Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, September 12, 2002
One of the many faults of modern conservatism is that it sometimes gets so bizarre as to frustrate satire. When I first encountered this rant in Atrios, I genuinely thought it was one of his satires of far right nuttiness, but it turned out to be real. It was written by one Ben Shapiro, who is all of 18, but still published on, which apparently has no minimum standards either for age or ability.

America has divided into two factions: those who fight evil and those who do not believe in evil. The dividing line is religion.

Those who believe in a Judeo-Christian God know the difference between good and evil because they know the value of human life...

They realize that terrorists who smashed airliners into buildings were not provoked by American foreign policy -- the terrorists were seeking death because they were part of a culture that loves death. Deeply religious people knew what America had to do in response: kill those responsible for the terrorism and those who supported them, and prevent the evil from growing.

The other faction does not believe in God, at least not actively. There is no good, and there is no evil, these people believe. If God has no purpose for man -- as they believe -- then life is meaningless, and the death of thousands of Americans has no more meaning than the death of a colony of ants....

Thank God it's all so simple. Imagine how difficult it would be if there were complicating factors, like people who don't believe in God and still have moral values, or people who plant bombs in abortion clinics because they believe in God and think that's what He wants them to do.

No one can mention that the terrorists of Sept. 11 were Muslim without automatically having to state that "not all Muslims are terrorists," for fear of being labeled racist.

And making a distinction between Muslims and terrorists is bad because?

Schools around the country teach students about Islam, promoting it as a "religion of peace" without discussing its more violent adherents. The National Education Association preaches anti-Americanism, telling teachers to indoctrinate students with stories of American imperialism.'''

Some of us who believe in a Judeo-Christian God might object to spreading this lie. But that's only because we haven't paid proper attention to the new and improved Ninth Commandment, which explains that bearing false witness against liberals is kosher.

If we pillory those who defend traditional moral values, we seem weak. Why would any terrorist fear a country that treats the Boy Scouts like the KKK? If we treat the moral as trivial, if we make it seem as though our lives have no value, how can we expect others to respect the value of our lives?

I bet that was just the way the discussion went:

Mullah Omar: But Sheikh, consider the dangers of attacking a nation as powerful as the United States.

Osama: Don't be ridiculous. Haven't you heard that some schools are banning Boy Scout activities until gay scouts are admitted? What do we have to fear?

Omar: Then surely it is as you said, and their lives have no value.

Osama: Even so. Our jihad shall triumph, for our prophet has said so.

Omar: Really? I must have missed Oprah that day.

Michael Kelly has been spinning longer and is too smart to be as blatantly absurd. But his column (via Yglesias) on how Bush's 'limitations', a euphemism for stupidity, is actually a strength, is making a similarly absurd point.

George Bush's furious critics see him entirely in terms of limitations, but limitations have their place. Bush's response to Sept. 11 was very limited: It's war, good against evil, us against them, choose your sides, we're going to win. This worked, where a more intellectual, considered response would have failed....

There is going to be a war, and it is going to be supported by Congress and probably by the United Nations. The reason for this is simple enough. No serious person disagrees with the idea that Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to American and global security and that something should be done. All that resolve required was a coherent argument that something must be done and can be done.

Bush is now making this case, and he is going to succeed in making it, because he is a limited man. All he knows is that this has to be done, so he is going to do it. And so will we.
The theme here is that Bush can feel and communicate moral clarity precisely because he is 'simple'. A more sophisticated man apparently wouldn't be able to make up his mind about which side to be on. After all, Winston Churchill obviously could never have led England through the war if, instead of being a simple man, he had been some kind of intellectual who spent his spare time writing histories of the English-speaking peoples and obscure colonial wars.

Update: Poor Ben Shapiro must feel like he's right back in High School. All the cool kids are kicking his ass. Some have been doing it for months. And the Principal just looks on and winks.