Sunday, March 23, 2008

"When the facts change, I change my opinion"

"...what do you do, sir?"

The quote comes from David Mamet, paraphrasing John Maynard Keynes, in a recent New York Post article describing Mamet's conversion from a "brain-dead liberal" to the right:

"I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson and Shelby Steele . . . and found that I agreed with them: A free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism."

Reading of Mamet's conversion, while I cannot speak of his theatrical work, reminded me of the philosophical political conversion I underwent during the fall of 2006, just after the mid-term elections. I was pretty solidly a Kerry guy in 2004, although I wasn't entirely sure why, other than he wasn't Bush. Yet, I realized soon after that I had done little in the way of research on Kerry the candidate. But what really triggered my political conversion was the war in Iraq. The valiant efforts by the soldiers and Marines on the ground, coupled with the determination of many Iraqis to rid themselves of the entrenched insurgency prevented me from seeing the deliberate Democratic ignorance and opposition as anything but disgraceful. Once the surge was put in place and real gains were evident by mid-summer 2007, I felt personally vindicated and resolved that my beliefs and intuition were true.

Political posturing is one thing, but woeful ignorance, fraud, and the tacit hope that your own country will lose in combat overseas pushed me to ever new heights in my distaste of the shameful sophism and baseless prognostications among the left. They seemed to hope for a Pyrrhic victory, a position that is simply unacceptable.

I tell friends that I am largely a single-issue voter, and that is true. "Partisanship must end at the water's edge" said Harry Truman. That is one maxim that should never be broken.

Once I reached an opinion regarding the American-led effort in Iraq, my analysis of the situation led to further inquiry in the realm of foreign policy - North Korea, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, China. And if one can accept that the United States does not act solely for its own benefit, that Americans have and continue to die in order to support the birth of infant democracies across the globe, and that our government is not inherently evil, solely determined to gobble up the world for shareholders - then we have a place to begin a debate.

Unfortunately, because of the combination of military success overseas, and the political impotence of its leaders at home, the American left has largely resorted to incendiary ad hominem attacks against all that is honorable about our military, to the most baseless of US motives in the middle east, to the conviction that America deserves each terrorist attack perpetrated against it.

Social security, Medicare, highway spending, and taxes will sort itself out here domestically. These problems are daunting but secondary to security and the world energy supply located in the least stable region of the world.

A series of poor choices, political rhetoric, and desperation have lead the American left toward its current political positions, costing it pragmatic centrists like myself, patriotic realists who can no longer stomach the anti-American sentiment coming from home, nor the obvious weakness manifest in its own inability to pass legislation while holding the majority.


Anonymous said...

First of all, you are not a "pragmatic centrist", let's call a Spade a Spade. Your entire blog is well right of center. That's fine.

As for our leaders, they're all politically entrenched in their careers, blinding them of their actual duties. So yes, they will make (to use one of your favorite catch phrases) ad hominem attacks, since the majority of Americans don't watch anything but the 10 o'clock news telling them about the missing girl in Aruba (since that is so important to their decisions in voting or effecting their lives directly other than in entertainment. That said, just as you were, most Americans are blissfully ignorant to the realities of our global or even local stances and actions on countless issues, which we are represented for by our government.

But what our politicians have to say in their partisan roles has a different meaning for you than it does for most. You see most of the attacks, whether justified or not, as a blight on the armed forces. I see it as an emphasis on a decision we have to make as a people to change OUR lives rather than those of the Iraqis or the Afghanis or whoever else we currently are engaged with. The solidarity you speak of so innocently that should unite us at water's edge is as divisive as the question what are we fighting for.

We support our troops. We cannot always support their lives being put into peril. I personally will not stand for the reasons we've been lied to about. That is why I cannot let my "partisanship end at the water's edge", as it represents me and for no good reason. That means, I will always have respect for the troops fighting for my liberties, but I will not always agree on whether they are fighting for my feedom or for some politician's self-promoting agenda.


Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...

Lies are inevitable within the political sphere. But I draw distinction between calculated political maneuvering to accomplish a political goal, and a blatant egregious act by a corruptocrat.

Ultimately, volunteers will serve and do their duty, but many - most, also believe in their mission, despite the war of words at home.

The terrorist attacks here and abroad cannot be solved by changing our own lives, at least not solely. Isn't that, after all, what the Jihadis want? For us infidels to forsake our religion and creed, and convert to Islam? At least that is the stated goal of Salafist radicals and Jihadists.

The present war on terror is operating on so many levels - it's a culture war, it's a propaganda war, it's a political war, it's a war for the patriotic heart and soul of our own country.

And I feel secure that I am on the right side.