December 19, 2004

Cities in Amber

If a place is frozen in time, how many years have to pass before it can fairly be called reactionary?

I lived in the Midwest in the mid-1990s. (Iowa City, in case you're interested. Nice town. Not what most people on the coasts imagine when they think of Iowa. Kurt Vonnegut lived, wrote, and taught there for a while.)

Several of my left-liberal friends liked to make fun of Muncie, Indiana (a city which I have to admit I never visited) because it was supposedly stuck in the 50s. Maybe what they said was true, and maybe it wasn't. I don't know because, like I said, I never went there. But if it really was stuck in the 50s at the laughably late date of the mid-1990s I think it would qualify as reactionary. Four decades out of date is long enough. It's longer than I've been alive.

Dr. Frank is reading The Voice of Guns, a book about the Symbionese Liberation Army, published in 1977. (I actually know one of the members of the SLA because I inadvertantly hired him.)

Frank cites an excerpt that describes the decade-old time warp that Berkeley was back in the 1970s. He says, and I agree with him, that Berkeley still hasn't changed. (I have been to Berkeley recently, so I think I can say this.)
Berkeley is the ghost town of the Movement, the morgue of the New Left. It is a city dominated by the huge University of California Berkeley campus; a college town uniquely caught up in its own peculiar atmosphere in which swift, turbulent currents of the sixties still swirl, settling well outside the American mainstream. Once the premier capital of the counterculture, Berkeley is still mecca for those seeking to discover or re-create the angry, hopeful anarchism that surged across the nation in the youthful rebellion of the last decade...

Here the Revolution never failed, it merely fell into limbo... Among themselves, they created a time warp, an enchanted-village effect in which much of what constitutes time seems frozen in 1969.

I think it's time we stop thinking of Berkeley as progressive and designate it reactionary instead. It's the Muncie, Indiana (assuming the old Muncie really was the old Muncie) of our time. Four decades out of date is long enough. It's longer than I've been alive.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 19, 2004 10:37 PM

Comments

I'm not sure the problem is the Left becoming "reactionary" -- because a bigger problem is that the Left has been in denial about their policies.

In general, the Left has certain goals: peace, love (not war), understanding between people, openess, tolerance. Good goals -- great goals, actually.

But then they support specific political policies, in order to achieve these, and other, goals. The first denial of the Left is that ALL political policies depend on force -- police enforcing the "law" as called for by the policy. One of the opposities of "peace" is force, and the threat of force.

Whenever any Leftist policy is enacted, there are good results and bad results. The Left almost always denies any bad results, and thus argues from an implied Unreal Perfection.

(yada yada, more TG boring anti-Left policy result denial...) 33 years ago Kerry advocated Peace (now) to get the US out of Vietnam. The Johnson and Nixon gov'ts were doing a lousy job at fighting commies. The US left, and the commies murdered millions in SE Asian Killing Fields.

The Left has been, and IS, in denial of their responsibility for these murders, the expected bad result of the US leaving Vietnam (losing).

Such Leftist policies as "accept genocide and apologize afterward", and "no human rights to fetal humans" are the current PC ideas, and from many views are not very Liberal.

Reactionary: Characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative

I admit that NARAL's extreme opposition to ending partial birth abortions is "extremely conservative". Like property owners who become more protective of their property investment, the Left is certainly opposing any change to the long-standing Leftist domination of PC public discourse.

And I consider myself a "Conservative", because I want society to Progress towards the Liberal goal extending Human Rights to fetal humans, as well as exporting democracy to the Mid East.

Policies are more complex to discuss than labels.
The denials of the Left are worse than their reactionism; the Left today is sadly humorous.

(I was in South Gate High School, in LA, when Patty Hearst joined the SLA. Strange times.)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at December 20, 2004 01:21 AM

"Whenever any Leftist policy is enacted, there are good results and bad results. The Left almost always denies any bad results, and thus argues from an implied Unreal Perfection."

That's a fairly common political approach, not exclusive to the left.

Posted by: sam at December 20, 2004 03:16 AM

Muncie is on the internet!

http://www.cityofmuncie.com/

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 20, 2004 03:31 AM

Berkeley has become sterilized by Drummond Pike inbreeding.

Posted by: syn at December 20, 2004 05:14 AM

Sam, you lie. Don't you, really?
Bush has always said how hard Iraq is going to be.

Show me an issue you think the Right has avoided discussion of bad results; that you can't find some conservatives saying the bad results are bad.
(Like book burning?)

A dismissal of this critique is likely an attempt to continue supporting a Left doing it. Like the Swifties -- where is the Left PC Press asking for clarity from Kerry, yes or no, stay in Vietnam or leave and accept genocide?
(Reps don't like to advertize it was Nixon who wimped out. Not advertizing is a little different than denial, though related.)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at December 20, 2004 05:35 AM

MJT,

Thanks for linking to your Mike Bortin stuff - incredibly interesting stuff.

At least you had no idea who the guy was.

Northwestern School of Law doesn't have that excuse.

The Weathermen Underground

Posted by: SoCalJustice at December 20, 2004 05:37 AM

peace, love (not war), understanding between people, openess, tolerance.

I think you are confusing left with hippydom. Different philosophies, I think. The former is revolutionary, the latter falls in the traditional American stream of religious utopianism. My grandad went off to preach in the 1890's, fortified by a faith in God and a quitar. I was always struck by the resemblence to the hippie movement of the 60's, although my grandad was also a tough SOB who came off a farm in Ohio and worked his way through high school.

The Left, on the other hand, has never been marked by tolerance. Indeed, human sacrifice and persecution of the Devil's avatars in human form seem more their speed.

Posted by: chuck at December 20, 2004 06:26 AM

Tom Grey,
First of all, what's this bit about Iraq? I didn't even mention Iraq, let alone what Bush said about how hard it would be.

Second, who said I support this sort of behaviour? I don't disagree that this is a problem that the left has to solve. Denial of the facts in favour of the party line is a major problem here. I just don't agree with the claim that this behaviour is exclusive to one side of the political spectrum.

Posted by: sam at December 20, 2004 07:10 AM

Michael,

What the hell are you doing? We've finally come to realize that stupid useless labels like liberal and conservative, Left and Right, etc. are generalities at best and useless tripe at worst. Now, you want to bring in more labels?

What makes you think that you can see clearly enough to define reaction or progression?

Is it truly progressive to change your nations attitude toward freedom of expression? Progressives stick protesters in cages? After a terrible tragedy, do Progressives write wide reaching legislation, drastically changing the legal rights of its citizens (of the sort that would never have been passed otherwise)? Are Progressives the ones who want hold on to the old view of marriage, clinging to the poorly translated words of a deity with Stone Age origins?

Is that Progressive?

Progressive and Reactionary, just more useless labels that are no more than blessings or maledictions for the left or right (depending on where the speaker is aligned).

Labels don't work. There are no two people that are the same... not even close. There are no two sunsets, dinners, walks on the beach, guns, cars, babies, births, deaths, sacrifices or politicans that are the same. Labeling an entire group as 'reactionary' or 'progressive' is pathetic stereotyping at best and blatent villifying at worst.

Some, but not all liberal/left political views are reactionary. Some, but not all Conservative/Right political views are reactionary.

However, I doubt that would drive hits to the blog ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 20, 2004 07:40 AM

One of the main things of course which fixed Berkeley in time has been rent control. A whole generation can't afford to give up their ever more absurdly low rents. They pinned themselves down like a display case of exotic butterflies.

Posted by: ZF at December 20, 2004 08:50 AM

I wonder where the ridiculous expression, ‘criminal mastermind’ came from. Most criminals that I’ve (inadvertently) met fit your description of Bortin.

When I first met him I thought he was nuts. Maybe he was retarded. I had never met such an inarticulate person. He was like the guy at the front of the bus, yammering at the bus driver and ignored by everyone else. Every word was mumbled, and every word was slurred. A phone conversation was impossible. He had to be interviewed in person.

Con men are usually a few IQ points above average, but the rest probably turn to crime because it’s the only job they can get; or they choose to work with a material that they can relate to despite their severe intellectual limitations, like wood or revolutionary Marxism.

Posted by: mary at December 20, 2004 09:26 AM

Oh come now, as our own dear President proves, being intelligent and articulate aren't necessarily prerequestes (sorry if I spell it correctly it gets marked as 'questionable) for each other.

Or maybe they are....

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 20, 2004 09:31 AM

ZF: perhaps rent-controlled Berkeley could be elevated to the National Registry of Historic Places, designated as a Living History Museum.

Posted by: Zacek at December 20, 2004 09:53 AM

Tosk – Lots of employed, respectable people (Bush, computer scientists, etc) are inarticulate. So?

Movies, TV and especially the news media like to pretend that criminals and ‘revolutionaries’ are somehow smarter than the rest of us. In real life, that’s just not the case. They don’t turn to crime (or revolutionary Marxism) to ‘beat the system’, they turn to crime because they’re too incompetent to cope with the most rudimentary demands of the system.

Are you saying that you believe criminals are, as the media likes to say ‘masterminds’, despite all evidence to the contrary? If so, why?

Posted by: mary at December 20, 2004 10:01 AM

"..like wood or revolutionary Marxism."

Heh.

Reminds me (for some reason) of the great oxymorons of our time:
"Jumbo Shrimp"
"Military Intelligence"
"Feminist Scholarship"

Posted by: Eric Blair at December 20, 2004 10:35 AM

mary,

I agree that plenty of respectable people are inarticulate. I was simplyt pointing out that the inarticulate manner of Bortin doesn't mean that he was unintelligent.

As for crime... it depends quite a bit on the criminal and the crime. While I would consider Frank Abagnale to be a criminal mastermind, I think he's probably the exception to the rule. When it comes to revolutionaries, I don't know that they necessarily have a higher IQ, but many seem to have new ideas. Consider, Jefferson, Franklin and their group.

Most criminals are criminals because they're the dregs of society, with that I agree. Some revolutionaries seem to be such because they are motivated by selfish purpose (making life easy for themselves). Others, though appear to become revolutionaries because they see flaws in the 'demands of the system'.

I don't know what media you see calling criminals masterminds, but I recommend finding new media sources.

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 20, 2004 10:47 AM

Add San Francisco to the list too (I lived in Berkeley in the mid-90s and currently live in SF). Texas is more progressive than the Bay Area.

Posted by: sf_resident at December 20, 2004 10:54 AM

I assumed that Marxist hacks became 'revolutionaries' because that's the only way they could get power. No sane person would vote for them.

Unless you know someone who would vote for Bortin?

It's funny to see the photo of Bortin and his fellow revolutionaries. They look like they have the collective IQ of a mouse.

It's true, con men like Abagnale are smarter than average. And the current Islamist 'militants', like the Nazi militants before them, seem to turn to terrorism because it's the fastest way for them to gain power. That doesn't excuse CNN's tendency to call all sorts of dimwit criminals 'masterminds'.

Posted by: mary at December 20, 2004 11:02 AM

The first denial of the Left is that ALL political policies depend on force -- police enforcing the "law" as called for by the policy.

And what the Right always, always denies is that all political policies also depend on legitimacy. We don't obey laws just because we're afraid that we will be punished for not obeying them. We also obey laws because we believe that we have a moral obligation to obey good laws, and the vast majority of our laws are basically good.

Remember, it's Mao that said "Power comes from the barrel of a gun." The Founding Fathers had a somewhat different notion of the origin of power.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 20, 2004 11:05 AM

Excellent point, MJT. The Bay Area in general has lost itself in an ideological time warp.
You know, regions that are predominately leftist tend to have fewer children. But those children don't always grow up to be good little leftists, as their parents had hoped. Many join the Marines. Imagine the motherly and fatherly shame!

Posted by: Conrad at December 20, 2004 11:43 AM

i'm an oakland resident who avoids berkeley at all costs. it's the distillation of every lefty-hippie stereotype imaginable. frozen, yes, but they've also adopted every bit of p.c. bullshit to come down the pike : militant pedestrians, militant anti-smokers, militant bicyclists, militant re-cyclers ... although it's also one of the dirtiest, most traffic- clogged towns in the bay area. yeah, there's rent control, but the renters are largely students who come and go. most of the grey-hair ponytailed, tie-dye wearing, birkenstocked residents with the grateful dead playing on their ipods are well-to-do homeowners in this outrageously high-priced housing market. you can get along there relatively unaccosted as long as you toe the p.c. line and wear your bush=hitler button. but do or say the 'wrong' thing and all the wrath of the righteously superior 'progressives' will come raining down upon you. it's a nice place if you like that kind of thing... haha ... in fact, they have an annual 'how berkeley can you be' parade where you can revel in the stereotypes without a whiff of irony or shame. .... no thanks.

Posted by: el polacko at December 20, 2004 12:39 PM

e.p.

Have you seen zombie's coverage:

How Berkeley Can You Be 2004

warning: some photos not safe for work (or really anywhere else, for that matter).

Posted by: SoCalJustice at December 20, 2004 12:45 PM

uhh .. thanks socaljustice .. i think.. haha.
looks like i got the "no shame" part right anyway. i'll admit to being a bit of a perv but, apparently, there's just some people that i DON'T want to see naked.

Posted by: el polacko at December 20, 2004 01:12 PM

SoCal - very funny. I conclude that its quite possible to suffer from - what would I call it? Not exactly narcissism - just a little too much self-acceptance, shall we say. And do we ultimately have Dr. Spock to blame?

Posted by: Caroline at December 20, 2004 01:14 PM

Read this somewhere and it seems to apply:

"If your sense of self is rooted in who you were in your youth, what happens when you are no longer young?"

Posted by: too many steves at December 20, 2004 01:18 PM

Michael,

"I think it's time we stop thinking of Berkeley as progressive and designate it reactionary instead."

Very true.

And, if you replaced "Berkeley" with "the Left" in that sentence, you would have my nomination for the political understatement of 2004.

Some people here seem to be confused about the terms "Left", "Right", "conservative", and "liberal" ( intentional confustion maybe ? ).

I have always understood "Leftists" to be people who are collectivists, statists, redistributionists, and social engineers. "Rightists" -as I understand the term - are people who are generally against statism. In matters of economics, it is pretty clear what Leftist and Rightist positions are. "Conservatives" are against change, period. "Liberals" are what Virgina Postrel would probably call "dynamists". Liberals therefore favor a free economy, and a minmal state.

Correct me if I am wrong, but as I see it, Vladimir Putin is a conservative reactionary. Berkeley is very conservative, and reactionary. GW Bush is a liberal internationalist. Koffi Annan is a conservative Leftist.

The base of today's Democrat Party is not liberal. It is Leftist, and conservative.

Posted by: freeguy at December 20, 2004 01:59 PM

At least some Berkeley residents have adapted to the times. I was buying a chandelier with a friend of mine in a Berkeley store last year. The owner was a 50-something hippie-type: denim-dressed, greying hair in a pony tail, etc. A couple came in to browse while we were at the counter making our purchase and he opined to us that "those two motherfuckers" came in every once in a while but never bought anything and that "they should die".
So there's hope, no?

Posted by: EssEm at December 20, 2004 02:00 PM

Tosk...

'Is it truly progressive to change your nations attitude toward freedom of expression?'

Hmm, seems to me there's not much to whine about here. The liberal equivalent of that nutty Alabama legislator is delivering the news on 3 networks every night.

'Progressives stick protesters in cages?'

Abolutely, when said protestors consistently show a pattern of disrupting the first amendment rights of others.

'After a terrible tragedy, do Progressives write wide reaching legislation, drastically changing the legal rights of its citizens (of the sort that would never have been passed otherwise)?'

How has the patriot Act affected you personally?

'Are Progressives the ones who want hold on to the old view of marriage, clinging to the poorly translated words of a deity with Stone Age origins?'

Can you really blame the traditional hetero community for not wanting those that view it with hatred and contempt to forcefully alter its institutions? One would think civil unions would be an acceptable compromise for everyone.

Posted by: Raymond at December 20, 2004 02:17 PM

thanks for the good chuckle, essem, great story. one of the dirty little secrets of life in berkeley has long been the cutthroat, stab-in-the-back politics of securing prime street vendor space on telegraph ave. the raw capitalist spirit is alive, but when you've set up your card table and what you're selling is love beads and tarot readings, .. well.. it kind of cancels it out for me .. ha.

Posted by: el polacko at December 20, 2004 02:21 PM

I think el palacko has some real insights here. I truly believe that the psychology of many leftists cannot be understood without considering the enormous impact of Eastern philosophy, Buddhist thought especially - as it impacted the west in the 1960's (especially in California). The basic Buddhist notions that "I am the other", "all is one", "the present moment is the only reality" - or whatever - actually explains a hell of a lot. The problem occurs when it all remains in the intellectual realm and it bumps into everyday EGO, as the latter operates in 99.99% of unenlightened humanity. Then you wind up with the superficial trappings of supposed enlightenment (notions of love, pacifism and so forth) but paired with the mundane manifestations of EGO. Hence - hippies selling love beads on the street but fighting over vendor space.

Posted by: Caroline at December 20, 2004 03:30 PM

Or you wind up with Madonna of all people becoming the spokesperson for the Kaballah.....

Posted by: Caroline at December 20, 2004 03:32 PM

"the present moment is the only reality":

Note to the left: You need to take this basic Eastern insight to heart. This means that reality actually moves on. Otherwise you have folks like MJT quite accurately labeling you "reactionaries". And unfortunately then you really are like 99.99% of humans driven by EGO - which means by definition - living in the past...

Posted by: Caroline at December 20, 2004 03:49 PM

Um, not to burst the leftist balloon-man here, but socialism exist long before the 1960s, was very much based on materialism and not on eastern mysticism, and many, many leftists are not pacifists.

Maybe you're thinking of hippies, not leftists.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2004 03:50 PM

Say, Michael...

Why do you like to pick on Berkeley so much? I mean, I pretty much agree with you in what you're saying and all but, why the hate fetish with that one particular place?

You live in Portland, a semi-big liberal city somewhat close to the university. People living in NYC don't pick on Ithaca half as much as you do and they're twice as close! So what gives? I'm not complaining, here, so much as I am just wondering what Berkeley ever did to you to make you so damn pissed at them all the time. Maybe you should seek professional help for this. ;)

Posted by: Grant McEntire at December 20, 2004 05:00 PM

Grant,

I was reading Dr Frank, who lives in Berkeley and writes about it a lot, and thought I had something to add to his latest post. Also, Berkeley is a somewhat convenient stand-in for lots of other places. My neighborhood is just like it only less famous.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 20, 2004 05:12 PM

MJT,
It's a small quibble, but wouldn't reactionary imply retrogression? If Berkely is frozen in time, it wouldn't be so much reactioanry as stuck in place..or maybe i have th definitions wrong.

And sometimes reactionary can be a good thing, like when three-piece suits and bowties coem back into fashion, or retro 70s disco music.....well I guess that's more a matter of opinion coming from a guy with Manilowe and Village People CDs. Of course I imagine you like the ressurection of older styles of architecture taht pre-date the ugliness of post WWII housing...now that stuff is an atrocity and it got even worse with 70s interiro decorating.

Posted by: Green Baron at December 20, 2004 05:16 PM

Exactly right. The Left, while still radical, is now completely reactionary in its anti-Americanism.

Deposing dictators? Bah!
Elections? They're rigged!
Women being educated? Who cares!

They've abandoned all their principles--if America was involved, they're against it: Pure Reactionism.

And the home of the Free Speech Movement is now the home of the anti-Free Speech Movement.

Posted by: Noel at December 20, 2004 05:27 PM

They've abandoned all their principles--if America was involved, they're against it: Pure Reactionism.

No, what we are against is having our ideas used first as cynical fig leaves, then as toilet paper by conservatives. The idea that George W. Bush gives a rat's ass about women voting in Afghanistan is beyond absurd.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 20, 2004 06:02 PM

Kimmitt: The idea that George W. Bush gives a rat's ass about women voting in Afghanistan is beyond absurd.

If Laura Bush wore a burkha I'd say you were right on the money.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 20, 2004 06:11 PM

"The idea that George W. Bush gives a rat's ass about women voting in Afghanistan is beyond absurd."

Even if we grant that, Kimmit, he got it done. W has done more for womens' lib worldwide than any other president in history. But it's always about the intentions with the Left, and never the outcomes. (And their view of the intentions, at that!)

Posted by: Cybrludite at December 20, 2004 06:21 PM

Kimmet, evidence backing up your cookie-cutter character assassination, please. Or is your statement based entirely upon strereotypes and politically correct bigotry?

Posted by: Mark Poling at December 20, 2004 06:27 PM

Double-plus-ungood - everything you've posted leads me to believe that you're 20-something. If so - then you are conflating the influence of 30's era marxism with the influence of 60's era eastern (mainly Buddhist) philosophy on what we now identify as leftists. I don't believe that marxists were very interested in drugs for the purposes of "expansion of consciousness" for example - while baby boomer leftists most certainly were. I simply don't think their current political ideology can be understood without accounting for that influence.

Posted by: Caroline at December 20, 2004 06:54 PM

Double-plus-ungood - everything you've posted leads me to believe that you're 20-something.

Why you silver-tongued flatterer you. No, considerably older.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2004 07:53 PM

I think, truth be told, there's a little bit of truth in both what Kimmitt and Caroline are saying. Conservatives have been snatching up liberal ideas and employing liberal rhetoric, ad nauseum, lately. But, well, when was the last time you heard a liberal use as much liberal rhetoric as Bush does, Kimmitt?

I mean, sure, if a liberal leader talked and walked like a liberal leader, he wouldn't be the leader of much of anything on a national level for too long in America, these days. Clinton "triangulated", in other words, because he had to. But maybe if liberals actually spent more time being liberal in a positive sense, putting forth a positive agenda more often than criticizing conservative ones, people might start to listen and learn a thing or two.

Clinton spent all his time talking about policy and, therefore, had to think small. He could of given a speech or two every once in a while purely focusing on the virtue of liberal ideals totally detatched from policy, big and abstract...like Reagan used to do for the other side. Would that still have been a politically dangerous thing to do? Yes. Absolutely. But with the charisma he had, he could have gotten away with it more often than not. Looking back, as a liberal, I think about political talent like that and it makes me angry he didn't try and do something more with it when he had the chance. And I think his real fear in not doing so wasn't that the American people would turn on him for it, it was that his own party would, and come apart at the seams as a result.

Republicans, today, are identified as the party of big ideas and dreams...even if more than half of those ideas and dreams are lifted off of liberals like Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Democrats, on the other hand, are more accurately thought of as the party of other.

Voicing a few platitudes other than, "we stand for whatever they don't," every once in a while...actually standing "for" something more often than standing "against"...would be a start. Republicans can stand for liberal things, even if only rhetorically, and get away with it, because no one else is standing for them first. To echo a little of what Caroline was saying, I wonder if someone liberal did, how many so-called liberals would follow. We've been the Party of Other for so long now, and been so divided for all these years, I seriously doubt some of those divisions could be united so easily.

So, here's your homework, Kimmitt: Come up with a vision for fighting the War on Terror that more Democrats would agree upon than Democrats currently agree upon simply disliking the one President Bush has come up with. Because that's the problem, if you ask me. We're more united in our opposition than we are in our own beliefs (and being more united in opposition to something doesn't really put you in the driver's seat, now does it?). Get back to me when you've solved the puzzle. Roughly forty-eight percent of us are waiting.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at December 20, 2004 08:18 PM

Being inarticulate is not the same thing as not being able to communicate.

Posted by: Brooks at December 20, 2004 08:22 PM

They're not your ideas anymore, Kimmit. That's the point.

I don't claim we went abroad out of purely altruistic motives--we invaded those countries out of self-defense. And we will drag them into the modern era for our sakes as well as theirs. But as Hitch--almost alone on the Left--realizes, this is THE Civil Rights Moment of an Era.

And all you guys can do is throw stones at those doing the heavy lifting.

btw, it's not just Afghanistan where women will vote. Also Iraq. And soon, Gaza, too.

Posted by: Noel at December 20, 2004 09:41 PM

A good half dozen or more middle eastern countries are now lately facing popular demands for more freedoms. You think some Berkeley leftists have been giving middle easterners ideas?

Maybe it's the leftist support for islamofascism that turns the minds of middle easterners toward freedom?

Posted by: Marvin at December 21, 2004 07:28 AM

Marvin,

Perhaps it is just people in those countries, who are finally taking personal responsibility when it comes to their government. That is how democracy is born, first in the hearts of the populace, then the populace will take care of the rest of it... eventually.

Posted by: Ratatosk at December 21, 2004 10:17 AM

If Laura Bush wore a burkha I'd say you were right on the money.

No, then W. would be against women voting in Afghanistan. What I said was that he didn't care -- that he uses them as cynical props. Anyone who believes that they won't be abandoned as soon as the are politically inconvenient (i.e. when the Drug War needs a quick restart, or an anti-American ruling coalition forms) is deluding themselves. They aren't free until they have the power to maintain their own freedom, which they manifestly do not.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 21, 2004 11:29 AM

Michael -- You must admit that you, I, and many other thoughtful people prefer reactionary Berkeley (or reactionary southeast Portland) to reactionary Muncie Indiana. More culture, more books, more music, more interesting places to live, and a greater variety of people.

Grant -- I'd like to see Democrats stand for something more. The problem is that when we do it alienates large blocs of voters. Republicans are setting the agenda behind their conception of "liberal internationalism." And so Democrats define themselves by opposition to the three aspects of this agenda, social, foreign policy and economic issues. As a result, when we lose an election as we just have, is that people ask us to adopt, rather than reject, one of these three parts. You and Michael want us to adopt (by and large) his anti-terror agenda, others want us to adopt his pro-corporate economic policies, while others want us to be less hostile to pro-life, pro-gun, or anti-gay viewpoints. Some like Zell Miller want us to adopt Republican positions on all three, Joe Lieberman would be comfortable on two of them.

Posted by: Markus rose at December 21, 2004 11:55 AM

"The idea that George W. Bush gives a rat's ass about women voting in Afghanistan is beyond absurd."

Whatever George W. Bush gives about women voting in Afghanistan, I doubt that it is a rat's ass.

Posted by: triticale at December 22, 2004 10:36 AM

Come up with a vision for fighting the War on Terror that more Democrats would agree upon than Democrats currently agree upon simply disliking the one President Bush has come up with.

That's really not fair -- it's far easier to despise idiocy than to craft brilliance.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 22, 2004 02:41 PM

Kimmit says: "And what the Right always, always denies is that all political policies also depend on legitimacy. "

Interesting claim. When has the Right denied this?

Posted by: Bostonian at December 22, 2004 03:47 PM

Kimmit says: "And what the Right always, always denies is that all political policies also depend on legitimacy. "

Interesting claim. When has the Right denied this?

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