Wednesday, January 29, 2003

The left becoming grumpy and tedious 

I had an unpleasant moment yesterday when I was chatting with friends at the breakfast place and one of them lashed out at Bush's pro-war stance. The usual tripe of "cleaning up daddy's mess'; "oil"; "no threat to the US". There's a case to be made against the war as I have said before, a principled case. But this fellow was so angry that his reason clouded over and he actually said that 9/11 wasn't as big a casus belli as we made it out to be because not all the people who died in the WTC were Americans. The man's a senior citizen and I still carry that part of my upbringing that makes it impossible to argue strenuously with elders, but my friend and I were sufficiently shocked and appalled that we got up and left. We chatted last night about what we could have said, and I think we agreed that words would change nothing.

The elder at Fraters Libertas links to this article by Paul Scott in the (red)StarTribune (and yes, I know, I violated my policy to stop linking to this transplanted Izvestiya -- so sue me) which displays some understanding of the problem. Yes, it is vindictive. These are the same people responsible for the golden, dollar-festooned calf and Rumsfeld-as-Jew in the picture Dave posted over the weekend. It's heartening to see that some on the Left can see the problem though they may be powerless to stop it.

And while I'm at it, I also read Lew Rockwell today after a student linked it in an email for me. Lew runs the Mises Institute, and I am an admirer of Mises. But I do not think Mises would even recognize what Rockwell is doing now. Many of my libertarian friends display the same reflexiveness to government as the left shows to Republicans doing anything beyond issuing their last breath. We libertarians need to stop this reflexiveness too.

We have a choice: to attack or not to attack. What does the world look like if you leave Saddam in power? What does it look like if the US removes him (and why on earth does it matter if it's a coalition that includes France?) Which principles are sacrificed and which are affirmed by either course of action? Is it possible to discuss this, or has the debate become a museum of statues, each seeking the right pose to get the largest crowd around them?

UPDATE: Kathy Kersten's in the paper as well. (Jeez, two from the RedStar in the same day??? A fresh wind blowing down 4th? Naaaaah.)
We can't let peace activists' moral pose fool us. The truth is this: It's easy to be "for peace" if that means marching, making banners, grooving to Bob Marley's music and hoping that NBC will catch your street theater. Easy, in short, if you don't have to craft workable alternatives to the policies you criticize, or answer to the public if you're proven wrong.
Rastafari! Raze-iraq-for-I!