December 30th, 2005

To speak or not to speak: coming out as a neocon

This essay, which appeared at the American Thinker, is by blogger and sometime visitor Bookworm, of Bookwormroom.

It’s entitled, “Confession of a Crypto-Conservative Woman,” and it’s on a topic dear to my heart: being a closet neocon (a neo-neocon, at that) in a true blue town.

Bookworm writes:

I was at a party last year when a woman I know suddenly burst out, “I hate Bush. He’s evil. I wish he’d just drop dead” – and everyone around her verbally applauded that statement.

At a lunch with some very dear friends, the subject of the Iraq war came up and one of my friends, a brilliant, well-read, well-educated man, in arguing against the War, announced as his clinching argument the “fact” that “Bush is an idiot.”…

This is me: I grew up in this same liberal environment and was a life-long Democrat. ..And then things changed: Although I realize that my journey to the right began before 9/11, there is no doubt that 9/11 was my moment to cross the Rubicon…I suddenly had to confront the fact that I was a neocon living in one of the bluest of Blue corners in America.

How did I react to my change? With silence. You see, having lived a lifetime on the Left myself, I instantly realized that my new outlook would not be greeted as an intellectual curiosity, to be questioned politely and challenged through reasoned argument.

Instead, I would be deemed to have gone to the dark side. After all, if Bush is evil, his followers must be evil too. …I also knew from my years on the Left that the debate wouldn’t revolve around facts and the conclusions to be drawn from those facts…it’s the futility of argument and the personal animus behind political argument in Liberal communities that results in something I call closet- or crypto-conservatism. I further believe that this is a syndrome especially prevalent amongst women…

In a woman’s world, you don’t earn any social points for staking out an extreme position and defending it against all comers. Men might garner respect for doing so, and experience the exhilaration of battle along the way; women are more likely find themselves on the receiving end of some serious social isolation, and to find the road to this isolation stressful and frightening.

Did I mention how nice my community is? And how child oriented? I enjoy being well-integrated into this community, as do my children, and neither the kids nor I would function well in light of the inevitable social repercussions that would occur if I were to admit that, well, I kinda, sorta, well, yeah, I voted for “that man – that evil man.” …I’ve also managed to confirm through talking to a few other conservative women I know who also live in liberal communities that they too keep their mouths shut about their politics…

The question I struggle with is whether I ought to elevate my political principles over my day-to-day needs. Currently, I don’t believe there is any benefit, large or small, moral or practical, to such a step…

I’ve quoted liberally (pun intended) from Bookworm’s essay because I want to convey the full flavor of the dilemma she faces. It’s one I understand only too well, and one with which I sympathize. I’ve written about it before, here (note, especially, the comments section). I know the ostracism of which she speaks, and I know how important social connection are, and what it’s like to be looked at by supposed friends whose eyes are forever changed and distanced.

But, despite all that empathy for Bookworm, I have to say that I part company with her conclusion. Oh, it’s not that I speak up all the time (if you look at that post of mine I previously linked to, you’ll see that in fact I don’t). I weigh each situation to decide whether it seems like a good idea or whether it seems like an exceptionally futile exercise, and try to act accordingly.

At social gatherings where I’m among strangers, people I’m not likely to meet again, I often don’t bother. But with anyone who is a friend—close, or even not-so-close—sooner or later I feel the need to “come out” and declare myself.

Why? After all, I’m not that keen on combat, or on spinning my wheels in useless arguments. I like to have my friends and keep them, too; I’m not interested in attaining pariah status for the sake of being able to pat myself on the back for bravery.

But over the past couple of years I’ve spoken out to virtually every friend I have, and gotten quite a variety of responses. A few have stopped speaking to me, and that makes me both sad and angry. Many look at me ever after with “that look” in their eyes—at least, I perceive that look, and I don’t think I’m imagining things. It appears that my relationship with them has changed in some subtle way, and not for the better; they now see me as strange and somehow not quite trustworthy or kindly.

Some tease me, as though they can’t quite believe it’s true and are trying to test things out in a light way. A few had extremely angry and rejecting outbursts at first, but then got over it—outwardly, at least. A couple of people have decided never to speak politics to me again, in order to preserve our friendship. Still others, to my delight, can have lucid and calm discussions with me on the topic.

There are really two reasons I’ve decided to speak out to friends. The first is personal—and perhaps self-indulgent, in a way. I’ll call it, for want of a better name, integrity. Or perhaps that old liberal notion: authenticity. Or maybe honesty.

Call it what you will. The idea is that I can’t keep as a deep dark secret something so important and basic to my way of thinking from people I consider my friends. Painful though it may be, if the friendship can’t handle it, I’m willing to kiss the friendship goodbye. Because what sort of a friendship is it, if it’s based on something so very fragile?

The second reason I tell friends is actually more important, because it’s not about me. It’s this: if I don’t speak up, and if people like me (and Bookworm, and her other crypto-con friends) don’t speak up and “out” ourselves, then it simply perpetuates the myths of those who consider The Other Side to be monstrous.

Yes, some will consider you an awful person if you tell the truth about your current beliefs. But your speaking up may make others wonder about their preconceptions. If Republicans and neocons and even liberal hawks are considered the absolute Other, they can continue to be demonized and typecast. If it’s you, on the other hand, who’s the neocon—and not some stranger—you, that nice mother down the street who bakes the brownies; you, the one with the jokes and the helping hand; you, who’s always been so smart and so kind–then how can all of Bush’s supporters be cruel and stupid?

It’s easy to move through life in a liberal bubble if everyone around who disagrees is silent and invisible. The only way to change that is to challenge it by standing up, speaking out, and bursting the bubble. It’s very difficult; but you may find, as I did, that most of your worthwhile relationships survive the blow, although many are never quite the same again.

121 Responses to “To speak or not to speak: coming out as a neocon”

  1. Estrella Says:

    Warning! Warning! Allusions to race made in the comment below.

    I live on the east coast, in a very, Very, VERY liberal city. I am also of Hispanic heritage. As such, ever since I was about 12 years old, I referred to myself as a Democrat — not because I knew very much about what the Democratic party stood for, but simply because my teachers as well as my favorite channel in the world at the time, MTV, portrayed Republicans pejoratively, as evil, dispassionate, heartless, racist people. I knew I simply could not belong to “such” a group, and with much conviction, I concluded I was a Democrat. Even through my senior year of college, in 2000 (yes, I am still quite young) I rooted for Gore to win, in hopes that the “dumb white people” in the middle of the country would be unable to determine the rest of the nation’s fate.

    I don’t recall when my transformation began to occur. It was actually a very slow process. Ever so slowly, I began adopting conservative ideas, mainly on social issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual marriage. After 9/11, although I didn’t identify myself as a Republican, I could certainly say I sympathized with many of Bush’s ideas. Later on, in grad school, my lovely, very conservative best friend (who is an African-American Evangelical) enlightened me more about conservatism. It was then that I completely made the switch, joined the “dark side,” and voted for Bush in 2004.

    Recently, upon starting a new job, I, being naturally shy and reserved, kept my political views all to myself, for fear of the backlash. Eventually, as I warmed up to more people, I decided to share my views with two Midwesterners, who happened to be white liberals. I was barraged by their rebuffs — however, they could not call me a racist bigot, as I am a minority. Needless to say, these two very rarely speak to me anymore, and I have a feeling they look upon me as a sort of anomaly.

    I thought I had really made a mistake in “coming out” and decided, for the future, to keep my political views to myself. More recently, however, I have started to share my views with other minorities, who happen to be uber-liberal, and although they, I must admit, find me quite strange, are much more respectful of my right-wing opinions.

    I must admit, I thoroughly agree with neo-neocon’s assessment. It is important to “come out,” not simply for the sake of feeling brave but because it is important to shatter the left’s myths regarding what conservatives look like. I am a
    young, twenty-something, Latin, conservative Republican woman, and I feel that it is important for the left to realize that there are people like me out there, even in the Northeast.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    There are only two kinds of Americans in the end. Those who believe America is using too much of her power. And those who believe America is not using enough of her power.

    Isolationists always belong to the former.

    You should go and study the history of why Empires fall. You might see that constant expansion comes to an eventual homeostasis state.

    It comes from using too much of their power. Yet if isolationists had been given full reign, America would not be a world power, America would be fighting a Nazi Empire in Europe or a Stalin Empire in Europe. The principle of isolationism is that of a miser’s. People who hoard power and resources, until a point where it benefits nobody.

    Wealth and power is meant to be used. There is no point to hoarding it, in the hope that in the future it may somehow gain compound interest.

    Americans are a compassionate people, willing to do what is right, unlike you who want to do what is expedient.

    There is a limit to expediency.

    There is a reason why Democrats decry Imperialism and so do traditional people like you.

    Because it is all of a piece, a fear of using power. I and the world has no use for a pompous nation that thinks itself a leader while never exercising their power for the weak and the downtrodden.

    Real people owe real fealty to real sacrifices, committed by Americans in the past. They died to give us the power to do things in our present. And you dare to accuse neocons of wasting that treasure on the only real allies America will ever acquire.

    Far better for a Mozart to rise and fall, having used and lived his talents, than to have a miser hoard his life and his treasures until his ancient body crumples through decay.

    Those who live by the sword die by the sword, so that others can hide behind the shields of the town militia, never to be tested against better warriors and fighters.

    You don’t have any belief in the power and justice of America. You will never sacrifice an iota of your hoarded strength and treasure, on the behalf of anyone else.

    Those like you, will never have the strength to triumph.

    Because you will never put it to the touch.

    “‘He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his desert is small,
    Who fears to put it to the touch,
    And win or lose it all.’

    I don’t want to build an Empire, I just want us to recognize that we already are an Empire. Of 50 states, under a common banner, culture, and language. And that we need not be afraid of our power and our ability to right injustice in this world.

    But isolatinists were never concerned about justice or liberty or strength of will. And they never will be.

  3. Philosopher king Says:

    To Ymarsakar:

    I’m so glad that you expressed you opinion. Because you just answered what I’ve been thinking about all this time.

    The man with the sword made a war cry and charged down the battlefield swinging it proudly to cut down his opponents and when the dust settled he was dead.
    You see the imbecile wasn’t carrying a shield to protect him.

    Those who follow the philosophy of the sword unfortunately also die by the sword. I Follow the philosophy of the shield which guarantees me one thing; the preservation of life.

    Traditional Conservatives are too gutless? Traditional Conservatives are limited?
    For over 100 years traditional conservatism has protected this country from outsider and preserved the many traditions you are enjoying today. I would look in the history books if I were you before making an ignorant Statement.

    “They won’t reach for something greater and vaster and more stupendous than what they can grab on the run. Such limited horizon for glory and liberty is stagnation supreme to me.”

    This sounds like empire building to me. Be brave and be proud and say what you really mean. There is a one major problem with empire building. All empires have fallen and will fall, no exceptions. And the bigger they are the harder they fall. And once the dust settles the only question you should ask a Neo-liberal is was it worth dragging the American people to the pits? Was it worth attempting to build a new Rome?

    I say attempt because there are others as ambitions as you who follows the sword who also wants to build an empire. Don’t forget you are not the only one with a big sword. It is safe to say once you start to compete a lot of people will pay. I suppose in the eyes of a Neo-Liberal having a thousand year old empire can be an eternity. Unfortunately it is an unrealistic ideology which has no base or sense to last long. Which is why people like yourself don’t understnad the meaning of Tradition.

    You seem to be interested in the greater and vaster and stupendous goals. I hope to see you cry out the battle charge at the front line. Empire building is hard work and we need few proud people such as your self.

    This purging you speak of was also conducted by Joseph Stalin. He also felt that he needed to purify the people’s party. I truly pity what this country has become.

    As far as you labeling traditional conservatives as racist and David Duke supporters; this isn’t a new idea. Traditionalists since 1994 have been named many things. Unlike your conventional liberal counterparts who get all mad, we simply shrug it off like a bad case of dandruffs. :)

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    To Philosopher and SD

    I always wonder if you, Philosopher, is doing a philosophical devil’s advocate with your words or if you are serious.

    If I adopted any philosophy personally, it is definitely not a neo-con one. Those tend to be liberals and revert to a more human basic format because of a need for the government to do its job and protect against outside threats. Coupled with a new vision of their environment. I can sympathize with those elements, but the path I chose was far different than most people prefer.

    I follow the philosophy of the Sword, which can be encapsulated in the words “Peace through superior firepower”.

    Historically, this goes back to Leonidas, King of Sparta, and Athens.

    Traditional conservatives are isolationists, of course. Which is why I don’t like them. Too gutless, too concerned with their limited selves. They won’t reach for something greater and vaster and more stupendous than what they can grab on the run. Such limited horizons for glory and liberty is stagnation supreme to me.

    As such, that kind of political philosophy won’t last very long. Republicans are already purging the isolationists, and soon they will all be gone, to form their own party with the White Supremacists as allies. Eventually the Supremacists, like David Duke, along with isolationists, and fake liberals will all have one big tent party. Then everyone will be happy.

    There is potent clear evidence that Hussein was a truly evil man who indiscrimately had thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians — many women and children — killed in the most abominable fashion.

    I truly think they don’t care at all. And why should they? Does the death of a million equal to them a jet liner, a million dollar movie deal, or star studded treatment? A million deaths to them is nothing but a statistic, they know nothing of depravity and soul crushing despair, other than drug withdrawals and the personal fear that they will become poor. A million deaths of strangers is nothing but a statistic to them. How do they handle this guilt you might wonder? Easily, by donating money to Democrats. That is how they handle the guilt.

    The human mind and the human standard of morality is very flexible.

  5. SD Says:

    TO: NEO NEO CON AND BOOKWORM; I guess most of the liberal comments on this thread emphasize your concerns about rational discussion of divergent viewpoints with liberals.

    I am curious if any of the liberal commenters who castigate President Bush for his “lies” acually read or listened to his speeches before the Iraqi invasion. I did. I clearly recollect numerous instances where he, and others in the administration also cited to Hussein’s violation of numerous UN resolutions as a basis for the invasion.

    I also recently read in a number of blogs that many Iraqi documents discovered after the invasion, that have recently been made available, disclose Hussein’s active support and training of terrorists in Iraq — approximately 2,000 per year for 4 years. Accordingly, the connection between Hussein and the terrorist threat to the US is now becoming more clear. While this may not have been evident 2-3 years ago to the general public, it is now based upon clear admissions in official Iraqi documents. As time progresses, other purported “lies” by the President and his administration may also find clear support in irrefutable evidence and documents. Time has a tendency to clarify matters that have been conveniently fudged by those who live to find evil motive behind every act by the President.

    One thing that is absolutely clear to me, and I do not understand why those who are against the war in Iraq completely disregard this. There is potent clear evidence that Hussein was a truly evil man who indiscrimately had thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians — many women and children — killed in the most abominable fashion. He was a tyrant in every sense of the word, and publicly threatened neighboring countries with annihilation (besides the invasion of Kuwait). He committed atrocities against his own people that had not been seen since Hitler. If there ever was a tyrant who deserved to be removed, it was Hussein. How can this be an evil war, when 25 million people have been freed and his reign of terror has ended? That question simply has never been answered to my satisfaction by anyone (liberal or Pat Buchanan conservative). These factors, and the belief by both this administration and the Clinton administration — as evidenced by the numerous public comments of many high level members of the Clinton administraion regarding the almost universal belief in the threat posed by Hussein, lead me to conclude that this war was unquestionably justified.

  6. Philosopher king Says:

    A well thought out blog Ymarsakar. There is hope for humanity after all. But you have so much to learn. From your criticism I take it you’ve adopted a neo-con philosophy.
    I can only tell you that liberals who switched to neo-con ideology have a short life span politically. For Example traditional conservatives aren’t buying this “spreading” of democracy garbage. I think after the Iraq masquerade this country will think twice before charging in like the lone ranger.

    As for the Matrix, there was nothing wrong with the Architect. An old man who wants stability and keep the balance of power as equilibrium. If you did pay attentions to the movies you may have noticed that humans did scorch the skies and destroyed the planet to cut off life support for the machines. Thus the Architect had to place man in bondage for sake of survival of machine and ultimately saved humanity in the process.

    Ever Wonder what would happen if Neo did awaken every man on earth. It would be a chaos. Imagine to be awakening to world were the skies are black as the darkest abyss, and every other life has been wiped out other then man. And the only means of survival is liquidating the dead for consumptions. Yes and all this time so many want to find out what the “Matrix” is.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    In the end, liberals are responsible for your existence and it’s a liberal responsibility to clean up this mess. Traditional conservatives are no way of form should get involved. After all we are considered not to be “mainstream” we have been labeled racist and outcast and even “old school.” But remember all good things must come to an end, even for a Neo-Con.

    Liberals couldn’t stab anyone in the back if they wanted to.

    Don’t they get it that the Jacksonians hold like 95% of the firepower, in steel and in bullets?

    If liberals are going to be stabbing whomever in the back for revenge or whatever, they’ll have to do it with a pen.

    My sword beats the pen any day of the quantum year in a stabbing contest.

    It is just real funny how people posture about how words protect and create freedoms. Jefferson’s words didn’t create freedom for blacks. Guns, blood, and smoke did that. And it ain’t the liberals that have the guns or the bullets or the swords. They’re too busy outlawing them and selling them on ebay after they move to the big city.

    One of the things liberals don’t get is that people who favor the sword, like me, may use the pen just as well if not better than naked force. But it isn’t our primary weapon at all. Not the weapon we rely upon when the going gets tough. The liberals are at a disadvantage precisely because they stick to one weapon only, the pen. THey ain’t got any proficiency with anything else, so the only thing that they can do is cry Havoc and Envy at others.

    What they don’t know is that people use force the way liberals use words. Pragmatically, dishonestly, and unfairly. Just because they live in the good old US of A doesn’t mean that their methods and weapons will always be supreme. In cases of war time and national patriotism, the sword holds greater sway. As it should, and as it does.

    Nobody with a sword is going into a fair fight with a gun. And no one with a gun is going into a fair fight with a guy wielding a pen.

    That’s just how it plays out, rock, paper, scissors. And sometimes it just seems so unfair that liberals speak all the evil but can never shoot any to back it up. While Republicans and intellectually honest folk can shoot but can never speak any evil.

    It’s a real con job to expect those with no bullets to protect people like Neo’s existence ANd like all cons, turn on the light and the roaches scurry for their hides.

    People like Neo actually believes in the power of the Pen. And that’s fine with me. But I cannot help but contrast the different methods of dealing with insurgents. One uses reason and diplomacy, the other just uses a bigger hammer.

    God, it is convenient not to place the foundation of liberty upon the First Ammendment. Because I see how it so constrains the actions of others that do. No guilt, no regret.

    If the Architect really represented traditional conservatives, then I really do feel sorry, if not guilt, for the traditional conservatives. Boy, are they messed up.

  8. aqualung Says:

    I hear your plea Brad and will stop. No need to kick you guys when you are down for the count. Mehlman’s fax must be on the fritz and the talking points are MIA.

  9. Brad Says:

    Aqualung,
    could you please stop spamming!!!

  10. Philosopher king Says:

    To Anonymous 1, your lack of critical thinking sickens the Philosopher King. If you haven’t figure out what an analogy is then there is no hope for you.

    To Anonymous 2 Stealthy Republicians are Democrats with
    amnesia.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Why bother coming out? There’s nothing wrong with being a Stealth Republican, mwahahahaha!

  12. aqualung Says:

    I’ve never removed a comment from my blog; no one comments on my blog, which is why I stopped blogging. Besides, I’m too busy to blog. I currently have time off and am commenting on blogs much too much now as it is.

    Bravo, your posts are just not convincing. You make assertions without explanation. I said terrorists breed in democracies as well as in repressive regimes, giving examples, and my point is ignored. You talk about my glossing over the terrorist-Iraq connections yet provide no documentation. What connections and what is the evidence? Aren’t you glossing over? And 8 second sound bites! Bush is nothing if not a collection of 8 second sound bites: Fight ‘em there so we don’t have to fight ‘em here, Stay the course, It’s hard work, When they stand up, we’ll stand down…The country has been aching for some better explanation for why our soldiers are dying in Iraq and instead we get slogans. Of course, this is the great Post Hoc War, with any number of post hoc rationalizations given for why we are there, so your explanation is as good as another, I suppose. But remind me again. We left Bin Laden in Tora Bora and redeployed to Iraq before catching him for exactly what purpose?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like Philosopher king took the red pill and the blue pill at the same time.

    Try to sleep it off, or at least take a few deep breaths and repeat after me: THE MATRIX IS ONLY A MOVIE.

  14. Philosopher king Says:

    You neo-con can thank conventional liberals for your philosophy. Your very essence of life is because of a liberalist agenda in this country. We may agree on few social conservative issues, but unfortunately the buck stops here.

    In the end you are a liberal in a conservative disguise. You have stabbed the conventional liberals in the back, got a hair cut and wore a suit. You made the loudest noise in preaching conservative ideology with books and radio. You even got recognition by “traditional conservatives” paving the way for a
    conservative America.

    There is only one problem. Liberals who turned there backs on other liberals will pay the price. A dog can moo like a cow for so long until the ugly truth is revealed.

    Traditional conservatives are now getting a bad rep by neo-liberals and their future is at stake. You neo-con are not in a good position. Let’s face it; your philosophy is an abomination.

    You decided to pick the better of the two political spectrums and I guess something’s are never meant to be. Like you, I know many who have switched sides politically to this new abomination.

    For a better analogy think of the movie the “Matrix.” Where Neo and his gang of hippies represent the liberal movement, and the Architect represent the traditional conservatives, you neo-con represent the corrupted copy of the Agent Smith.

    In the end, liberals are responsible for your existence and it’s a liberal responsibility to clean up this mess. Traditional conservatives are no way of form should get involved. After all we are considered not to be “mainstream” we have been labeled racist and outcast and even “old school.” But remember all good things must come to an end, even for a Neo-Con.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    It is interesting that Aqualung removes comments from his blog that he doesn’t like (I ran a little test); I think that says it all about that shallow twit. I also like the fact that he starts his first comment (last thread) with the laughable “reason is enough for me” and then shows himself to be completely unreasonable! (and nasty) Remind me of a quote from another blog: “I was … somewhat surprised that my own progressive philosophy isn’t much different from that of your average developmentally disabled teen.

  16. Bravo Romeo Delta Says:

    Aqualung,

    The rationale was given, repeatedly, but often lost in the screams of those who were decrying the president for not having an 8-second sound bite answer. For being too nuanced one might say. But for something clear in black and white, go take a look at the authorizing resolutions. They lay out all of the dots, and you can connect them to your heart’s content.

    And no, you haven’t done much, one way or the other as to the “draining the swamp” thesis. You also seem to be quite content with glossing over the terrorist-Iraq connections (and no, not all terrorists have to attack the US to be terrorists), as well as the center of gravity for a number of proliferation networks.

    As far as the screedy bit at the bottom, I’m going to assume that you’re being sarcastic, rather than just petty and small. One might recall that Hussein, while in a war with the world’s sole superpower and a massive UN-backed coalition, chose to – in the midst of conflict – start lobbing missiles at civilian targets belonging to a country heretofore not involved in the conflict. That speaks to me as being somebody with an unacceptable strategic risk tolerance profile.

  17. aqualung Says:

    It’s nice to have some time off from work to engage all you nice folks. Thanks Bravo for the explanation. Pretty convoluted, I must say, with none of that given as an explanation by Bush and Co. before the war. This notion that terrorists are bred only in repressive regimes is an interesting idea but one not supportable empirically, and has been debunked thoroughly by people much more expert than me. One only has to recall the London and Madrid train bombings, Timothy McVeigh and the Ku Klux Klan to see that terrorists breed everywhere. And I dare say North Korea does not have much of a domestic terrorist problem. That Iraq has become a center of the fight against Islamic terrorism is, of course, a result of our invading it, not a REASON for invading it in the first place. Besides, much of the violence occurring there now has nothing to do with Islamo-terrorism but rather a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites, and an attempt to eject what both sides (to some extent) see as an occupying power (ie. US). As far as a guy who is virtually genetically unable to make sound strategic judgements, that sounds an awful lot like W to me (and to many others, I might add). And thanks for the heads up about the trash. That actually is useful information…

  18. Bravo Romeo Delta Says:

    BTW,

    Aqualung, I guess you were asleep for that earlier post, but any one poster always has trashcans next to their post. I see trashcans next to my posts, but not yours. Bookworm sees them next to her posts, but not mine or yours.

    The trashcans are a way to let a poster delete a post if they choose to do so later on.

    So, yeah, you can stop with the crushing of noble dissent angle and just get with the program.

  19. Bravo Romeo Delta Says:

    Aqualung,

    Here’s how Iraq relates to 9/11:

    9/11 served as a palpable demonstration that what the west thought were the rules governing terrorism weren’t, in fact, true. Previously, it terrorism was viewed, most often, as a form of aggressive bargaining chip. Post-9/11 this was not felt to be the case.

    Furthermore, the relative affluence of the hijackers also undermined the notion that terrorism was simply something that could ameliorated by anti-poverty programs.

    We came to realize that terrorists were created by repressive regimes, and employed as proxy guerilla fighters by unliberalized, axiomatically hostile regimes. Morevoer, the regimes that were backing terrorists tended towards fundamental instability as well as the procurement of WMD.

    Hence, the nightmare scenario is that one of these well-educated, relatively comfortable terrorists would be kitted out by some bad guy with some nuke.

    Now of all the whackjob candidates who might do such a thing, one guy in particular had showing the most frightening callousness and virtually genetic inability to make sound strategic judgements. Moreover, there were 16-some UN resolutions to this effect, as well as a cease-fire agreement which he had repeatedly violated. So being in a de facto shooting war at the outset, it was determined that this country was at a center of gravity in re the war on islamicsm, and there you go.

    We fought a battle in Iraq.

  20. aqualung Says:

    Sorry to burst your bubbles, folks. Again, no response about how 9/11 relates to Iraq from all you keyboardists; just attacks on me. Not surprising, really. (You guys should really get rid of the trash cans. They make it seem like you really can’t handle dissent or debate).

    See ya! I’m off to perfect my Five Deferment Cheney!

  21. Bravo Romeo Delta Says:

    MA, Constantine,

    In passing, no I don’t agree with much of what you’re saying, but I am certainly most heartened to hear you make an honest effort to try to maintain a sufficient air of civility to allow the possibility of discussion.

    Aqualung, however, I believe has most effectively underlined the sentiment driving many of the comments here.

    MA & Constantine, both sides of the aisle do have their shrill harpies who are a discredit to one’s won side. Although I would be dishonest (and probably not altogether human) if I didn’t admit that the slightest glimmer of schadenfreude crossed my mind when your particular cross to bear plopped down so heavily on the this thread.

    But more seriously, I don’t argue that aqualung is representative of the left, but that he is representative of the largest portion of the volume of the left. And if you don’t believe me, count the number of comments he’s made versus you two, and forgive us for leaping to all-too-human conclusions.

  22. Darrell Says:

    Oh and aqualung, some of us are serving now and have been to Iraq. Many of us are willing to go back. Does your mother know you are on the computer?

  23. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Aqualung. Nice dodge. Some of us served when 2500 dead in a month would have been good news, considering the alternatives.
    Some of us served when a thousand dead would have been great news. This is in response to your unforgiveable smear about the fightng keyboardists. That’s why you had to pretend to be addressing something else. Think you got away with it?

    Try your schtick on somebody who’s dumb enough to believe it. Like a bunch of unfortunates who got loose from a group home.
    Adios My Friend

  24. aqualung Says:

    I can’t resist one more salvo at Bookworm (sorry). I guess getting “one’s facts correct” would have been good advice to give W, BEFORE invading Iraq that is. Wouldn’t you agree? Or are correct facts only for other people?

  25. aqualung Says:

    There was a time when 2500 dead was a good month…

    I guess that makes going to war based on lies OK, then? Whew, I feel much better! Thanks!

  26. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Aqualung. Some of us have already served.
    There was a time when 2500 dead was a good month. Or week.

  27. aqualung Says:

    Another thing, Bookie. The conservative and neoconservative movements are full of people who are rude and like to argue (Malkin, Coulter, O’Reilly, Hannity are just a few who come to mind), so I’m rather surprised at your admission. I guess the Right likes dishing it but not taking it. The ol’ One Way Street. The ol’ It’s OK if You’re a Repub…oh, never mind, you wouldn’t understand…

  28. aqualung Says:

    Good for Bookworm! She found some fact in a previous post of mine to dispute. Of course, her air of superiority in finding fault with my point is palpable in her comment (and even notes my misspelling of “fighting”, giving her much glee, I am sure). But, of course, she ignores the most salient point of my post (salient points are always harder to counter, aren’t they?): neocons like her give support for the war cheaply because someone else is fighting it. That is the history and fundamental truth of the neo-conservative movement from its genesis: a bankrupt geo-political wet dream concocted by men afraid or unwilling to fight the wars of their own generations, while perpetrating a war of choice through propaganda and deceit, which for them, is also cheap, because they and their loved ones sacrifice nothing, and instead force others to sacrifice everything. Good Bookworm! Good for you! You are a very good Bushbot.

  29. Bookworm Says:

    This is not directed at Aqualung (I don’t like arguing with people who are rude), but is intended to correct a factual misconception in one of his posts:

    “I guess you otherwise feel nothing but derision for the underclass who are figting [sic] this war in your stead.” (Jan. 3, 2006 at 8:08 a.m.)

    In fact, this canard is put to rest by the most recent numbers on the subject. These numbers show that the largest chunk of enlistees in the Army comes from the middle class, not some unspecified underclass.

    It’s always useful to get your facts correct when you structure your argument. Bad facts or bad argument usually leave you with no option but to pound the table.

  30. aqualung Says:

    Hey man, I’m light, I’m light. Dealing with airheads is always easy lifting. Anon, gotta give you credit. You are always best when at your most vapid…

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, I was once one of the mindless left, blind and wandering in spiteful contempt of things I did not understand. Then my mind matured, and everything was clear.
    :-)

    The trash can is a feature of these comments that allow people to withdraw their sillier comments once they’ve sobered up.
    In your case, the sobering up will probably never happen, but everyone wishes you well nonetheless.

    The trash cans are not present after the other bloggers’ posts, since it would not be wise to give you the ability to erase the thoughts of more intelligent, or more mindful people.
    Just kidding, old chap. Lighten up mate.

  32. aqualung Says:

    Why is there a trash can posted after each of my comments, and not after any of the sycophants’ comments on this blog? I mean, I know neo-cons can’t accept dissent, criticism or responsibility, but isn’t that a bit much?

  33. aqualung Says:

    Thanks Anonymous. I love the absence of content that you have so deftly perfected. And the fact that you can criticize me for getting a single letter in a name wrong, but worship a president who has trouble constructing a grammatically correct sentence in English, proves that you are nothing if not a hypocritical imbecile :) With no due respect, of course…

  34. aqualung Says:

    A question to the author of this blog: In the Neo-con Olympics, how many points do you get for a perfectly executed Five Deferment Cheney? It really is a beautiful event to behold, especially when you stick the landing…

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Someone’s pissed that I outed his dreams of majoring in Klingonese, it seems.

    Welcome to the forum, aqualung. If you’re going to troll, it helps to be a little less predictable.

  36. aqualung Says:

    Here’s a thought experiment: the draft has been re-instated, and all of the fighting keyboardists here are conscripted and will be shipping out to Iraq tomorrow. How many proud neo-cons happy to serve at Bush’s command will be posting here, saying their farewells with gladness in their hearts? I wonder. Instead, I suspect we’d hear the sound of semi-solids passing through loose sphincters. Whaddaya say, Anonymous? (He knows how heroic it is to email and post anonymously).

  37. aqualung Says:

    Well, a lot of politicians were suckered by Bush. What does that prove? By the way, they approved the use of force, they did not mandate it. It was Bush who pulled the trigger, completely unnecessarily, as we now know. My premise stands: we were attacked by fundamentalist Saudis (still Bush’s pals) and for that, we invaded Iraq, and left Afghanistan and let the real perpetrators of 9/11 escape. Yeah, I know the right-wing playbook: ALWAYS, ALWAYS blame everything that we screw up on the Democrats, especially Clinton. I wonder: is that going to work with Abramoff, DeLay and all of the other GOP scandals brewing?

  38. Anonymous Says:

    “We “cons” were’nt completly alone:”

    Well, that’s because “BUSH LIED.” Though he actually didn’t, he just trusted the UN inspectors when he should have known their goal was to actually keep the sanctions program in place forever. But we can’t say the UN lied, because they are going to someday form the United Federation of Planets, and they will train famous starship captains like James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard.

    You have no respect for the sacrifices the left makes to secure that glorious future. Careers, lives, the truth in general… if it leads to dilithium crystals, teleporters, and especially my own personal holodeck filled with clones of Pamela Anderson, it will all be worthwhile.

  39. Harry Mallory Says:

    aqualung:

    “So a bunch of religious SAUDIS fly planes into the WTC on 9/11 and in retaliation we invade a secular IRAQ…God, neo-con logic has a beauty all its own!”

    We “cons” were’nt completly alone:

    “In the interests of regional peace and for the sake of human decency, (Saddam) must be removed from power. That is the policy of this administration. It is the policy I support. It is the policy I am personally committed to.”

    Al Gore made this statement in 2000, during his campaign for the presidency.

    “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force – if necessary – to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”

    Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.

    List of Democrat Law-makers who voted for the authorization to use force to remove Saddam Hussein from power:

    Baucus (D-MT)Bayh (D-IN) Biden (D-DE)Breaux (D-LA)Cantwell (D-WA)
    Carnahan (D-MO)Carper (D-DE)
    Cleland (D-GA)Clinton (D-NY)
    Daschle (D-SD)Dodd (D-CT)Dorgan (D-ND)
    Edwards (D-NC)Feinstein (D-CA)
    Harkin (D-IA)Hollings (D-SC)
    Johnson (D-SD)Kerry (D-MA)
    Kohl (D-WI)Landrieu (D-LA)
    Lieberman (D-CT)Lincoln (D-AR)
    Miller (D-GA)Nelson (D-FL)
    Nelson (D-NE)Reid (D-NV)
    Rockefeller (D-WV)Schumer (D-NY)
    Torricelli (D-NJ)

  40. aqualung Says:

    So a bunch of religious SAUDIS fly planes into the WTC on 9/11 and in retaliation we invade a secular IRAQ. Hell, the only good A-RAB is a dead A-RAB, right? God, neo-con logic has a beauty all its own!

  41. aqualung Says:

    I love to read all of you smug neo-cons, creaming over the lies of Bush, Cheney, Tenet, et al. I guess you otherwise feel nothing but derision for the underclass who are figting this war in your stead. Ever wonder why almost all of the Iraq War veterans running for congress this year are Democrats? Maybe they know something that all of you closet neos don’t. I guess this might burst your bubble to think about too much. How many of the posters here have volunteered to fight in Iraq? How many have offered their children? Spouse? Please raise your hand (but watch that you don’t spill your Cabernet on my antique Persian, kay?).

  42. douglas Says:

    When finding myself in a liberal group in a feeding frenzy, I usually take on the ‘protector’ role- telling them how they hand the ‘other’ side a club to beat them with when they say inane things like ‘Bush is an idiot’ or ‘Bush is evil’, and how that damages their all-important ’cause’. That usually works pretty well, and also helps to figure out who the truly thoughtful ones are that you might be able to come out to and have an intelligent discussion.
    For the record, visiting libs, I also chastise conservatives that I feel are going overboard, or are using knee-jerk arguments- but I find that occurrance the far rarer one.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Reading the essay, I’m reminded of a John Callahan drawing of a large multicultural gathering. Gay & straight, rich & poor, black & white & South-Asian & East-Asian & American Indian, all walks of life… and they’re all staring suspiciously at the lone guy wearing a GOP button on his lapel. One of the masses is confronting him with the words: “Well, let’s not take this ‘diversity’ thing TOO far!”

  44. WJA Says:

    Let me put a more productive question (hopefully) to Constantine:

    Do you think it’s possible for a good and intelligent person to support Bush’s general policies on Iraq and the war on Islamist terror for valid and considered reasons, even if you happen to disagree with them yourself?

  45. Harry Mallory Says:

    Thats well put, Kurt. Thats why we cant fight the WOT. As Anon 4:24 put it; many liberals dont think the threat of terrorism is much of a problem. If you believe thats the case, then you’d have to believe that Bush’s motives must be suspect.

    Another previous poster had it right as well. Put a “(D)” after Bush’s name, and suddenly his motives become un-assailable.

    Why would I think this?

    Libs dont provide alternates to how we’re fighting this war beyond having us pack up and move out now, or whining about time lines for withdrawal. Everything else is anti-policy at best. Downright treasonous at worst.

    If Clinton/Gore/Kerry had or would have conducted the same electronic eaves dropping activities Bush had, there would be little opposition from the majority of people, including myself.

    This may sound like an “M” argument. That Im merely questioning the motives of liberals and Democrat law-makers. But if you have seriously thought out better ways of handling this war, (If you agree that a threat exsists), Id love to hear that instead of the Bush=Hitler argument.

  46. Kurt Says:

    Rusty Ford wrote:
    it does not have much to do with liberal or conservative to question the competence and morals and motives of bush and delay and abramoff…what’s conservative, or neo-conservative, about people who were elected but are neither competent nor honest in the execution?

    To question the competence is one thing; to question morals and motives is something completely different. People on the left routinely seem to fall back on the tactic of questioning “morals and motives” because they tend to believe they are morally superior to everyone else.

    Because they can’t imagine how reasonable people could disagree, they label their opponents immoral and corrupt, and then they wonder why public discourse has become so acrimonious. Oh, that’s right, it’s got to be because of that other fellow’s bad motives.

    You don’t come right out and scream “Bush lied!” but that’s certainly what you want us to infer by questioning motives and “honesty.” Competence is thrown in almost as a side-thought, since the thrust of your statement isn’t about competence at all, but about corruption, or else why throw in the names of Delay and Abramoff (who, by the way, reportedly paid off politicians on both sides of the aisle)? But of course, you don’t produce any evidence, it’s just a matter of casting aspersions through innuendo.

    Unfortunately, that seems to be what many left-leaning thinkers specialize in these days. Arnold Kling said as much back in October, 2003 in an article he wrote about the problem with Paul Krugman’s column. You can find the Kling column here.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    So please tell us where “Bush Lied” and was incompetent and then tell us how the other side would have done better.

    And, yes, dipwad, most of the lefties who keep calling Bush a liar et al, if Bush had a D next to his name instead of an R, he’d be glorified as a hero.

    Don’t be so naive and don’t expect that others are as naive as you.

  48. rusty ford Says:

    Wow…if the bulk of these comments reflect how a sizable fraction of our electorate feels…too depressing…it does not have much to do with liberal or conservative to question the competence and morals and motives of bush and delay and abramoff…what’s conservative, or neo-conservative, about people who were elected but are neither competent nor honest in the execution? Can’t any one be caled to account without it being an attack on conservative philosophy?

  49. Anonymous Says:

    Wow…if the bulk of these comments reflect how a sizable fraction of our electorate feels…too depressing…it does not have much to do with liberal or conservative to question the competence and morals and motives of bush and delay and abramoff…what’s conservative, or neo-conservative, about people who were elected but are neither competent nor honest in the execution? Can’t any one be caled to account without it being an attack on conservative philosophy?

  50. Anonymous Says:

    The above poster: You’re clueless. The Dems don’t believe in pursuing a war on Terror. The Dems don’t even believe terror is even a big problem. The idea that Dems are upset at Bush because his handling of the WOT is absurd, because many libs simply do not want terror to be handled…at all.

    Please point out specific examples of incompetence and how things should have been done. Or did it ever occur to you that sometimes people’s intentions are good, but the result is failure.

    That’s the entire problem with the left. They look at any non-Lefty through a prism of “well, they must have bad intentions, results be damned.”

  51. Constantine Says:

    Uh, I specifically did not use the word “evil” because I thought it would detract from my argument. Also, you’re setting up a straw man, as most Bush-supporters are wont to do, by claiming that the main objection to liberals is the “war on terror.” NO, the main objection from liberals is Bush’s handling of the war on terror. Ms. neo-neocon’s problem is not that she supports one military action or another– however misguided. It’s that she has misplaced political support and trust in an administration undeserving of it and that she reserves her moral outrage for Bush’s detractors, not Bush. She lacks the moral strength to condemn the administration out of both naivete and fear.

    I think it is important for others to realize how an otherwise “normal” and “good” person can become a willing supporter of destructive political forces in our country. Ms. neo-neocon does not differ from her neighbors in that she supports the “war on terror.” She differs from her neighbors in that she supports the Bush administration. The latter is her error.

    It is easy for one such as she to throw an apoplectic fit against those who criticize the president, as neo-neocon does. However, she lacks any of that moral outrage when it comes to the incompetence and petulance of the Bush administration. She might dress up her support for the “War on terror” in moral clothing in order to condemn her neighbors, but when it counts– condemning the seductive, but nevertheless immoral and incompetent, actions of the White House, she is silent.

  52. Harry Mallory Says:

    MA:
    “…a belief that makes about as much sense as the idea that the Sandinistas were going to march into California and take it over.”

    Well, it might be argued that in a few places in California, they have!

    Of course, Im being funny. Not all that different from MA’s last post.

    Bush not concerned with “passport checking red tape”? Where do you get that? Did the Bush administration disband US customs officials?

    How ’bout we ENHANCE our ability to inform the red tape guys checking passports by dropping the wall that separates the intelligence community from the law enforcement communities. That way prized liberal cities like New York can bury their collective heads in the sand with a little more justification.

    But combating terrorism must be more than checking passports and tapping wires. Wouldnt it make more sense to take the war directly to the terrorists and their supporters?

    It seems like your hoping that if we just more successful at keeping terrorists out of our country, they’ll just give up trying after a while.

    You also seem to forget that terrorism isnt just an American concern.

    The 9/10 mind set is a denial of realities. The 9/11 mind set recognizes the real dangers.

  53. M.A. Says:

    It strikes me as odd, to put it mildly, to hear somebody proud of returning to Sept 10 mindset.

    Not at all. The “September 11 mindset,” as it has become defined by the Bush administration and its supporters, stands for the idea that any military action, any law passed by the government, is justified by September 11. It stands for the belief that terrorism is an existential threat, a belief that makes about as much sense as the idea that the Sandinistas were going to march into California and take it over. It stands for making America less safe, and acting against America’s interests. It stands for treating Americans like babies who need a super-strong government to protect them.

    It does nothing to prevent a terrorist attack — preventing a terrorist attack is a function of all the bureaucratic, anal, passport-checking, red tape that the Bush administration never cared much about, and the “law enforcement” that is so scorned by Bush supporters — but it does a lot to create fear and panic and leads to unnecessary wars.

    The September 10 mentality is far less dangerous. New York, the city that actually got attacked, has retained a September 10 mentality: remaining liberal, multi-cultural and proud of it despite all the right-wing admonitions to be more pro-war and paranoid. That is true resolve, that is true courage: the courage and resolve to not let terrorism destroy one’s way of life.

  54. Richard Aubrey Says:

    It strikes me as odd, to put it mildly, to hear somebody proud of returning to Sept 10 mindset.
    It has apparently faded from view that after Sept 10 came Sept 11.

    It is also odd to hear somebody pretending to think this is all about Sept 11, as if getting al Q would end the troubles.

    The objection that the invasion of Iraq has killed more people than Sept 11 is also hard to connect with reality.
    Is this an accounting function?
    World War II–even our part–killed more people than died at Pearl Harbor.
    So?

    This kind of thinking is liberal at its most common. To claim to have been interested in the WOT evenfor a bit has to be false.

    Oops. I got it.
    It’s a joke, right?

    Silly me, taking things so literally.

  55. Kurt Says:

    At least M.A. and Constantine aren’t spouting as much venom as your typical leftist types, though Constantine is certainly trying to push the envelope: not exactly calling those who support the war evil, just suggesting that they have somehow been seduced by evil.

    If M.A. represents the views of most “neo-libs,” then it seems to me that those who consider themselves “neo-libs” have adopted what some before the war referred to as “the ostrich position,” that is, the inability to see or hear or believe any evidence of Saddam Hussein’s complicity with terrorism or any evidence of the true nature of his reign of terror. That Saddam Hussein was a major source of instability in the Middle East was a bipartisan point of agreement back in 1998 when Clinton was in office, and when “regime change” became official U.S. policy.

    While no one has successfully proved any link between Saddam and 9/11, that doesn’t mean (as so many on the left want to assume) that he didn’t have ties with terrorists, or that he didn’t look the other way while Islamist groups (including Al Qaeda) were establishing themselves in Iraq. Both points have been well-documented in many places, with the exception of the NYT Editorial and Op-Ed pages. And even though many Iraqis have unfortunately died as a result of the war, as you point out, the number is far less than the number who would have died had Saddam and his murderous sons been left to their own hideous devices.

    But even if you do somehow manage to convince yourself of Saddam’s innocence, and even if you believe that the war was a grave error which caused more harm than good by removing a supposedly “stable” government, then how can you in good conscience advocate abandoning the work of Iraqi reconstruction? As Joseph Lieberman asked in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks back, are we to abandon 25 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorist thugs? Where is the “Peace and Justice” in doing that? What is noble or admirable about leaving Iraq now and letting it devolve into a state of brutal, bloody chaos–turning into another Kosovo or Rwanda?

    As far as Constantine’s comments are concerned, your argument is a classic example of the fallacy of the undistributed middle, more commonly known as “guilt by association.” Just because someone supports WOT policy in general it does not follow that they support or approve of every aspect of the administration’s handling of the war. So to assume that someone who supports the war has been “seduced by evil” is to assume that they accept every action of the administration without analysis or thought or question. And that simply doesn’t follow.

    Of course, Constantine also assumes that the way certain controversies have been depicted in the media is accurate, that “torture” is widely used (even as the meaning of the term seems to become more all-encompassing), that the wiretaps were both unnecessary and illegal–even though there have been no definitive legal findings in support of that assumption.

  56. Constantine Says:

    If it’s you, on the other hand, who’s the neocon–and not some stranger–you, that nice mother down the street who bakes the brownies; you, the one with the jokes and the helping hand; you, who’s always been so smart and so kind–then how can all of Bush’s supporters be cruel and stupid?

    Great point. When people realize that their own neighbors are coming out in favor of America endorsing the use of torture and the president disobeying any law he chooses when ordering illegal wiretaps, it helps people think. Specifically, it helps them realize that immorality is seductive and just because someone “seems so nice” and is a “pillar of their community” — “smart”, even — they are still capable of making morally deficient choices in life. You can’t “take credit” for being smart and kind and lending a helping hand– you’re supposed to do that anyway. In addition to all of those things, you’re supposed to insist on a competent, moral government, as well.

  57. M.A. Says:

    There are plenty of neo-libs, mostly because of the Iraq war. If 9/11 drove many people to the political right, the Iraq invasion drove many others to the left.

    I personally was fairly right-of-center before the Iraq invasion. The realization that Bush was going to use 9/11 as a pretext for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 — that he would fail in his duty to his people by launching a war that was not in America’s interests — made me realize that the left had America’s interests more at heart than the right, at least on the Iraq issue. And there is no issue more important these days.

    This happens even in politics. Howard Dean, for example, was always considered a moderate, and in fact he is a political moderate on every major issue, but his opposition to the Iraq war has made him adopt the rhetoric of the “left,” because he agrees with the left on this vital issue.

    The ranks of the neo-libs are growing, simply because the most important issue of our time is the exploitation of 9/11 and the way 9/11 has been used to justify all kinds of policies that hurt America. Commentators here are proof of that: so freaked out by 9/11 that they were willing to justify policies that have literally nothing to do with a response to 9/11; they were even willing to believe that people like Cheney and Rumsfeld, implementing policies that hadn’t changed a bit since the Cold War, were forward-looking people.

    Fortunately, America is returning more and more to a September 10 mindset: meaning that we do not let fear of terrorism destroy who we are as a country or scare us into acting against our national interest.

    So maybe 9/11 changed everything, though I don’t see why; at most it proved that we need to have more effective bureaucratic agencies, something the Bush administration doesn’t seem very interested in. But the Iraq invasion “changed everything” too, and as time goes on, this war, this subversion of the American national interest by the people who were elected to protect the national interest, will grow in importance.

    The Iraq war has already killed many more people than 9/11 (almost as many Americans, even). It is the defining issue of our time, and one that continues to push moderates and even conservatives to the left of where they were a few years ago. That’s the real story of the day; those of you talking about how 9/11 changed everything are busy living in a 9/12 world. The rest of us are busy dealing with the real issues.

  58. John Says:

    I have yet to see a neo-lib. Something new might be interesting.

  59. onecent Says:

    Why innocent Americans are illegally wiretapped

    Name one American who was falsely prosecuted and/or convicted of being a terrorist via wiretaps?

    Got a name? A case?

    Nice try.

  60. pst314 Says:

    “well, it does seem similar to the glee with which the Nazis reviled Jews.”

    And considering the venomous attitude many “progressives” have towards Israel, combined with their affection for Arab/Muslim fascists, well, the comparison seems ever more apt.

  61. Terri Says:

    To annonymous: sure
    http://ithinkthereforeierr.blogspot.com

    Thanks for asking! Terri

  62. Kurt Says:

    In thinking about the problem posed by this situation, I have wondered whether it would or wouldn’t work to have some sort of snappy comeback line, a way of making the leftist loudmouth know that you are personally offended by the extremism and intolerance implicit in their statement.

    I’ve thought about whether it might do to call them on those implications. This might work if they like to think of themselves as reasonable and moral, especially if you make their comment more about someone other than yourself.

    One that I’ve often thought of employing is one I call the Helen Keller approach, in honor of the poor fool who made a Helen Keller joke within earshot of one of her relatives. So when someone says something bad about Republicans or Bush voters, you could respond with, “Excuse me, my mother is a Republican who voted for Bush and she’s not as you imply.” This should also work with derogatory comments about religious groups.

    By deflecting the matter to a relative or a friend, you could effectively take the heat off yourself, and you make the subject this person’s extreme and intolerant views.

    Or you could always attack this person indirectly, saying something like, “Oh, please excuse me. I must apologize. I assumed I was talking to someone open-minded,” but that might–however politely phrased–still have the potential to turn this person into more of an adversary.

  63. al fin Says:

    Face it–most of us made the transition from leftist to something more rational. We’ve been on both sides and know what it’s like here, there, and in-between. We had to think more clearly to make the conceptual shift from “going with the flow,” to thinking for ourselves.

  64. Merovign Says:

    Hi, new here too.

    Hey Anon 9:02 – How about discussing the topic instead of moaning and trying to change the subject to something that suits you? Standard debate tactic of those who’ve already lost before they begin.

    Everybody else – I get where you’re coming from. Luckily (heh) I don’t have a huge social circle, and most of them are either Hawk-Libertarian-bent or basically unpolitical. One half of my family is a bit 60s hippie and doesn’t “get” the loss of the righteousness of the civil rights movement. I guess I get along okay, but don’t spend as much time with them as I’d like. It’s not just politics but outlook on life – negative, cynical, obsessive.

  65. Anonymous Says:

    interesting. when among “liberals,” i hear the same things the posters here are writing — that “the other side” won’t listen to facts and refuses to budge the tiniest bit.

    “For discussion: Why is unaminity [sic] of opinion so important to these people? Why is the least crack in the wall of mutual agreement so threatening to them?”

    this is the same thing those you classify as “liberals” say about those they classify as “conservatives.”

    the truth is that these are sociological/political questions and thus have many possible answers. there are facts available to support both the “liberal” and the “conservative” sides to pretty much all of the current ideological arguments.

    for example, someone brought up the current domestic spying issue and whether clinton had done the same thing. one side argues clinton did, the other that he didn’t. the actual orders clinton signed can be read on the internet, but can probably be interpreted to support either side. (i’ve read them; i would say in this case there are substantial legal differences but i am not a legal scholar and cannot say what those differences mean in a Constitutional or separation-of-powers sense.)

    one thing i have not noticed, and which was posted here often — most of the “liberals” i know do not regard “conservatives” as evil. rather, (as so many posters here do in the reverse), they regard them as misinformed, misguided, obstinately blind to the facts, acting selfishly in their own interests, and, yes, stupid. “evil” seems to be confined to bush and his administration — in other words, those with power. in the reverse, some “conservatives” label as “evil” certain groups of people. in both cases, “evil” being removed from the individual and placed on figureheads or stereotypes.

    i’m not coming down on one side or the other — i just find it interesting that both sides cry the exact same things about the other side.

  66. ForNow Says:

    “Monolithically” leftist sociologists. Sad but true.

    Henry Barbera was a politically conservative sociologist, married, lived in leftist Greenwich Village of all places, divorced, eventually became an independent scholar, and wrote The Military Factor in Social Change. Now he is gone into light.

  67. kcom Says:

    Hey RogerA, is that why it’s called a thread and not a blog? Maybe you need to explain the whole blog concept to them.

  68. Harry Mallory Says:

    But while we have briefly nudged the subject. It is interesting to note how 9:02 Anon has interjected this thread with the single sided liberal account of the recent government wire-tapping story.

    In a perfect example of liberal dishonesty, 9:02 conveniently disregards the fact that the Clinton administration has carried out its own extensive electronic eves dropping of “American” citizens, apparently without the need of informing anybody either. And investigating potential terrorists were’nt the only targets. His political opponents came under scrutiny as well, and no judge was consulted of whether or not the White House should have had access to Republicans IRS records.

    Also note how 9:02 continues to assert that these “Americans” were perfectly innocent people.

    Who were they Anon? The question you haven’t asked was that if they are innocent, why would the government had cared?

  69. RogerA Says:

    Anonymous @ 9:02–Were the thread about the issues you seem to have your mind made up on already, then I am sure they would be discussed–In fact, the thread is not about that at all.

  70. Anonymous Says:

    I have been led here from a liberal blog. Instead of all the pablum, why don’t you folks discuss some issues? You know, why bush breaks the law when he has three days to go to FISA? Why if when he knows someone is guilty they are illegally wiretapped anyway? Why innocent Americans are illegally wiretapped. I’d much rather hear your opinions on these issues instead of all the ‘woe is me’ stuff.

  71. Anonymous Says:

    I too am a neocon. I was a diehard yellow dog democrat who adored everything LBJ and hated everything Richard Nixon. I started opening my eyes in the early nineties. When I was young and had no children and was carefree I enjoyed being a “hippy” with love beads and tie-dyed shirts. I eagerly marched for the right of women to have abortion on demand. Now that I have had two children, lost one. Raised the other and find myself a grandmother three times over I find I don’t think it is so cool to scrape a little baby out of the mother’s womb. I particularly don’t want to be a part of a group of people which has as it primary campaign platform the “right to choose to murder unborn infants” and till death do us part the NOW crowd of aging losers who are nothing but hard hearted aging hags.
    The real women moved over to the Republican party years ago. I really do not admire Patricia Ireland or Gloria Steinam. Listening to Hillary Clinton is like listening to fingernails scraping on a chalkboard.

  72. Anonymous Says:

    He who laughs last laughs best. I’ve just changed my will to leave my earthly goods to a conservative think tank. They formerly went to Planned Parenthood. It’s not that I don’t believe in supporting birth control anymore (I do, and that includes abortion), but I was sickened by Planned Parenthood’s savage political pandering during the 2004 presidential election.

  73. John Salmon Says:

    …all of her friends are lefties, I meant.

  74. John Salmon Says:

    You have to keep in mind how little exposurer many liberals have to conservative ideas. I have a sister-in-law who’s a sociologist: That’s as monolithically left-wing a field as any. All of her friends aren’t lefties, and she’s said she could never have married a conservative-luckily my brother’s a “progressive” too.

  75. kywildcats Says:

    Tumbleweeds asked…

    “I have a question.

    Does anyone know of a comparable essay on a Liberal blog?”

    While I’ve never written a comparable essay I will attest that as a liberal living in Kentucky I’ve experienced similar fears and aprehensions. I suspect it has something to do with the polarization in our country.

    For what it’s worth I have several friends who are conservative and we maintain our friendships by focusing on the commonalities we share.

  76. Anonymous Says:

    Neo, The post and comments are super, but how could you fail to mention Cinnamon Stillwell? She could be your daughter. Mark

  77. RogerA Says:

    Very nice thread–thanks to both bookworm and neo-neocon for going with it. I had spent 25 years in the army when I retired and had never been exposed to the phrase “I hate >the current president<.” In this case it was Reagan–I never understood how hate was the operative verb–of course there were excesses on the right about President Clinton. But the visceral hatred seems to me to be truly a phenomena of the left–When I hear that type of language, I can come to understand how Hutus can kill Tutsis’ how Turks can kill Armenians; and how moslems can kill anyone. “Hate” is the ultimate of depersonalization. And, IMHO, at this point on the political landscape, it is more a syndrome of the “left” than the “right.”

  78. Ymarsakar Says:

    I think the only comparable political climate in American history would have to be 1860. This time we don’t have sectionalism, or slavery, as an excuse.

    We do have one excuse. In those days, the issue was whether to free people in the United States. In the 21st century, the issue is whether to free, truly free, the great majority of humanity that lives shackled to the chains of despair and violence as much as black slaves were shackled with iron chains.

    Liberty has always been worth fighting for, worth killing for. In this country of ours, intolerant people do not have the power to use violence to force others to do their will. In the rest of the world, that doesn’t apply.

    For people who have never had to live under the shadow of fear, to them the taste of liberty is faded and bland. Freedom, for those who have fought for it and those who have lacked it at one point in their lives, has a taste that the ignorant cannot imagine. The freedom to speak one’s conscience, the liberty of free expression, to pursue happiness for oneself and one’s family, and loyalty to one’s personal beliefs.

    There was a time when abolitionists fought for liberty. But even they did not see blacks as equals. In an extremely twisted situation, Southerners had more respect for blacks because of southern culture, than Northerns had for blacks. And Northern abolitionists, while they talked the talk, required pragmatic wisdom and action to accomplish their goals. And they acquired that from Lincoln, a Republican that everyone thought was dense and not fit for command.

    The warriors and the statesmen of this country, have always had to bow to pragmatism and reality. And in so doing, their actions helped usher in a century, that while still suffering under the human condition, has no global UN to oppress them in addition to their local criminals and thugs.

    I wonder if Jefferson would have changed his beliefs had he seen the full scape of history. Would he have learned to think of the 2nd Ammendment as the foundation for human rights instead of the 1st? Because reading the personal introspections on this thread, has further reinforced my belief that freedom of expression would not exist for it not for warriors, soldiers, and individual citizens that are willing to kill and be killed in return to protect the liberties of their own and everyone else.

    A democracy is only as good as the people that are in it. And that is why the majority of Americans believe the country is turning in the wrong direction. There is always that 25%, that don’t understand what liberty is and what it requires.

    It is no coincidence that White Supremacists are allied with the Left. Their tactics are of violence and aggression, and hate. But they will never succede in gaining power by violence and fear, precisely because there are people more violent, more aggressive, and as full of hate of the enemies of liberty as the Left hates liberty itself, ready to oppose them if they take action.

    Unfortunately for the world, America can’t be everything to everyone. And so we start, little by little, in expanding our sphere of influence, so that others can live free of oppression if not free of intolerance. Because we can only ignore the violence and oppression in the world for so long, before our liberties are threatened.

    The culture of the Left, talks the talk of freedom and liberty and tolerance. But they neither have the guts, the brains, the wisdom, nor the will to accomplish the reality. That is left to those whose sight is clear and unobstructed by human prejudices and fears.

    As it was left to Lincoln, as it is left to Bush, and as it is left to the citizens of the United States of America who are willing to face the truth.

    I live in Red state Georgia, am comfortable with former military friends and current military friends. But that wasn’t always the case. It took effort and time and knowledge, to overcome the brainwashing of TV and Hollywood. Their depictions of the military as always violating civil rights and always being bullies, are quite subversive to the young.

    I have had the good fortune to only be around liberals, if liberals they are, who live in a community in which they must face diverse opinion. I do believe that it makes them far more cosmopolitan and far more tolerant than their Northern counter-parts. My German teacher was as liberal as Schroeder and the SDP, yet he still spoke in reasonable tones and used logic.

    The few people I have encountered who thought Bush was bad, were people who were older than me and thought Bush was corrupt. Which was part of their belief that all government was corrupt. That specific person is retired now, and is part of the gun culture, and therefore is probably not very interested in changing his beliefs. But even, you can still have a conversation with him, as he is very phelgmatic, and treats his political beliefs as an intellectual matter as he might treat an engineering challenge.

    Others, Chinese immigrants, who thought badly of Bush. Probably either are ignorant, or they just don’t care about foreign matters as much as they do about domestic ones, so they think Bush isn’t operating in their interests.

    Both are understandable, even if I don’t agree with them.

    I can only imagine what would happen if a person never encountered a Republican or a conservative or a Jacksonian or a member of the “gun culture”. What would that do to his perspective on life? What kind of temperance would such a parochial individual have?

    Cosmopolitanism and tolerance is depicted through diverse, and active, experiences. How could anyone classify a dyed in the wool liberal, who has never encountered a different position from his own, cosmopolitan? Obviously, they aren’t. They are just as much parochials as the White Supremacists during the immigration years of America. People who don’t know nor care about other people who speak differently and look differently than they are. It is simply easier now for Republicans, because you can’t tell a Democrat from a Republican unless he opens his mouth.

    The Left, in ignoring human nature, has been taken over by the darkest depths of their nature. And therefore the wise and pragmatic position of people like bookworm and others, are such a contrast to the animalistic, instinctually wired, responses of their liberal friends.

  79. corbusier Says:

    Though I’ve never truly undergone a sort of conversion process in my political thinking, I married into a pretty liberal consisting of academics. My wife is what you would call a closet conservative, making it known only to me and any other friend who happens to be conservative. She chooses to remain silent about her beliefs in front of her parents and her brothers fearing that it would sost her a very tenuous relationship she enjoys with her family. She only once admitted that she supported Bush to her hippy mother and the response was one of pretending not to have heard it.

    The previous comment about the selfishness on the left is spot on. I just wrote a post on my blog that examines my relatives’ conclusion than we live in terrible times even though they have only profited without enduring any pain. They are doing well and everybody they know is doing well and somehow they presume that things must be awful. Then they bemoan the fact there hasn’t been another president like Carter. Ugh….

    Whenever I do talk politics with someone whose political affiliation I don’t know, I try to moderate the discussion as if it were some general television debate. Lots of “on the one hand” and sprinkling of facts. Otherwise, I only pontificate on my blog through a pseudonym. It’s a welcome relief for me.

  80. Anonymous Says:

    Back in the 80′s there was a dedicated lefty in the office, who once loudly announced in response to someone mentioning Reagan’s name, “Why doesn’t somebody just shoot that man!”

    I replied quietly, “Somebody already did.” She only muttered softly after that.

    My point is that when somebody loudly announces, “Bush is an idiot!” as if they were some drunken boor in Chicago yelling “Go Bears!” I find the best response is to comment, “You know I don’t think insults really help anything.”

    It’s something you might try anyway.

  81. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Inspired by bookworm and neo, I tell how to use humor to tell your friends you’re conservative on my own site.

  82. Anonymous Says:

    Living in a blue city (St. Paul)most of my friends are childhood buddies working union construction. Not a one is a lefty. It’s my family I have the problems with. It has lead to some heated and nasty debates and (ashamed to admit)a real lack of respect and love toward those I am suppose to respect and love.
    Thanks to the web I have had a re-birth in my once love of politics. After a 10 year absence all of my indroctrinated truths have turned out to be false. I am still amazed at how hard I must search to find the truth. But thanks to the web its their for all who truly care about the truth to find.
    Which brings me back to the 1/2 of my family of whom are Libs. I just find the whole liberal mindset to be morally bankrupt. I find them defending whats best for them while I defend whats best for the country. My father for example who lives an extremely comfortable retirement thinks he is owed free presciption drugs despite the fact anyone who can do simple math knows the system is heading towards complete financial collapse. The chances for his Grandkids are limited thanks to his “me me” mindset.
    I could list so many more examples but my point is this. How can you respect a friend or family member who’s selfishness is what decides their vote. This delema has been my biggest struggle of late.

  83. Evanston Says:

    Absolutely what a great chain of comments. If I were Bookworm and my professional and personal lives were inter-woven, I would keep my politics to myself. Oddly enough, however, I would not do the same with religion. Now THAT is a personal subject and I know it is interjected all too often where it imposes rather than frees…still, NeoNeocon mentioned “authenticity.” In regard to friendship, I believe at some stage a friendship’s authenticity is revealed by the subject of religion. You need not even have a back-and-forth discussion, it could just be you talking about what is important in your life and your friend listening. And you certainly need not agree on religion. But I have found that I don’t mind “losing” friends I never really had. Do my comments properly belong in this right/left politics theme, or am I myself interjecting something that doesn’t belong? Could be. I can relate to the marijuana “dance” mentioned earlier and we all know the same is done on any number of subjects. Overall, I wouldn’t dare recommend “outing” yourself, I think it’ll happen politically as it does on religious matters. If that’s where your heart is, people with discernment who care to look at you and observe and listen will know how you feel. Were you “converted” by someone else or did you (by yourself) figure out the sad state of the modern day Democratic party? Have faith that some folks want to hear a contrary (conservative) viewpoint, despite themselves. I guess I’m recommending the low key approach, be self-deprecating when political issues come up and speak quietly and politely. Your voice can be quite loud when you do so.

  84. PatCA Says:

    “Reading these comments one is drawn to comparisons of German dinner parties in the early 1930′s.”

    True. And did you ever notice that every WWII movie starts with a nice German Jewish family saying, well, it can’t happen here! We are civilized people! Two hours later, most of them are dead.

    I think most people yearn to minimize evil in their midst so they don’t have to face its full force. The truth throws the keel of civilization completely off; it’s disorienting, terrifying. IMO some of the left’s shrillness is unresolved fear and grief left over from 9/11. It has festered and grown with our tentative success in Afghanistan, now with Iraq. They cannot face it that good is indeed fighting evil, and that they must choose.

  85. paulfrommpls Says:

    Tumbleweeds –

    Yes, I’ve had similar thoughts. On this basis, too: when you read the obscene, sexually-charged, gleeful insults hurled at their ideological enemies at places like the Daily Kos, especially when someone like us ventures on there – well, it does seem similar to the glee with which the Nazis reviled Jews.

    Obviously, I’m not comparing our situation to theirs victim-wise. It’s a comment on personality type. But it’s very odd, how aggressive they are.

  86. Tumbleweeds Says:

    I have a question.

    Does anyone know of a comparable essay on a Liberal blog? Not just afraid of their boss discovering their registered Demo’s, black helicopters, ect., but genuinely fearful of personal attacks by erstwhile friends, job actions, being punished through their children by partisan neighbors? Not, afraid of some vague governmental “Them” scrutinizing their library records, but a real and personal fear that their day-to-day lives will be destroyed by expressing, not even party loyaty, but a mere opinion that maybe a public figure is sincere in trying to do the best he can, inept or not? I have never seen such an essay.

    Reading these comments one is drawn to comparisons of German dinner parties in the early 1930′s. “What do you think of this fellow Hitler?” A cagey question? What will be the reprecussions of an honest answer? What reasonable person, forty years ago, would have thought that America could arrive at this point?

    I think the only comparable political climate in American history would have to be 1860. This time we don’t have sectionalism, or slavery, as an excuse.

  87. paulfrommpls Says:

    A few months agao, I wrote something at my own unevenly-updated blog that I think is worth relating on the nature of the shift taking place in poltiics. Here’s the nub:

    It may be that at any particular point in this country, one side is rational and emotionally honest, while the other is not.

    There have been revisions to how issues of the past are perceived. Yet it remains true that in the1950′s and 1960′s, the conservative status quo – that portion that avoided problems of pollution, or resisted civil rights legislation, or refused to accept that possibly Viet Nam was a debacle – back then, the conservatives played the stupid role.

    It was a particular kind of stupid, a defensive, sullen stupid, and it was a hell of lot of fun to rail against.

    But it’s possible there’s been a global shift, akin to the poles sliding 90 degrees like we’re always being warned about. It may be that the left is becoming the stupid side.

    It’s a different kind of stupid. It’s more aggressive, and it’s anchored in dissent.

    Dishonest stupid aggressive dissent: that’s hard to respond to, it seems to me. Am I becoming a Burkeian?

    Postscript: I believe the only hope that the people we’re discussing might change will be if they all begin to realize they’re acting like idiots. That’s the main thing they can’t handle, that possibility; which is probably another reason confrontation on facts fills them with such rage.

  88. paulfrommpls Says:

    Yesterday, David posted:

    “For discussion: Why is unaminity of opinion so important to these people? Why is the least crack in the wall of mutual agreement so threatening to them?”

    Here’s my answer: admitting to any ambiguity – even just ambiguity – in how to view the right, and especially on how to view the Iraq war, means that their highly satisfying, deeply moral rage is no longer justified. It means the question before the nation on Iraq was/is not the same as the righteous moral causes they all crave, such as the early days of Civil Rights and environmental legislation, or how they remember the Viet Nam War debate, all causes where there really were no “left-apostate” thinkers.

    There were no thoughtful, fact-based dissidents against Civil Rights legislation in the early 1960′s. The simple fact of our existence destroys their worldview, I believe.

    I guess this is kind of condescending, which is what we always accuse them of, but I believe it’s a little more reflective and fact-based than what they typically dish out. But I really do believe that for a great many people of the sort we’re discussing, it’s more important to maintain their posture of lone rebel against supreme evil (that being the right, neoconservatism, W, whatever) than to actually discuss the dilemmas facing the country in any kind of dispassionate way.

    It’s in this context that the charge they’re acting unpatriotically actually has some merit, I believe. (And it’s also the doorway to understanding why someone even as sporadically over the top as Ann Coulter is actually pretty damn funny sometimes.)

  89. PatCA Says:

    I “came out” with the family first, because they are basically good people. My cousin, who looked like he was facing Eddie Kreuger when I told him I voted for Bush, now admits the war is necessary. I think I made some headway at Thanksgiving.

  90. Anonymous Says:

    Do you have a link to your blog, Terri?

  91. Anonymous Says:

    With my usual lack of tact I’ll point out that the issue here is that conservatives who disagree with you think you’re stupid; liberals who disagree with you think you’re evil. As my daddy told me years ago, when the betting’s between malice and stupidity, put your money on stupidity evey time.

    ed in texas

  92. Bruce L-C Says:

    As like many guys, I only have a few really close friends other than my wife. So losing a friend would be a big deal. My very best friend’s wife during the last election told my wife that she didn’t know if she could stay friends with someone who would vote for Bush. My friend told me to ignore the comment. As you might imagine, we don’t discuss politics. What’s funny, is that I am really not that conservative, probably more libertarian than strict conservative but I truly believe that Bush is doing what he can to keep us safe.

    My Dad and one brother are classic Bush haters. This brother had his youngest calling Bush poopy head.

    Another good example that is like Bush being stupid, evil etc is the same people think that Walmart is evil. I was at relative of my wife’s Halloween party. I had thought going as a Republican but decided that would be too scary for them. I was having a conversation with another relative talking about her daughter blowing her clothes budget, I asked if she took her to Walmart to stretch her dollars. Walmart is EVIL was the reply with many nodding heads.

  93. Terri Says:

    Wow – and I thought I was alone in all of this “outing”. Great post, and great comments. Personally questioned a friend on her comment about Bush’s “beady eyes” once and got slapped down so hard it kept me quiet for months. Then I found all this opinion stifling inside of me and giving me stomach twists, so I started up. Slowly. I started blogging in order to introduce my sister to the world and found that by blogging, it helped me to keep my facts straight and at the ready. Now – I speak up. Always and I hope intelligently. I’m much happier, my stomach doesn’t hurt and I haven’t lost a friend. Though there may be subjects some don’t bring up any longer.

  94. RickInNY Says:

    As a classical liberal (to wit, a modern day “conservative”) living in the northeast in the bluest of blue states, I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve encountered the precise opposite of the “inclusive, tolerant” mantra so oft trumpeted by the left when it comes to the confrontational dialogues we find ourselves in.

    A couple of years ago I attended an afternoon tea at a prominent Massachusetts women’s college sponsored by the campus Republican Club (yes, they actually allowed its existence!). At a roundtable discussion, one outspoken Bush detractor reacted to a “W Stands For Women” poster with the comment “what has he ever done for women?” which was, of course, accompanied by knowing guffaws and the nodding of heads of behalf of other like minded Bush haters. I will never forgive myself for not speaking up reflecting the recent Afghan elections with the statement “How about Afghan women’s suffrage?”.

    Face it. There’s always going to be a conflict, and it will be heated and relentless. But I can never reconcile the inherent paradox of leftist politics. For those that can think think for themselves, the answer becomes self evident.

  95. Huan Says:

    people who are not tolerant and respectful of differences in opinions, even on hot item topics like politics or religion, are not worth the friendships.

    fortunately my politics do not affect my income.

  96. rickl Says:

    Anonymous at 11:59:

    (Is this the so-called “climate of fear” the Democrats/Left are always going on about? Probably not exactly the one they had in mind.)

    Well put. See also my comment at 9:38 p.m.

    I was being flippant in my 9:31 comment, but seriously, this has been a terrific discussion.

  97. Judith Says:

    I find that even just giving facts earns you a sneer if the other person doesn’t like your facts.

    I gave a sermon comparing the Iraqi election in Jan to the events of that week’s Torah portion, where the Israelites got their civil laws after the big revelation of the 10 Commandments. My talk was one fact after another, with cites. Quotes from NGO officials, Iraqis, you name it.

    I sit down and a guy leans over and whispers disapprovingly, “Well, that was a great commercial for the Bush administration.”

    I’ve had lefties who think of themselves as human rights activists, marching for Darfur, etc. say to me with a straight face “Saddam wasn’t that bad.” You have to be putting a lot of energy into denial to say Saddam wasn’t that bad.

    I was at a potluck sitting at the same table with a woman who said, “What is up with Islam these days?” (in itself a significant venture outside the box). I pointed out that this fanaticism wasn’t recent, and started giving examples, in a very mild tone of voice. After 20 seconds she just got up and walked away and sat at a different table.

    She’s not mad at me, we’ve never discussed it, it’s as if it never happened. :-)

    My best friend just refuses to discuss politics with me.

    They don’t want facts.

  98. Goesh Says:

    My friends and I value our friendship too much and we don’t let politics come between us, of course we miss out on berating the other side. In the office, its just not discussed. My sister is ultra-Liberal and when recently visiting, Bush was on tv and she she started to mean-mouth him so I started prostrating to to the tv and told her how stupid we both were acting and it ended. Actually I’ve mean-mouthed every President except Bush and Carter – go figure. I think we are all a bit twisted when it comes to politics.

  99. Anonymous Says:

    I got home earlier this evening from donating platelets (like donating blood, only more time-consuming and involved), which I’ve been doing about once a month for the last seven years. I was a teacher for two years in the Peace Corps a number of years ago. I do a lot of work in my professional capacity for environmental organizations and I give them a break on my rates. I’m kind to old people and have a reputation for respecting and honoring them (and helping them out with computer issues, when I can).

    And despite all of that I voted for Bush twice. A fact that I generally keep to myself. Many of the circles I move in professionally have a definite anti-Bush/anti-Republican bias. I don’t consider myself a Republican per sé but I definitely can’t see myself voting for the current generation of Democrats. Since I work for myself and my income is directly tied to getting jobs from my clients (many of whom I would also consider friends to some degree) up to now I have considered it the better part of valor to keep my head down, do my job, and not stray into politics one way or the other.

    Not that I want to talk politics all the time. Generally, I don’t. But sometimes I think it would be nice not to sit there silently listening to the lastest Bush-bashing trash. It would be interesting to see how people might react if they found out that I, with all my humanitarian qualifications outlined above, was one of those creeps that voted for Bush. But since I honestly believe that there could be serious negative financial repercussions to such a move, I’ve kept my mouth shut. (Is this the so-called “climate of fear” the Democrats/Left are always going on about? Probably not exactly the one they had in mind.)

    Anyway, I guess I haven’t reached the point yet (like Bookworm) where I feel compelled to speak up. I know there are good reasons to do so but I know there are dangers, too. Once you open Pandora’s box you can’t close it again. I think I’m moving in that direction but I haven’t gotten there yet.

  100. Megan Says:

    It’s even harder when it’s your own mother and brother who think you’ve gone off the deep end.

    I didn’t exactly hide the fact that I ‘changed’ … it just sort of started coming out after 9/11. I remember driving home with my mom (we car pooled…I don’t actually live w/her any longer LOL) and I asked what she thought of Republicans. She said they were racist biggots.

    Wow…I said, what about your dad (my grandpa)? Well, except him she said. What about me, I asked. She just said she wanted to change the subject.

    It amazes me that my incredibly smart mother, who’s father, daughter, and brother are all Republicans still manages to hang on to that belief that the GOP is evil and out to get the little guy.

    I voted for Clinton in 96 and Gore in 00. I admit it. It’s almost a badge of honor. I came to see the light. I certainly hope that someday my mother and brother come to see it too. Because I can hardly talk to my brother any more.

    When my new boss found out that I was a Republican I think he regretted hiring me. There was a reason that I didn’t mention it in the hiring process! LOL

    Even though I’m the only conservative in our group, they’re fairly congenial in our political conversations (such that they are). The last time a truly sticky conversation appeared it was via e-mail about Walmart. I e-mailed a reply once or twice and then just stopped. I wasn’t going to change their mind and I don’t need any more stress on the job.

    Why is it that the so called tolerant left cannot stand people who think differently than them? I guess it’s only diversity of skin color they care about…and sexual orientation.

  101. rickl Says:

    When my Bush/Cheney sign was stolen from my front yard last year, I immediately replaced it with a larger one.

    Good for you! But in my case, I didn’t put a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker on my car. I’d heard of far too many incidents of vandalism.

  102. rickl Says:

    How did I react to my change? With silence. You see, having lived a lifetime on the Left myself, I instantly realized that my new outlook would not be greeted as an intellectual curiosity, to be questioned politely and challenged through reasoned argument.

    Instead, I would be deemed to have gone to the dark side. After all, if Bush is evil, his followers must be evil too…

    Since I don’t have much tact or social skills, I just let fly. Damn the torpedos!

    On the other hand, I don’t have many friends left… :)

    (A few minutes ago I posted this comment to the wrong thread. How embarassing.

    I suppose it would be more embarassing if I had the aforementioned social skills.)

  103. Tom Grey Says:

    I like the idea of “facts” — but the important facts are about the future. And nobody knows.

    There are some important historical facts: no-to-war, but yes-to-genocide in Rwanda in 1994. No to war, but yes to genocide in Darfur, today; “no-genocide” by the UN.

    fantasy: “I hate Bush”.
    “what about Kofi Annan?”
    “He’s OK”
    “what about Darfur?”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Is Darfur a genocide or not?”
    “Of course it is, Kerry said so, too.”
    “But the UN says it is not — are they more stupid than Bush?”…

    I just had a thought that the Dems were not keen on Kerry, but the same unwillingness to openly discuss pros & cons of different positions, meant there was little real opposition to Kerry, despite the eight other dwarves and the (did anybody watch them?) Dem primary debates.

    The Dem PC-thought police conformity requirement is losing for them the idea of a loyal opposition.

    For liberal friends, when they say “I hate Bush,” perhaps affirming a shared belief. “I love democracy and freedom.” Or, “I love economic prosperity.”

  104. CF Says:

    It’s all familiar to me, too, a neo con in the middle of one of Washington D.C.’s liberal northwest neighborhoods.I remember a few years ago being the dinner guest of very charming, tasteful folks at their lovely cabin in Maine.
    No politics had been discussed all night. As dessert dishes were being cleared, the host asked what I thought of Bush. I said I loved the man. The host turned red and started screaming how “closed minded I was.” LOL

    I am a retired lawyer and find this sort of thing amusing and not the least bit intimidating.
    When my Bush/Cheney sign was stolen from my front yard last year, I immediately replaced it with a larger one.

    I think what really makes these folks crazy is to see that “one of theirs” thinks–well, in their mind– like a racist,redneck NASCAR fan which, of course, is their view of anyone on the other side.You know–”closed minded” *wink* They have spent 4 decades thinking every educated, nice person thinks exactly as they do…and, of course,(a) they never speak to anyone with an opposing view in their social set and (b) they never read anything which seriously questions their underlying beliefs.

  105. piscivorous Says:

    I’m a conservative liberal and it depends on the issue what point of view I take. On issues where I am well versed in the facts I can generally argue both sides of the coin better than most polemics, who often don’t know the facts, so I find myself playing the Devil’s Advocate. Both liberals and conservatives at times and on issues have their heads so far up their posteriors that I find myself nearly gagging on their ignorance stupidity. I generally handle these situations by presenting the facts in a non-partisan way, without overtly declaring my conservative or liberal leanings in an attempt to educate my badly informed friends of certain aspects of the subject they may not have considered or been fully informed of without taking an overt position one way or the other. I’ve found that this generally prevents a confrontation yet let me look at myself in the mirror with out the guilt of self-imposed hypocrisy.

  106. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    I have erred in both directions, speaking out when I should pipe down, remaining silent when I should speak, up here in becoming-blue NH, working in deeply blue social work. Bookworm describes the offhandedness of Bush hatred well.

    I have had recent success with the line “I think it’s more complicated than that.” It’s a cheap trick to use liberal sneering against them, but no one dares contradict you.

    And it always is “more complicated than that,” so it’s not unfair to point it out.

    Thank you for highlighting to me that it is different in a female, connection-driven world. I dislike being shunned, but as a male have more cultural defenses and support for it.

  107. Eric Says:

    I moved right of center while working and living in an emerging economy in Latin America for four years. I come from a family/clan long dedicated to the Democratic Party/Tribe. Mostly I am disappointed with the current leadership in the Democratic tent. I wait for the next real “Scoop” Jackson but have come to accept that they are either, all now under the Republican tent, or have no chance of being given leadership voice (e.g., Joe Lieberman).

    What I really want to see is a deeper discussion on the issues and not so much rhetoric on so many issues using so may useless and misleading labels.

    How shall we really address the deeply troubling and troublesome entitlement programs (Medicare and Social Security)?

    How can we inspire a new generation of youth to take on public service as a career when we are bashing each other bloody with broad bantering about banalities when there are real problems to solve? (energy independence, local poverty, education, education, education…)

  108. David Says:

    For discussion: Why is unaminity of opinion so important to these people? Why is the least crack in the wall of mutual agreement so threatening to them?

    I personally have rarely encountered the behavior pattern described…but what it sounds like is a devoutly religious person who harbors secret doubts and is afraid to admit this to himself, for fear of loss of faith and consequent hell-fire.

  109. Meade Says:

    Many look at me ever after with “that look” in their eyes…

    I know that look all too well. Sometimes I tell them, “But I voted against him before I voted for him” which helps for a minute… until they think about it.

    Other times, when friends blurt out, “I hate Bush” I answer back, “Really? I love Bush.” That usually ends it right there with them thinking, “Hmm, is he messing with me or has he gone insane? Better just drop it.”

    And they do.

  110. ShrinkWrapped Says:

    “Coming out” as a neocon takes some courage when all around you are people who believe in revealed truth (Bush lied, babies died!) However, I find when you are able to talk to people one on one, and discuss issues dispassionately (“Just the facts, Ma’am”) amazing things can happen. I have had “liberals” come to agree with me on almost every important issue and then, at the end of the discussion, after they say how we are not that far apart, they close with, “But I still hate Bush.”) I imagine it would require an army of Psychotherapists to figure this out… (that was post-modernist irony, BTW)

  111. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I am told “the dance” anonymous does is exactly how gays do, or used to in more judgmental times, find other gays in groups of strangers.
    I guess it has a number of applications.

    I understand that Bookworm has a practical need for others with whom to work. She cannot paraphrase Groucho Marx who said any club who’d have him he wouldn’t want to join. In this case, any friend who’d have me if I were liberal I don’t want as a friend.

    Bookworm can’t think of a benefit involved in outing herself. But there is one, at least, and that is self-respect. As a parent, with others dependent on her, perhaps self-respect can wait.

    OTOH, there’s always the inevitable scenario if she outs herself.
    It would be something like “that warmongering, racist, fascist, Bush-loving neo-con changed my tire for me in the rain.”
    Contingencies being what they are, something like this is bound to arise. The passage of time guarantees it.
    What might it be? Emergency babysitting. Find somebody’s kid wandering on the wrong block. Attending a funeral.
    Odds are she’s already done something like this. It will happen again. It would reduce the ostracism and improve the perception of conservatives if she were known as one. “If she’s that nice….”

  112. Anonymous Says:

    For the most part, my experience has been this. With good friends, we dodge the revelation. They don’t necessarily respect the view of the neoco; they just value the friendship more. So they overlook and dodge; the candor doesn’t result in a new opening. I’m leaning Bookworm here. For the most part, it doesn’t result in much more than discomfort and uncertainty (on their part).

  113. odrady Says:

    Amen, Sister!

    Been there, done that here in “progressvie, tolerant” Boulder…

  114. Epaminondas Says:

    I have now ‘corrupted’ my entire family with objective reality. At one time we hosted Bill Bradley campaign workers for months during the 2000 NH primary campaign, now we look at our (dem) friends as if they don’t have a clue, and they look at us as if we have been stricken like George III and inexplicably carried away. A column as an ex worker for Mcgovern by me appeared in the Union Leader explaining why it was impossible to vote for Kerry last year and suddenly neighbors appeared backslappingly happy, but friends never mentioned politics again.

    Worst of all, when we had ‘discussed’ this their only response was that I had ‘bad information’.
    4 years speaking with gulf bankers, IT security chiefs, oil engineers very frankly…bad info. I guess that’s all that can be said when confronted by facts which make your entire worldview not just wrong, but a bubble of dangerous fantasy. Noen of them ever heard of Ibn Tamiyya, or Sayd Qutb, or Abdullah Azzam…

  115. Brad Says:

    Hello Bookworm, I read your post at AT when it first went up, and I’m glad it is getting another go around from Neo. I have found, like others, that the most productive format for a discussion with friends and coworkers to my left is to stick to basics, and to avoid flash points. For example, if something like diversity comes up (and it always does in academia), I try to steer the conversation to a dissection of equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome, and what are the benefits and problems with each concept. If it is economics and the social contract, I go to Rousseau and Locke, and avoid Reagan and Clinton (and expecially avoid Marx), etc. That way I keep my cards down and I get a lot of new ideas, rather than grief, from people.

  116. Newvictorian Says:

    It seems to me that if those on the ‘other side’ can’t divorce the argument from the person and can’t think rationally about opposing points of view then it’s probably not worth it to talk to them about these matters–though it seems sad that in America people feel they must keep their political opinions to themselves in order not to be ostracized.

    Portia’s comments hilariously remind me of the largish but secret community of marijuana smokers, and how when moving to a new town or job one figures out who the others are:

    Afterwards, you sidle up to them and make a double-edged comment that could be taken either way. If they answer the way you hope, you venture your neck a little further.

    Heh.

  117. Anonymous Says:

    I should add that none of my like-minded friends so far has any real power in that field.

    However — and this will sound idiotic — like all minorities who live in secrecy, we find ourselves giving the others a leg up if we have a chance. Perhaps this is how things change? Overtime? As we become more powerful?

    Portia

  118. Anonymous Says:

    I can’t “out” myself without more serious consequences. My field of work is seriously liberal and, to an extent, discretionary. Comissions would vanish if anyone knew.

    OTOH there is what I call “the dance”. This is where in the middle of a conversation where someone says something like “I hate Bush” you look up and see that someone else is not laughing or being enthusiastic. Afterwards, you sidle up to them and make a double-edged comment that could be taken either way. If they answer the way you hope, you venture your neck a little further. Silly? Oh, undoubtedly. However I’ve found that about half of my friends in the same ultra-liberal field are as much in the closet as I am. And once the barriers are down we can have great fun at parties and in emails afterwards.

    Portia

  119. Bookworm Says:

    I’ve written a few other things, but none has gotten the reaction this one has. I’ve gotten dozens of emails from people who think precisely as I do, and dozens from people who have reviled me for letting down “our side.” Your point, about honesty amongst friends, and about showing that there are good conservatives is an important one, and I very much appreciate the thoughtfulness you’ve brought to my discussion.

    Because I’ve had some time to think about this since I first wrote the article, and because I’ve had so many interesting emails and comments to bounce off, I’ve been able to develop a few more points and to analyze a little more my own point of view.

    First, I don’t live in a political world. My world is the world of children, soccer, law, etc. Politics come up as an aside (“I took the kids to a soccer game and, by the way, I hate Bush”). In my own community, to get through life, I need to focus on essentials. And that means brushing aside these silly political comments as I would flies.

    Second, while my little community is intensely liberal, it helps to remind myself that they’re the beleaguered ones. After all, the party with which I’ve newly allied myself holds Congress and the White House. I think it would be different if I felt I was the only one speaking up for a more rational political view — in which case, I think I’d have a moral obligation to speak out.

    Third, I’m a wuss. I’m simply not a confrontational person, and the fact that I know someone is only a fair weather friend doesn’t mean that I have the stomach for a fight with that person, followed by endless uncomfortable interactions as we scoot by each other at the school, the soccer game, or the law office.

    Fourth, I’ve actually discovered a nonconfrontational way to confront people — facts, entirely without argument. Indeed, I blogged about that here. It’s actually been hugely successful in rejiggering some people’s thinking, since it doesn’t involve challenging their core beliefs — something that makes them vicious — but just subtley undermines those same beliefs.

    Anyway, thank you so much for taking this ball and running with it. I’ll certainly add your thoughts to my own ruminations on the subject. 2006 may be my year to come out of the conservative closet.

  120. Geri Says:

    Thanks, I just had lunch with a friend whom I was close with before I “changed my mind”. It is comforting to know others are going through this redefining of friends. We seem to have little to connect with. She is liberal. I have changed. I have such passion with my new thoughs and it is difficult to talk and not talk about them. It’s is like a elephant in the living room. But I already know she does not want to hear. It was good to read your thoughts. I am not alone.

  121. free live sex Says:

    Well, the post is really the best on this notable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your upcoming updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the phenomenal clarity in your writing. I will right away grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Fabulous work and much success in your business endeavors!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge