Saturday, January 21, 2006

Morally Stunted

I know. I shouldn't generalize about the entire Left just because so many demented and dysfunctional souls find solace on their web sites, and I'm not. But ... really....

The results of a poll at one of the biggest blogs in the nation go way beyond just differences in political ideology. They're symptomatic of an absolute, unvarnished, 100% pure moral retardedness. Anyone who would say that they despise George Bush more than Osama bin Laden is a moral thalidomide baby whose moral faculties simply never developed.

Doing it Right

Evangelical Christians often cast common sense to the winds in their attempts to convert non-Christians to the faith. Jews, for example, often find attempts to win them to Christ alternately amusing and insulting. One Jew, Mark Oppenheimer, has written a fine piece at Slate on how some Christians are beginning to realize the counter-productiveness of efforts that fail to convey respect for the person whose soul the Christian wishes to win. It's an article every evangelical should read.

It's understandable that Christians, given what we believe about the truth of the gospel, the afterlife, and eternity, should feel an urgency to win to Christ people we care about. Yet, it seems to me that the most honorable path to accomplishing this is to act in such a way that the other individual feels that they're respected and cared about as a person and not that they're simply an object or a statistic.

This might mean that the best way to share one's faith in many circumstances is to refrain from talking about it unless the other person shows a genuine interest. If we're living the way we should, and if we're the sort of man or woman to whom others feel comfortable talking about intimate matters, then they'll be much more likely to ask and be much more open to what we say. If they don't inquire, I don't think that forcing the conversation onto religious matters does anything to make them receptive and will often simply alienate them. I think it was St. Francis who said that we should preach the gospel without ceasing and sometimes we should even use words. There's much wisdom in that.

Hitchens' Optimism

Christopher Hitchens is optimistic about Iraq. His article at Slate concludes with this:

If all goes even reasonably well, and if a combination of elections and prosperity is enough to draw more mainstream Sunnis into politics and away from Baathist nostalgia, it will have been proved that Bin-Ladenism can be taken on-and openly defeated-in a major Middle Eastern country. And not just defeated but discredited. Humiliated. Is there anyone who does not think that this is a historic prize worth having? Worth fighting for, in fact?

I leave that thought with all those who have been advocating withdrawal, or taking a fatalistic attitude to an overrated "insurgency," or who hold the absurd belief that al-Qaida would have left Iraq alone if only we had done the same. If their advice had been followed, and the coalition had pulled out in 2004, the Zarqawi forces would have tried to take the credit, and their boast might even have been believed. This would have been a calamity of a global and epochal order. Now, however difficult and messy the rest of the transition, that at least will never be the outcome.

Reading the whole thing is worth the time.

Hillary Clinton said Monday that "This administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country." The wife of the man who slept and dithered while al Qaeda plotted should be more careful about her asseverations of incompetence, but that notwithstanding, she couldn't be more wrong. If things continue on their present course in Iraq, the economy remains strong, and Bush is able to reform either social security or immigration policy, he will probably be viewed by historians as one of the most accomplished presidents since Roosevelt, and perhaps since Lincoln.

He has liberated 50 million people from oppression, successfully (so far) prevented a terrorist attack on our soil, presided over an economic recovery in very difficult circumstances (inheriting a recession, 9/11, and several very costly natural disasters), appointed two (and perhaps yet a third) extremely competent jurists to the Supreme Court, has done more for the status of minorities and women in his cabinet than anyone before him, and has done all this in the face of constant vitriolic calumnies from his political opponents, without ever returning their fire in kind. He has shown far more grace, virtue and class than have the carping, vitriolic, ankle-biters who, out of sheer hatred, attack every move he has made.

Few presidents have accomplished even a fraction of what George Bush has achieved, especially in the face of such relentless and withering opposition, and surely, pace Mrs. Clinton, his predecessor did not.