Re: Sheila Monaghan’s Unsung Orphans:
Regarding the review of James Webb’s Born Fighting by Sheila Monaghan, no quibble with her interesting review, but I do have a bone to pick with Webb’s choice to call the Scotch-Irish “Scots-Irish.” Oh, please. Is this more of the smarmy use of UK words and phrases to replace venerable American usage, such as “gone missing” for “disappeared,” or “tarmac” for “ramp”? How long will it be before we see media and university types calling gasoline “petrol,” and pronouncing lieutenant “leftenant”?
In the case of “Scotch-Irish,” the classic work is by James G. Leyburn, which he calls, oddly enough, The Scotch-Irish. It’s published by the University of North Carolina. Then there is the venerable, The Scotch-Irish in North America, by Henry Jones Ford, published by Princeton.
Dale Van Every’s classic four-volume history, The Frontier People of America, repeatedly refers to the Scotch-Irish — never the “Scots-Irish.” He notes that these were the people that Lord Dunmore referred to as “Americans” in his famous defense: “I have learnt from experience that the established authority of any government in America, and the policy of government at home, are both insufficient to restrain the Americans; and that they will do and remove as their avidity and restlessness incite them….”
David Hackett Fischer, in Albion’s Seed, says the “Scotch-Irish” — not Scots-Irish — “who came to America included a double-distilled selection of some of the most disorderly inhabitants of a deeply disordered land.”
I could go on almost endlessly, but you get the picture. Calling the good old Scotch-Irish “Scots-Irish” is historical prettifying. I hope it wasn’t Webb’s original title, but the result of some Vassar-educated editor’s hectoring.
Scots-Irish? Tain’t no such a thang!
— Chris Mark
Thanks for the informative article. I will buy the book and read it.
I don’t know if James Webb covers it, but when the Jacobite rebellion ended, they were within 7.5 miles of London. The Bonny Prince Charlie was almost the king of England and Scotland, but they called a halt to return home, having proved their point. Soon after, through treachery, the King of England defeated the Bonnie Prince at Culloden. (The Lowland Campbells opened their part of the line to let English troops and mercenaries through, and rout the Scots from the rear.)
Culloden was 1746. The Scots that fought had a price on their heads, my ancestors among them. They fled to the colonies, often changing their names. It is only 36 years later that America rebelled. For me, it is really Culloden chapter two.
— Newt Love (McKinnon)
Although not specifically mentioned in editorial intern Sheila Monaghan’s splendid review of James Webb’s most recent book (Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America), another of the former Secretary of the Navy’s books deserves special mention.
A Sense of Honor celebrates the same fighting quality cited in Monaghan’s review. It is the barely fictional account of what happened at the U.S. Naval Academy during Webb’s time there. In it Webb laments what are clearly the beginnings of political correctness that would later compel the Armed Services to open their warrior academies to women and devise a de facto two-tier honor code to be applied like a double standard — rigorously but selectively.
Indeed the smash mouth tactics used by Pat Schroeder and other so called “feminists” flattened the U.S. Navy in the wake of tailhook carrier pilots’ high jinks in a Los Vegas hotel. Completely ignored in all of the hooraw that followed was the role of female aviators who taunted their male counterparts by inviting them to participate in such shenanigans as leg shaving contests.
Navy jumped up on its tippy toes to avoid further offending these extremists, going so far as to do away with officer clubs — after all, having all those males drinking together out of sight of their feminist “minders,” no telling what they might be up to. Rumor has it male officers even told dirty sexist jokes at these clubs and entertained lustful thoughts now and then.
Many later would have cause to wonder if Chief of Naval Operations Jeremy Boorda’s “suicide” during the ultra-feminist Clinton years (which some wag as called “The Johnson Years”) had more to do with the four-star admiral’s inability to protect his Fleet sailors from the excesses of feminist predators who, above all, want the armed forces reduced to social laboratories in which a myriad of cauldrons brimming with a witches brew of PC cultures flourish … and to hell with combat readiness.
Small wonder our armed forces were hollowed out during both the disastrous Carter and Clinton administrations. Three decades ago a prescient James Webb saw what was coming down the chute and tried his best to warn Americans what would happen if we allowed our service academies to lose that “Sense of Honor.” Sadly, his warnings fell on deaf ears. That in no way should dissuade readers from seeking it out. It is a classic that, once read, will be long remembered.
— Thomas E. Stuart
I bought the book last week and being of Scots-Irish decent, I find it revealing and wonderful. It explains a lot about my ancestors.
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Too Late About Arlen:
Karl Rove says “Sen. Specter’s a man of his word. We’ll take him at his word. “Just how stupid does Rove think we are, anyway? Does he agree with those lefties who say it’s the less intelligent people who support Bush? Senator Specter is anything but a man of his word. Shawn Macomber’s article gives a couple of good examples. If Bush is going to turn on his supporters (of which I am not one) maybe he ought to tell Rove to at least do it without insulting their intelligence.
— John Gorentz
Battle Creek, Michigan
Why is it that no one is stating the obvious about this unhappy circumstance?
Senator Arlen Specter re-won his seat by 10% over his competitor — nearly 3 times the percent-spread that President Bush did. Karl Rove is no fool, and neither is President Bush. If they had put their weight against Specter and lost — and they would have – then that would only have terminally stoked Specter’s liberal bias to the point that the President’s judicial nominees would stand a better chance over a funeral pyre.
Specter was backed by the top guns for the grim reasoning that he was going to win anyway, Now that Specter has “happened,” there is no backing off of supporting him for the very same reason that he is probabilistically inclined to return to his position as head of the Judiciary Committee.
That’s not to say that we conservatives have to eat this one.
The President is in a jam and can’t back off of backing Specter, but have no doubt that the Kleenex budget will not go up in the White House should an army of conservative voices DEMAND that Specter have his scepter removed.
So let’s go get him, guys. Take him out. This one’s on us.
— Mark Hughes
Shawn Macomber replies:
There was nothing inevitable about Specter coming back to the Senate. He may have won the general by 10 points, but he only beat Toomey in the primary by 15,000 votes — after Bush stepped in.
GIRDED FOR GRIDLOCK
Re: The Washington Prowler’s There’s Something About Harry:
Considering what Shawn wrote about Arlen (single bullet theory) Specter and what the Prowler wrote about his considerations for party-jumping (with Chafee), I must say that I find myself intrigued by the possibility.
For years these two leftists (along with Jeffords) have hung out in the republican party as the GOP gained power in Washington for the first time in decades as they (the jolly jumpers) supported the Dems. I guess it won’t be long before Snow and Collins will jump parties. That means that Republicans will have 51 senators and the Dems will have 49 on that day.
The parties will be diametrically polarized and there will be gridlock again (thanks to “Happy Harry”) in Washington… and that excites me.
— Stu Margery
Re: George Neumayr’s A Party on Its Knees:
Just read your excellent article, “Kerry Loses His Faith,” about the importance of the Catholic vote. As a pro-life Catholic in Massachusetts, which has a large Catholic population, I believe if more Catholic pastors had clearly instructed their parishioners on the non-negotiable Catholic issues, Bush would have won many more votes than the one million he got here. And with independents being larger than the Democrats in our state, who knows Bush might have won Massachusetts if Catholics had been confronted with the personal moral consequences of voting for a pro-abortion politician. This election proved Catholics are a significant voting bloc and can be a positive force if they know and follow the Church’s teaching.
Thanks for breaking this down so well.
— Dianne Duffin
WITHOUT A PRAYER
Re: Stephanie Snyder’s letter (under “Let Us Pray”) in Reader Mail’s Sore Knees:
Stephanie Snyder should take the time to read the 1st Amendment. I’m sure she would be shocked to discover that “separation of church and state” is nowhere to be found within it. The people who wrote that document did not want a theocracy any more than they wanted a secular state. They wanted a country that fostered the freedom to believe as you wanted and the freedom to practice that religion. Stephanie seems like the other supporters of the separation of church and state; they want no public recognition of religion. But this is in itself a religion known as Secular Humanism, so in reality they are proposing a theocracy of their own choosing. Typically, the hypocrisy of it all is lost on them.
The remaining balance of her missive is the usual rant that we are becoming accustomed to from the losing side. In their utter arrogance, they believe anyone who did not reach the conclusions they did, are inferior to them. All the wise and reasonable people they know agree with them, so all the rest of us must be dumb and unreasonable. Hence, they portray us as simple-minded mouth-breathers, who are easily indoctrinated by religious nuts, racists or whatever other hate-group of the month they choose.
They are so involved in their mutual admiration groups, that they were unaware that we paid attention to the mess they made in California or that their beloved programs aren’t working all that well. They didn’t see us pointing and laughing while they cashed their tax-rebate checks while moaning about how only the rich get tax breaks. They can’t understand how we can’t see that if we are just a little more understanding to the terrorists, they will change their attitude to us and forgo their sacred vows to utterly destroy us.
Let us hope they maintain this attitude, for it does us a great service.
— Scotty Uhrich
Guess what, Stephanie, absolutely nowhere in the Constitution does the phrase, “separation of church and state” exist. That’s the problem with ranting atheists like you. You spout off a history that does not exist. If a huge majority of Americans are scared of GW and the so-called religious fanatics, then why is he still the president. Just once I would love to see the liberals lose with a little class. John Kerry did, why can’t the rest of you?
— Greg Goff
When my fellow Atheists take to their religion bashing, I usually sit silently and roll my eyes, but after seeing them get it wrong over and over again, I finally have to throw my 2 cents in. Ms. Snyder opined yesterday:
“Morality and ethics are not exclusive to Republicans of any religion. There are millions of Atheists, many of them Republicans, with moral and ethical standards that far surpass what I see from so many right-wing ‘so called’ religious Americans.”
So far, so good. One thing that is difficult about being an Atheist in the Republican Party is being constantly labeled as an immoral heathen. It is an untruth that I simply choose to ignore and accept as a minority voice in a very religious party and a very religious world.
It is when Atheists invoke “separation of church and state” that they are at their most embarrassingly wrong, fearful, and ignorant. Separation of church and state was never intended to stop an elected official from governing based on their own personal beliefs. It was intended merely to keep the church from governing directly, and to prevent the government from favoring one religion over another. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I can’t remember Bush campaigning on overturning Roe v. Wade. What I do remember Bush saying is that partial birth abortion should be banned, abortions should not be funded by the government, and parents should be notified if a minor has an abortion. I don’t think any reasonable person, Atheist or not, can argue with those points. I see nothing to fear in Bush’s “culture of life,” “protection of marriage” value system.
The “fear” Ms. Snyder laments is self-inflicted. No matter who is appointed to the Supreme Court, the First Amendment will remain intact, and gays will not be shuttled off to concentration camps. As for the woman’s right to “choose,” certainly there are choices other than abortion. Personal responsibility would be one option a woman can choose. For example, insisting on birth control measures, or abstaining during the most fertile parts of the cycle are two choices right off the bat. If those measures fail, there is always the choice of adoption, or the choice to accept the consequences of your actions and care for the child you brought into this world. If it comes down to abortion, then you should be responsible enough to make the choice early in the pregnancy and pay for the procedure yourself.
Ms. Snyder also states that Bush used fear of terrorism as a trick to win the election. Terrorism is a real threat that needs to be dealt with head-on by a steadfast leader, but fearing it is a choice made by you alone. Is it really a fear tactic to say that one man is better equipped to deal with terror threats than another? I believe after 9/11, President Bush said that Americans should move forward with their lives and not live in fear, for if not, the terrorists have won.
Most of my fellow Atheists share Ms. Snyder’s irrational fear of religion, but why? If our values are essentially the same as theirs, what difference does it make where their values originate? As a society, we need to debate the ideas we disagree on, and make concessions to come to an acceptable arrangement for both sides. We have a process for that in this country, and it does not involve fear. Let’s allow the process to work, and let’s remember that we Atheists are a minority in America and cannot expect to make the entire country bow to our views. Democrats would be wise to realize this as well.
— Chuck Lazarz
Dear Ms. Snyder: Just exactly who is jamming what down whose throat? The only Nazi tactics I witnessed were in what we usually call the Main Stream Media. They did their imitation of Josef Goebbels to a fair thee well. I guess the Nazis had their Brown Shirts to forcefully back up the message; pity Mr. Kerry. He had none. I’d like to hear more about this God that you know. Is he the God who sanctions pulling an eight month developed fetus half-way out of the mother, and stabbing its brain pan so that it can be discarded as “tissue”? Is he the patron God of newsmen who knowingly feed the public lies and hope for their own favored election results? Is he the God who wants men to marry men and women to marry women because they have a “right”? Perhaps he is the God who has forgotten that nowhere in the Constitution does it say that there is to be absolute separation of Church and State. All it tells us is that there is to be no established State Religion. It is an amazing document. You should try reading it sometime. Oh, and by the way, if your party had run a candidate who actually believed in something other than his divine right to be president, you might be celebrating today instead of writing angry and illogical responses to an article, and proving, once again, how correct it was to re-elect Mr. Bush.
— Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio
For shame! You guys obviously printed the letter from M(r)s. Stephanie Synder, just to bait your loyal readers into responding. Okay, I’ll bite, even though this is too easy.
Her first complaint is that she implies that we within the GOP claim morality and ethics as our sole purview. We don’t. It would be nice if we could count on Democrats to stop excusing perjuring adulterers, indiscriminate abortion and even stop making all of us — ahem — bend over backwards for gay marriage. We would like to believe that the DNC would stop trying to ethnically cleanse all mention of our Judeo-Christian heritage from public discourse and living memory. And yes, M(r)s. Snyder, I’m quite certain there are plenty of atheists in the GOP. I am also quite certain they were part of the President’s 3.7-million vote margin.
She then dips into ad hominem insults about the President being a puppet, so much for civil discourse. She wants “REAL” issues discussed, but she never tells us what constitutes “REAL” issues. Apparently “TERROR” isn’t a real issue. Instead, phony issues were “pushed down the throats of millions of Americans.” I’m sorry, are we talking about terrorism or are we back to gay marriage again?
But gay marriage would be a real issue and it was democratically shot down in flames by double-digit margins everywhere it appeared on a ballot. On issues real, unreal and surreal M(r)s. Snyder finds herself on the losing side. If a “REAL” issue refers to the economy, stupid, we just learned that the economy is clipping along at a 3.7 percent growth rate and it has added over 350,000 jobs, well in excess of all projections. It seems that issue is doing REAL good.
Of course no raving of non-descript character assassination would be complete without the obligatory “Bush is Hitler” canard. When the President says there are thousands of people loosely organized into small groups with the intent of wreaking death and destruction so as to economically and politically cripple the United States I actually believe him. The litany of terrorist atrocities is already far too familiar. If the letter writer has elected to ignore the ever-lengthening list of bombings and beheadings it is fully understandable that she would choose to elect the one man that wanted to treat these same thugs as a mere nuisance. The DNC should have run with the slogan, “Al Qaeda: It’s nothing to lose your head over!”
M(r)s. Snyder might want to join the fight because I hear the terrorists do things like hurl homosexuals off of rooftops and beat women for showing too much ankle. In my most unfettered conservative fantasies I never imagined harming homosexuals and speaking of conservative fantasies, the more I see of Ann Coulter, ankles and all, the happier I am. M(r)s. Snyder should join us, because we are fighting for the same basic human dignities.
Yet, if I wanted to find an analogy of people who thought it was their historical Darwinistic destiny to master the world and who fabricated scurrilous allegations against people of a certain religious sect in frothing rants about how these zealots wanted to rule the world I would have to ask M(r)s. Snyder to look into the mirror. Bullets fired into GOP campaign headquarters, rocks thrown through windows, a staffer punched by a liberal college professor, tires slashed so GOP voters are denied transportation to cast their ballots and threatening broadcasters with federal sanction for daring to air unflattering programs strike me as the work of a political party to be feared. The liberals have been on one long, slow, arduous Kristallnacht ever since the campaign season went into high gear. Don’t even think about responding it’s merely “payback for 2000” you know full well that every investigation has shown there was neither voter intimidation or miscounts in 2000; it’s just a compensatory fantasy for having lost to a man you can’t even logically justify your hatred for.
By her own admission her hatred comes from feelings that Bush has, “few moral or ethical standards.” I’m sorry; I thought it was his moral and ethical standards that frightened you. I’m sure if the President gave unqualified support to siphoning the brains out of 8 and a half month old fetuses maybe you wouldn’t feel so scared, unless of course you were still a fetus; but alas, the President has decided that is his position and therefore he has signed legislation that was written by a duly elected legislature.
Which brings us to the crux of the problem. Both Bush and the GOP majorities of congress are duly elected. Your grievance isn’t with Bush its with 59-million-plus voters. We have a right to choose our leaders too — religious predilections notwithstanding. I’m sorry you lost, no wait, I’m not sorry, I’m glad we won — that’s why I voted for Bush in the first place. I wanted us to win and you to lose, that’s my right. It has been my Constitutional right long before, and will remain my right long after, the fad for federally funded abortions for gay men (why should they be denied that right over a mere accident of birth?) was a “REAL” issue.
You don’t win elections by getting people to buy an ideology, you win because you represent what they already believe. If Iraq, and opposition to gay marriage and stem cell research got GWB 2.0 re-elected, it’s because that is what the people wanted, not because Bush made them want it. It seems M(r)s. Synder is upset because Bush had the gall to give the people representative government. The conflict is not with the newly re-elected president, but with democracy and the right to choose one’s leaders. Perhaps what she means is that people she disagrees with have no right to vote unless they vote only as she deems appropriate. Shall we re-visit the analogy of dictatorial autocrats?
Lastly, M(r)s. Snyder shoots her opening premise in the foot. She recites the context free declaration of separation of church and state, but if she maintains that morality and ethics fall within the purview of the Democrats than she must admit that these morals and ethics might come from a religious foundation. Shall we have more of Kerry’s hollow-ringing “I oppose abortion because of my faith but I support abortion because of my politics” tripe or shall we have a true believer? In the choice between which of his two masters to serve, John Kerry chose George “MoveOn.org Mammon” Soros. However, it is Bush’s status as a true believer that draws the most protests. If George Bush’s God doesn’t represent the God M(r)s. Snyder claims to know she is welcome to show me the Bible verse that would allow Saddam Hussein to continue brutalizing his people and supporting terrorism just because we failed to find WMD and opposing him might upset the French and the UN. Abraham Lincoln chose not to assume a nuanced position on the issue of slavery, even going so far as to shift the focus of an entire war from purely pragmatic reasons to a moral crusade that killed tens of thousands of people. For that we can only say, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”
Constitutionally, you lost M(r)s. Snyder. Constitutionally you’re welcome to try again in 4 years, and until then you are Constitutionally entitled to speak your mind… assuming you don’t lose it first.
In your Reader Mail, Stephanie Snyder mentions separation of church and state. I think this civil liberty is largely misunderstood: laws separating church and state were NOT enacted to limit influence of church on state but to protect the church from the state. That was grounded in the bad experience of takeover of the church in England and later in France.
Separation of church and state does NOT justify removal of the Ten
Commandments from a court lobby.
Do you want me to write an article on this topic? I think it is overdue.
— Jan Machat