Friday, January 6, 2012

A great piece from James Taranto

As Taranto's column has one link for several stories, I have to reproduce the whole of A Pogo Progressives here:
"We used to be able to blame the Bush administration for Guantánamo," writes The Nation's David Cole in the hard-left magazine. No kidding! In case you've forgotten--we hear a lot less about the place these days--Guantanamo is a U.S. naval base in Cuba where the Pentagon set up a detention facility for terrorists not long after the 9/11 attacks. As Cole notes, the anti-antiterror left loved to vilify George W. Bush for his detention policies.
But Bush left office just under three years ago, and the Guantanamo detention facility was to have been shuttered a year later. Somehow that didn't happen. So whom are we to blame now?
The obvious answer would be whoever replaced Bush as president. But to hear Cole tell it, that office is now vacant: "Although the executive, legislative and judicial branches are all deeply implicated in the ongoing injustice, we can't really lay the blame on the government. Guantánamo is our problem as citizens." David Cole is a Pogo progressive: He has met the enemy, and it is us.
Meanwhile, The Washington Monthly, another left-leaning magazine, has an exciting special issue surveying the Republican presidential field and "imagining the consequences of a GOP victory." An introduction carrying the byline "the Editors" explains that "we asked a distinguished group of reporters and scholars to think through the hitherto unthinkable: What if one of these people actually wins?"
If an electoral victory by one of the country's major political parties was "unthinkable" until just now, that must mean America has recently undergone a transition to democracy, like Eastern European countries did after 1989 or North African lands are attempting in the wake of the Arab Spring. Who knows, maybe the power vacuum left by George W. Bush's departure will end up producing a change for the better.
There is something utterly insane about the left.


  1. "There is something utterly insane about the left."

    Tell me about it. That would of course include people like Taranto who are neocons and therefore part of the Left (though they imagine otherwise)

  2. Oh dear, little troll. You are a little overwrought, I'd say. Got your tinfoil hat on?

  3. Tinfoil hats protect the fillings in ones teeth from CIA generated microwaves. The science on that is settled.

  4. The above was my post.

  5. Was having supper round at some friends the other night. I try very hard not to get onto politics these days knowing that the argument is impossible to win with unquestioning socialists. However I do think I scored once. Maybe I am learning from the put downs I receive here?
    The friends were extolling the virtues of various anti Thatcher theatrical productions they had seen at Edinburgh and elsewhere. The chap concluded by saying that there was an epetition on line saying that Mrs Thatchers funeral should be totally privately funded. I said, "yes, I think Mrs Thatcher would agree with that."
    Before you lay into me, Helen, I know it's not much but I am doing my best.

  6. I agree. £3 million they'll be spending on Thatcher's funeral. As Frankie Boyle rightly pointed out, for £3 million you could give everyone in Scotland a shovel, and they could dig a hole so deep she could be handed over to Satan in person.

  7. That's absolutely brilliant. Love it!

  8. Thank you, Mr Butterworth. You have just proved the point I was making precisely, as well as some that I wasn't attempting to just now!

  9. Have you had put-downs here, Nigel? I don't recall particularly. Shall have to check back. Mr Butterworth is beginning to bore me. Henceforth he will be ignored. Silly little troll.

  10. Nigel. Of all the names in the world none could sound more tribally tory than Nigel.

  11. Lol. I has kenco coming out of my nostrols when I read that!

    That Frankie Boyle is a funny guy although I thought that what he said about Jordan's son was a bit OTT (the last sentence).

  12. I am fascinated by the implications of your conclusion, that ‘[t]here is something utterly insane about the left.’ One of the standard methods of distinguishing the left from the right is that the former believes in utopian projects of human perfection, whereas the latter, sceptical of human perfectibility and humble before the obstacles of human nature, eschew large programmes of improvement — especially by the government — and prefer to allow individuals and civil society to grope their way forward as best they can.

    There are flaws in such a sweeping statement, particularly for the right, when one considers the neo-con aims of imposing liberty upon the world and social conservatives who dedicated themselves to making the world (usually others) more virtuous, whether we like it or not.

    A good portion of my research revolves around this topic: from the right, there are such authors as Thomas Sowell who wrote A Conflict of Visions and The Vision of the Anointed; other texts include The Liberal Mind and The Servile Mind by Kenneth Minogue, The Perfectibility of Man by John Passmore, The Ruling Class by Angelo Codevilla, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality by Ludwig von Mises, and two famous essays by Friedrich von Hayek, ‘The Intellectuals and Socialism’ and ‘The Use of Knowledge in Society’. Perhaps the precursor of this literature is Burke’s own Reflections on the Revolution in France, where he wrote, respectively of the left and right, that ‘Men of Letters, fond of distinguishing themselves, are rarely averse to innovation’ and that ‘we suspect that the stock [of reason] in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations, and of ages.’

    Granted, there are those who are not so pessimistic — thinking along the lines of Frank Furedi’s Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone? — who do not necessarily disagree with the dangers of ideological absolutism (as against what I call ‘principled realism’), but who do see the need for intellectualism against obscurantism. For what are Sowell, von Mises, et al. if not ‘conservative’ intellectuals? Suggestions of other authors to consult are appreciated.