Topic: Chasing the Zeitgeist
What Matters: Getting to the Core
Over at Just Above Sunset and here on the blog there's this lighthearted dispute with our columnist Bob Patterson. He seems to think the direction of both sites is wrong. They should cover the news, not do all the long-winded commentary on political theory and history and whatnot. He's in favor of brevity, and of what people really want to consider – things like Michael Jackson's guilt (or innocence), or at least his behavior, or, perhaps, the antics of the press covering such things.
To cite him:
Ah, but some things just are complex and "hard to digest," and one cannot avoid that. The intention here has been to examine the complexity, and try to unravel it when possible, or put it in some sort of perspective. Failing that, one can only marvel at it.
Thus the long items here can be seen as "aids to digestion," so to speak. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. But that's what we do - and Bob get is two columns each week over at Just Above Sunset to do what he does. (His two latest are here and here.) Yes, the most powerful man in the world, reelected by a clear majority of Americans, has made a career of denying complexity - "They hate us for our freedoms." - but somehow that leaves some of us - what Bob calls "a few dedicated (fanatical?) intellectuals" - thinking maybe there's something more going on.
Well, maybe there isn't and he's right. A few sentences will do for almost anything?
But how to explain all this, just a sample at the end of the day, Tuesday, September 27 ...
Are we winning in Iraq? You decide.
Al-Qaeda's No 2 in Iraq is shot dead after betrayal (Times Online)
US is logging gains against Al Qaeda in Iraq )Christian Science Monitor)
Zarqawi emerging as self-sustained force-US intel (Reuters)
How are things in Israel? You decide.
Israel shells Gaza for first time since pullout (ABC News)
Sharon's Likud Opponents Vow to Oust Him (San Francisco Chronicle)
The fellow who resigned as head of FEMA testifies before congress, and said what? And he still works for them? What one-liner do you use?
Brown: 'I know what I am doing' (CNN)
Brown puts blame on Louisiana officials (CNN)
Brown serving as consultant to FEMA (CNN)
Over in Northern Ireland? What's to say?
No power-share, says Paisley as he disputes IRA weapons move (Times Online, UK)
Protestants Not Buying IRA Disarmament (ABC News)
Doors open again for Sinn Fein in US (Belfast Telegraph, United Kingdom)
That girl was convicted of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib and she's really, really sorry. Case closed?
Lynndie England apologizes for abuse photos (ABC News)
The second day of the trial was underway regarding "intelligent design" near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, not far from the Three Mile Island reactors, and the New York Times leads with this - "Intelligent design is not science, has no support from any major American scientific organization and does not belong in a public school science classroom, a prominent biologist testified on the opening day of the nation's first legal battle over whether it is permissible to teach the fledgling 'design' theory as an alternative to evolution." Curiously the Times of London (UK) gives is this: Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side' - an item that opens with this - "Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today." Really. See also God versus science debate continues in court (ABC News) and School defends its decision to teach 'intelligent design' (Independent - UK) and Claims of scientific support for 'intelligent design' disputed (Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau). Enough has been said in these pages on that topic. Anything more will bore everyone.
You can't cover everything.
As de facto editor and publisher you cover what interests you. You hope some "intellectual fanatic" will hang on for the ride. If not, then so be it.
And what interests this de facto editor and publisher is what underlies what is said and done - trying to figure out how people think and how they think the world should be.
Boring? Perhaps, but here's the ride.
Tony Blankley has a new book.
Who is he?
Well, he speaks for the right. He's the man in charge of the op-ed page of the Washington Times, Reverend Moon's conservative alternative to the Washington Post, what Fox News is to CNN, if you will. He's a regular panelist on that weekend shout-fest on PBS, The McLaughlin Group, you see him on the MSNBC Chris Matthews Show now and then, quite often opining on Fox News, and he's the "right" on the nationally syndicated NPR commentary show Left, Right and Center recorded out here at KCRW in Santa Monica. He's a big gun on the right.
So how does he think, and what's this new book? It's The West's Last Chance, published by Regnery, the publisher of Michelle Malkin (previously discussed here and quoted often). The Blankley book was published September 12 - 256 pages, ISBN: 0895260158 - and it's a hoot.
Over at Richard Mellon Scaife's TOWNHALL one Rebecca Hagelin says it's important -
Yep, that's the thesis. Unless we forget about "tolerance, the right to privacy, the right even to advocate sedition and the right to equal protection under the law" we'll all die. Just as we put those Japanese families - men, women and children - in those camps in the desert, because they were merely Japanese, so we may have to do the same thing now. Michelle Malkin wrote a book arguing that - In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror.
But Tony Blankley is beyond that - to survive we'd better accept something like a police state with no rights.
First steps? Hagelin explains:
Comment from Jesse Taylor here -
But that is what he wants. Underlying it all he seems to want to end this crap about having a country where people can say what they think and folks do their best to tolerate each other. We can't afford it? To survive we must run our country with iron discipline, much as the mullahs run Iran or some such thing. Sometimes concentration camps are necessary. We have to preserve our way of life, after all.
What way of life? It seems you can say some pretty bad shit about this book on what we must become. To save the America we know and love we must become a fascist state, with all the trimmings,
This would be a minor thing if Blankley were a bit player. But, as noted above, he's a big gun, with considerable influence. Amazon sells his new book here - to the paranoid. The book service at TOWNHALL sells it here with these blurbs:
Ah, the salvation of the western world is at stake. Cool. But this book is not about its salvation. It's pretty obvious it's about getting rid of those things that define it - to save it.
That raises an interesting question one might pose to Blankley, or Robert Spencer, or to Michelle Malkin. If you take away these things - "tolerance, the right to privacy, the right even to advocate sedition and the right to equal protection under the law" - then you must be operating under the assumption that they do not, really, define what you call "the western world." Just how are you defining it then? Please explain. After all the takeaways, what's left? Who are we and what do we stand for, and how should we live our lives?
That is a real question. Some of us - the intellectuals Bob finds so boring - want to know. Their vision of "what's left" is not here. What is it? What are the core values? There's nothing given.
The news stories up top are about transitory events. These issues are what lie underneath.