Saturday, January 22, 2005

A problem of perception

Instapundit linked to an article in the LA Weekly by a guy named John Powers. I went over & read it, and was both a little relieved and more than a little worried. He advocates giving up on Bush-hatred, not because he doesn't agree with it but because it's hurting the democrat party chances to get back in power.

One paragraph included: "But if George W. Bush disappeared tomorrow, kidnapped by Alan Colmes in a Che Guevara beret, everything awful about his presidency would still be in place. Oil entrepreneur Dick Cheney would simply change offices (if not roles). Pest-control entrepreneur Tom DeLay would still be infesting the House. Medical entrepreneur Dr. Bill Frist would still be running the Senate like some ghastly HMO asylum in which sensible conservatives like Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel enjoy less favor than loony morality entrepreneur Rick Santorum. And war entrepreneur Rumsfeld would still be fondling his big stick in front of the whole world. True, Alberto "Quaint Electrodes" Gonzales might not be nominated for attorney general, but I doubt Cheney would nominate anyone less scary."

Think about that. Hating Bush is fine, but everyone else in his cabinet is just as bad, if not worse. They're all scary, they all like war, and they're all crooked and 'infesting' the place. Oh, and Bush isn't actually in charge; if he died Cheney would 'change offices (if not roles).

A little further down, "privatizing Social Security to solve an imaginary "crisis," ". I distinctly remember Al Gore and Bubba and Ted Kennedy & Co. all lecturing us about how SS was about to fall apart, but now it's an 'imaginary "crisis" '.

He says that the left needs 'ideas, money and organization', and has a start on the last two thanks to "such marvelous fund-raising engines as MoveOn ".

It's an interesting article, to me not in the way he means it to, and you ought to read it. His summation is that the left needs to reclaim virtue, freedom and pleasure. My question would be, why? 'Reclaiming' indicates that you don't think the other side has any right to something, and that's part of the problem with much of the left. They're at the level of 'if a conservative/Republican type likes something, it must be bad', and that's part of what's crashing their party. I don't think the left needs to 'reclaim' virtue; it does need to stop thinking they have the only vision of it. Conservatives don't like some executive screwing the people who work in a company, or the stockholders, either. Beating them with 'you approve of it!' crap turns people off. And stop hammering people as stupid or backward because they have strong ideas of right and wrong, and want to teach them to their children; not having those values really screws things up, and belittling them makes those people distrust you, and rightly so.

Reclaim freedom? He says "Just as the left lacked a coherent position on what to do with murderous despots such as Milosevic and Saddam - it won’t do to say, "They’re bad, but . . ." The left now needs a position on how best to battle a Muslim ideology that, at bottom, despises all the freedoms we should be defending. ", right after saying "It’s not enough to mock Norman Podhoretz’s insistence that the battle with Islamic terrorism is World War IV. " Hey, guy? If they want to destroy us, we ARE at war; refusing to acknowledge it because it's not Politically Correct doesn't change the matter, it just makes you look like a fool to a lot of people. You can't 'reclaim' freedom, but it would be nice if those of us of conservative bent could feel more like you were on the same side. And I have to tell you, talking about " heroic internationalism, still alive in the anti-globalization movement’s insistence on workers’ rights around the world" doesn't help; 'heroic internationalism' is currently bogged down in some of the worst bribery-kickback scandals, and forced-sex scandals, in history.

Reclaim pleasure? What the HELL does that mean? I'll put it all here:
"For the last 30 years, the right’s been having fun - Lee Atwater playing the blues, Rush Limbaugh giving that strangulated laugh, The Weekly Standard running those mocking covers - while the left has been good for you, like eating a big, dry bowl of muesli. This isn’t simply because leftists can be humorless (a quality shared with righteous evangelicals), but because, over the years, they’ve gone from being associated with free love and rock & roll to seeming like yuppified puritans; hence the Gore-Lieberman ticket talked about censoring video games and brainy leftist Thomas Frank tirelessly debunks the pleasure of those who buy anything Cool or find Madonna meaningful. (Clinton was an exception - he enjoyed a Big Mac and an intern as much as the hero of a beer commercial - and he was the one Democrat in recent years that most average Americans really liked.) While the left is correct in talking about the gas-guzzling horror of SUVs, it’s a losing cause to tell a nation full of proud drivers that they should feel guilty about the car they love. Rather than coming off as anti-consumerist puritans in a consumerist culture, the left should be fighting on the side of freedom and pleasure - for instance, arguing that ordinary people should have more time off from the endless hours of work that increasingly devour our souls. This is the kind of idea we should own - and force the right to argue against."

A lot of this is self-explanatory, but the problem is that the attitude is there because that's what they BELIEVE! We should be hectored about SUVs because they're EVIL! We shouldn't own guns because they're EVIL and will MAKE US DO BAD THINGS! You shouldn't say something someone else doesn't approve of because you MIGHT HURT SOMEONE'S FEELINGS! and so on. And by the way, how do you plan to give people more time off from work without doing to the economy what's happened in France & Germany? For that matter, to Sweden? There are problems, but saying the government should be the cure for everything and should allow/give us pleasure is a bad, bad idea.

I gues what really bothers me about this article is the attitude that "it's not good unless it's OUR idea and WE'RE in charge". That attitude is what has caused a number of problems, and it won't improve until that attitude changes.

For what it's worth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know....

When I visited Paris a couple of years ago, I learned (the hard way) that I couldn't get a dinner out at a restaurant until like after 7pm (I think, there was wine involved) because it was illegal for workers to work for some hours in the afternoon. It was all very vague, but exceedingly annoying.

Can you imagine if you couldn't get a super-sized number eleven at 4pm on a Tuesday? I KNOW!

I learned how to say, "j'voudrais un sandwich avec fromage et jabon, seevooplay" quickly. (of course, there could be some Spanish in there)..

dog and pony this..