. When Mr. Neumayr states that "man came haphazardly from orangutans," he displays an enormous lack of knowledge about Man's Ascent from a lower order of species. Man was never an orangutan or an ape or a gorilla or a chimpanzee. To say show displays Mr. Neumayr's extreme ignorance of science and of Faith.

Mr. Neumayr then goes on to write that, "Wills takes as his measure of enlightenment a Darwinian theory that most scientists don't even bother to defend anymore. Complexity through chance -- random selection -- requires more faith than the virgin birth."

This is an utterly ridiculous statement and again demonstrates Mr. Neumayr's extreme ignorance. I cannot think of any credible scientist who thinks random selection, based upon environmental imperatives, requires faith. Random selection (survival of the fittest) is an absolute certainty. It has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Just ask the doctors and nurses dealing with the newly evolved forms of bacteria that are resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.

These virulent germs didn't just appear out of the blue. They evolved from simpler forms of their species. They did this because they are mutations of these simpler microbes, because they could survive the onslaught of antibiotics while their simpler brothers and cousins could not.

The final nail in Mr. Neumayr's coffin-of-ignorance is this statement: "Wills' test of enlightenment is richly ironic: take a leap of faith and believe that man is just the most evolved unreasoning ape to come along, and you are reasonable; reject it and you turn your back on, as Wills' puts it, the 'enlightenment heritage' of America."

If we are going to continue defeating the forces of liberalism, we must not allow those on our side who are ignorant and educated to speak on our behalf. It makes us look stupid. It makes us look exactly like the kind of yokels the elite liberals in the Northeast and Pacific Coast have claimed we are in recent articles.

For one to have faith in God and Jesus and possess the moral values that accompany that faith does not mean that one is stupid. But as long as people like Mr. Neumayr are running around speaking for us, people with faith and intelligence on the right will always have to deal with false perceptions of people on the left.

I utterly disagree with Mr. Wills and his ilk but not for the ridiculous "reasons" espoused by Mr. Neumayr.
-- David Penrod

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
Re: Sheila Monaghan's Unsung Orphans, the "Double-Distilled" letters in Reader Mail's Scotch-Irish Revival, the "Distilling the Scotch" letters in Reader Mail's Dutch Revival, and the "Final Rounds" letters in Reader Mail's Lost Wills:

The responses to my letter criticizing the use of "Scots-Irish" rather than the traditional "Scotch-Irish" have been interesting, but seem to miss the point I attempted -- and obviously failed -- to make.

It does not matter what the Scots call themselves, or what the adventures of Bonnie Prince Charlie were. "Scotch-Irish" is a centuries-old American coinage to collectively describe immigrants who were Anglo-Irish, Anglo-Scots and English Borderers who arrived in pulses of immigration from 1718 to 1775. Thus it includes people who came to America from areas as diverse as Stirling and Monaghan, Berwick and Lancashire.

The phrase is similar to the American coinage "Hispanic" to describe a set of immigrants with national origins as diverse as Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia and Portugal. To an American, they are all "Hispanics," though that term may well not be recognized or understood in their countries of origin.

Scotch-Irish usage is also akin to the way Americans use "Spanish" to describe Puerto Ricans, as in "Spanish Harlem." How long will it be before some misguided language monitor decides to banish that term, replacing it with "Hispanic Harlem," or even insist that we all say "Puerto Rican Harlem" whenever we break into song in the shower and croon the old Jerry Leiber-Phil Spector song about that rose.

My objection to the term "Scots-Irish" is that it appears part of the faux gentrification of the American language that rejects traditional American usages as ignorant and inferior. I am particularly peeved by the enthusiastic but pointless embrace of Briticisms to replace perfectly good American usage -- "trailer" replacing "preview" at the movies, "tarmac" replacing "ramp" at the airfield, "gone missing" replacing "disappeared" in news reports, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
-- Chris Mark


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