January 10th, 2006

Neocons and fear

Every now and then I see comments here made by people who assume that my post-9/11 change was quick, and was prompted by fear at the event itself. The comments tend to be on the order of “You cowardly idiot, turning to the Dark Side just because you’re a fraidy cat.”

When I get around to the next installment of the “change” series (soon, soon!!), it will become clearer that the process was a slow and steady one, and was more cognitive than anything else, although of course an emotional reaction was part of it. But the main drive to my change was hardly fear.

I’ll give those readers the benefit of the doubt right now, because I really haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet. But in the meantime, I’ve decided to edit my profile on the right sidebar to try to make it all clearer. I’ve changed the words “I’ve found myself leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon” to “I’ve found myself slowing but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.”

Ah well, it probably won’t matter too much to those who are intent on assuming that I went to bed on September 10th, 2001 a liberal Democrat; got frightened out of my wits on Sept. 11; and woke up on September 12th a hardened neo-neocon Bush-loving warmonger.

20 Responses to “Neocons and fear”

  1. Anonymous Says:

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  2. antimedia Says:

    “You don’t suppose that neo-con is setting up what they call a “straw man” do you? Attributing a paraphrased, super -simplified position to her opponents and then attacking it? Comments”tend to be on the order of”?”

    It might be her strawman. It is not mine. I have been accused, more than once, of being “petrified by fear” because I have argued that the NSA surveillance program is not only legal but FISA is unconstitutional.

    Nevermind that I’ve provided a multitude of cites to court precedents and argued from a reasoned standpoint. I’m petrified by fear, and if I wasn’t, I would see the irrationality of supporting the NSA program.

  3. kcom Says:

    To telesonic: I admit I didn’t quite follow all of the logic, but it was funny. Thanks for making me smile.

    To Troutsky:

    Anonymous tells us his having electricity, running water,freedom, and a warm home (civilization)was due to millions of people fighting and dying for it.Those who don’t have these things (for instance, the 370,000 who will starve to death today)we will assume did not fight hard enough or die enough to gain these things.From the mouth of babes.

    The key is that we owe a debt to all those people that came before us who fought and died for our freedom and prosperity. It’s not just that they fought and died for their country, as many people have done that. What they fought for was certain principles that made everything else possible. Sure, many other countries have a lot of war dead, but they have no freedom since that wasn’t what they fought for. Tell me, which side in the Liberian civil war (of which I have some semi-direct experience), was fighting for those principles? Or were both factions (or all three, or four, or however many there were) fighting for something else, like power and spoils. And is it any wonder today that they don’t have electricity, running water and freedom, if they didn’t sacrifice to acquire those things? It isn’t entirely a matter of coincidence and bad luck.

  4. telesonic Says:

    Here we are, playing “Qien es mas macho?” with liberals. Strange world, isn’t it?

    The assumption is that Bush and those who support him would not have “rushed” to war if they had been required to attend to the business in person. This was also the logic behind Rangel’s suggestion that we start drafting rich white boys or whatever it was.

    Well, I don’t have a problem with sending the president into harm’s way if it will benefit mankind. Maybe he could start small, like with an artillery company. That’s how Napoleon started, and look what a pacifist he turned out to be.

    On the other hand, liberals might actually admire Bush more if he were to forego the semi-annual brush-hogging and instead spend his free time terrorizing women, children, and old people in Mesopotamia. That would make him one of the troops–and everybody supports the troops, right?

    Just because he’s President, doesn’t mean he can’t still be an Army of One.

  5. Kalroy Says:

    “Those who don’t have these things (for instance, the 370,000 who will starve to death today)we will assume did not fight hard enough or die enough to gain these things.From the mouth of babes.”

    Perhaps.
    Consider that those things were made possible in the free west by (well scientists certainly) men and women willing to die for the liberty, economic model and governments that make those things possible across the broad spectrum of their society. Not simply in the formation of those country/civilizations but in their defense.

    So there is some unintended truth to your statement, “…did not fight hard enough or die enough…”

    Kalroy

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Troutsky says:

    “Those who don’t have these things (for instance, the 370,000 who will starve to death today)we will assume did not fight hard enough or die enough to gain these things.”

    You’ve just made my point. There will always be people suffering, since civilizations are not static, and they are not GUARANTEED. Get a history book. Civilizations rise and fall. Our so called Western civilization may fall yet, and we become starving and cold, if we do not work and fight when necessary to preserve it.

    “From the mouth of babes.”

    Babies need to grow up and face the cold, hard realities of life.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I heard of the first plane just as I was driving into the parking lot where I worked. I was working at my desk when news of the second plane came in. One of my co-workers, a young man from Oregon, sent me a message saying he was sorry for the people but “we deserved it.” I almost got out of my seat to punch him.

    I feel for my country the same way I feel for my family. We can argue and fight amongst ourselves, but if anyone outside of the family picks a fight with one of us, we bond together and take them on as one. Our entire way of life is at stake with these terrorists and what they represent. To see this doesn’t mean a change of view or cowardice. If you don’t understand this, I guess you don’t see yourself as part of this greater community of country.

  8. hg wells Says:

    You don’t suppose that neo-con is setting up what they call a “straw man” do you? Attributing a paraphrased, super -simplified position to her opponents and then attacking it?

    It’s wise to consider this possibility when someone speaks in general about his or her opponents. I often encounter blue-staters making broad claims about those who support Bush and the war that sure sound like straw-man attacks to me. And I can’t speak for neo’s experiences of being called a fraidy cat.

    However, I can say that when I came out for the war, I was accused of many things–being a pawn of Rush Limbaugh (I never listen to him), being a rabid conservative Christian (I’m a member of an extremely liberal Episcopalian congregation), and having a male mid-life crisis (huh?).

    I still consider myself a liberal, but my neo-con shift over the war upset many people in a manner quite similar to neo’s descriptions. It doesn’t take much reading of anti-war blogs to find frequent unpleasant psychological generalizations about those of support the war–especially those like neo, myself and many who read this blog, who switched sides.

  9. maryatexitzero Says:

    Those who don’t have these things (for instance, the 370,000 who will starve to death today)we will assume did not fight hard enough or die enough to gain these things.

    Are you talking about the Sudanese who are starving due to the actions of their genocidal Islamist government? Who, exactly, are those 370,000 who will starve to death today?

    What kind of regimes do they live under? What concrete and effective actions have UN and their NGO’s taken to stop the political problems/civil wars/genocidal regimes that are the cause of most starvation and misery in the world? What positive and effective actions have they ever taken?

    Many people have turned away from the Left for purely pragmatic reasons. The Left’s programs and ideas just don’t work. The pacifist faith that the left and the UN have been trying to promote also doesn’t work.

    Some people base their political beliefs on facts, some base them on faith.

  10. troutsky Says:

    You don’t suppose that neo-con is setting up what they call a “straw man” do you? Attributing a paraphrased, super -simplified position to her opponents and then attacking it? Comments”tend to be on the order of”?

    Anonymous tells us his having electricity, running water,freedom, and a warm home (civilization)was due to millions of people fighting and dying for it.Those who don’t have these things (for instance, the 370,000 who will starve to death today)we will assume did not fight hard enough or die enough to gain these things.From the mouth of babes.

  11. Paul Says:

    Many roads lead to the NeoCon Rome ! :)

  12. camojack Says:

    A mind is a terrible thing…sort of the other side of that old “ignorance is bliss” coin.

  13. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    I’m not sure it’s so much fear of fighting back as fear of being punished for fighting back. They seem to have the mind set of “If I cooperate, they won’t hurt me; but if I fight back, I’ll lose, and I’ll get hurt even worse.” As opposed to the “warmongers” who think “If I do nothing, they’re going to keep hurting me; if I fight back it may hurt, but it’s the only hope of ultimately making them stop.” You could draw a million analogies to the situation – a beaten wife, somebody who is being blackmailed, etc.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    People who believe in the precept “Peace through Superior Firepower” are Jacksonians.

    This is just another case of projection. Some Lefty assassin wannabes got here from TBogg’s site, with Bookworm’s link all right.

    Left

    And what he said is enlightening. They believe that Neo and others of her ilk, want to go to the Sugar Daddy that is President Bush. Cause he will protect everyone from their fears.

    For one thing, the government is designed to protect us from foreign threats, that is the whole gotterdamerung point to having a government.

    Second, the fake liberals think the government is there to protect them from themselves. Pity their fear of themselves and of fighting back.

    A bunch of terroists recently got on a French train and for 5 hours,
    raped, humiliated, beaten, and assaulted the 600 people on that train.
    Did they have explosives, machine guns, and were trained in lethal
    martial arts and numbered in the thousands? Why no, they were 20 young
    criminals armed with butter knives, screw drivers, and bad breath.

    When there is a will, there is a way. A way out of trouble, a way to safety.

    I’m more afraid of paralysis than I would be of those young idiots who
    wanted to have fun rather than to kill. I would not nearly have been as
    merciful. Which is why I tend to think that if 20 young guys got on a
    train in Georgia, and tried that gimmick, they would be thrown out of
    the window in pieces. Good thing they brought their own cutlery too.

    Everyone has fears.

    But other people, like those people on the train and Democrats here in
    America who criticize others, what they fear is fundamentally different.
    They fear fighting back.

    And it is a rather crude insult to tell others that they are backing
    Bush because they are afraid of the same things that the fake liberals
    are. Don’t think so.

    The train came from Nice by the way. Some people are nice, others aren’t.

  15. David Holliday Says:

    I have a good friend who claims to be a liberal but when we argue we agree on so much that I tell him he’s a conservative. I consider myself to be a conservative but I have some views that go to the liberal side of the house. I don’t think it takes as large a shift as some might think for a person to move from left of center to right of center. In many cases, liberals and conservatives believe in the same principal, what we don’t agree on is how to get there. For instance, if you were to ask me if I want peace on earth I would say of course. However, I believe, in some cases, peace can only be achieved through force. So what am I a liberal or a conservative?

  16. J. Peden Says:

    From my perspective the argument that being a fraidy cat causes one to become evil is false on the face of it, since it is composed only of name-calling and begging the question. It is essentially only a disparaging postulate – whose intention is also to elevate the one doing the postulating and at the same time provide some kind of irrational defense of their own position, which is itself perceived at some level to be very weak if not fatally vulnerable. Imo,it’s either the argument of a true fraidy cat – one who fears looking at their own beliefs, thoughts, and thought processes/self, or it’s the argument of one who is simply unable [genetics, etc.], unwilling [lazy,disinterested,etc], or sees no need to do the looking, for whatever other reason – such as not believing that thoughts and thought itself mean anything, but are rather only means to an end such as “winning” or control for the sake of control [control as self].

    One striking thing about such argument-postulates is that it always seems to me that it is left to me and the rest of us to figure out what the hell the postulater is even trying to say, that is, if it makes any sense at all as an argument. For example, consider: “Iraq is Vietnam”, or “Violence breeds violence”, or “Bush is only after the oil”, or “Bush lied” – where we are forced to ask what the word “lie” means to those who make the claim. Why is it always up to the rest of us to make the argument allegedly contained in the postulates for those who state them, and even to decipher for them what the statements mean?

    Not that it’s not good to do it, and not that it’s not necessary to do it: for if I want to understand my own thoughts and thought processes – and actions/policies, why would I not want to understand any thought or any other mind?

    In contrast, the bare argument that neo is merely a fraidy cat who has gone to the dark side post 9/11 shows no interest in her thought at all.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    It wasn’t 9/11 that changed me… it was watching all my friends and family, leftist intellectuals all, decide that the proper response to 9/11 was to appease, even applaud, whoever did it.

    To the liberals who respond that they had no intention of appeasing Al Qaeda, I say: That’s nice, but unless you happen to be a member of my pre-9/11 circle of friends posting under a pseudonym, it really doesn’t matter to me. Every day I have to face the fact that everyone I used to trust and respect are now not only cheering for Al Qaeda to overthrow the US government, but outraged at me for not joining them.

    I don’t care what anyone else’s reasons for loving or hating Bush are. I just know the reasons why the people I’ve known all my life hate him… and that’s why I vote for him.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    For me the change was the realization that the comforts I have always taken for granted- freedom, a warm home, electricity, running water- were not givens, and could be taken away.

    Fear? In many ways yes. But not necessarily a bad thing, since fear is a survival mechanism.

    More importantly the message I got was that one must never get so complacent that they not recognize that “civilization” came about from millions of people fighting and dying for it. It didn’t just land in our laps as a gift from good ol’ Mother earth.

  19. ElMondoHummus Says:

    To LetMeSpellItOutForYou:

    I think it has something to do with a mindset that fear is irrational and unjustified, and on top of that misinformed, and that “knowlegeable” people do not share a “misinformed” person’s fear of a given subject or entity. It also stems from what I feel is a mischaracterization of some honest people’s concerns. There are times when fighting back against an assault or an attack — whether between just two individuals or between multiple large entities like countries — is irrational and kneejerk, and there are times when it’s a legitimate conclusion from logical considerations. And there are all those shades of gray in between.

    I don’t know about those other commenters, but I see no justification for people telling Neo here that she turned to the “Dark Side just because (she’s) a fraidy cat.” There’s a difference between “healthy concern” and “irrational fear”. The first is the product of much reflection and analysis. And while the latter exists, I don’t see it in our blog-hostess at all. It’s a complete misunderstanding based on lack of knowledge, and lack of reading any of her material to characterize her in that way.

  20. LetMeSpellItOutForYou Says:

    I fail to see how it is cowardly to want to fight back when provoked. Am I missing something?

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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.
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