Two different worlds

This is a reprint of an original article I wrote for American Thinker:

As the family renegade, the one who turned right politically, I often find myself trying to argue against such forceful conclusory statements as “Bush is an idiot” or “the War in Iraq is a disaster.” (In other words, the declarative versions of the “questions” posed at the BoobTube Republican debates on CNN.)

I foolishly attempt to counter those statements with facts. For the “Bush is an idiot” assertion, I might respond with basics such as “his Yale grades were better than Kerry’s” or “he has a Harvard MBA.” Or perhaps I’ll try for a bit more sophistication along the lines of “Sarkozy and Merkel like him.” I might even do a little fighting back along the lines of “You’re being regionalist by picking on his Southern pronunciation. Shame on you!”

Things get more challenging when I hear “the War in Iraq is a disaster.” I usually start by trying to get my fellow conversationalist to define what a success would look like. This is always a fruitless task, since the person who holds the view that the War is a disaster can’t conceive of any victory short of traveling back in time and undoing the decision to go to war in the first place. If I can tug the person back to reality, I face a new issue, one that arises because of what I call the “source problem.”

You have to remember that I’m having these discussions with people who read only the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, Newsweek and The New Republic, and who listen only to NPR and ABC. In other words, despite the ostensible multiplicity of sites they look to for their news, all of these sites share the same view. Indeed, they share precisely the same view my family holds: “Bush is an idiot” and “the War is a disaster.” They live in what Thomas Lifson calls “The Blue Bubble.”

I, on the other hand, don’t limit myself to these sources. Sure, I read or listen to them, but where I differ from my family is that I don’t stop with them. In addition to alternately skimming or deep reading these sources, I read and listen to a whole host of other sources, with radically different viewpoints, both from the mainstream media and, often, from each other.

On the internet, daily, I read American Thinker, Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, Captain’s Quarters, National Review Online, FrontPage Magazine, Townhall, WSJ’s Opinion Journal, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, Stratfor reports, and Spiegel Online. And no, I don’t read every article, in every issue, every day, because if I did I would be unable to carry on any other tasks of daily living. But I check out the top stories every day, at minimum acquainting myself with the main news and opinion.

My auditory treats are the Dennis Prager show, the Hugh Hewitt show and the Michael Medved show. Indeed, I have these guys to thank for the fact that I’m in better shape now than I’ve been in for years. I’ve never been a big fan of exercise, which bores me. Having discovered, however, that I can listen to their shows on my iPod, I’m chafing at the bit to get out there and burn some calories. I look pretty good now so – Thanks, guys! But I digress….

One of the things I’ve discovered listening to and reading these truly diverse news sources is that I’ve come to trust the conservative sources more than I ever did the Mainstream Media sources. It’s not just that, as a neocon, I agree with their values or the conclusions they reach running facts through their values filter.

My response is a bit more practical than ideological: Going to my conservative sources, I never feel I’m being toyed with or tricked. Each of the conservative sources is absolutely honest about its biases. If the source supports an idea or person holding that idea, it says so and explains why. Conversely, if it disagrees with an idea or a person holding that idea, the source acknowledges openly that disagreement, and then works to support its position.

This honesty stands in stark contrast to the traditional media’s obsessively repeated contention that it is objectively presenting news without allowing any bias to slip in. Once upon a time, I accepted that statement as true (as my family still does), but I’ve been burned too many times now to believe that there’s even a scintilla of truth to that statement.

If you doubt my opinion about the mainstream media’s subjectivity, a good source of information about the media’s myriad objectivity failures is Media Mythbusters, a wiki with which I am affiliated. Media Mythbusters collects data about the more serious media-propounded myths, none of which can be attributed to mere human error, and many of which appear to be animated by media members’ hostility to President Bush, to the Iraq War and (if the media is British) to Israel. Alternatively, if you’d like to see an example of someone who never exactly lies, but who oozes Bush hostility in every ostensible neutral “news” report, just pick up any AP report that Jennifer Loven writes. (You can learn a little more about Loven here.)

Members of the conservative media are also more generous with presenting the underlying source material on which they rely or with which they disagree, something that is especially apparent on the radio. For example, on NPR, Robert Siegel will do an eight minute report that begins with his opining magisterially on a subject, and then continues with his editing in carefully selected snippets of interviews with witnesses, actors and experts. Given the limited time format, it’s inevitable of course that the greater part of any given interview is left on the cutting room floor, with Siegel and his staff picking whatever money lines suit the story they wish to present.

On conservative talk radio, however, the hosts will frequently play half hour long clips, not just of people they support, but of people with whose opinion they differ. Likewise, when these hosts have guests on, the guests are not only people with whom the hosts agree, but people with whom they disagree. And in the latter case, you can comfortably settle in and listen to a free-wheeling, although never mean-spirited, discussion with both host and guest called upon to defend their positions vigorously.

But how can I say all this to my family, people who would just as soon go to a NASCAR race as listen to talk radio or read a conservative blog or newspaper? To them, despite the fact that I read two or three times as much as they do, from a much broader variety of sources, I am less well informed, not more well informed than they are. The New York Times and its ilk are the sum total of their intellectual universe, shaping their attitudes, and limiting the facts that they are willing to accept as true.

So when my family says to me that the War in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster, we stare at each other over an unbridgeable factual chasm. To me, Iraq is a vast tapestry, with some regions doing better than others, with violence still existent but shifting in nature and purpose, with its infrastructure shaky but on an upward trajectory, and with a political body that is being rather unfairly pushed to transition instantly from a violent dictatorship in a religiously fractured land into a cheery, ecumenical American style democracy. That’s a tall order, and one that I think the Iraqis are handling much better than anybody had reason to expect.

To my family, however, the War has always been Bush’s folly, instigated by his lies, and irretrievably hampered by his massive ineptitude. Nothing I say matters, not just because they disagree with my opinions, but because they disagree with my facts – facts that have never made it to the Times‘ august pages.

And so we really don’t have many political arguments in my family. This is a good thing, I guess, because it advances family serenity. Nevertheless, I find it extremely sad that, because they live in a finite factual universe, my family cannot even contemplate the possibility that there are facts out there from reliable sources that might change their ideas.

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Comments

  1. Danny Lemieux says

    Perfect! Loved your article – it was also a pleasure to re-read your famous “crypto-conservative” article. It captures much the dichotomy of my own experiences in the business world and the world of academia, even here in fly-over land. When I am around academics, I know to keep my mouth shut. When I am around my business colleagues, I can open my mouth…but only after carefully vetting their own political mindsets.

    However, I often can’t resist trying to introduce a “dissonance” into their world view to try to stimulate thought, even if it occurs well after the conversation has taken place. I like to think that once many of these Liberal/Lefties retreat from the field of battle, some will ruminate about what was said on a more dispassionate, neutral ground. Ideological dams usually break after the accumulation of many small cracks to the foundation. The advantage that many of us neo-cons that post with you share is that we we’ve all experienced our own dam-breaking moments, such as you so eloquently described in your own case.

    For example, I recall one Liberal/Lefty who remarked that Castro’s economic problems were all the fault of the U.S. embargo. I recall well her expression when I asked, “isn’t Cuba free to trade with all the rest of the world?” It created a small crack in her ideological foundation.

    I like to think that passionate Liberal/Lefties, like the recently departed Ophi, will recall what was discussed on your blog when confronted with a Liberal/Left fallacy or “disconnect” in the future. I hope that something is triggered in them to recognize that something in the Liberal/Left narrative “isn’t quite right” and prompt them to dig deeper. In Ophi’s case, it might be a closer investigation of Naziism or the credibility of UN “scientific” documents (I wonder how he reacted to the recent news of how the UN deliberate distorted its AIDS statistics to achieve a political end).

    As far as the Bush hatred is concerned, I think that for many the day will come when will pause to reflect and be ashamed of how they degraded themselves with their own venom. I am currently finishing Doris Kearn’s Goodwin EXCELLENT “Team of Rivals”, that narrates the history of Abe Lincoln’s relationship with his political rivals and cabinet members.

    What is clear is that Lincoln and the Republicans had to confront a very virulent, racist, hateful pro-South, anti-war Democrat Party in the North (the Copperheads), many of whose leaders came from the same Illinois, Ohio and Indiana that nurtured many of the original leaders of the Republican party (the Illinois Copperheads are still very much alive – you can reference Durbin, Obama and most of Illinois’ congressional delegation here! ) The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    The inevitable outcome of the northern Copperheads was that, when the course of the Civil War changed after Gettysburg, the Copperhead Democrats were discredited as a party (except in the Deep South) for the next half century. Obviously, nobody wanted to associate themselves with the party that not only lost the ideological battle against slavery, exhibited either outright hatred or callous disregard for “brown people” (as the Left today exhibits toward the victims of Baathist and Islamic repression) but actively supported our enemies in the process. Victory has many fathers.

    I believe that this is why so many Democrats are terrified of America’s success in Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other anti-Islamist battles undertaken by the Bush administration. Should we win, all these Copperheads will have to live with themselves for having supported our enemies and lost. They will go into denial.

    In sum, Book, I believe that the day will come when you can hang your head high for having stood by your beliefs in hostile territory and your Marin Country detractors will learn to keep their own lips zipped as they hid their BushHitler paraphernalia and wax amnesic about where they stood ideologically and politically during the first decade of the 21st Century. Since I also believe that we Conservatives still understood old value such as dignity and class, we will also refrain from rubbing their faces in it…in the name of family harmony and to the benefit of the commonweal.

    That doesn’t mean that we will forget, however.

  2. sherlock says

    Bookworm, your article at American Thinker hit “home” for me. Unfortunately I do not even have to go to family gatherings to encounter the selective information source phenomenon. My spouse reads the local newspaper (one of the most biased in the nation), listens to NPR fitfully on the clock radio in the morning, and occasionally watches “60 Minutes”. I do all of those things, plus read numerous blogs. Neither of us listens to AM radio or Fox.
    Simply put, my spouse believes that all conservatives are knuckledraggers, all bloggers are halfwits, and if it is not in the paper, it is not truth.
    This makes discussing topics like the recent Shorenstein study on media bias rather difficult, since for some inexplicable reason the local paper failed to mention a single word about it.
    But this hardly matters, since as you may have guesed, my spouse doe not do the discussion thing well on any topic. In typical liberal fashion, emotion is much more relevant than facts, and it seems like anything less than saintlike perfection on the part of America is complete justification for anyone else to commit any evil, and blame it on us.
    So consider yourself lucky that your spouse is a co-resident of your world, and it is only your other relatives that you have to be careful what you say with.

  3. Allen L. says

    Another great piece, as a lifelong conservative it’s always refreshing to see how people got to that point, and also refresh their thinking through due diligence.

    I also re-read the “confessions” piece, and it struck me that revealing one’s political thoughts may be a cause for ostracization from one’s community. I can’t quite imagine anything more intolerant.

    In my part of California, the very red part, a neighbor put up a Kerry/Edwards sign. It was quite surprising actually, we’re really red. But, no one would ever think of ostracizing them, it just wouldn’t be done. In fact anyone who tried would be looked down upon.

    This is a difference I have always noticed between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives are actually more tolerant of opposing views than liberals are. Yet we are accused of being the intolerant side.

  4. Danny Lemieux says

    However, Allen, don’t you at least consider your neighbor’s sense of good judgment to be somewhat suspect? :-)

    Sherlock…please answer this: how does your spouse rationalize how these idiot knuckle-dragging conservative Presidents (Reagan, Bush) get so much done and keep handing the Lefties their own hats? I am just curious…I never get a good answer to that one. My Lefty relatives just mumble incoherently whenever I bring that up.

  5. Al says

    Murtha has returned from Iraq and stated that the Surge is working. This should turn chinks in the Libs armor into breaches easily traversable by an Abrams tank. It will not, of course, because that would mean that Bush was (gasp) right. Murtha’s behavior is simply to save his political backside, and his standing as a Marine vet at his local VFW, both of which will not occur. Reid and Pelosi will jettison him like a spent JATO because they are still wedded to the income stream oozing from Moveon.org and George Soros. BW’s delineation of where to find the truth will help the voters to make an “informed decision” as Sy Sims would say. To paraphrase that great NYC clothier’s advertisement, “An educated voter is democracy’s best protector.”
    So a new battle cry could be, LET’S KEEP BLOGGING WITH THE TRUTH!!!
    You know, the 2008 election could really be interesting.
    Al

  6. Tap says

    Great article. I truly believe those on the left engage in massive projectionism and denial. Of course, this offends the heck out of them and can’t be said to their face. At least not with pleasant results.

    But really, all of the things they accuse the right of : insularity, closed minds, intolerance, hatred, etc. …I’m sorry, but these things are just absolutely prevalent on the left. And they must somehow know it. What else would explain the absolute refusal to expose themselves to other facts and opinions?

  7. elc says

    Brilliant essay, Bookworm. Brilliant. Good comments, too. I can think of five or six people off the top of my head to whom I would love to send this. Whenever I try to engage them in person—in conversation, in other words—my mind is so boggled by the illogic, wishful thinking, denial, projection, and just plain lack of mental health, that I am rendered tongue-tied. You’ve said it beautifully. Thanks for your blog.

    Liz

  8. says

    Things get more challenging when I hear “the War in Iraq is a disaster.” I usually start by trying to get my fellow conversationalist to define what a success would look like.

    I start with philosophy, Book.

    This is always a fruitless task

    That is why I start with philosophy, Book.

    You have to remember that I’m having these discussions with people who read only the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, Newsweek and The New Republic, and who listen only to NPR and ABC.

    Philosophy trumps sources since epistemology determines how a person processes information and data into knowledge. Sources just provide the raw data, which can be massaged either way through one epistemological system or another.

    all of these sites share the same view.

    That is because all of those sites copy Reuters and AP’s stories.

    I, on the other hand, don’t limit myself to these sources.

    Even if you did limit yourself to such sources, your analysis abilities would be able to pick out inconsistencies like when it was reported that violence would trump elections in 2005. Such things add up.

    I’ve never been a big fan of exercise, which bores me.

    You got to set up like a chart, to see your personal growth. Say 20 pushups in 2 minutes at maximum speed to 40 pushups in 2 minutes to… the sky’s the limit.

    I’m chafing at the bit to get out there and burn some calories.

    Doesn’t being around kids burn calories more than exercise?

    Once upon a time, I accepted that statement as true (as my family still does), but I’ve been burned too many times now to believe that there’s even a scintilla of truth to that statement.

    Obviously personal experience and psychological shock is what convinces people to change their minds. Thus, you won’t get your family to change their minds until you change their philosophical beliefs. All the facts in the world cannot compete with a solid foundation in philosophy.

    If you doubt my opinion about the mainstream media’s subjectivity

    I doubt the media’s competency and sanity.

    But how can I say all this to my family, people who would just as soon go to a NASCAR race as listen to talk radio or read a conservative blog or newspaper?

    Rome had Nascar races too. They just called their cars chariots. They called their teams “Blue”, “Green”, “White”, and um the fourth color.

    The New York Times and its ilk are the sum total of their intellectual universe, shaping their attitudes, and limiting the facts that they are willing to accept as true.

    Their philosophy is what limits their ability to accept what is true, not the New York Times. The NYT would not have graduated from any disinformation or brain washing degree program, that I can guarantee you. A high school degree, granted, but not any further.

    So when my family says to me that the War in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster, we stare at each other over an unbridgeable factual chasm.

    An epistemological as well as a metaphysical chasm.

    Nevertheless, I find it extremely sad that, because they live in a finite factual universe

    They’ll come around if America loses, soon enough. Course, that wouldn’t be optimum either.

    my family cannot even contemplate the possibility that there are facts out there from reliable sources that might change their ideas.

    First they have to change their theory of knowledge (epistemology) before they can make use of any new “ideas” or “facts”. After all, cognitive dissonance is a very useful self-defense mechanism against ideas that threaten your identity matrix. Such things as contradictory beliefs and facts that disprove things that you have believed all your life, does indeed threaten your identity matrix.

    For classical liberals, admitting that they were wrong is no big deal. Many things can be justified, forgiven, or over-looked because of a top priority placed on human progress and liberty. For non-classical liberals, their priorities are different. For classical liberals, war is a very high priority because liberty is made or broken through war. For non-classical liberals, Book, war is very low on their priority of things to learn about.

    The US military is as good as it is because most of its members are believers in classical liberalism. They study the same Greek Classics that liberal arts education once taught and now no longer does. This belief in humanity and in human progress, fuels the desire to compete, win, and improve. If a person is only concerned about himself or his politics and career, then how fast will he improve in warcraft? Not very fast at all. It would be better for his career and politics simply to avoid warfare. Too risky.

  9. says

    Yet we are accused of being the intolerant side.

    That is because conservatives are only tolerant because they are intolerant. The military for example only acquires esprit de corps because it discriminates. If you don’t meet the standards, then off you go.

    The difference between a Leftist parasitic model of survival and a cooperative hunting model of survival is that Leftist parasitism is not based upon merit while cooperative hunting is.

    Cooperative hunters are intolerant of parasites, and that is simply very very intolerant, and also a bad thing, to the Left.

    The Left sees hitching a ride as cooperating and getting along and such. That is why they don’t find Israel co-existing with Palestine much of a problem. Or rather, they don’t find it problematical to order Israel to co-exist with Palestine, since parasitism is the natural condition that the Left expects out of human progress.

    Obviously just as the Left sees tolerating the intolerable as a good thing, so do cooperative hunters expect that intolerable things such as parasites be eradicated.

  10. says

    So consider yourself lucky that your spouse is a co-resident of your world, and it is only your other relatives that you have to be careful what you say with.

    Bookworm’s spouse is the one that reads the New York Times and sent back Firefly after watching one episode ;) So Book probably has a lot in common with you, sherlock.

  11. Mike Devx says

    “Yet we are accused of being the intolerant side.”

    That is simpy because we are judgmental against the ‘pc’ mindset.
    But of course, they (the lefties) are not being intolerant of Bush! Heavens, no!

    And we tend to appeal to facts, not emotion. Whereas the lefties, usually, as others have pointed out above, argue emotionally. If they FEEL it more, then it must be more true!

  12. says

    I tend to think the emotional issue comes from attaching political beliefs to your identity matrix. After all, if someone committed an injustice against you or someone else, you would become angry. Christians have a doctrine of “hate the sin, love the sinner”. This allows them to diassociate being angry at actions from being angry at individuals. The Left has never been able to be this discriminating.

    Like many zealots, they believe that something is right just because that they were taught that way. If you challenge them, they get angry, because deep inside they know that their self-esteem is built upon a house of cards. It is wrong for other people to challenge your self-identity, thus it makes you angry since it is a threat.

    Conservatives get angry as well, when the Left portrays how conservatives think and act. The core difference is that Leftism does not place the benefit of humanity and human beings on the top of their list of priorities. This means that whatever a Leftist believes or does, he is not ultimately doing any good. Because conservatives care about how people end up, they can focus their anger, sense of fear, and etc into productive uses. The Left does not have this option. Except politics, of course, like MoveOn. But it just feeds upon the cycle again. More politics=stronger identification with political beliefs=more angry when challenged.

    This all goes back to cosmopolitanism. The ability to look beyond your little hometown and realize that alien cultures are really really alien. Not only that, but to learn to think from another cultural and philosophical background entirely. This flexibility allows for true understanding and wisdom about the human condition. From that knowledge brings the policies and actions that will help humans survive, prosper, and grow. Since the Left doesn’t really care whether humanity grows or dies, the Left is not much interested in cosmopolitanism. Different priorities are at work.

    This all hindges upon whether my analysis of the Left’s priorities are correct. They would probably disagree and complain about my challenge being wrong. The fact that the Left would rather tout WMDs than humanitarian reasons for going into Iraq but not the civilian casualties that occured once in Iraq, the fact that the Left kicks out the military from universities, and the fact that the Left wishes to weaken and destroy the US military, speaks differently. For the Left to be right and me to be right, the US military would itself have to be against human progress, prosperity, and growth. If people are willing to believe that, then certainly they would think I was wrong as well.

    Things in the real world tend to have connections and causal chains to other aspects of the real world. Inferences nd deductions can be made. A problem that cannot be worked through, can be worked over or under or around.

    I have said at Neo’s blog that the Left values international sanction, writ, and law above the safety of human beings. This also is caused by the anti-gun issue as well. It is two different worlds because in one world, human beings are individuals with the right to what they have earned. In the other world, human beings are just cogs in the great machine, hosts for an endless parade of parasites.

  13. Lulu says

    Sherlock,
    Bookworm is in the same boat as you. She actually has written several postings about her husband’s liberal political opinions.

    It takes courage to take in new information that completely alters your life and to discard long held presumptions. I think for many of us, we may unwittingly have thought things that didn’t exactly tow the party line, but it took the cataclysmic events of 9-11 t o push us over to the other side. For some, this is too threatening to identity and worldview. They don’t even want to hear the other point of view, so they devalue it. I know how the people she describes think, since for many years I was just like them.

    My experience has been that when they get exposed to information too uncomfortable, that challenges their safe viewpoints too much, they quickly demand to not receive more articles or talk about the subjects anymore. In my case I spoke about other viewpoints with two women I know well, a journalist for the LA Times and a political science professor at a prominent ivy league university. Both were people, given their career choices, I thought really were obligated to read and hear things that might broaden their perceptions. I was so disappointed when neither were willing or apparently able to do so. Fittingly, the political scientist put a moratorium on political conversations and the journalist asked that a friend not e-mail her any more articles. No kidding.

    Still, I do think we have to keep trying to expose people to these challenges. A book analyzing media bias is a good place to start for anyone. I also agree with Bookworm that Dennis Prager is a great source of insight.

    Luckily for me, my husband and I both made our political transformations at the same time. Maybe we should show people this article?

  14. SGT Dave says

    Sherlock,
    My wife was of similar political outlook to yours back when we re-united (very long story there). After accepting that I was staying in the Guard to retirement for financial reasons, she started looking at some of the work I did. Her perspective started to change as I brought home unclassified things that I needed to work on. The final straw was my deployment to Baghdad in ’05. While she had started to embrace that the media was not telling the whole truth, the fact that I was there and experiencing something 180 degrees away from the reporting fully opened her eyes. We had agreed to disagree on politics for years; she voted Bush in 04 because Kerry frightened her. She graduated from the University of Missouri in Communications (a bastion of leftist thought nearly equal to Berkeley) and had intended to enter the Journalism school. She was the one who told my mother to stop watching the damn news and worrying about me in Baghdad. Prayers were accepted, but there was no need for hysteria.
    I was in Zaferania, Mashtal, Al-Saddiyah, Yarmouk, and the other mahallahs of Baghdad on a day-in, day-out basis for over 300 days. My photos of the city and my team are still a point of wonder for my family; I have a nice shot of my guys buying ice cream for some kids on a day the local newspaper wrote about “a bloody day for the US in Iraq”. I lost friends, yes; the most grievous loss of our tour was that of SPC Leonid Milkin, whose family was killed while he served. Leo was one of my team. His family died here, in the US, while he was away serving. That fear still haunts me every night when I go to sleep and every time I have an unexpected knock on my door.
    The lack of objectivity is appalling; as a military intelligence professional I have to put my opinions aside and give the best information possible to my “consumer” – the commander on the ground. There is no room for spin and no shame in NSTR – “nothing significant to report” if I don’t know the answer. It is unfortunate that we can’t teach the media proper methodology and objectivity; even if we wanted to, most of us would not for fear of losing our clearances or being used to further some other, political goal.
    The media often wonders why the military is generally hostile; they should know if they do any research. We’ve been bitten too many times. And yet, we still gingerly reach out our hand and do embeds and protect journalists. There are lots of “other cheek”s that have been turned.
    The tide turns slowly, one person at a time. Be patient, Bookworm; your disagreement will find a root at some point – often the least expected. If nothing else, point them at Google News and Drudge for headlines and links. It will show them that there are more stories than make their newspaper. They may not change, but it is not your fault for having opened your eyes.
    And as a side note – the athiest streak in the left is one of the reasons they have a hard time admitting failure, misjudgement, and mistakes. The concept of forgiveness is a Judeo-Christian one and not part of the Marxist/Socialist background. They only see right and wrong – they cannot see redemption (once wrong, always wrong) or grace (St. Paul, anyone?). It is what is driving them apart and why they think the “big tent” Republicans will fail. Whichever Republican gets the nomination will get the backing of the party – not because we fall in line like good robots, but rather because we can forgive their faults and hope they will learn from their mistakes.
    Strange, then, that the “Party of the Rich” has become the “Party of Hope” and the “Party of the Common Man” has become something more resembling the “People’s Party” of several failed communist states.
    And the band, in this case the unseeing media, played on.
    SGT Dave
    “Better to die once and well, standing strong in the light of day than flee and die the thousand deaths of a coward moving from shadow to shadow.”

  15. sherlock says

    Surprised to hear about Bookworm’s spouse – I have to believe her old man must have a little more tolerance than my spouse, because if I blogged, I woul dliterally have to hide it or live in a constant state of anger.

    Danny asked: “…how does your spouse rationalize how these idiot knuckle-dragging conservative Presidents… get so much done and keep handing the Lefties their own hats?”

    Um, Danny, she doesn’t HAVE to rationalize it, because the MSM does it for her: the reign of Bubba I was the pinnacle of American achievement, the Republicans stole every election they ever won anyway, and Jimmy Carter is the greatest humanitarian ever! It’s all there in black and white every damn day…

  16. Allen L. says

    Danny, Y, and Dave,

    BTW Y what does that signify? I believe the common thread is a voluntary cooperation as opposed to mandated cooperation. I have a clear example. Where I live we have a water co-op for the 16 properties, we are self-taxing for well replacement purposes, and upgrades. Though the debates may be somewhat fractious over the reserve levels it is understood that the co-op aspect of the system is beneficial to all.

  17. Lulu says

    Sherlock,
    It sounds frustrating. Of course couples can love each other and have much in common apart from politics, including many values, child-rearing, and so on. Just like many couples of different faiths agree to never discuss religion, the topic stays taboo, but never is resolved.
    Were you always Conservative or did you change while your wife stayed the same? I can understand your fear of rocking the boat, yet also your need to be heard and to have your views respected and heard by your life partner.

  18. SGT Dave says

    Danny,
    I wish I could remember where I read it; I think it came from an old sci-fi. Possibly Harlan Ellison.
    I love the quote, it has been floating in my head for 25+ years.
    SGT Dave
    “Better to die once and well, standing strong in the light of day than flee and die the thousand deaths of a coward moving from shadow to shadow.”

  19. says

    An exceptional article. On a related note, a few months ago I read an exceptional disection of the modern left in TNR – an exceptional publication but for the Iraq debacle. I cannot find the site at the moment, but at any rate, one of main points was that, for much of the left today, the value of intellectual honesty has been largely replaced by the value of partisan gain. In other words, ‘what and why’ has been replaced by ‘what works.’ It is neo-liberalism. And it is a philosphy that we see being played out in every arena where the left holds dominance – academia, MSM and our elected Democrats being the most visible.

    Thus, instead of an argument at the start of the surge on its merits and what the comparative costs of losing Iraq might be in relation to the cost of succeeding, what we got from the left was the simulative meme of “military force cannot win in Iraq, so let’s bring home the troops now.’ And it is why evrey outlet of neo-liberal thought sounds the same one-sided note.

    And I do wonder where it will all lead. Neo-liberalism is by definition divorced from reality. Eventually, therefore, it will be punished when reality bites. But when and after how much damage?

  20. says

    And I do wonder where it will all lead. Neo-liberalism is by definition divorced from reality. Eventually, therefore, it will be punished when reality bites. But when and after how much damage?

    The parasite is only punished when the host dies. In this instance, the host is America.

    You can use surgery to try and go in to extract the parasite, but the parasite is linked directly to the nervous and respiratory systems of the host. So if you used any kind of anti-sedition or anti-domestic insurgency tactics, the parasite will kill the host in reaction.

  21. Friend of USA says

    Bookworm,

    For what it is worth,
    It is as if you were describing my family… and… most
    of my friends as well…

    I only know two persons who can -sometimes- see
    the liberal bias of the MSM and who have – part of the time – what could be called conservative view points.

    My mother and my best friend.

    But like me they tend to keep quiet about it…

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