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Heckling Sounds

E.L. Doctorow free-speeched. Plus: Monarchical America. L’Affaire Chalabi. Left-lane leaners. Plus more, including a Chicago francophile.

5.27.04

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DOCTOROW'S MEDICINE
Re: George Neumayr's The Heckler Heckled:

The problem with liberals of E.L. Doctorow's ilk is that they are too full of themselves and their perverted sense of righteousness. I witnessed a similar occurrence at our recent graduate commencement ceremony. But unlike Hofstra, we were honored to have President George W. Bush speak to our graduating seniors. Instead of boos, there were 30 minutes of nearly the entire assembly cheering and giving standing ovations and not just to the President, but to the subjects of his inspirational speech...the parents, the graduates, and the many men and women sacrificing for our country. Hundreds left early to line the street and catch a glimpse of the motorcade. The Democrats need to wake up and realize that today's youth are not inspired by their constant negativism.
-- Michael J. Kearns
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Among other interesting observations, you made one that the Bush team could develop into a campaign sound bite, such as:

"The same people who accused Ronald Reagan of lying about Communism are now accusing George Bush of lying about Islamic terrorism. Vote for the party that has consistently defended America's interests and freedom: Republican."
-- Michael G. Novak
Ellicott City, Maryland

So. Free speech is free only when it is Liberal speech. Most of us who have spent our careers in "Education" have always understood this principle. It is an unofficial bylaw of the NEA. I have taught English and Spanish at the high school level for more than thirty years and have seen firsthand what the "progress" in education (read: the new math, the sight reading method, the self -esteem movement, etc.) has done. When I tell a group of Spanish II students that their low test scores are the result of their refusal to memorize verb endings, they respond that this is my fault because if I were teaching the material, they would know it. The fact that they do not know it is the proof that I have failed to teach it. I have explained to them that they, like their parents, have misunderstood the function of public education. That function is not to educate them, but rather, to OFFER them an education, and to HELP them to take advantage of that offer. They must realize, I remind them, that in the society created by the liberal educators, politicians, and social philosophers of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, their freedoms ALWAYS trump their responsibilities; consequently, they must bear the responsibility for their own willful ignorance.

I illustrate this for them with this parable: A man with a relatively serious illness goes to his physician who prescribes a course of medication and diet designed to cure his illness and eradicate his symptoms. The man decides that he doesn't really need the medication and that the diet is too restrictive and rigorous for his taste so he abandons both. When his condition worsens and he returns to his physician, he expresses great indignation because the physician "didn't cure him." I then ask them who bears the fault for the exacerbation of the illness. When I get all through dumbing it down for them by defining every poly-syllabic word, they are usually more receptive to my message of self-reliance and responsibility. Unfortunately, it is far too late to help their parents.
-- Joe Baum

Bravo, George, for your enlightening and entertaining article on how E.L. Doctorow verbally took it on the chin at Hofstra University recently. Few liberal numskulls are more deserving of such abuse as "Doc." I was glad to see that the crowd wasn't about to stand for his left-wing lunacy.

I would have loved to have had that crowd at Al Gore's "Howie Deanesque" rant and rave at NYU today.…
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

THE AMERICAN MONARCHY
Re: Marina Malenic's Dynasty:

Monarchy is the more natural form of government, it is republicanism that is an artificiality. As an Indian-born republican who became a monarchist after coming to America and being converted by an American, I say Ms. Malenic is wrong when she says "...and few would argue that we are the worse for it."

There are two types of monarchists in America:

1. Those who still regard the king of England as the king of America. How else do you explain the huge interest in the British royalty in America?

2. Those who regard the American presidency as a monarchy in the Hamiltonian tradition.

The challenge in America has always been to construct a Hamiltonian state in a people with an increasingly Jeffersonian mindset. The current state of George Bush is pure Hamiltonian.

The only way the loyalty of the American people to W. during Iraq war can be explained by the monarchical principle that it doesn't matter what hundreds of howling fools think about the necessity of war; it only matters what the man sitting in the oval office does. "Trust me and I will not fail you" says Bush like a wise king. When Clinton had sex in the oval office, the conservatives were aghast that "the throne" may be desecrated that way.

"When great men like us exist, why do we need the useless monarch?" wondered Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Madison, forgetting that it was a monarch sitting in the far away England and seemingly unconnected that made their greatness possible. Absence of king explains why there were no Washingtons and Jeffersons in second-generation America but England continued to have great men for much of nineteenth century. But the Hamiltonian state on a Jeffersonian people proved a better model for conservatism and thwarting leftism than a monarchy.

I hope conservatives revert to their true monarchical roots.
-- Rajiv
San Mateo, California

IN IT TOGETHER
Re: Timothy P. Carney's Shrill Pill:

Mr. Carney may be right about the Democratic Party's presidential choices. Unfortunately, the same argument applies to the Republican majority in the United States Senate. The majority of Republican Senators prefer to be "almost Democrats" rather than stand for what they believe. They prefer to share their majority with the real Democrats, rather than act. They prefer getting along to getting things done. They like the Democrats stand to lose, when the electorate sees no real choice. A majority of Americans will vote for the real thing, over a weak imitation.
-- Charles Tucker

PARALLEL UNIVERSES
Re: Doug Bandow's When Quislings Go Native:

There has been little ink and few electrons spared over the last several days regarding L'affaire Chalabi. Having read opinions from opposite sides of the issue, one wonders whether or not these differing accounts are of events on the same planet. Descriptions of Ahmed, his activities, loyalties and history are so dramatically different that they must be mutually exclusive. This does, at first, seem self-evident to the casual observer. However, upon closer consideration of this and other events extant within the body politic, I have reached a radically different conclusion. Both descriptions are true. "How is this possible?" you ask. My response is that the parsing of politics demands the inclusion of the parallel universe postulate.

Science fiction has for a long time hypothesized the existence of a parallel universe and String Theory embraces the concept of multiple universes. Modern political discourse has proven to be the incontrovertible evidence supporting these assertions. For how else can one explain the simultaneous existence of such mutually exclusive perceptions within the consciousness of diverse segments of the populace? How can it be that so many persons adamantly believe things that cannot possibly be true? And simultaneously believe that those holding the inverse are either lying, befuddled, epsilon-minuses or members of the competing political party?

For brevity's sake and for the purpose of being consistent with modern acronymity, let's agree to use PPUP -- Parallel Political Universe Postulate - as our shorthand notation. That's pronounced "Pee-Pup." This has the advantage of mnemonically reminding one as to the action one should take when one is suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with a PPUP manifestation. This will not, of course, in any manner whatsoever affect or diminish the ghastly apparition. It will, however, provide comforting relief.

PPUP also has the advantage of affording competing political camps the capacity to live with the beliefs of the other party without their having to logically formulate or justify their opinions. These contradictions are just "True" in the space-time of the alternative universe. Once this concept has been fully integrated into our political discourse, the level of acrimony and name-calling will inevitably and substantially subside.

Think I'll get a Nobel? After all, Arafat did.
-- Dennis Sevakis
Bloomfield, Michigan

NOT SO FAST
Re: Eric Peters' Keep Up -- or Pay Up! and Richard L. Hardison's letter (under "Power Driving") in Reader Mail's Life in the Fast Lane:

Let me make sure that I understand: I should change the manner in which I drive so that Mr. Peters doesn't need change his?

I refuse to immediately speed up and look for the very first opportunity to change lanes when someone runs up on my bumper and flashes their lights, indicating (I suppose) that their convenience has been judged as far more deserving of respect than my own.

There is a real hazard in people driving at unsafely slow speeds on our nation's highways, but my travels suggest that there are exponentially greater numbers of those who feel that their desire to exceed the speed limit in greater proportion to my own entitles them to free passage.

Maintaining an unsafe distance between vehicles -- that is a matter of real concern to me.
-- John Lawless
Roanoke, Virginia

Although Eric makes a great case for a national 75mph speed limit, he falls short on the "Left Lane Issue." It does not matter what lane a person is driving in if they are traveling at the posted speed limit. Why should they move and assist some stranger in breaking the law? Happy holidays and safe driving folks,
-- Joel Hayden

Responding to Eric Peters' excellent column on left lane hogs, Morgan County, Ohio engineer Richard L. Hardison stated: "A driver in the left lane doing the limit has a right to be there." Not so fast.

Thankfully sensible states around the country, including the commonwealth in which I live, enshrined into law a clear direction to drivers. If one is in the left lane and another driver signals his intention to pass you, the slower driver in front must move over, even if he is going 100 m.p.h. The fact that the slower driver believes he is going fast enough does not absolve him from the illegal act of blocking the left lane. Whatever men think of speed limits, they -- and especially public officials -- should not make up their own rules in order to justify clogging up public roads. It has been proven time and time again that traffic jams are usually not the result of accidents, but poor driving habits.

As an aside, I would like to opine that out of every state in the nation -- and quite possibly the world -- Maryland takes the cake for the most left lane bandits per square mile. New Jersey, for once, is the most orderly state in which to drive. Perhaps it is due to the lack of left-lane exits on its highways. Nevertheless, compare Interstate 95 in the two states and judge for yourself. What is it about Maryland drivers?
-- Kenneth J. Wolfe
Alexandria, Virginia

SIGNING ON
Re: Jed Babbin's Hope Is Not a Policy:

Thank you so much for that brilliant piece by Jed Babbin!

There's just one question: If hope is not a policy, then why are we supporters of the President and of the war just sitting here HOPING that he reads Jed's article? Isn't there some way we can make SURE he does? Couldn't we turn it into a petition or something, get readers around the Internet to sign onto it and send it to the President, so he can see how many people would jump up and cheer if he broke ranks with the Washington insiders and their poor-excuses-for-speechwriters and read Jed's words instead?

Please consider it. I'd be happy to be the first to sign!
-- Deborah R. Fillman
Charlestown, Massachusetts

PARIS COMMUNE
Re: Jed Babbin's Once More Into the Screech:

Congrats, pals ! That neo-con clown Jed Babbin (or is it Babblin'?) has just raised the bar for new pseudo-journalists to come! His latest rant ("Once more into the screech") against France, the UN, and the rest of the world in general is the crowning jewel of a long career in stupidity. He'll be hard pressed to improve it. But I'm sure he'll find a way.
-- Ernesto Gasulla
Chicago, Illinois

This is a very perceptive article. The lady was absolutely right -- France is no longer free! It hasn't been for some time. Its elites have created a society wherein (most, for now) can live rather well, with minimum effort or accountability within a bubble of self-deluded complacency. Demographic shifts, out-of-control social welfare obligations, the breakdown of family structures, the political and economic disenfranchisement of the electorate by the elites, the breakdown of the work ethic all lead to one inevitable conclusion -- France, as it currently exists, is doomed. However, I am comforted in my belief that, once the inevitable revolution takes place, France will still offer Americans a wonderful place to visit, albeit at inevitable 3rd-World banana republic prices. In the meantime, we Americans and the rest of the world soldier on with eyes to the future rather than the past!
-- Danny Lemieux

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