Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Conservatives Defend Us From Our Real Enemies, Liberals Defend Us From Our Enemy, Reality (1.21.10)

Continuing with Monday's pedantic post: in the depressive position, the infant gradually integrates experience into a coherent self which is able to distinguish fantasy from reality, interior from exterior, self from not-self. You might think that this is an unproblematic achievement, but you would be quite wrong. We all carry remnants of the paranoid-schizoid position, some much more so than others

In my book I refer to these enduring, or "crystalized" pathological remnants as “mind parasites”; but remember, healthy functioning always involves a sort of fluid dialectic between the two positions, analogous to metabolism and catabolism. Carl Jung in particular emphasized how a psychological "breakdown" can be a prelude to a new level of integration. In fact, it happened in his own life, when experienced what amounted to a psychotic break during World War I (I forget all the details at the moment).

Here, I'll look it up. This might be helpful. In his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung wrote that after his break from Freud in 1913, "a period of inner uncertainty began for me. It would be no exaggeration to call it a state of disorientation. I felt totally suspended in mid-air, for I had not yet found my own footing." Interestingly, this coincided with the onset of the war, which was experienced as a sort of psychotic breakdown of the world's order. Jung could not distinguish between his internal experience and the world situation:

"The pressure I had felt in me seemed to be moving outward, as though there were something in the air. The atmosphere actually seemed to me darker than it had been. It was as if the sense of oppression no longer sprang exclusively from a psychic situation, but from concrete reality. This feeling grew more and more intense."

Hmm, this is getting interesting. What happened next? "In October, while I was alone on a journey, I was suddenly seized by an overpowering vision: I saw a monstrous flood covering all of the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps.... I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood. This vision lasted about one hour. I was perplexed and nauseated."

Soon he was plunged into an "incessant stream of fantasies" that made it difficult to function. "Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them. There is a chance that I might have succeeded in splitting them off; but in that case I would have inexorably fallen into a neurosis and and so been ultimately destroyed by them anyhow."

More on Jung's psychotic break in a later post. For our purposes, the point is that he did not defend himself against the unconscious through manic defenses, but fully plunged into it in an ultimately creative and healing way.

Now, a "borderline" individual engages in severe splitting between good and bad, and has difficulty distinguishing between "inside" and "outside." As such, if you disappoint or frustrate them, they can suddenly perceive you as all bad (which they have projected into you), completely forgetting the many positive experiences they have had with you. It is as if these experiences never happened, and the “good you” no longer exists, because it has been banished to some black hole of unconsciousness (this process should not be confused with garden-variety PMS).

Likewise, a narcissistic individual only has use for you so long as you serve as a mirror for their primitive, paranoid-schizoid grandiosity. As soon as you fail to idealize them, they will react with anger or contempt in order to maintain their illusion of greatness. They will flush you from their life like a bad object.

The manic defenses are those defenses that prevent movement from the paranoid-schizoid to the depressive position, and include contempt, triumph, control and idealization. Basically, you can think of these defenses as coming into play when reality threatens to impinge upon fantasy. In fact, these defenses ultimately consist of attacks on a reality the individual has already dimly perceived but does not wish to consciously entertain.

At the same time, the manic defenses prevent recognition all of the implications of the unconsciously perceived reality, which is obviously a huge impediment to fruitful and generative thought. It explains why the left does not profit from experience, and why they continue proposing irrational and utopian ideas and policies that have already failed and will surely fail again. But only by arresting thought in this way can they keep their audaciously manic hopes alive. (Thomas Sowell calls this the inability to "think beyond stage one," which in practical terms comes down to failing to appreciate the law of unintended consequences.)

In the past we have discussed deMause's concept of the “group fantasy.” In my view, the philosophy of secular leftism is very much rooted in the paranoid-schizoid position, whereas the classical liberalism embodied in the conservative intellectual movement is much more reflective of the depressive position. Here, I hope it should go without saying that I am not primarily referring to individuals, as there are obviously many immature conservatives and mature liberals. Rather, I am specifically discussing the group dynamic.

If I am correct, then we will see in conservatism a much more sober and realistic assessment of mankind. As I have mentioned before, I am of the view that conservatism is as much an inclination, temperament, or “cast of mind” as it is any set doctrine. In fact, the doctrines follow from the temperament -- or, you might say, the depressive position -- rather than vice versa. This would explain why normal people generally become more conservative as they mature and grow wiser, whereas leftism mostly appeals to the young or to the permanently immature of academia and Hollywood.

A while back, I wrote a post which summarized the main tenets of conservatism and liberalism. Let’s review them and see how they line up in terms of the paranoid-schizoid vs. depressive positions. I think they basically speak for themselves.

Russell Kirk summarized the six canons of conservative thought as

1. Belief in a transcendent order; and that most political problems are moral problems resulting from bad values. (To cite an obvious example, if Hispanic or Black Americans adopted Asian American or Mormon values, they would be just as successful.)

2. Appreciation of the ineffable mystery of existence, and with it, opposition to the tedious uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of of most radical systems.

3. An understanding that liberty and equality are contradictory aims; a belief that there are distinctions between men and that classes will emerge naturally and spontaneously in a free society. “If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum.”

4. A belief that property and freedom are intimately linked. “Economic leveling... is not economic progress.”

5. Distrust of radical schemes by liberal intellectuals “who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs” that simply mask the intellectual’s lust for power.

6. Recognition that change and reform are not synonymous, and that “prudent change is the means of social preservation.”

In contrast, contemporary left-liberalism has entirely different assumptions and attacks (manically, in my estimation) the existing social order on the following grounds:

1. “The perfectibility of man”; the belief that education, environment or legislation “can produce men like gods; they deny that humanity has a natural proclivity towards violence and sin.”

2. Contempt for tradition. “Formal religion is rejected and various ideologies are presented as substitutes.”

3. Political leveling: “Order and privilege are condemned,” accompanied by “an eagerness for centralization and consolidation.”

4. Economic leveling: “The ancient rights of property... are suspect to almost all radicals.”

The first six postulates are true or revolve around truth; the second four are false or rooted in falsehood. But worse than that, the latter are manic defenses against the sobering reality of the former. To put it another way, to believe in the latter four is to never "grow up" in the pneumacosmic sense.

31 Comments:

Anonymous will said...

>>Jung could not distinguish between his internal experience and the world situation<<

I think in a certain sense Jung's internal experience and the world situation really were one, that is, if Jung had psychically become a "reflector of the collective" and who then tended to personify the Zeitgeist.

The impression I got from Jung's near-psychotic breakdown - I could be wrong here - is that it was the result of a deliberate, conscious attempt on Jung's part to hasten the process of his own psychic catabolism and subsequent re-integration. It was, in effect, an attempt to "speed up evolution", his own in this case, and it resulted in his conscious mind being flooded by the contents of his unconscious.

What I find interesting about this is that Jung's attempt at "short cut self-evolving" (if I'm correct about that) in some way reflected the fascist/totalitarian attempt to speed up evolution in large scale. And I do think that's one working definition of fascism - as an attempt to speed up evolution, the forging of a short cut to paradise.

Re Jung's vision of "a monstrous flood covering all of the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps" . . . well, I can't say what the relation between this vision and Jung's psychological constitution was exactly, but . . . fact is, in the 30's, Jung and the Nazis were hardly at loggerheads. Jung did not openly embrace them, but nor did he openly refute them at the time - and certain Nazi party members found Jung's philosophy not at all incompatible with the overall Nazi approach.

Of course, when the war started, Jung distanced himself from the Nazis. Post-war, Jung was very successful in covering up what associations he previously had with them.

3/05/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Bob,

Great post. Jung's breakdown mirrors some my experience of late. It has been helpful to realize I'm not crazy, but my life is going through a big reorganization. It's better now, but I spent most of my time being confused. Anyway I was wondering if you can explain the terms paranoid-schizoid and depressive a little bit? I'm not sure I'm understanding them properly.
Thanks

3/05/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Jung said:

"I saw a monstrous flood covering all of the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps.... I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood. This vision lasted about one hour. I was perplexed and nauseated."


Can algore be sued for plagiarism on this one?

3/05/2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Great post today.

"Now, a "borderline" individual engages in severe splitting between good and bad, and has difficulty distinguishing between "inside" and "outside." As such, if you disappoint or frustrate them, they can suddenly perceive you as all bad (which they have projected into you), completely forgetting the many positive experiences they have had with you. It is as if these experiences never happened, and the “good you” no longer exists, because it has been banished to some black hole of unconsciousness (this process should not be confused with garden-variety PMS)."

Is my daughter-in-law listening?

The NoMos have been reading a helpful (though disturbing) book on the subject lately -

Stop Walking on Eggshells

Finally, I need to post the 10 postulates somewhere so I can be reminded daily why the world around me can seem so disconcerting at times (no apocalyptic visions or anything, but, you know...)

3/05/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will--

Re your take on Jung, I just read a passage by Guenon, who wrote that

"The lives of certain beings, considered from the standpoint of individual appearances, contain occurrances which correspond with events taking place in the cosmic order and ourtwardly may be said to represent an image or a reproduction of the latter.

"But from an inward standpoint this relationship must be reversed, for, since these beings are really Maha Purusha, the cosmic events are truly modelled on their lives, or to be more exact, on the reality of which these lives are a direct expression, the cosmic events themselves being only a reflected expression of this reality."

It makes perfect sense that the cosmos would be a reflection of the Subject, rather than vice versa, and that in certain souls the, let us say, Cosmic Drama, is felt and lived out more intensely.

3/05/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Hoarhey, your wishes are Reality's command:

1) John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel wants to sue algorloni for selling carbon credits

2) Hill-Obama will be duking it out in front of us, after all

Ahhhhhh, this is gonna be fun!

Er, care to wish for something else? You being on a roll & all.....

3/05/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Bob -
>>It makes perfect sense that the cosmos would be a reflection of the Subject, rather than vice versa, and that in certain souls the, let us say, Cosmic Drama, is felt and lived out more intensely<<

I completely agree. What is the more "real", after all - the inner/upper Drama or its outer/lower counterpart symbolically manifested on the material plane?

Reminds me of Shakespearean drama in which turmoil in the royal class was accompanied by comets, etc., both indicating a mis-aligning of the divine order.

I conjecture that today many of those who are spiritually attuned are discovering that their lives are mirroring, in a variety of ways, external events. Becoming a warrior in the Cosmic Drama is no longer a thing just for the elites, the clergy, royalty, etc. It's much more the egalitarian enterprise now, I think.

3/05/2008 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re Shakespeare -- or how about the earth quaking when Jesus died, or the temple veil tearing in two...

3/05/2008 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

. . . or Dylan going electric just as the Vietnam war started to peak . . .

3/05/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

OK, here's one, on a minor scale, true. but I swear it hardly ever fails - presidential candidates and their campaign planes.

Whenever you hear about a candidate's plane getting stuck in the mud or encountering severe turbulence or some such thing, just wait. Within a week, that campaign will snag, often break all together.

It's my thinking that when it comes to matters that relate to the collective, to the world at large, the symbology becomes more visible.

3/05/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

... or (at the risk of beating a dead horse) the moon undergoing a total eclipse at the moment that the Red Sox were winning the 2004 World Series.

I just can't get over how weird that was.

3/05/2008 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Ximeze,

I'm going to save a few, for later.

3/05/2008 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>. . . the earth quaking when Jesus died, or the temple veil tearing . . <<

The distinction is minute, of course, but in comparison with the signs and portents of Shakespearian drama, I think the earthquake and veil-breaking that coincided with Jesus's crucifixion were more or less the results of the massive influx of the Light into the upper and lower planes,and were not merely synchronistic/symbolic events.

Of course, these events did (and do)have their symbolic value. The temple veil guarded the holy of holies; it's breaking symbolically indicates the divine Light that enveloped the world with Christ's crucifixion, making for everyone an "easy access" of the Light.

The quake - I dunno. One would think that this unbelievably momentous event, this sudden infusion of redeeming Light into the planes, would have some kind of cause and effect material impact.

The darkening of the sun - as odd as it may sound, I think this both symbolic as well as a cause and effect result of the crucifixion - if divine Light suddenly flooded the universe or this part of the universe, then it would figure that the "false" light of the material sun, the corruptible light, so to speak, would actually dim, at least for a time.

Anyway, I'm going to shut my face now.

3/05/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Dusty said...

"the cosmic events are truly modelled on their lives, or to be more exact, on the reality of which these lives are a direct expression, the cosmic events themselves being only a reflected expression of this reality."

Yes, this is what I was trying to say a long while back (in January) when I stated that "holography renders the intrapsychic concept confusing to me." It was the post right before "Intrapsychic divorce and worst laid plans," within which, after you get past the part where I confuse involution and evolution (I actually meant inward ark/outward ark, but nevermind) in relation to the transitional space at work in the tripartite family, I think that what I said--that it might be possible for a hostile images/image from past cultural traumas through whatever process of collective unconscious transmission, to attack, or attach themselves to an individual on an almost genetic level, setting up ones life as a sort of individual and inward drama of what has either happened, or is happening collectively at that time—could be, might be, a least somewhat may be, accurate. This would be, or I would propose that it may occur, in a very mysterious space of extremely dense projective identification, and the subjects therein could only be called no-thing, practically dead. This kind of sounds like Bion’s B-space, a space wherein the future, or un-thought thoughts (“thoughts without a thinker”—Bion) issue forth from O impinging as determinism and fate unless the descending shakti brings coherence out of demands of O. Anyway, this hardly makes sense to me, so I’m going to stop typing. I’ll just say, paranoid-schizoid is a comatose state.

(Sorry if this makes no sense. And if you see confusion, plz point it out for my benefit)

--Coonified

3/05/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"But only by arresting thought in this way can they keep their audaciously manic hopes alive. (Thomas Sowell calls this the inability to "think beyond stage one," which in practical terms comes down to failing to appreciate the law of unintended consequences.)"

and Will said "And I do think that's one working definition of fascism - as an attempt to speed up evolution, the forging of a short cut to paradise. "

To preview a post I hope to let out of my head soon, just as this tells us much about a person, whether they become a conservative or a leftist, I think this also tells us much about America, and also about Liberalism itself, and why it split into Conservatism (which seeks to conserve classical liberalism) on one side, and on the other leftism/proregressivism, and in its more extreme form, fascism.

Liberalism does have a distinct tendency towards totalitarianism in general and some form of fascism in particular – if it is not restrained by Principle, as in a constitution and objective law.

This was evident from the beginning with the French Revolution which had no patience for waiting on the slower principled processes and instead sought particular fair results right away!, which brought on the death of thousands - right away.

In order to avoid that fate, it requires an educated, moral populace and their representative Gov’t, versed in and respectful of, the principles of Individual Rights, as was seen with the Founding Fathers. The reason why, is that Liberalism means to put the reins of power into the hands of a people liberated from the controls of the state – so where the state goes, and in what style it goes there, is in their hands – and is susceptible to the same ‘character flaws’, as are individual people. Implicit in a understanding and respect for Individual Rights, is character, prudence and morality.

Just as a person who is cognizant of their character thinks prudently before acting, does their best to ensure that the thoughts they think and actions they take are principled, they are more likely to behave respectably. If they think beyond stage one, they will gravitate towards the principles which enable doing just that. They determine what is wise to pursue, and pursue it in a measured manner, patiently awaiting the goal to ripen in its own proper time.

The person who doesn't make a habit (and that is key, I think) of thinking beyond stage one, is going to be carried along on the surface turmoil of stage one - reactive, full of snap judgments, and more likely to have a tumultuous life, perhaps with criminal brushes. They live in the moment and want things done now, because they don't live beyond time - but trapped within it here and now.

Those flighty people who do still retain some sense of decorum, a sense of right and wrong behavior, though they may cross the line, it tends to be brief and only minor infractions. But those who decide to chuck all standards, to take and do what they want when they want it, to do no matter the long term consequences, are likely to end up in jail or dead, or as celebrities - and then dead. Fascism is the political equivalent of this type of person, action, action, action - flurries and bursts of activity, some perhaps seeming successes, followed by a huge crash of destruction.

It's been said that a people deserve the Gov’t they receive, and I think that is especially true of a Liberal (in its sound and corrupt forms) Gov't.

3/05/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

It's interesting to speculate about whether the invasion of Iraq was an instance of manic defensiveness, a regressive reaction to the trauma of 9/11. I think somehow not, but the thought crossed my mind.

It also is worth noting that mania is not the only defensive reaction born or the impulse to escape reality. Narcissistic defenses emphasize denial, intellectualization, and externalization. In Europe right now, for example, the denial that we are engaged in a war between Christianity and Islam, which should be driving people back to churches and to grabbing their pitchforks, is causing them instead to adopt a passive-dependent approach. Like someone in an abused relationship who hovers between rationalization and denial to keep themselves locked in the grip of the abuser.

We will have to intervene someday, just as we have in the past, or be overrun by primitive fascists ourselves.

3/06/2008 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

The social democracies of Europe attempt to transcend and include Christianity and Islam.

Europe denies the war between Christianity and Islam because it sees both of them as hobbies which people will abandon when they can afford more interesting things.

The common European view is that if the common workers in the USA or Saudi Arabia earned as much as they do in Europe, instead of being sucked dry by the ruling classes, they too would abandon religion and enjoy the present world rather than dream of a better hereafter.

No, seriously, could I make this up even if I wanted to?

3/06/2008 06:45:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Van,
Your comments remind me why I see Bush's desire to send democracy to the Middle East, just like Wilson's desire to "make the world safe for democracy" were and are, in fact, desires stemming from that pole of liberalism which tends toward fascism.

3/06/2008 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Except, Joe, that IOF was, despite arguments to the contrary, constrained by laws, natural and otherwise. It was motivated by humanitarianism as well as self-defense per U.N. specs regarding national self-defense prerogatives (Bush would have had to be grossly irresponsible to let Saddam continue to do his thing) and by a careful consideration of what made sense as a way of intervening in global terrorism and the formidable problem of state sponsors.

I realize that all three of these justifications are debatable, but the fact that they can all be argued affirmatively implies that the actions were constrained by important considerations that absolves them of the criticism that they were ultimately fascist.

3/06/2008 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

How sad, Magnus. I fear for us all, especially my dear relatives in Italy. And I worry about all that wonderful Italian culture.

Anyway, no time for getting too sentimental. Got that pitchfork near your front door?

3/06/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Rats. Dyslexia strikes again. I meant OIF.

3/06/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Joseph & Maineman:

Have you guys read "An Iraqi Sea Change" by Abe Greenwald in Commentary regarding the NYT article "Violence Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics"? Blackfive & Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler have had their say too.

Bottom line: "Bush Doctrine" is working. Check them out & see whether your assessments still hold.
(Greenwald has a working link to the NYT piece)

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/
index.php/greenwald/2787

3/06/2008 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Ximeze,

I tend to agree with commenter AK, on the article you reference.

"I’m skeptical. Not because I have any reason to doubt the reporting, but because there’s nothing novel about using Islam to oppress. The violence and curtailing of freedom of Iraqis by clerics, *that* is what’s finally provoking a backlash against Islam? Not three decades of oppression by the Iranian mullahs. Not decades of totalitarianism from the Saudi religious police. Not sixty years of self-destructive religious war against Israel. No, this violence in Iraq… *this* is the thing that causes the first-ever backlash. I doubt it."

Further,
I know from having a number of Iranian friends that "extremism" is hardly rampant in Iran. Installing democracy, on the other hand, requires an entire set of prerequisites way beyond the eradication of extremism. Even in Russia, a roughly western country, where they have attempted democratic reforms for almost 20 years, the people prefer draconian "Putinism", because, in the short run, it makes for a safer place, and a better economy, which I believe was Van's point regarding totalitarianism. Indeed, for them, they like being ruled by an ex-KGB thug.

3/06/2008 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

X,

Thanks for the tip. That NYT article does seem important.

I think you misunderstand my position, though. I have always been, and still am a supporter of OIF.

Joseph, you're entitled to your skepticism, and I'm far from secure that this project will work out as originally conceived. But the issue is not democracy, it's freedom and information exchange. AK misses the point completely. Of course, Islam is a horror show anywhere you look. What's meaningful is that we appear to be succeeding in creating an environment where criticizing it out loud is possible. Unlike, by the way, the Netherlands.

3/06/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph,
Let me try extending this analogy of the liberal state being subject to similar decisions and behavior as to a person out to where it has no business being.

Let’s put our LiberalStatePerson living in the wild west, but in a subdivision. Across the street there lives a rather unsavory sort, often you can hear the 'man' of the house beating his family, and often his friends come over and raise hell. Being the wild west where there are no police to call, there's not much you can do about it. Other homeowners in the subdivision did form a subdivision committee, and they do impose fines, but there's no way to enforce them. But he mostly keeps his lawn mowed and if you don't venture near his yard during one of these episodes, you aren't directly bothered.

One day, you discover that your neighbor is no longer confining himself and his friends to within their house. They start chucking bottles at passing cars, spit at you as you walk down the street, some neighbors are even punched on the sidewalk, and some claim to have seen glimpses of guns inside, but the committee will do nothing more than levy fines, and the people will do no more than that.

One day one of his friends strolls out into their yard and begins firing into your house, kills two of your children to the hoots and hollers of his other friends inside.

It's probably a given that you immediately kill the shooter. The homeowner claims that there are no other guns inside, but he and his friends continue hooting and hollering, spitting and hurling things at passing cars....

Forget all state analogies, this is you in the wild west, no sheriff or police exist. Just you and your (perhaps) friends. You've still got a wife and kids within your home.

What would you do? Personally, my own thoughts would tend to something more violent than just disarming them and giving manners lessons, but what would you do?

3/06/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Van,
First of all, I disagree with the analogy. States are not the same thing as individuals or families. They follow different laws and therefore the solutions to problems are, by definition, different.

One thing Bob often says that I like (among many other things) is that the Founders knew more about us than we do about them. They were pretty clear about a severe lack of foreign entanglements, but all for free trade.

Now, what I would not do with these rough and rowdy neighbors is try to make their children into good people. Of course, and this is even true if there were police in the vicinity, if a neighbor did harm to my family, I would do all in my power to bring him to justice immediately.

3/06/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Maineman,
Have a little look-see at the Iraqi constitution sometime. If you really believe there is a war between Christianity and Islam, then there side has won a major victory--a US backed and created country with a constitution making Islam the national religion and the basis of all law.

3/06/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Robinson said...

Joseph, can you say, "Barbary Pirates"?

3/06/2008 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph "First of all, I disagree with the analogy. States are not the same thing as individuals or families..."

Yes, as I said, the analogy is inadequate and strained to say the very least, but in the best tradition of trying to have your cake and eat it too, let me stay with it a moment more.

When there is no police force to secure the safety of your loved ones and property other than your own willingness and ability to warn of and deliver destruction upon those who have no respect for your rights and person, what recourse do you have but to deliver? Even after 911, Sadam called for terrorist attacks on Israel and western interests - should we really have waited to see if anything came of it? No he wasn't directly responsible for 911, but he sure as heck associated with, and sympathesized with those were, and encouraged others, promised bounties for, continued terrorist acts against the west. That fully warranted and justified our wiping him out.

" if a neighbor did harm to my family, I would do all in my power to bring him to justice immediately."

Yep. Me too. I too have a problem with the "try to make their children into good people", my inclination is to devastate their entire state and replace it with one of our design, and if they make noises about not liking it, devastate them again. I also recognize that is a mostly gut reaction. If someone like Gen. Petraeus believes that, for military reasons, his current strategy will be more effective at defeating the enemy - fine - not as satisfying to the gut, but ok.

However, as you noted, letting them create their own constitution which insures that in any conflict islam rules over individual rights - was nuts. Absolutely nuts, and in all important ways, and actual defeat to our interests.

Regarding the Founders, while I agree that the Founders had a much better understanding of us than we do of them (mainly because they were dealing with clear principles, while our world has muddied and corrupted even the ability to identify a principle, let alone follow it), they did not anticipate the ocean/distance nullifying effects of technology as we have it.

As Robinson pointed out, when the Barbary Pirates became a problem, Jefferson dealt with it (I wish the reality had been as cut and dried as that sentence, but still...). If those same Barbary Pirates had shown an ability to bombard New York and D.C. in their day, I believe Adams, Jefferson and Madison would have taken that conflict quite a bit further.

When Washington warned against foreign entanglements, he was speaking about treaties with despotic Gov'ts such as all of the rest of the world was in their time. There are now at least some Gov'ts worthy of engaging with in the world today, Britain (assuming it remains English), Australia, Japan, Canada (hmm) and the so-called 'new Europe' of former eastern bloc countries, etc.

"They follow different laws and therefore the solutions to problems are, by definition, different."

That was all well and good when they lived across several weeks travel over the ocean by sailing ship. Now that they can get here in hours, much of that idea is disabled. They can now affect the interests, rights and property of our citizens worldwide, and having no interest in respecting our rights, they forfeit theirs. Avoiding foreign entanglements by dint of distance and turning a cold shoulder to them is no longer a realistic proposition in the world today due to the technology of trade, internet, tele-com, planes, trains and automobiles, etc. I don't believe that means we should be making cozy deals with them (especially repulsive is the Saudi arrangement. China too, for that matter), but neither can we pretend that they are still distant and unentangled with us just because we might decide to turn away.

We are in the situation of having the rowdy neighbors across the street who previously couldn't reach farther than their fence, but now has weaponry which can be fired from within their premises into ours, with our having no warning unless we are actively policing them, frisking them and shaking them down whenever and wherever possible, and I believe that there demonstrated and declared lack of respect for Individual and Property Rights of western citizens, businesses and nations requires that we do just that. And we don't need no stinking miranda rights to do it, just the Army/Air Force/Navy/Marines.

3/06/2008 03:32:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Van,

If our actual intentions were as you say, then I would entirely agree with you.

All one has to do, however, is examine our "alliance" with Saudi Arabia. Here is a "nation" that is the literal energy behind Islamic extremism (at least on the Sunni side), and hatred of the West. We hold their royal hands, we allow them to fund(this has now been proven) some of the 9-11 terrorists, invest in our country, sell us oil (pay their tribute, to use the "Barbary Pirate" analogy), and, give them weapons.
Same for Pakistan.

To attempt to follow your analogy:

There are actually several families in the neighborhood who are shooting into my house. In repsonse, I aim all my attacks at the least dangerous (yes, they are dangerous) and wipe him and his children out. Several of his relatives come and live in the house and continue to shoot into my house. Meanwhile, I visit and give money to his even more dangerous neighbors, all of whom have also shot bullets into my house. I also give them weapons to shoot more bullets into my house, and my friends down the street (with friends like me, who needs enemies, eh?). It is further, quite clear, that one of these houses is hiding the man who killed my children, but they won't look in the dungeon to find him. I forget about him and concentrate all my efforts on making the relatives of the first neighbor I killed stop being extreme. They establish a written code that fully authorizes the exact same tactics. I tout this as a remarkable feat of success to all my friends.

In other words, we are not really fighting a war at all. I leave it to someone else to sort out what we are actually doing.

3/07/2008 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph,
Sadly, I can't argue with you on that, except to say that not only do you go to war with the weapons you have, but you go to war with the people you have - in and out of Gov't, and there just aren't enough people - in or out of Gov't - who are able to see things in this way. In my more fanciful and optimistic moments, I was hoping that Iraq was perhaps a strategic first step from which we could then either pursuade or crush those who continued to support or take shots at us.

As with most else, it brings me back to Education. Until people again have an understanding of who they are, how they know it, and what America means, we will not be able to do the sensible thing or even see it as an option. It took 5 or 10 decades to get us into this state of mind, and I fear it will take as many to get us back out again.

Still, it's the only option we've got, and venue's such as this may help speed the process, but we've got to be careful about being impatient - as the next day's post points out, there's a difference between Hope and Wish.

I hope to help bring the change about.

3/07/2008 10:41:00 AM  

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