Saturday, May 21, 2005

Feeling Old

How does this sound?

The opposition party does not oppose. The Bush administration has given Democrats more opportune targets than President Clinton’s sexcapade with Monica Lewinski provided Republicans. But the Democrats are too weak to capitalize on the political opportunities.

The failures of Democrats and Republicans offer chances to libertarians. But libertarians are politically impotent. Their ideology and abstract commitments are perceived as taking precedence over the well-being of their fellow citizens. Libertarians cannot differentiate between the comparative advantage case for free trade and labor arbitrage based on absolute advantage that is destroying the jobs and hopes of Americans.

America is so fractured by diversity, multiculturalism, organized special interest groups and race- and gender-based legal privileges that the concept of the public interest has simply disappeared.

America’s intellectual camps have become boosterish echo chambers that dismiss out of hand any contrary thought. Preaching to the choir while demonizing others is a path to intellectual impotence.

The rule of law has been replaced by the rule of regulators and prosecutors, who interpret the law to suit their careers and agendas, and by the rule of plunder in torts.

Faced with these grave challenges to America’s integrity, the political energies of the American left are focused on gay marriage and abortion; that of the American right on the opposite. Twenty million evangelical Christians, who once focused on saving their souls, now seek an avenue to heaven through war in the Middle East, which they believe will bring on Armageddon and the Rapture.

A once-independent media are now highly concentrated and speak mostly with a single voice in behalf of the interests of advertisers and a new aggressive American nationalism. To save its existence, even National Public Radio feels pressured to partake of the Karl Rove spin.

Democracy struggles under the best of circumstances. When the people are woefully uninformed on almost every subject and totally dependent on spun news, success must rest on outside events and the failure of others.

America’s once-powerful manufacturers are today little more than brand names with sales forces. Some still assemble foreign-made parts, but many simply market products of foreign innovation, design, engineering and manufacture. As more and more of America’s economy is outsourced, America’s engineering and design professions decline, as does the value of a college education. In the 21st century, America has been unable to create jobs in export and import-competitive sectors.

America’s financial pre-eminence is based on the dollar’s role as reserve currency, a role threatened by the dollar’s long downward slide in value as the result of trade and budget deficits.

America’s strong communities and neighborhood schools are gone, destroyed by an ideology that used bussing to break them apart.

Feminism has put great pressure on families by weakening women’s commitments to children and marriages with the new commitment to career and independence.

Parents cannot discipline children without risk of government intervention through Child Protective Services. Acceptable standards of behavior decline, and children become sexually promiscuous and partake of alcohol and drugs at earlier and earlier ages.

Shame is a lost concept.

University students are stressed to find a major that cannot be outsourced. Students are discovering that outsourcing and work visas have closed many occupations to them.
America’s borders are not protected against legal and illegal immigration that long ago dispelled any pretense of assimilation. Disparate interests, races and values have overwhelmed the abstract basis of American unity. Patriotism is being destroyed by the government’s indifference to, if not preference for, immigrant invasion. Patriotism’s place is being taken by a dangerous nationalism.

Will the Republican Party’s neo-Jacobin ideology reunite the country in an aggressive nationalism against the world, or will America’s Asian bankers cease to finance the empire of red ink?

Does America still have an edge, or is America in retirement, living off past accomplishments?

I suppose I'm showing my age.
Most of this litany resonates with me.
Problem is, this is one of the guys
writing in Chronicles Magazine, along with Pat Buchanan. Remember him? He's the guy that wondered if World War II was worth it.

While we're at it, I need to note for the record Godwin's Law. According to Godwin's Law the mention of Nazis (and by extension, perhaps the entirety of the Second World War) is a signal that whoever mentions the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. There are elegant permutations of this principle at Wikipedia, including Quirk's exception (that it is ineffectual deliberately to mention Godwin's Law) and Van der Leun's corrolary (that the longer the discussion lasts, the more likely that a real Nazi is apt to be involved).

Having broken the rules, violating an otherwise elegant protocol, I have to distance myself from the observations of Mr. Roberts, author of the litany. I must note for the record that Buchanan's extreme rhetoric causes me to shudder.

This most recent rant, though, caught my attention...

George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America’s reputation. It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America’s reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the United States.
Abundant evidence now exists in the public domain to convict George W. Bush of the crime of the century. The secret British government memo (dated July 23, 2002, and available here), leaked to the Sunday Times (which printed it on May 1, 2005), reports that Bush wanted “to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. . . . But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. . . . The (United Kingdom) attorney general said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defense, humanitarian intervention or UNSC (U.N. Security Council) authorization. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult.”

This memo is the mother of all smoking guns. Why isn’t Bush in the dock?

Has American democracy failed at home?

Snowball. Hell. Pigs. Wings. You know...

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