Lost Wills | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Lost Wills
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THERE HE GOES AGAIN
Re: George Neumayr’s Intellectuals Without Intellect:

“Intellectuals Without Intellect”? What do you expect from the folks who gave us (il)liberalism without liberty and believe that democracy is the rule not of the demos, but of five judges and a clique of the so-called elite?
John Hasley

Bravo. Not only well reasoned, but very well balanced.
Rufus Clay
Los Alamos, New Mexico

Mr. Neumayr as usual writes a very good and well reasoned article. He misses, however, the one word that perfectly describes the liberal self described intellectuals — sophistry.

Senator Kerry is a classic sophist, an empty suit whose reasoning simply does not stand up to logic. But he looks and talks authoritatively. Gary Wills is trying to ascend to the pantheon of bilious b.s. artists and he may make it.
Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

Neumayr’s analysis is good but overly complicated. The reason Democrats lost again can be condensed to one sentence:

You cannot inspire hope in someone’s mind at the same time you are trying to instill hate in their heart.

Most people are not haters and base their vote on which candidate gives their hopes a better chance at becoming reality. Giving Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart, and other foul-mouthed elites a prominent and respected role in your campaign does not inspire hope. Until Democrats distance themselves from their haters they will continue the slide toward irrelevancy.
Paul Schlick
Maple Grove, Minnesota

The reason why liberalism lacks any enduring appeal to ordinary Americans is not that it is too lofty but that it is too low. It is beneath the reason of man. It appeals not to the mind of humans but to their irrational desires. Liberalism is far more about emotion than reason. Want to feel good about being bad? Liberalism will give you plenty of excuses to. But Americans can see that this is a childish, self-indulgent political philosophy that no civilization can run on for very long. To see that liberalism is false to human nature and reason all Americans have to do is look at the chaotic and downright barbaric public schools under its influence, the immense damage it has done to popular culture and family life, and its sapping of economies and governments.
Andy Curl

As usual it is difficult if not impossible to disagree with Mr. Neumayr. His assessment of the Liberal paradox of enlightened unenlightenment is spot on. I came across what I think may be a gem of a comment which epitomizes what Mr. Neumayr sees in the Garry Wills screed. This is a quotation from Geraldine Ferraro in a conversation with Sean Hannity from November 6th of 2004. The program is “Hannity and Colmes”:

“You know what? Just let me make one point. You were talking about the map [the red states/blue states election map of 2004] before. If indeed all those blue states all got together and seceded from the Union, think what would be left for those red states, nothing. There would be no educational system. You would have nothing. What would be left to you? I mean, where is all the talent in this country? It’s on both sides, the Northeast Corridor.”

Succinctly stated, isn’t it? These people actually believe this. It is this bloated sense of self-importance that prompts them to totally discount the votes of more than 57 million people and put forth the notion that these votes are invalid because they come from “nowhere.” If this arrogance were not so tragic and dangerous, it would be ludicrous. The most glaring fault of the Northeast Corridorians is not their hedonistic relativism, but rather, their monumental arrogance. It would appear that the great divide in this country, if there is one, is not between people of Faith and people without it, but between those who credit their fellow Americans with a modicum of intelligence and those who do not. People like Mr. Wills and Mrs. Ferraro are so awash in the sea of their own importance that they will never be reconciled to the validity of any world view other than their own. In fact, it may very well be a waste of time to try to enlighten them.
Joseph Baum
Newton Fall, Ohio (in the heart of Nowhere)

REPUBLICAN NERVES
Re: John Tabin’s A Few Dark Clouds:

While it is true that the map showing the Democratic strong point on both coasts and the upper Midwest, (on the East Coast, it is only north of Virginia, the rest of the coast is Red Country), I’m not too concerned about it. The large industrial states have been losing population at the expense of the South and Midwest for decades now. I can remember when New York had 41 Electoral votes, not only 31. This trend should continue. California is so overcrowded, I can see people leaving there as well dropping their number below the current 55.

If the 2004 election had been a mirror of 2000, the President would have received 278 votes, seven more than he got in 2000. I would expect that the first election after the 2010 census, if is a carbon copy of 2004 would yield the Republicans about 294 to 295 votes instead of the 286 the President got. As long as this trend continues, and I believe it is a permanent change in this country, the Democratic strongholds will continue to have less and less influence and future elections may become like the average congressional election, little change if any.
Mark
From Queens

I agree with John Tabin’s advice to Republicans, but I am baffled by his comfort with denying Sen. Specter the chairmanship that his seniority (and not his views) would give him. After arguing persuasively against hard right triumphalism, Tabin all but invites the right to send a “we won so screw you” message to the many in their party whose support is vital on a wide range of issues. Dumping Specter will send a terrible message to Republicans of every stripe: conform or leave. Specter is no Jeffords; let’s not force him to become one.
Ronald Stack

I am afraid that John Tabin just does not get it. I am a conservative Christian, and I can tell you that if the Republican Party moves any more to the left, it will lose many conservative Christians, myself included. I have talked to several like-minded friends and I can tell you, if the Republican Party nominates Rudy Giuliani or anyone of his ilk, we will be voting third party, even if it is Rudy vs. Hillary. And we will be echoing Ronald Reagan who once said of the Democratic Party, “I didn’t leave them, they left me.”
Mark Cook

We need to recognize the opportunity afforded us all by the millions of volunteers who helped get President Bush re-elected. 1) We should build a farm system. A VERY DEEP farm system. Those volunteers should be recruited, groomed and supported in local elections in 2005 and 2006 to fill every City Council and school board seat possible. 2) From that group we should be able to fill openings in State Legislatures in 2007 and 2008 and Mayors as well as County offices. 3) And most importantly we should have a farm system of talent for Congress and State Wide offices in the next decade and beyond. With all the words written about advice for the Republicans I have yet to see anyone looking to tap this incredible base of newly energized and politically motivated volunteers. This is the chance to control the process for a generation, to strike while the democrats are in disarray, to solidify and grow the base and chip away at districts that seemed solid blue.
Mark W. Rantala

As a person who frequently writes about and criticizes “The Daily Show” on my blog, I want to respond to Mr. Tabin’s assertion (“A Few Dark Clouds,” Nov. 10) that the “Daily Show” episode the day after the election was a “trainwreck.” Stewart’s opening anchor segment is often taken over by things that only fringe leftists find funny, I agree, but the shock on their faces and acknowledgment that counting every vote “didn’t work for us this time” was priceless. Rob Corddry’s correspondent segment was hilarious and savaged the Kerry campaign: “The Democrats wanted to keep this from going to courts. Thanks to their strategy of an incoherent campaign message, an uncomfortable Vietnam fetish, and an undying belief in the get out the vote power of Ashton Kutcher and Bon Jovi, it won’t be.” How can you not like that? So tell Mr. Tabin to calm down and look for the good in the show.
Greg Piper
Washington, D.C.

LOOSE LIPS…
Re: Jed Babbin’s 31 December:

Please stop printing articles like “Loose Canons” by Jed Babbin. Knowing full well that military decisions are weighted with political considerations and that even if those leading the fight in Iraq were able to make the correct choices 100% of the time, there would be setbacks for reasons that could not have been foreseen.

Leave military analysis to after the battles have been won. Articles like this are circulated through email among, not only our troops and their families, but the enemy. So unless Mr. Babbin and TAS are using disinformation to confuse the enemy and our guys are in on it so they’re fully aware that they should ignore all of this, please stop.
ERP

As usual, Jed Babbin was splendid in this article. All of us should read and re-read his admonition “If we stick to our guns, they will fail” — and all should take special pride at Jeb’s timely reminder that 10 November is the 229th birthday of our magnificent Marine Corps. SEMPER FI! A good, timely article. Thanks to Jed, et al.
Russ Dougherty
Gen., USAF, Ret.

PATRIOT ACTOR
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s A Leaguer of His Own:

As a proud Ashcroft voter for many years, he has always stood very tall in my eyes. Several things about that 2000 election — what almost everyone forgot about that election is that the Democrats found a corrupt judge in St. Louis (how hard was that?) — to keep the polls open till around 11 p.m. Kansas City actually turned down a similar request. Ashcroft and Talent both lost by small margins. Ashcroft is a fearless man, and I thank God he has been in Bush’s first term cabinet.

The main point of this letter however, is to remind the rabid mad dog liberals who hate and fear this man, filled with fear and loathing of the Patriot Act because of the “library clause.” I seem to recall, when the liberals went viciously after Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas’s library records and video records they certainly didn’t give a damn about violating his civil rights. I guess civil rights only pertain to liberals.
Janis Johnson
Independence, Missouri

BONDING WITH TERESA
Re: William Tucker’s One More Thing About That Election…:

Tax cuts for the rich? This was a constant buzz phrase, and it completely ignores the fact that what is cut is taxes on our market economy. The same market economy which gives us prosperity. Heinz Kerry, like Ross Perot has mucho money in tax exempt bonds (the NYT estimated her income at $50 million). They pay almost no income tax on their income as a result, but as you point out, “municipals” are government borrowing. Not capital investment, which is what drives our economic engine.

The “rich” who the Kerry’s scorn are those with businesses, whose incomes are earned, not inherited. They are the ones who pay 50% or more to the various taxing authorities. It is these rich who should get those tax breaks. Why is this never pointed out?
G.B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

BODY COUNTS
Re: William Tucker’s Lessons for Losers:

As a life long Democrat, I find Mr. Tucker’s article interesting. I agree life goes on accept the election results. However, how can Mr. Tucker sleep knowing that the military has killed well over 100,000 innocent victims of a war that should have never started.
Norb Bauer

THEOLOGY 401
Re: Happy Feder’s reply (under “Tolerance and Terror”) in Reader Mail’s Dutch Revival:

Regarding Happy Feder’s query:

“Maybe there’s a real expert on the Koran who can set us straight. I thought it included most books of the Old Testament, which would include the Ten Commandments. At the least, I thought Islam considered most of the Old Testament to be holy, revered works. But I’m no expert, and look forward to a knowledgeable reader to educate me and other TAS readers.”

While not an expert, I can make a bankable attempt at informing Mr. Feder on a couple of points. The Quran does not “include” any of the books of the Old Testament. What God/Allah does in the former is to retell many of the stories in the latter, as well as referring numerous times to His having given the Torah (“al-Tawrah”) to the Jews, and the Gospel (“al-Injil”) to the Christians. The great Hebrew prophets, such as Moses and Aaron, Solomon and David, as well as Jesus and the Virgin Mary, figure frequently in the Quran, with their stories sometimes immediately recognizable to Jews and Christians, sometimes altered slightly, and sometimes with new, unfamiliar details.

The Quran does refer to the Ten Commandments. “And We ordained laws for [Moses] in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things, (and said): “Take and hold these with firmness, and enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts.” Though the ten do not appear as a list, to be adopted word-for-word by Muslims, they may be found in various forms throughout the Muslim holy book. (See here for a comparison.)

In both cases, “Thou shalt not kill” is, of course, an ideal. Man and society being what they are, the bigger picture mandates, and both the Torah and Quran specify, cases when killing must or may be done. While I can’t speak for Judaism, in Islam there is a countervailing principle of mercy in capital cases. An “extra-Quranic” revelation to the Prophet Muhammad reads, with God/Allah speaking in the first person, “Truly My mercy takes precedence over My justice”; and “He who does not show mercy (in the here-below), will not be shown mercy (in the here-after).”
Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

FINAL ROUNDS
Re: Sheila Monaghan’s Unsung Orphans, Newt Love’s letter (under “Double-Distilled”) in Reader Mail’s Scotch-Irish Revival, and Richard Szathmary’s letter (under “Distilling the Scotch”) in Reader Mail’s Dutch Revival:

I assume that Newt Love meant to write “75 miles” for the distance the Jacobites were from London during their last rising, not 7.5. I also seriously doubt that the Jacobites turned back because, as he asserts, the felt they’d proven their point. Actually, they were starving, ill-organized and facing an uncertain future even back across the Scottish border, since the raising of the Stuart colors had hardly been the national event the most fervent Jacobites had desperately hoped for. 1745 was much too late, in that sense. “How very late it was,” to cop from the Scottish novelist James Kelman, how very late indeed.

Also, I’ve spent a lot of time in Scotland, and I’ve never, ever heard the Scots refer to themselves as “Scotch.” That’s James Webb is right, the term is “Scots-Irish.” Although John Kenneth Galbraith did once write a fairly silly book about his ancestors called “The Scotch.”

Interestingly, too, as I only learned last year when I finally read the novel (neither the movie nor the BBC series version of “Tom Jones” seems to mention it), the widespread panic of some Britons as the Jacobite army nears Durham (its furthest advance south, I believe) plays an important part in the exposition of Fielding’s novel. Kind of like liberals scattering to such bastions as Boston and Marin County at the approach of George Bush, if you will.
Richard Szathmary

One more point regarding the “Scots-Irish.” That term was coined by the Department of Redundancy Department.

The term “Scot” means “Irishman.” That is, in the distant past the people from Northern Ireland who moved into the northern reaches of Great Britain were referred to as “Scots,” meaning they were Irish. So “Scots-Irish” is actually redundant.
Kevin Walsh

Richard Szathmary is correct. I didn’t mean 7.5, nor did I catch my other goof that 1746 was 30 (not 36) years before 1776. It was a late night, and the typing fast and furious, but sadly without Scotch Whisky.

About the term Scot-Irish. If you check, there were a sizable number of Scots “encouraged” to go to Ireland. Some were Catholic, and pressured by Cromwell to leave. Some were “adventurers” who settled in the north, where lands were confiscated from Catholic Irish. Many of these groups of Scots lived separate from the Irish, much as the Menonite and Amish do in the US, keeping their traditions as Scots. After the economic troubles and potato blight in Ireland made life there less desirable, some groups departed for America. Those people referred to themselves as Scot-Irish. As in Scot by way of Ireland.

Besides, who were the Scots? When an Irish king sent Mac Dalraida and his force to quell the Picts, they set up the kingdom of Dalraidain in Dunad. Later, McAlpin, a half-Dalraidain/half-Pictian man bolstered and army and conquered the northern peninsula, he took the name that the Romans used to refer to them “Scoti” and declared himself to be the first king of Scotland. There is a lot of Irish genetic material in the Scottish genes.

That is the way that I have heard it from fellow Scots. We aren’t historians. We are just descended from the folks you’re discussing. After how Cromwell treated them, you can’t expect them to call themselves English. That word has remained a foul set of syllables to have in our mouths.

BTW, the McKinnons were the Bonnie Prince Charlie’s person guards and fighting force. The McKinnon Boar banner is directly behind the Stuart in every painting of Culloden I have seen.
Newt Love (McKinnon)

Newt Love has clearly been fed the narcotically enhanced version of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-6. The pretender reached Derby with his ill-organized force (around 75 miles from London) and withdrew partly because of this lack of organization, partly because the British army was returning from fighting his French allies on the continent in order to face him.

There was no King of England at the time (George II was the King of Great Britain), the Campbells were not lowlanders, nor were they in the line, and no act of treachery or attack from the rear defeated those highlanders unfortunate enough to follow their own feudal lords to Culloden. The only “mercenaries” on the battlefield were the Scots, English, Irish and Welsh soldiers in such still-existing regiments as the Royal Scots and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers who defeated the rebels in an open, if one-sided fight. The soldiers were paid, while the rebels lived by plunder and extortion.

The aftermath of the battle is more controversial. I would suggest, however, that the treatment of the rebels compares favorably to that shown to such people in other countries at other times.

Scots history is not about castles, bogs and little people, as Mr. Love (a lowland name, surely) seems to believe. It is cold, hard fact. As one of part Scots, part Irish descent, living in Scotland I know all too well how prettification and a culture of victimhood can distort history and with it the present. All of us, whether Scots-Irish or Scotch-Irish, should stand against this and seek the truth at all times, rather than relying on myth and misinformation.
Yours faithfully,
Alan Healy
Lanarkshire, Scotland

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