Monday, February 25, 2008

The Abomination of Suicide

I found this link on LGF. A blogger I have never heard of apparently committed suicide and connected his act with the struggle to sustain freedom and western values. Here is a quote:

What I did is not suicide. It is the action of a patriot and idealist who loves God and Country, and who makes a very public statement as a warning of a New Dark Age that looks America straight in the face armed with a hideous ideology that makes the German Nazis or Russian Communists look like bleeding heart liberals. I hope my fellow Countrymen will rally once gain in the defense of liberty no matter how long and hard the struggle.

I call it pathetic.

Friends, I beg of you, if you ever come to a place in your life where suicide seems like a good idea or somehow inevitable think again that is bullshit. If anyone close to you expresses any such feelings, beware, this is the quintessential blackmail/guilt trip.

As a fellow blogger and freedom fighter whose own brother committed suicide many years ago I must say that I am torn apart by this act of infamous and irrational cowardice. It needs to be said; suicide is for cowards, idiots, dupes, the mentally ill and the denizens of honor-shame cultures. It is NOT a normative Judeo-Christian response. Whatever personal demons moved Mr.Barbour to this action, he has done the free world and all of his fellow citizen-soldiers in this battle a grievous disservice in connecting his suicide to our cause. My brother inflicted intolerable pain and guilt on our family with his suicide but at least he didn’t drag the rest of western civilization into it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Did Michelle Obama Mean?

I know that this is an unusual flurry of political response for this usually long-winded blogger- but the developments in the Democratic race are too fascinting to pass up. Judith Apter Klinghoffer has an interesting look at some of the background and history of Michelle Obama’s “jaundiced” view of America.
The trail traces back to her experience as an under-qualified, ungrateful Princeton Affirmative Action charity case. She has found a quote from Mrs. Obama’s Princeton thesis that is very revealing:

My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'Blackness' than ever before," she wrote in the introduction to her sociology thesis, "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community." "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really didn't belong."

Judith’s analysis is, as usual, unvarnished and insightful. She writes, “Barak may be on his way to becoming our first affirmative action president. Imagine how they are going to feel in the White House?!”

Judith is right. Getting things that you don’t feel that you deserve is a kind of poison. The sad thing is that it could be very different for Michelle but she and her husband are locked into a joint career that is based on an unwholesome addiction to that poison.

The most striking lesson here is that, no matter how many times it blows up in their faces, the progressive/liberal left always seems to choose the road that is paved with the gaudiest imitation of “best intentions” and leads most directly to hell. Affirmative Action, a trademark Democratic program, managed to take a perfectly smart, very charismatic young woman whose father had apparently worked hard all his life to provide her with security and opportunity into a confused and injured woman. In this and many other cases Affirmative Action has actually interrupted the healing process of generations of hard, honest work. Unless she confronts the harm that was done her and finds a way to, accept the gift that was given her and to reverse her ingratitude, each new degree of success will further deepen her self loathing and the expression it finds in the reflected disdain that she shows for “liberal and open-minded” America.

One can only hope that having her unattractive and unpatriotic feelings exposed in this way will inspire her to open up a national discussion that will pierce the hermetic wall of politically correct silence around the Affirmative Action and race in general. She might never have a better opportunity to transcend her own pain and do something to repay this great nation for the privilege bestowed upon her.

With Friends Like These...

Or- maybe he really is the problem. Another example of how Mr. Obama's friends and relatives (I won't even mention Michelle at this point) can't help themselves from highlighting his weaknesses.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama's Campaign and The Real Meaning of The Che Guevara Flag

Some of the things you learn about the people who attach themselves to political campaigns are more revealing and interesting than the candidates, what they say and how the media covers them. Last week's Che Guevara flag eruption was a case in point.

Usually, I don’t have the time and energy but I got involved in a comment trail about it on a post at Solomonia a few days ago. When I do get sucked into these things its always because something grabs my attention about one of the responders and I sense that I might learn something about some larger issue.

For those of you who don't know the background, that post had to do with the backwash from a Fox video report in which a Cuban flag adorned with a picture of Che Guevara was shown hanging prominently in an Obama campaign office in Houston.

Somewhat after the dust settled on the Solomonia post and its comments the Obama campaign posted this on its web site:

"This is a volunteer office that is not in any way controlled by the Obama campaign. We were disappointed to see this picture because it is both offensive to many Cuban-Americans -- and because it does not reflect Senator Obama’s views. Barack Obama has been very clear in putting forward a Cuba policy that is based on one principle: freedom for the Cuban people."

But one of Obama’s supporters (no doubt another volunteer) had already joined in the fray at Solomonia. The very first comment on the thread (how did she find it so quickly?) was from an ardent but only marginally coherent Obama supporter writing under the name of Susan (LAST NAME OMITTED AS A COURTESY). I have no idea who she is but it reads like undergraduate stuff; you can actually read it out loud and hear where “Omygawd”, “like” and “duh” fit in. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were one of the legions of “young people” who have decided that we need change and Obama is the guy to bring it on. She wrote (Parenthesis added by me):

“... (Oh my gawd,) This is because this is an office (that is, like) paid for by supporters. It is (sooo totally) not an official headquarter office Also, Che Guevara is viewed as an icon for (y’know) Socialist ideology that opposes the oppression of colonialism and capitalism (WhatEver!). This flag represents a symbol of change against the oppression these systems create. (Yo,) It does not say Obama is going to (like) turn the USA into a communist country. (duh!).”

A bit of a donnybrook ensued. I couldn’t help joining in. For a while I felt a little ashamed- I mean, this Susan was obviously very easy prey and there was already the beginning of a pack after her when I arrived on the scene. As things devolved, though, it turns out that I discovered another piece of the puzzle about how well meaning people who consider themselves liberal wind up getting themselves and everyone around them into very awkward positions. My last comment on this post was pretty long and although I suggest that you read the whole thread, I know that there is only so much time to read things and I am glad you are here reading here- so, to make things easier, I am reprinting that last comment of mine here with a few minor edits (I never polish comments as much as I should):

Susan, you are clearly out of your depth in trying to think about these things. I’d like to help out but hardly know where to start. You really write as if there is a progressive leftist shouting into one ear and a confused liberal simpering into the other and you, poor Susan, are trying to put both of their thoughts (loose choice of words) into the computer. Only once in a while does the real Susan get a word in edgewise. If you would just stop contradicting yourself from one sentence to the next you might sound as though you actually had a mind of your own.
I mean, look, here’s an excerpt- read it as you would a play and you’ll see what I mean-

I am not saying I find Guevara's tactics to be logical or practiceable (sic). Quite the contrary.

What I am defending is the reality that Guevara fought for. Oppression is far from dead.

His approach is dead wrong. Socialism is dead wrong. Communism is dead wrong.

I don't know what is right. ? I am obviously not a good candidate to run a country or reform the world.

I do believe that there are very real deficiencies to colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, etc.

I believe that Castro's dictatorship (not communism) is far worse than the issues here in the US.

However, I have a problem with the fact that anyone who doesn't fit into a white, middle class image is profiled and often underprivileged for their skin color or their class or their accent. They lack resources and opportunity that so easily come to anyone that is white.

This is why I support Obama because I believe that he pushes for a better, diverse US that "maybe" will unite us as a country and quit segregating us based on our skin color.

I believe the world hates us because we are racist and ethnocentric (me being a part of the problem with all of you.) I think there is a big possibility of Obama changing this image in the right way (consciousness raising rather than through a violent revolution.)

WHEW, it must be exhausting to be you!

Given your inability to keep from contradicting yourself in successive sentences, this might be asking a lot but I think you need to take a deep breath and think about why you are running from pillar to post about this. I think you are wild with enthusiasm for Obama. Like the confused liberal, leftist, progressive participants in presidential lemming runs of the past (McCarthy, McGovern, Carter, Dean), you are getting hyped up over an almost unknown candidate for purely emotional reasons. You cathect your angst and anomie into the campaign and, if you are ever challenged, you try to justify it with a grab bag of ideas and concepts that pop into your mind. You might want to check with all of the voices in your head, including your own, about why. Let’s look at your only line in the little play above:

“I don't know what is right. ? I am obviously not a good candidate to run a country or reform the world.”

That forlorn little question mark says it all. I’ll say this for you; you are honest up to a point. But then you get back on the flip flop of voices. Here’s the best example:

“I believe the world hates us because we are racist and ethnocentric (me being a part of the problem with all of you.) I think there is a big possibility of Obama changing this image in the right way (consciousness raising rather than through a violent revolution.)”

Earth to Susan! Aside from the fact that this is the least racist, least ethnocentric, most open country on earth, and ignoring the inconvenient fact that a very large number of those people who you say hate us so much (especially those “pobres de la tierra” you referenced in your first comment) want to come here to live, there is another big problem with your premise. Let me ask you, what, precisely, is it about Obama that makes you so sure that electing him president will immediately change our image in the world? He hasn’t really talked much about his ideas and beliefs. He certainly had not been specific until that point, about his policy goals. So, what do you have to base your single minded loyalty and dedication upon?

I am wondering, if you told your other voices to shut up for a moment, whether you would not just find that you just want Obama because you think it would be (totally) cool to have a black president. Well, you see, Susan, I think having a black president would be cool too but I don’t think that using that as our preeminent criterion is a good way to approach selecting the person who will be the most powerful human being on earth. Besides, wanting him to be president because he is black is just as racist as not wanting him to be president because he is black.

So, you see, this is what this discussion is about. What we are doing is evaluating the man, his organization and the kinds of workers and enthusiasm he attracts. It may be that the Che flag is an artifact of a peripheral group of “unsupervised” yahoos, but his response to it matters, as does the flack that “followers” like you throw up. So, when you equivocate on whether is it all right to use a communist thug as an iconic symbol of “change” and opposition (sounds a little like “resistance” to me) while enjoying the protection of this great country, you are giving every appearance of using code words that communists, confused lefty liberals like yourself and socialists will respond to while still trying to maintain “plausible deniability”. It is way too great a stretch. You become a kind of cartoon image of yourself. You complain that we are stereotyping you- but we don’t have to stereotype you- you have done a very good job of that yourself.

Consider, please, that you are not just, as you say, “not a good candidate to run a country or reform the world.”, You may not be a good candidate to vote for someone to run a country; let alone reform the world. You really haven’t done a particularly good job of even writing about it.

Yes, well, looking back on it, I am tempted to feel a little bad about that last paragraph, that I may have put that more unkindly than I needed to. But then I think about the fact that so much of Obama’s momentum is coming from the notion that we need change above all other things, change divorced from discussion of the consequences or means. Not that I think that Obama is anything remotely like the kind of murdering thug that Che was or Castro is, its clear he is not anything of the kind. On the contrary, he seems like a nice, upstanding person. That makes him and his followers all the more dangerous.

Stateist Communism is a monstrosity. But the creeping socialism (and the accompanying moral relativism and multiculturalism) of the liberal left is cruel and disillusioning in its own way. It robs people of their self-esteem and self-reliance, it stultifies enterprise and ambition, and, worst of all, it is the single fastest way to weaken and demoralize our resistance to Caliphate Islamism.

The quixotic, demented, anti-logical dueling contradictions I identified in Susan’s rant, combined with that craving for change is the very kind abandonment of reason brought Che and Castro to power in Cuba, Hitler in Germany and Lenin in Russia. The swelling ranks of impressionable young people and immature older people who, like this hapless Susan, seem capable of believing the most outrageous calumny about their own country while, at the same time, remaining blind to far more egregious short comings on the part of almost any other country (other than Israel, of course) is ominous in its own right.

It is unsettling that the Obama campaign, notably through his wife Michelle Obama, is pandering to and encouraging the ecstatic urge for change in a recent speech (HT Sister Toldjah) Mrs. Obama said in a recent speech at UCLA, “Barack is the only man who can “heal” this nation and “fix our souls””

My reading of history tells me that when a government undertakes to “fix” peoples souls, as nice as that sounds, it will ultimately mean that if you don’t care to have your soul fixed in that particular way, they are going to wind up doing something very unpleasant (maybe even fatal)to your property, your freedoms and, your life.

As Jeff Jacoby wrote in the Boston Globe:

With Che at his side, Castro toppled Fulgencio Batista in January 1959. "As soon as they had seized power," notes "The Black Book of Communism," a magisterial survey of communist crime in the 20th century, "they began to conduct mass executions inside the two main prisons, La Cabana and Santa Clara." As chief prosecutor of the new regime, Che oversaw the bloodbath, ordering hundreds of executions in the first months of 1959. Those he killed, "The Black Book" records, included "former comrades-in-arms who refused to abandon their democratic beliefs."

Like totalitarians of every stripe, Che didn't scruple at the death of innocents. "Quit the dallying!" he ordered Jose Vilasuso, a conscientious government lawyer who was seeking evidence against several prisoners. "Your job is a very simple one. Judicial evidence is an archaic and secondary bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! We execute from evolutionary conviction."

Che fixed their souls all right- by setting them free from their bodies. This is the thanks that naïve change-seekers can expect from true revolutionaries like Che to whom they find themselves romantically drawn. Let me be clear, I think that Barack and Michelle Obama are more like Susan than they are like Fidel and Che. They are essentially good people who are either too emotionally involved in their desire to advance their joint career through the false promise of socialism or so convinced that they have "a mission" that they find it possible to ignore the moral and intellectual bankruptcy and cultural danger of their ideology.

And then there are the nameless, faceless campaign functionaries, flaks and Public Relations experts- let’s look in detail at what they published as the Obama campaign’s official statement on the Che flags. It has become axiomatic in political campaigns that it is a big mistake, especially in primary elections, to give too accurate a picture of who you are and what you believe in. This statement is a masterpiece of obfuscation and hypocrisy.

The first thing I notice is that it never actually mentions the name "Che Guevara". This is a sure sign that there is something indirect and manipulative going on. We are in for a "Marketing Momnet".

It begins with a reasonably forthright first sentence: “This is a volunteer office that is not in any way controlled by the Obama campaign” a valid disclaimer. Any organization that is growing and changing as rapidly as the Obama campaign has got to have a few loose cannons. There is no way that the core leadership can keep a watch on everything.

The next sentence is not so direct. It is a loosely joined succession of phrases. These phrases, owing to the looseness of the connections, clack and bump against each other leaving us to wonder wha the real bond is between them. I am going to have to take it one fragment at a time.

The first phrase is “We were disappointed to see this picture” My initial reaction is that I find it shocking that all they can muster is “disappointment”. Knowing who Che Guevara was, what he stood for and the bloody murder he committed, if I were Barack Obama I might have felt something more like outrage or horror- but that is just me. How disappointed are they? What kind of disappointment is it?

The next two phrases are even more shocking. “…because it is both offensive to many Cuban-Americans-- and Americans of all backgrounds” So, we see where the word “disappointment “ comes from, it has nothing to do with being repelled by Che’s bloody record or dismayed by his totalitarian association. No, it is nothing so moral and judgmental. They are disappointed because it offensive to Cuban-Americans and others.

Incredibly, they are far more concerned about the “offence” caused than they are about the meaning of the flag as a symbol. Unspoken here, but clearly identifiable are two senses in which the Obama campaign apparently considers giving offense more notable and worse than the moral implications of his presence in the volunteer office. First, of all it giving offense to identifiable voting blocs (Cuban-Americans vote!) is politically counter-productive. When, as the Obama campaign seems to, you believe (we know Mrs. Obama does) that you have the power to “heal” and “save”, engaging in honest and direct debate that might drive votes away is a sin against your sacred (however mistaken) mission.

The other reason “the offense” is a greater concern for them than the substance of the matter is that in the multicultural, morally relative world of the left and the Democrats it is a greater sin to be “insensitive” to the feelings of revolutionaries and malcontents than it is to ignore and enable injustice and even murder.

They go on to say that it the flag does not reflect Obama's views and that "Barack Obama has been very clear in putting forward a Cuba policy that is based on one principle: freedom for the Cuban people" It's funny how bland and non-committal that “freedom for the Cuban people” sounds. What does that mean exactly? To me, it has the same ring of ominous irony of, say, calling a repressive Communist totalitarian state “The People’s Republic of Whateverstan”.

It doesn’t specify what kind of freedom they’re talking about. Presumably, they are trying to be sufficiently general to avoid offending anyone else. Incredibly, this champion of change for America, this campaign that wishes to sell us on wholesale change for America (the nation that needs change the least of all the countries of the world) comes up short on suggesting any particular change for Cuba (an internationally acknowledged economic and social basket case). Cuba needs more of what we have here – in a hurry. Democracy and free markets would be a huge improvement for that country. Does the Obama campaign suggest any thing like that? No, he certainly would not want to offend the people who put him into this fix with that banner of Che, and they are not so much in favor of democracy or free markets. The whole thing is weasely, multicultural, morally relativistic and marketing oriented- not at all statesmanlike.

Edmund Burke warned us about this three hundred years ago. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” From this one instance, it looks to me that Obama is very much in favor of doing nothing about evil. He can’t bring himself to call it “evil”. As I said above he seems like a very nice and pleasant man. If all the evil in the world were done only by evil people, though, things would be a lot less complicated than they are.

The real danger that the tone and direction of the Obama candidacy brings home to me is that once “Change” becomes the ultimate goal, the strongest, most ruthless candidate of change will often look like the best one and the well-intentioned, emotionally labile dummies of the liberal left (as the example of Susan shows) will be powerless to see what he is up to- let alone stop him. That blood thirsty criminal is not Barack Obama but he might well be hanging a Che Guevara flag up in a "volunteer" office somewhere and waiting for his chance. So, Mr Obama's people have not really addressed the key flag issue at all. They have only given us a flaccid denial of approval- not a categorical condemnation and that makes the Che flag a rather large red flag for me.

I seem to feel that hot breath on the back of my neck again…

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Celebrate Diversity! Even if it Kills You

A friend has sent me a link to Andrew Bostom’s Blog with the story on the reinstatement of Major Stephen Coughlin’s reinstatement. Bostom includes a link to Coughlin’s seminal and compendious Thesis on Jihad- all 329 pages of it!

I have to confess, I don’t have the will power, or the spare time to read it all now; but I’ve dipped into it enough to see that this is a very important document. Of course, I flipped directly to the last chapter (this is why I never enjoyed reading mysteries). I was charmed to see that the title of that “pay-off” chapter “Disarmed in the War of Ideas” is very similar to a my phrase “Unilateral Cultural Disarmament”. I’ll be reading and ransacking this one for a very long time.

Colleague Lazar at Augean Stables has a very good initial pass at it here.

I won’t spoil all the fun for you “grinders” who will read it cover to cover and in order but I have to point out this elegant and telling observation from page 230. Coughlin is writing about how the Caliphate threat in continuing to sneak up on us.

“Under the Current Approach, this entire line of inquiry has been effectively shut
down by objections that do not extend beyond surface assertions that “Islam does not
stand for this” or “there are a thousand different interpretations of Islamic law” (so what’s
the point in looking?).”

Has anyone here not read Mark Steyn’s America Alone? (If not, you can just scroll down a little and click on the Amazon book icon for it on the left hand margin of this screen to order) I was immediately taken by how similar the above sentence is to one of the quotes that I remember best from Steyn’s book.

“…contemporary multiculturalism absolves one from knowing anything about other cultures as long as one feels warm and fluffy toward them. After all, if it's grossly judgmental to say one culture's better than another, why bother learning about the differences? "Celebrate diversity" with a uniformity of ignorance.”

And its not just celebrating diversity. It is the imbecilic prejudice against their own culture that come along with it that is more astounding and perilous. Both of these quotes point directly at the Achilles Heel of civilization. This is the very same mechanism by which people who call themselves feminists delude themselves that abstract concepts like “the glass ceiling in Corporate America” should be a greater concern for western women than the savage brutalization of women under Shari’a law. It is embodied too in the morally bankrupt blindness that calls Israel an apartheid pariah and attempts to degrade her ability to survive in the face of regimes that really do practice apartheid and murder.

This is yet another example of how Multiculturalism is actually a very subtle but corrosive form of racism. No liberal or progressive would be caught dead saying that “All those (choose one: Black people, Asians, Indians, etc…) look alike to me. So why is it ok to say that, "It makes no difference what they think or do, we love all those other cultures without discrimination, even though we can't really tell one from another and we will only criticize ours?"

It is a relatively new idea, fostered by historical revisionists, that the ascendance of Western Civilization was a product of colonialism, imperialism and cultural xenophobia. It’s a guilty reaction in which only the coddled, directionless, morally deficient grandchildren of real achievers and visionaries can afford to indulge. Their lives, rendered too safe and too comfortable, spend all of their time and energy finding fault with the system that has given them those comforts and that protection while, at the same time, they remain too lazy, self-absorbed and spiritually flaccid to even notice the faults that doomed the other less-successful cultures that western civilization superceded; much less contemplate the threats posed by the rising challenge of Caliphate Islam.