Daily Archives: June 24, 2009

Iraq Auctioning off its oil fields

Iraq is auctioning off its oil fields to oil companies.   Comments?

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Once again, Sarah Palin shocks people by . . . acting like a Christian!

Republican activists keep saying for some reason that Sarah Palin is the embodiment of what’s wrong with conservatism, that the Party needs to distance itself from Palin to succeed–despite the fact that she’s the main reason McCain got the votes he did.

In any case, here’s a cool column praising Palin for her forgiveness of David Letterman.  First, Palin made a national name when she defied conventional worldly wisdom and welcomed her son with Down’s syndrome, Tripp.

Then, when the Left leaked photos of an apparently-pregnant Bristol (initially insinuating that Tripp was Bristol’s baby), Palin defied the secular world’s impression of Christians by forgiving her daughter’s sin and supporting her, but also having Bristol take true responsibility for her actions.

To the Left, apostate Puritans that they are, this was a scandal: the Palins were “bad parents” because they didn’t provide their daughter with contraceptives, and they didn’t drive her to the abortuary as soon as they found out she was pregnant out of wedlock.

Now, after a week long battle with David Letterman over his horribly offensive comments, Plain has forgiven Letterman, once again showing that she’s a Politican who actually lives her Christianity. 

No, at a time when both conservatism and Christianity have lost their hard-gained political influence in America due to the hypocrisy of people like Bush, Coulter and Hannity, Sarah Palin is *exactly* what we need.

The Senate is voting on “hate crimes” law

Pray and contact!

Archbishop Dolan shows himself a true Pastor

Here’s a beautiful story about how Archbishop Timothy Dolan lives his role as pastor of the people of New York.

Reflections on Iraq VIII: Spreading Democracy Like a Disease

As George W. Bush moved from retaliating for 9/11 to “ending terrorism” to “preventative warfare” and hunting for alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction, his rhetoric picked up another aspect: “spreading democracy.”

Rush Limbaugh forgot his Russell Kirk 101 and started proclaiming that conservatism is about optimism.  “Buchananites” and “Paleocons” were labelled kooks and traitors. 

Suddenly, the words of Wilson and Kennedy were being channeled through a Republican.  The thing that I *never* understood in 8 years of Bush was that most of his policies really quite liberal, his positions that were actually “conservative” were only moderate, although he knew how to rhetorically seduce the religious Right.  Yet Democrats never gave him an inch simply because he was a Republican.

If China and the USSR have been described by Neo-Marxists as not truly Communist countries but rather “state capitalism,” we might describe Bushism as “state Marxism”: Bush was really sounding the call for the Revolution–at least where he wanted it to occur–saying that the United States would be the instrument of change to help the oppressed masses break free.  Instead of “give me your tired, your poor,” Bushism said, “We’ll give you our weapons, our troops.” 

“Overthrow the dictators, and the people will demand a democracy.”

There are two problems with this.  One problem was elucidated by an article in Crisis (I forget the author and title) which explained that Islam is a religion “of the book”.  Like Evangelical Christianity, Islam is about an individual relationship with God, and it lacks Catholicism’s understanding of organic society (ironically, it is Protestantism that gave us the idea of an organization as a “legal person,” an idea alien to Canon Law, even though it’s based upon the Church, but that’s another matter entirely).

In Muslim philosophy, there is not the same concept of “Nation” as we have in the West.  Consider “Saudi Arabia.”  It is the part of “Arabia” ruled by the Sauds.  In a manner slightly different from Western monarchism, and perhaps more akin to Catholic bishops, the nation is not only symbolized but embodied in its ruler. So, this Crisis writer argued, Islamic society does not permit the idea of collective democracy, since democracy presupposes the State as an entity unto itself.

More importantly, the fundamental problem of Bush Doctrine is the fundamental problem of liberalism in all its forms, going back at least to Rousseau if not, as  I often argue, to Plato.

If you compare the political views of Plato and Aristotle, you see the fundamentals of the two parties we have today in the US, as well as the basic threads that run through all Western political thought.  We may, for simplicity’s sake, call them “conservatism” (Aristotle) and “liberalism” (Plato).

Plato thought people were basically good, reincarnated souls corrupted by their earthly imprisonment, seeking out spiritual growth and liberation to divine union.  OK, some truth in that.  But Plato assumed, as Rousseau and others would later contend, that the infant, or the “primitive man in the state of nature”  is at worst a tabula rasa and at best a pure innocent.   Corruption comes from what influences a person. 

The fundamental premise of liberalism for 400 years or so, but really going back to at least as early as Plato’s Republic, has been to formulate various speculations as to what causes evil in the world, and then to seek out a way to eradicate evil by “preventing” it.  Liberalism is about eradicating social norms which are seen to keep people from pursuing their personal and spiritual potentials.

C. S. Lewis famously argued that to be progressive implies a goal towards which one would like to progress.  If one is driving down the road looking for a particular address, and one finds oneself driving in the opposite direction, the proper course of action is not to keep turning in various directions, willy-nilly, to see where to go, but to turn around as quickly and safely as possible and go back to where one got off track.

Well, liberalism would have us keep changing willy-nilly  (would get into greater depth on this, but that’s not the point right now).

Conservatism, contrary to Rush Limbaugh and according to Russell Kirk, is a pessimistic worldview.  Conservatism sees evil as coming from the human heart, be it from Catholic original sin or Calivinist total depravity.  If speculating about a  hypothetical “State of Nature,” the conservative agrees more with Hobbes: we are all basically Cain at heart.

Aristotle says that the best government, regardless of its form, is that which has a constitution to keep those in power from abusing their power.  But a Constitution, as we keep seeing as the American Experiment moves closer and closer to being a failure, is only as good as its arbiter.

Even a Constitutional Republic, Monarchy or Aristocracy eventually boils down to “who watches the watchers?”

So, the Neoconservatives, liberals who’ve been mugged, convince the Republicans to put them in charge of the party.  They bring with them several ideologies which would make Russell Kirk turn in his grave:

1) that federal power can be used to “do good” for conservative ideas (Kirk was against all ideologues)

2) that governmment power could be used to engage in foreign wars and “spread democracy” by overthrowing dictators

and

3) that people were basically good, and, if the dictators were removed, everyone would started wonderful democratically elected constitutional republics modeled after the US.

Let’s not forget

4) everyone who opposes the president’s ideology is a traitor.

Suddenly, conservativse had to fight a two way battle: we had the neocons labelling us traitors, and the Left attacking us for whatever extent to whcih we supported Bush, even being accused of supporting him when we didn’t.

Meanwhile, the idea of “spreading democracy” became a mantra for supporters of the War in Iraq.  To anyone who knows the Kissinger Doctrine, and the agendas of which NSSM-200 is merely the culmination, this should not be surprising.

It’s just another euphemism for American imperialism.

I began this series of reflections by positing that dictators *should* be overthrown.  I still believe that to a certain extent.  The question is really who should do the overthrowing and how.

But I bear no expectations that, if Tommy Tyrant is overthrown, he will be succeeded by the reincarnation of George Washington.  I find it more likely that he will be succeeded by Donny Despot, who will, in turn, have to be removed.