Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Tiger and the Turtle

Mercer's reply to my remark:

“…on the subject of the war against civilization …Mercer gets it (she just wants us to fight it Marquis of Queensbury rules with our foot in a bucket.)”

Can be found here: http://blog.ilanamercer.com/?p=590

A few of her points:

"Wait for this: Accolades for offering a strident defense of the West go to the prototypical open-borders Objectivist, whose positions are generally indistinguishable from those of the neoconservatives.

"Philosophical incoherence at its best."

Now please review the post in question: "tinny ideologues", "They hate freedom, plain and simple" "mollycoddled milksops", "pussies, and worse,"

Coherence? This is rage.

What I said was, wherever you side on the issue this is not an argument, it's a polemic.

And by the way, for a lady to insult a gentleman with vulgarity is definitely not Marquis of Queensbury. No man ever comes off looking good if he responds in kind. Unfair.

"But it’s predictable. In my commentary over the years—cultural and political—I’ve mounted a systematic defense of Western values as I see them. This includes—gasp!—defending the distinctly Western character of the US (and the West), something the neocons and the Objectivists who ape them daren’t do."

Yes she has, and done a fine job of it too.

As have I. For example here http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2007/05/amnesia-issue-part-1.html

here http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2006/11/demand-for-perfection.html

and here http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2006/10/western-civilization-and-its_21.htm among others.

On the border issue we are in complete agreement.

"So what is my apparently constricting prescription? First, bring the armed forces home, so they can protect this country, not Kosovo, Korea, and Kurdistan."

Kosovo can go hang for all of me. Korea is relying on the US entirely too much for my taste and Kurdistan... dunno. What's in it for us?

Next, scale back mass immigration, legal and illegal.

Illegal? Amen! (See http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2007/07/dear-mexico.html)

Legal? We may differ here. Actually I'd like to invite Ilana's relatives to America. And perhaps the entire White and Colored population of South Africa if it looks like a genocide is brewing.

Similarly, it may in time be necessary to evacuate the Jewish population of Israel to the US if their strategic situation becomes untenable (say, if nukes proliferate throughout the region.) And I'd certainly consider widening the eligibility of a great many pro-American, assimilation-minded Eastern Europeans to immigrate, if the trend toward demographic decline and the attendant Islamicization of Europe continues.

Got a problem with that? Or is it, "Pull up the ladder, I'm on board."

Since the West Europeans have created this problem for themselves, my inclination is to tell them to get in the back of the line like everyone else.

Defending negative liberties at home is more effective and less violative than waging aimless, unwinnable, rights-sundering wars."

Here we are getting to the actual area of disagreement. (Maybe, it depends on what you have in mind by aimless, unwinnable, and rights-sundering.)

We can argue about the specifics of grand strategy but please, let's argue rather than sling insults. And to do that, let's find out where it is we do disagree.

In terms of pragmatism what I see are two views of strategy that someone once called "tiger" and "turtle." The turtle creates a fortress for itself, the tiger defines and roams over a territory. (The analogy however, rapidly breaks down when it comes to the subject of allies - tigers are solitary.)

My view, which I will elaborate on in future posts, is that a nation such as ours must maintain the ability and the will to project power, and maintain alliances with countries which share essential parts of our Western heritage. (You know; free speech, free press, not eating each other...)

And most importantly, I believe that those who think we are going to get through this current civilizational conflict without ever having to resort to military action are indulging in wishful thinking.

This is not new stuff:

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

Edmund Burke

As a great libertarian (Robert Heinlein) said, "No "Department of Defense" ever won a war."

We know that various non-state actors, covertly backed by certain states (some our purported "allies") are seeking nuclear weapons with the intention of using them on You Know Who* and us.

Citing John Bolton at the media breakfast I attended (http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2007/11/john-bolton-and-no-name-nukes.html), preemption is the only realistic defense. Once the nukes are loose and in the hands of those sufficiently determined to use them, there is no way to keep them out of our territory.

Bolton also pointed out that time is running out. I'd like to point out as well that as the situation worsens, moral choices become less available.

Winston Churchill said that no other war was ever more avoidable than the the Second World War, that there was a time when it could have been prevented with a diplomatic note. Once it was underway the allies were faced with the necessity of using tactics that killed untold numbers of innocent bystanders and making a devils bargain with the Soviet Union.

"Nation building and assorted mindless meddling have also found a place within this “philosophy.” "

Nation building? Post-war Germany, Japan (and Israel for that matter) seem to be doing OK. But then the first was a Western nation relapsed into barbarism and the second was an ancient civilization willing to accept a Western way of governance, once we'd beaten the tar out of them.

My take? Jury's still out on that one. John Derbyshire thinks Germany and Japan will vomit up democracy after they've had enough of it.

If it turns out that "building democracy" is a fools errand as I think very possible, then the alternative may very well be empire - and I don't much like that one at all. Sometimes there are no good alternatives.

(Derb's actually more optimistic than I am on that one. He says let them go hang and slap them around when they get out of line.)

Meddling? Several really great histories lately (which I'll be reviewing and recommending presently) have detailed a long record of other countries meddling in our internal affairs this past century. The Soviet Union had an entire cabinet-level department devoted to just that, China has been caught at it more than once and the story of Saudi Arabia seeking to buy our government whole is a scandal waiting to break. (See 'Interview with Ali Alyami' below.)

My take? If we don't "meddle" back ourselves some we're sticking our foot in that bucket. I'm definitely against "mindless" though.

"...too dumb and evil for words."

Dumb? I sometimes think so. Stepping into the middle of a personal vendetta was one of the scariest things I've done since I got pulled off a train at a Serbian border crossing one dark night...

Evil? Well, each man must make his own judgment on that. I usually reserve the term for mass murderers, child molesters and people who don't turn their cell phones off in theaters.

* An allusion to a song by the great Tom Lehrer, 'Who's Next?'

Egypt's going to get one too
Just to use on You Know Who

So Israel's getting tense, want's one in self-defense
The Lord's our Shepherd, says the psalm
But just in case - we're gonna get a bomb!


  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger dchamil said…

    Meddling in the US -- surely Mexico can be added to your list as far as the current period is concerned.

    "Pull up the ladder, I'm on the boat!" That is my attitude exactly. If you want your favorite people to come here, others will want theirs. To those who say, "David, you just want to pull up the drawbridge," I say, "That's what drawbridges are for!

  • At 6:49 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Of course, I run the risk of being called a "racist" yet again when I say we ought to encourage the immigration of more white Europeans - but I'd take the South African coloreds if I read them right, and perhaps some groups such as the Ibo "the Jews of Africa."

    Point being, I want people willing to become Americans in their attitudes and their loyalties, and I think we have every right to insist on it and select accordingly.

  • At 9:03 PM, Blogger Tom the Impaler said…

    This is not new stuff:

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

    Edmund Burke

    "We must hang together gentlemen, or we most assuredly will hang separately"
    One of the founding fathers I think, Jefferson? Franklin? Or do I remember wrong?

  • At 6:42 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Franklin I think, on the occasion of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    Nobody remembers anymore that that phrase starting with, "Whenever government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it..." absolutely terrified all the states of Europe.

    Since the founding any number of ruling castes have heartily desired the destruction of the US. The English aristocracy openly sided with the South in the Civil War, hoping that the US would be destroyed.

    Perhaps in a future post...


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