Friday, February 25, 2005

Merchants of Despair - The New Democrats Under Dean

Yes. It's Victor again. He is saying what I have been thinking every since the 2000 Presidential Election. It's also why you can't ever have a reasonable debate or discuss other possibilites that are real world with the lefty crowd that seems to dominate the Democrats these days. Dean is determined to turn all of the Democratic party into the types that Victor describes perfectly in this article. Read on. To see the original article, click on the title of this post.

Merchants of Despair
Sort of for the war, sort of...
By: Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

Much of the recent domestic critique of American efforts in the Middle East has long roots in our own past — and little to do with the historic developments on the ground in Iraq

1. "It's America's fault."Some on the hard left sought to cite our support for Israel or general "American imperialism" in the Middle East as culpable for bin Laden's wrath on September 11. Past American efforts to save Muslims in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan counted for little. Even less thanks were earned by billions of dollars given to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The Islamofascist vision of a Dark Age world run by unelected imams — where women were in seclusion, homosexuals were killed, Jews were terrorized, Christians were routed, and freedom was squelched — registered little, even though such visions were by definition at war with all that Western liberalism stands for.
This flawed idea that autocrats supposedly hate democracy more for what it does rather than for what it represents is not new. On the eve of World War II isolationists on the right insisted that America had treated Germany unfairly after World War I and wrongly sided with British imperialism in its efforts to rub in their past defeat. "International Jewry" was blamed for poisoning the good will between the two otherwise friendly countries by demanding punitive measures from a victimized Germany. Likewise, poor Japan was supposedly unfairly cut off from American ore and petroleum, and hemmed in by provocative Anglo Americans.
By the late 1940s things had changed, and now it was the turn of the old Left, which blamed "fascists" for ruining the hallowed American-Soviet wartime alliance by "isolating" and "surrounding" the Russians with hostile bases and allies. The same was supposedly true of China: We were lectured ad nauseam by idealists and "China hands" that Mao "really" wanted to cultivate American friendship, but was spurned by our right-wing ideologues — as if there were nothing of the absolutism and innate thuggery in him that would soon account for 50 million or more murdered and starved.
Ditto the animosity from dictators like Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro. The Left assured us instead that both were actually neo-Jeffersonians whose olive branches were crushed by Cold Warriors, and who then — but only then — went on to plan their own gulags in Vietnam and Cuba.
2. "Americans are weak."Before we went into Afghanistan, we were hectored that the country's fierce people, colonial history, rugged terrain, hostile neighbors, foreign religion, and shattered infrastructure made victory unlikely. We also forget now how the Left warned us of terrible casualties and millions of refugees before the Iraq war, and then went dormant until the insurgents emerged. At that point it resurfaced to assure that Iraq was lost and precipitate withdrawal our only hope, only to grow quiet again after the recent Iraqi election — a cycle that followed about the same 20-month timetable of military victory to voting in Afghanistan.
Now a new geopolitical litany has arisen: The reserves are "shattered"; North Korea, Syria, and Iran are untouchable while we are "bogged down" in the Sunni Triangle; a schedule for withdrawal from Iraq needs to be spelled out; there is no real American-trained Iraqi army; the entire Arab world hates us; blah, blah, blah...
In 1917, "a million men over there" was considered preposterous for a Potemkin American Expeditionary Force; by late 1918 it was chasing Germany out of Belgium. Charles Lindbergh returned from an obsequious visitation with Goering to warn us that the Luftwaffe was unstoppable. Four years later it was in shambles as four-engine American bombers reduced the Third Reich to ashes.
Japanese Zeroes, supposed proof of comparative American backwardness in 1941-2, were the easy targets of "Turkey Shoots" by 1944 as American fighters blew them out of the skies. Sputnik "proved" how far we were behind the socialist workhorse in Russia, even as we easily went to the moon first a little over a decade later. The history of the American military and economy in the 20th century is one of being habitually underestimated, even as the United States defeated Prussian imperialism, German Nazism, Italian fascism, Japanese militarism, and Stalinist Communism.
Nor in our more recent peacetime were we buried by stagflation, Jimmy Carter's "malaise," Japan, Inc., and all the other supposed bogeymen that were prophesized to overwhelm the institutional strength of the American state, its free-enterprise system, and the highly innovative and individualistic nature of the American people.
3. "They are supermen." When suicide murderers dominated the news of the Intifada, followed by the car bombers and beheaders of the Sunni Triangle, many in the West despaired that there was no thwarting such fanatics. Perhaps they simply believed more in their cause than we did in ours. How can you stop someone who kills to die rather than merely dying to kill?
That Ariel Sharon in two years defeated the Intifada by decapitating the Hamas leadership, starting the fence, announcing withdrawal from Gaza, and humiliating Arafat was forgotten. In the same manner few now write or think about how the United States military went into the heart of darkness in Fallujah and simply destroyed or routed the insurgents of that fundamentalist stronghold in less than two weeks, an historic operation that ensured a successful turnout on election day and an eventual takeover by an elected Iraqi government.
So this paradox of exaggerating the strength of our weaker enemies is likewise an American trademark. Spiked-helmeted Prussians were considered vicious pros who would make short work of doughboy hicks who had trained with brooms and sticks. Indeed, the German imperial army of World War I may have been made up of the most formidable foot soldiers of any age. Still, it was destroyed in less than four years by supposedly decadent and corrupt liberal democracies.
The Gestapo was the vanguard of a new Aryan super-race, pitiless and proud in its martial superiority. How could soda-jockeys of the Depression ever fight something like the Waffen SS with poor equipment, little training, and a happy-go-lucky attitude rather than an engrained death wish? Rather easily as it turned out, as the Allies not only defeated Nazism but literally annihilated it in about five years. Kamikazes were also felt to be otherworldly in their eerie death cult — who, after all, in the United States would take off to ram his Corsair or Hellcat into a Japanese ship? No matter — the U.S. Navy, Marines, and Army Air Corps were not impressed, and rather quickly destroyed not merely the death pilots but the very culture that launched them.
4. "We are alone."George Bush was said to have alienated the world, as if our friends in Eastern Europe, Britain, Australia, and a billion in India did not matter. Yet the same was said in 1941 when Latin America, Asia, and Africa were in thrall to the Axis. Neutrals like Spain, Argentina, and Turkey wanted little to do with a disarmed United States that had unwisely found itself in a two-front war with the world's most formidable military powers.
By the 1950s we seemed to have defeated Germany and Japan only to have subsequently "lost" China and Eastern Europe once more. Much of Asia and Latin America deified the mass-murdering Stalin and Mao while deriding elected American presidents. The Richard Clarks and Joe Wilsons of that age lectured about a paranoid Eisenhower administration, clumsy CIA work, and the general hopelessness of ever defeating global Communism, whose spores sprouted almost everywhere in the form of Nasserism, Pan-Arabism, Baathism, Castroism, and various "national liberationist" movements.
5. Why?Why do Americans do all this to themselves? In part, the nature of an open society is constant self-critique, especially at times of national elections. Our successes at creating an affluent and free citizenry also only raise the bar ever higher as we sense we are closer to heaven on earth — and with a little more perfection could walk more like gods than crawl as mere men.
There are also still others among us who are impatient with the give and take of a consensual society. They harbor a secret admiration for the single-mindedness of the zealot in pursuit of a utopian cause — hence the occasional crazy applause given by some Americans to the beheading "Minutemen" of the Sunni Triangle or the "brave" "combat teams" who killed 3,000 on September 11.
Finally, the intellectual class that we often read and hear from is increasingly divorced from much of what makes America work, especially the sort of folk who join the military. They have little appreciation that the U.S. Marine Corps is far more deadly than Baathist diehards or Taliban remnants — or that a fleet of American bombers with GPS bombs can do more damage in a few seconds than most of the suicide bombers of the Middle East could do in a year.
It is wise to cite and publicize our errors — and there have been many in this war. Humility and circumspection are military assets as well. And we should not deprecate the danger of our enemies, who are cruel and ingenious. Moreover, we should never confuse the sharp dissent of the well-meaning critic with disloyalty to the cause.
But nor should we fall into pessimism, when in less than four years we have destroyed the two worst regimes in the Middle East, scattered al Qaeda, avoided another promised 9/11 at home, and sent shock waves of democracy throughout the Arab world — so far at an aggregate cost of less than what was incurred on the first day of this unprovoked war. Car bombs are bad news, but in the shadows is the real story: The terrorists are losing, and radical reform, the likes of which millions have never seen, is right on the horizon. So this American gloominess is not new. Yet, if the past is any guide, our present lack of optimism in this struggle presages its ultimate success.
A final prediction: By the end of this year, formerly critical liberal pundits, backsliding conservative columnists, once-fiery politicians, Arab "moderates," ex-statesmen and generals emeriti, smug stand-up comedians, recently strident Euros — perhaps even Hillary herself — will quietly come to a consensus that what we are witnessing from Afghanistan and the West Bank to Iraq and beyond, with its growing tremors in Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, and the Gulf, is a moral awakening, a radical break with an ugly past that threatens a corrupt, entrenched, and autocratic elite and is just the sort of thing that they were sort of for, sort of all along — sort of...
— Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the
Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Diversitoids - Are you one?

I know all of you just love the term "diversity". But what does it mean to be a Diversitoid? John Derbyshire explains. Warning! Humor and opinion ahead. Not for the faint hearted Diversitoid. Read on. To see the original article, click on the title of this post.

Down Among the Diversitoids
February 22, 2005, 2:54 p.m.
John Derbyshire
National Review Online

Derb and the pod people.
I was to be on a panel discussion at
the AAAS annual meeting in Washington DC. I mis-remembered the time, though, thinking the event was at 11 A.M., when in fact it was at noon, so I had an hour to kill. Wandering around the conference center idly, looking for something interesting, I came across a meeting hall with an easel outside saying GENDER AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY IN ACADEMIC SCIENCE. Thinking this might be right up my street, I peered inside. About 30 people were listening to a woman lecturer. The people had their backs to me and were clustered at the far end of the room, facing the speaker. I went in and sat in one of the empty rows at the back.

The woman, whose name I think was Leslie, was 40ish, with very slightly African-American coloring and appearance, and gray hair frizzed out in a large obtuse isosceles triangle like the girl in the Dilbert strip. She was speaking about some court case in Kentucky. A woman college teacher had been denied tenure and sued her employer. Apparently she had lost the case. Leslie was analyzing why. "The biggest difficulty is proving intentional discrimination..." (Especially, I imagine, when it hasn't occurred.) Leslie's entire address was addled with diversity-speak clichés: "respecting differences"..."inclusivity"..."fostering a diverse environment"..."truth to power"...
I lost interest after a minute or so and began to scrutinize the audience. Around half of them were men. These men, who were all white, divided into two subgroups. The larger subgroup consisted of older guys in jackets and ties. The smaller was younger and more obviously campus-resident: beards, ponytails, natural-fiber shirts and sweaters, sneakers or peculiar-shaped shoes, no ties of course. The women were mostly middle-aged or older. Two of them were black — much blacker than Leslie. Several (though neither black woman) had the cropped, truculent look of the modern lesbian. I don't think any of them was wearing makeup.
Leslie finished with her analysis of the court case, which had apparently come up in the context of an audience question. She announced the end of questions and introduced the next speaker.
This was a pleasant-looking fiftyish white woman named JoAnn Moody. Ms. Moody is a big name in the world of diversity, I soon gathered. She has written
a book on the subject. This book is highly thought of by diversicrats, to judge from the Amazon reviews.
Ms. Moody was obviously an old hand at the Diversity Seminar game. First she had us all (I had decided to join in here) move the chairs round into a horseshoe arrangement. Then she distributed a printed, single-sheet "scenario" and instructed us to read it.
The "scenario" was a brief, imaginary conversation between three people, all "European-American males," comprising the search committee looking to hire "a director of finance for a large public university in Virginia." The three committee members were a Progressive, a Reactionary, and a neutral Chairman. That was not what Ms. Moody's scenario called them, but that was plainly what was meant to be conveyed by their words. Two candidates for the finance position are discussed. One is Tom, another "European-American male" with a Harvard MBA. The other is Mary, a single black woman with an MBA from "a second-tier school."
Reactionary of course wants to hire the Harvard guy: "He's got to be sound; he's just that type of guy... He reminds me so much of Mervin... Now there was a finance director to hold up as a standard..." Progressive wants to give some special consideration to Mary: "I'd like to make sure that our interview takes at least two hours... It'll take us some time to really feel comfortable with her..." Reactionary disagrees. He thinks all candidates should get precisely equal treatment. "I am gender-blind and color-blind. All I care about is excellence. And we'll know it when we see it..." He then wonders aloud whether Mary, who is single, would be comfortable in the "family-oriented" town.
After we'd all read this little tale — it covered two sides of a standard quarto sheet — Ms. Moody led a discussion. What was going on here? She asked. "Why, it's the Good Ol' Boy network," offered one of the black women, to nods of agreement. "They just want to hire someone like them." Similar comments followed. Ms. Moody played the neutral reflector, skillfully guiding the discussion from one diversi-cliché to the next, occasionally prompting us with the approved word or phrase from the diversi-liturgy. "So," she murmured, after a few exchanges, "we could say that a European-American male from a prestigious school comes with extra points, as it were. Right?" They all nodded. A couple of them jotted down the words in notebooks. Extra points. As it were.
Sitting round in the horseshoe like that, I got a closer look at my fellow participants. The women were, of course, the most enthusiastic. The whole affair, in fact, was running on estrogen. The general atmosphere was that peculiar mix of insistent niceness and angry menace that women are so good at. We are frail, sweet, and sorely oppressed, and you had better be nice to us... OTHERWISE WE WILL SMASH YOU TO PIECES. There was much talk of "sensitivity" and "understanding"; words like "efficiency," "measurement," "standards," came up only as pejoratives. The idea that excellence could be quantified was greeted with unanimous scorn and laughter. A person foolish enough to let slip the word "objectivity" was quickly hooted down by the others. There is no such thing as objectivity! I made a quiet, uncollectable bet with myself that I was the only person in the room with a degree in anything more mathematically rigorous than sociology.
Underneath all the soothing talk about "inclusiveness" and "sensitivity" I began to spot some darker waters flowing. Someone raised Reactionary's comment about being "gender-blind and color-blind." This occasioned a great burst of laughter. "That's what they always say!" "Of course it is!" I am perfectly certain I was the only person in the room thinking the thought: What if it's true? But of course, to these people, it cannot ever be true. As one of the black women said: "Nobody who's lived in the United States can be gender-blind and color-blind." What about me, who has lived only half my life here? Best not ask. One of the fundamental axioms of the diversity ideology is the innate selfishness, cruelty, and dishonesty of white males everywhere. Useless to dispute it. Of course that's what you would say! You're one of them!
The men were more interesting studies than the women. The older guys with jackets and ties looked cowed and didn't say much. The younger ones, the ones with earth shoes and collarless natural-fiber shirts, seemed almost as keen on diversity as the women. What brings a man, particularly a "European-American male," to an affair like this? I wondered. In the case of the older, PC-whipped-looking guys, the answer was probably just the determination to find out where all the "diversity" landmines are planted, so they could make it to retirement and pension in one piece. Good luck to them. But what about these younger ones? They really seemed to believe this stuff. What was driving them? The hope of making some easy pickups from among liberated no-commitment women? I looked round again at the women. No, not that, definitely couldn't be that.
I suppose the most charitable explanation would be misguided patriotism. This is, after all, a diverse nation, and will remain so. Those are facts. We do all have to get along somehow, and it is possible these young male diversicrats believe that by mouthing this vapid cant and submitting to these petty humiliations, they are helping to preserve and improve the nation — a sort of sacrificial masochism. Somehow I couldn't make myself believe this. Masochism, sure, but patriotic? Just looking at those men, it was hard to see any of them flying a Stars and Stripes from his mountain bike. What, then? Just a cynical desire to hold on to a well-paid and undemanding job? No, they didn't seem at all cynical. Very few people are as good at acting as these men would have had to be to be practicing cynicism in that room. They were sincere. They believed the diversity stuff, including all the stuff about how rotten and wicked and malicious they, we, "European-American males," are inside. They really believed it all. They loved Big Sister. I had fallen among pod people.
There was, it seemed to me, something horribly ignoble about these young men. To yield not just meekly but enthusiastically to the stripping away of their privileges, real and imagined; to acquiesce so whole-heartedly in their dispossession, seemed so...unmanly. Not that they looked particularly unmanly in themselves. One of them was large and muscular — though it was the cosmetic muscularity of the gym, not anything intended for actual — ugh! — physical work. (I hasten to add that there were no obvious indications that he might belong to a behavioral minority group.) So why was he jeering along with the others at the mention of "objectivity"? Why did he hoot along with the rest at "gender-blind and color-blind"?
I began to long for
Bertrans de Born to ride in on his destrier and cut a swathe through us with his broadsword, howling blood, war, and mayhem. I began to long for anyone or anything, in fact, that might bring with it some spirit, some courage, some damn-your-eyes contrariness, some masculine insolence, some testosterone. All right, we "European-American males" had it all our own way for too long. All right, we beat up on blacks and shut women out of our clubs. It was wrong, wrong. We are guilty, guilty. All right, the world of tomorrow, in fact of today, is a woman's world. All right, all right, all right: but... couldn't we at least go down fighting?
For a wild moment I had the impulse to stand up and say something outrageous in the style of
Ali G . "'Scuse me, Missus Muddy. Wot wid all dese colored folk and lezzies yous wantin' to give all da good jobs to, isn't you afraid dat yous white race maybe might die out?" I didn't have the nerve, of course. In any case, I was dressed all wrong: business suit, white shirt (good honest polyester!) and tie.
Besides, part of me had been sucked into the thing. I am more than usually susceptible to
Stockholm Syndrome at the best of times. A diversity seminar is the worst kind of place for a person with that weakness. The diversity ideology is, as Peter Wood pointed out in his fine book on the subject (which I reviewed here) "a closed loop of thought and experience. Once one enters this loop and accepts the main propositions of diversity, it is difficult to see out of it."
Diversity is, in short, a cult; and I started to feel that if I hung out in that room much longer, I should be in need of some serious deprogramming. In any case, it was time for my own event. I snuck out quietly, leaving the pod people all ululating in happy unison at someone's mention of Larry Summers.