Saturday, April 25, 2009

Re: Freedom Is Slavery

Sarah responded to the post Freedom is Slavery with the following clever takeoff from George Orwell's 1984. Those who've read 1984 - and everyone should - will appreciate Sarah's parody of the Janet Napolitano Department of Homeland Security:

This is ungood thoughtcrime. It has many oldthink thinks. This is ungood because it is unnice to the government. The government needs to crimestop itself against the doubleplusungood right wing extremists who unbellyfeel the government's think. So the government needs to tell everyone that these people are doubleplusungood so that everyone will goodthink. Blackwhite. Minitrue needs to use the right words when telling this to the people so the people will goodthink. By using "extremist" the people goodthink.

They see facism or communism or people with guns who are doubleplusungood and unnice and unhappy. These people are scary and make everyone want the government to crimestop them. These people unagree with the government. They must be crimestopped. If we all unagreed with the government there would be no government. And if these people were allowed to speak more people might unagree and unbelly with the government and less people would blackwhite. It is better if the government says what to think instead of extremists so everyone thinks what to think and upsubs.

The extremists want to hurt us and the government. The government is doubleplusgood for letting everyone think what to think about these ungood people.

On a different note, Newspeak is supposed to be the only language whose vocabulary gets smaller every year. Though I don't think that is true. I don't exactly have any facts, but it certainly seems like the English language is taking a similar downward spiral. I read books written a hundred years ago and the vocabulary is rich and diverse. Then I use some of those words and no one knows what the heck I am talking about. They ask what shelf it's on, I say the penultimate. No clue what I'm talking about. I say my mother is parsimonious and get blank stares. I throw up my hands and say this is egregious. No idea. There is a dearth of words being circulated throughtout the English language.

I was learning how to write articles for newspapers or magazines a few years ago, and the lecturer said to write like I was writing for a fourth grade audience. I thought this was intolerable. Fourth graders weren't going to be reading this, adults were! If the newspapers and magazines dumb everything down, what hope is there for anyone? Maybe if the newspapers and magazines started employing a plethora of vocabulary things would change. Until then, THIS IS EGREGIOUS!!!!!!

Very well put, Sarah.


Pandora's Box

So, will the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Bush administration officials for using "torture" against terrorist detainees in the wake of 9/11? I'll be surprised if they do. Right now I imagine President Obama is taking phone calls from everyone from former President Bill Clinton to current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asking him what the heck he thinks he's doing. Doesn't he [Obama] realize that any inquiry into Bush administration misdeeds would consume a whole host of former and current Democrat public officials including the aforementioned duo?

Why, after all, stop with alleged mistreatment of detainees by the Bush people? In the 1990's the Clinton administration initiated a program that resulted in far worse treatment to prisoners than anything the CIA did under Bush. In the 90's the Clinton people, in the spirit of outsourcing, practiced what's called extraordinary rendition in which a detainee was sent to countries much less punctilious about human rights than are we. In these hellholes the detainee was "questioned" by methods a description of which would revolt any decent human being.

Then in the wake of 9/11 the Bush CIA briefed several of the ranking congresspersons involved with Intelligence oversight, which included Democrats, which included Nancy Pelosi, on the details of the methods they were using to extract information from captured terrorists. According to the Washington Post nary a one raised any substantive objections. They were all tacitly, if not overtly, on board with the program.

So, if we're going to go after Dick Cheney, George Tenant, Condi Rice, and Don Rumsfeld let's include anyone guilty of breaking the law in order to insure your children's safety. Let's also go after Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Sandy Berger, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Tom Daschle, Dick Gephart and a host of other Democrats who were complicit in the use of torture to gain information to save us from another 9/11. If President Obama wants to send a message that torture will not be tolerated in his administration he'll have to haul all of the aforementioned before whatever tribunals the Democrats set up for the purpose. If he doesn't then the only message he's sending is that the only torture that won't be tolerated is that instigated by Republicans.

I don't think the President or congressional Democrats are really interested in pursuing the matter to the point where top Democrats are being indicted. The purpose of pressing an investigation, after all, was probably just to get Dick Cheney's scalp, and perhaps that of a few others of the hated Republicans. If Democratic scalps are going to also be forfeit then, well, let's just forget the whole matter and let bygones be bygones.

When it finally dawns on the Democrats what a Pandora's Box they've opened, I think they'll quickly turn their attention to other matters and let the torture business die from lack of oxygen. If I'm right then we can expect lots of talk in the weeks ahead about looking forward, not backward, etc., etc.



Over the last two weeks two conservative speakers were invited to appear on the University of North Carolina campus at Chapel Hill. At both events the totalitarian enemies of the free exchange of ideas tried to shut the lectures down. The first week they were successful, the second they weren't. A report by Jay Schalin at The American Thinker explains why there was a difference in outcomes. Along the way Schalin gives us a glimpse of the ugly underside of the tactics employed by the American Left.

One thing that's plain, whatever else can be said about Lefties they're not lovers of freedom and other principles upon which this country was founded. People who do not let other points of view be heard are implicitly acknowledging that they have no case and that the only way they can hope to prevail is by stifling and suppressing the opposition. They can't hope to win a debate so they must prevent people from hearing the other side.

This is precisely the rationale of the Darwinist lobby whose mission it is to keep Intelligent Design out of schools so that students cannot hear the case against naturalistic evolution. It's also a tactic used by some on the Right who should know better. Conservative talk radio hosts like Sean Hannity are consistently rude to callers who disagree with them and the better the caller's argument the more Hannity interrupts in order to prevent the listening audience from hearing a case that might make sense to them.

No one, however, is less tolerant of contrary views, especially in public fora, as is the Left. Not even Sean Hannity would deny students the right to listen to a presentation by someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum. The Left's systematic suppression of views contrary to their own is not only rude, loutish and unjust, it's a tacit admission of intellectual impotence and impoverishment.