Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

As Islamists Take Control Of Egypt, Where Is Bill Kristol?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Look Who's Not Laughing Now

Earlier this year, William Kristol over at the Weekly Standard couldn’t wait to mock conservatives who were watching the developments in Egypt’s Tahrir Square with trepidation, knowing how this revolution would ultimately end: In a tyrannical Islamic state not unlike Iran.  Kristol drew stunningly wrong-headed conclusions from the erupting “Arab Spring,” and he and his pal Rich Lowry over at the Nation Review enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of concerned conservatives who wondered about the possibilities of a growing Islamic hegemony in the region.  The laughter has ceased, and if Kristol was honest, he’d write an essay explaining all the ways in which he had been wrong, and apologize to all of those who he had earlier mocked.  Of course, don’t expect that from Kristol, because he’s a true DC insider, and he won’t have bothered to note that in Egypt, the Islamists are now coming to power, precisely as more wary and rational conservatives predicted.

What should have been apparent to Mr. Kristol is that there can be no ‘Arab Spring’ under the control of Islam, and it was clear to most rational observers from the outset that an Islamic Republic of some sort would be the result.  Kristol thought otherwise, but like all good establishment writers, he hedged his bets a little when it became apparent things were not going so wonderfully as he had supposed, but that didn’t stop him from making the most absurd statement:

No more. The Arab winter is over. The men and women of the Greater Middle East are no longer satisfied by “a little life.”

This is the sort of delusional hyperbole that characterized much of Kristol’s writing on the subject at the time, and it’s one more instance in which what he wishes to be true leads him to write as though it had been true.   Now that Islamist groups are winning the elections, and will clearly come to dominate the government of Egypt, and as protests again turn violent, one might reasonably ask what Mr. Kristol now says about all of this, having earlier declared the “Arab Spring” in full bloom.  The answer:  He hasn’t offered anything more on a subject that has turned into a rough spot given his early judgments on the matter.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Egypt, the facts are making a strong case in the form of violence that Mr. Kristol’s hopeful wishes for the future have been superseded by the evidence of the “false spring” with which he covered his bases.  This situation remains fluid, but the outcome seems less in doubt as the Islamist factions are clearly sweeping aside any pro-Democracy factions in the elections.  What this will likely mean is that before all is said and done, we’re going to be faced with an increasingly radicalized Arab world, with terrible consequences for Israel, and indeed, the entire region.  This is one of the reasons Kristol’s wishful thinking was irresponsible and dangerous: Too many took to heart a false sense of security about the state of things in the region, and too many came to believe there was nothing about which Americans should worry.  As is now clear, that’s an unmistakable falsehood, and as it stands, we’re likely to see a growing movement in Egypt that will be more openly hostile to Israel, and more apt to discard its treaty commitments.  What Bill Kristol’s shameful mocking of conservative doubters of the “Arab Spring” had accomplished was to cause Americans to avert their eyes from the danger, but we won’t be able to remain willfully blind to it much longer.  The question thus becomes:  When will Kristol finally open his?

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Why I Fight

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Time is Running Out

I won’t pretend to speak for other conservatives, or Tea Party folk.  I can only make crude assumptions about the things that motivate people based only on what I can observe.  People have a tendency to project their own motives onto others at times, and this is the reason I will reduce this discussion from a collective “We” to the singular “I.”  I can’t say with certainty why others fight, but I know my own goals and intentions, and I suppose it’s time I stated them clearly to all, lest there be any doubt.  I fight for this country and its future because when the lights go out, and the last keystroke has fallen, this has been the greatest nation on Earth, and for my sake, and the sake of my progeny, I would prefer to leave it as I found it, or better.

By the standards of today, I’m still a fairly young man, but in the days of our nation’s founding, I would be nearing death’s door, if I remained at all.  This is because in general terms, despite all the trials and tribulations I’ve sometimes thought I have endured, the truth is that I haven’t known hardship like past generations.  Both of my grandmothers lost their first child, and both of them lost siblings in childhood and early adulthood.  My paternal grandmother’s family had terrible losses to diseases now nearly eradicated.  Before her time, it was even worse, and it’s no wonder that 50 years ago, Jonas Salk was regarded as a hero, and everybody knew his name and his deeds. What’s frightening now is how few still know it.

The world my generation inherited was one of hope and newly found economic vigor.  Ronald Reagan was the president when I came of age, and I served the first seven years of adulthood in the Army he restored from years of neglect.  We faced the Soviet empire across a cold and dreary frontier between East and West, and with his leadership, the West seemed to have prevailed.  As with any victory, however, it soon became clear that our self-indulgence in its wake could not last, as ever another threat arose to confront us.  Still, the looming threat of a global nuclear holocaust seemed to subside, and the country marched on.

One of the things I began to see some years after my service was the tendency of our culture to move toward a licentious view of freedom bereft of any understanding of what that freedom must entail to be maintained.  A radical movement away from personal responsibility has characterized most of the last two generations of American culture.  In generations long gone, it was an operating assumption that in good years, you put things back for the inevitable bad years that always visit.  More recently, it’s been the habit of our politicians, and also our people, to borrow and spend, in good times and bad, without a thought to savings or preparedness for those inevitable bad times. When those bad times strike, we simply borrow and spend more. That approach is rapidly nearing the end of viability.

Our current generation of young adults have seldom known a really bad time or a hardship, except for those relatively rare young people who still line up to serve our nation’s security interests around the globe.  I’m afraid we’ve arrived in a time when they’re about to see some exceedingly terrible times, and it’s not likely to improve.  We’ve allowed too many of them to be woefully unprepared. Sheltered as we’ve largely kept them, they’re not ready for much of what’s ahead.  We did it out of love, in an effort to protect them, as our parents sought to protect us, but the world is getting too ugly for that, and we won’t be able to maintain this bubble in which we’ve spared them some harsh realities, for very much longer.

The reason I fight is because I’m not done yet.  I’m not finished living, and I’m not finished being free to live as I choose.  I’m also not willing to surrender my daughter’s future to a darker age.  The problem has been that we like to delude ourselves into a belief that it’s all going to come out fine, and in the end, the hero will defeat the villain.  History is full of far too many victorious villains who succeeded because nobody thought to stop them until it was far too late.

If you’re serious about fighting the villain(s,) you’ll need to make a few drastic concessions to reality no matter how painful they may seem in the shorter run.  After decades of watching so-called compromise that has amounted to nothing but a progressive surrender, I am no longer inclined to die the death of a thousand cuts.  I will not compromise. I will not accept a candidate who does not adhere to the basic principles on which this country had been founded, or who has shown a tendency to dump the principles when political expediency has provided a path of lesser political resistance.  Those years are long behind me now, and I will not return to them.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, along with the others so many now mouth with growing indifference: The only path to prosperity for me, my progeny, or my countrymen lies on the path of free-market capitalism.  No Utopia is possible on Earth, and no amount of government spending can manufacture it.  All government can do is destroy liberty for the illusion of Utopia. People die. People become ill. People starve. People go without clothing, housing, cellphones, cars, and televisions. It’s not possible to provide the unlimited wishes of the globe, and I reject the notion that we should try, because at each step along that path, we must destroy real people, individuals, with their own motivations, goals, and aspirations in pursuit of an illusory paradise that can never be.

The United States of America became the leading nation not through national controls or federal mandates, but through the freedom of a people unleashed from the bonds of servitude. Those chains are slowly being affixed to our shackles again.  If we are to cast off this encroaching bondage, we will have need of new leaders.  Those now in place are too comfortable with the chains they’ve attached at our ankles, and soon they will not mind if we are also gagged.

I am serving warning to the GOP by this posting, and it’s simple and meant to be taken literally: If you nominate another phony, I will not support him.  If you nominate another RINO who pays lip service to reform, but never really intends any based on their past performance, I will walk away.  It’s the quickest way to guarantee the re-election of Barack Obama, in my view.  I will not speak for all my conservative friends, but I am disgusted with the latest offerings of more tired, professional politicians.  If this is the alleged ‘conservatism’ this party now offers, what possible reason can you offer me for supporting it?  You’re not offering a course upon which to save the nation, but merely a way to delay the inevitable a bit longer.

If Obama represents a national cyanide capsule, poisoning the nation with nearly instant lethality, what is offered with Perry or Romney is just a slow-acting poison like arsenic that kills through a less sudden but no less lethal accumulation of toxicity.   I will not be a party to that kind of fraud.  If Obama is likened to throwing the frog into the already boiling pot, impelling you to leap out, then Perry and Romney and any others like them serve as the slowly heated pot in which the frog never notices he’s being boiled until he’s been overwhelmed by the heat.  I’m not willing to croak by either method.

I fight because I know we can sustain neither course any longer.  I know that both roads being offered are really a single path to the same scorching cauldron for our nation.  I would ask my countrymen to pursue another course, and that is the road of actual capitalism, and away from the grasp of statism, whether it’s a sudden calamity heaped upon our country in the form of Obama, or the slowly widening calamity of those who would countenance the same ends, albeit more slowly.

You don’t want death panels? Too bad. You now will have them, and no tepid semi-statist will reverse them. No purveyor of campaign-season bluster will turn them away once safely ensconced in office.  There is no safe dose of statism outside the rigorously restricted limitations originally ordained and established by our Constitution.  That’s why I fight.  I fight because I know it, and I will no longer yield the argument to those who whisper the sweet nothings of compromise in my ear. I know they’re literally nothing.  No meaning.  No substance.  Nothing.  The rest of you will do what you will do, and if you’re stampeded and herded and chased into the chutes, don’t be the least bit surprised if you notice my absence.  I’ve tried to show you.  Just as it is long past the time for all the children of the current generation to see life outside their bubble, so it will be for you also.

Nobody will survive by faking reality for long, whether an individual, a family, a congregation or a whole people.  The time for choosing is nigh.  Choose well.  Good luck.

Mark