Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunamis and the geological near past

By Louis Hissink

The recent tragic inundation of the Indian Ocean lands by a series of tsunamis sourced from an earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra has poignantly highlighted the fact that there are far more urgent, natural, phenomena we need to have an understanding of than an hypothesied climate change in the future based on incomplete science.

The last major extinction event of a global scale was the Pleistocene, during which many large animals became extinct. Humanity was also around at the time, and according to the Clovis People Theory, killed off the remaining Wooly Mammoths and Mastodons in the US. Other "killings" occurred in Australia where Aboriginals killed of the remaining mega-fauna which survived the Pleistocence Extinction, or Ice Age.

We do not know what caused the Pleistocene extinction, or ice age, from a geological perspective, only that it happened.

One of the most spectular assemblages of Pleistocene fauna are the fossils of the Siwalik Hills, the foot hills of the mighty Himalayas. The Hills are comprised of sedimentary rocks conventionally interpreted to have been eroded from the Himalayas themselves, extending west-northwestward for more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from the Tista River, Sikkim (India), through Nepal, across northwestern India, and into northern Pakistan. Though only 10 miles (16 km) wide in places, the hills have an average elevation of 3,000 to 4,000 feet (900 to 1,200 m).

One media report laments on the state of the Museum, and describes how the Siwalik Hills were once a marine trough which since has become elevated to form the present topography.

The orthodox explanation for the Siwalik fossil deposits was that this region was inhabited by all of the species extinct, and that over time they were buried in the sediments being eroded off the Himalayas. This explanation is an interpretation not based on observation, since nowhere has anyone ever seen such a process occurring (geological uniformitarianism, that the key to the past is the present) today.

However the latest tsunami event in the Indian ocean does give us a clue - it is this - that it is more likely that the Siwalik beds are the deposits of an even greater tsunami which travelled northwards, picking up everything in its path and finally depositing this muck in a depression at the foot of the Himalayas.

What caused such a tsunami? Not an earthquake though it remains possible, but if the earth were suddenly affected by an external body, via electromagnetic interaction in a plasmoidal space, then it is quite conceivable that the earth could careen to a new position on its axis. There is no law that the earth's rotational axis is permamently fixed in space (the modern day version of Galileo's time when the Church had the earth fixed in space with the heavens rotating around it).

If these animals were living quietly on continental India, and the earth were suddenly careened southwards, then the landmasses would have moved but an ocean to the south of India would have, from inertial and other factors remained in place. It would then have washed over India, picking everything in its place on the land surface, and finally come to rest at the foothills of the Himalayas.

A careening earth has occasionally be proposed by interested students of geology but it is certainly off the agenda amongst professional geoscientists, whose science only incorporates gravity as the primary cosmic and solar force. We now know that gravity is a weak force, overwhelmed by electromagnetic forces as now studied by the plasma physicists and cosmologists. This site is a good starting point.

Latest news) is that the earth's axial tilt might have been affected, which together with the comment that the earth rang like a bell. makes me suspect that this particular earthquake might have been caused by a bolide impact. The epicentre was 250 km south of Sumatra, in the ocean, so no-one on Sumatra would have seen it. (In general terms the horizon from someone standing at the seashore is about 11 km distant).

There is also some evidence that something happened during the 15th Century, perhaps earlier, and further evidence that during the 6th century things were climatically awful in Europe - geology ignores it because it occurs in a time span which geologists don't focus on - it isn't in the dim past. Similar unpredictable impacts from space?

Little scientific research of the Quaternary Era is done by modern geology because of the the belief that what happened then is of no human consequence because humanity was not around at that time. Perhaps, but there remains a persistent belief by some that humans were around, and this should not be ignored. Maybe we were, and that it is the post-modernism of modern geology that is blinkering us. It was the first "popular" application of science in that it was used a political tool by the Whigs, now todays social democracts and Greens, to oust Tory control of government in England. Today another science is being used for political purposes - climate science - to oust the "capitalists" from power and to entrench the "Whigs" into power.

Not wishing to get into the usual debate over who was right or wrong in the infamous Scopes Trial in Tennessee all those years ago, it might be useful to assume that there might a kernel of fact in the ancient texts describing past catastrophes. Remember that these past catastrophes are dismissed as bunk by mainstream science but that future catastrophes are a real and present danger!

The most striking thing with the setting up of the London Geological Society in 1807 was that not one geologist was on the membership list. The parallels of the development of that science with the climate debate are too striking to ignore, and we need to retrieve the debate away from the UN and the Greens. This will not be easily done, of course, since the political left control the UN, Europe and most of society, including the universities.

The biggest problem we have in Australia is that all of our states are Social Demcratically controlled, and they have already voiced the intention of joing the Europeans in the Kyoto carbon trading scheme. Whether the State governments are economic dunderheads remain to be seen, (I strongly suspect they are) but there is now serious concern at the Federal level that our States are going to plunge us into an economic depression all for the misguided belief of man-made global warming.

Our immediate goal is to sort out the current human tragedy and then get control of the climate debate and restore it to what it should be - a topic of discussion for TV weather forecasters. There are far more urgent areas which need funding that prophesising the future climatically.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The letters below appeared in the usually Leftist "Pasadena Star Weekly" but letters tend not to stay up for long so I have reposted them here

Having fun yet?

D. Boyd would have us believe that we will soon be infected by a conservative "stranglehold on all branches of government" and religious "executive fiat," not the least of which resides in possible Supreme Court appointments. And which side practices fear mongering? I keep forgetting.

Contrary to the draconian picture painted by many on the left, the Supreme Court has supported a ban on cross-burning, upheld the Miranda warning and overturned prayer at public school athletic events - to say nothing of overturning a Nebraska ban on "partial-birth" abortion.

That's all in the past, you say? History proves that Supreme Court appointments often have little resemblance to the presidents who nominate them. How about Eisenhower's choice for chief justice in Earl Warren? How about Nixon's thumbs-up for Warren Burger? How about Ford's choice of John Paul Stevens and George Bush's pick in David Souter?

Also, what is your implication that "Republicans have already drafted the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which will require all fetuses to be anesthetized during any abortion?" You say that like it's a bad thing. Let's pass laws banning barbed fishhooks. Let's eat only vegetables to forego needless animal pain. Let's do everything in our power to prevent the conception of feral animals everywhere. You should be ashamed of yourself.

By the way, I can accurately describe myself as an agnostic with no political party affiliation. I can also safely say that the pathological, apoplectic rage I've witnessed by many "pro-choice" advocates who are simply questioned on even curbing the need for non-life-threatening abortion shows a transparent desire on their part to categorically divest themselves from basic reason, to say nothing of mature dialogue and/or compromise. And which side are the totalitarians? I keep forgetting.

None of this sounds as dramatic as the idea of white men behind curtains frantically erasing the US Constitution line by line, but it's all true - to the utter dismay of many of your readers, I'm sure.

Congratulations, D. Boyd of Pasadena! You should be the poster child for the seemingly endless supply of diarrheic stupidity emanating from various orifices of the left. And all you can do is scratch your collective head like monkeys in the zoo or stomp your feet like spoiled children wondering how this country has gotten it all wrong. Is this fun for you or do you like dreaming up new things to whine about?


Send him to 'Jesusland'

Thank God my husband and I voted for George Bush. We look at your strange ideology in California and think, "Thank God these liberals lost the election!"

We both speak three languages, hold advanced degrees, are proudly Roman Catholic and believe in the American Dream. You see, we are here because our family emigrated from socialist Europe; a socialist Europe stagnated in the belief that one must not work for oneself, but for others. What bullcrap!

Our family sent soldiers to Normandy, worked in factories, saved to put us through school and, most of all, instilled in us the pride of being American citizens where it is possible to work and prosper - no handouts, no entitlements, no liberal degrading sympathies for able-bodied people who could use their brains and backs for work.

We make money and we are not ashamed of it. We earn it. We employ others who depend on our work ethic and integrity in a wonderful capitalistic system to make their lives better. We do not and will not ever apologize for those who choose to live off the government.

Yes, we are conservative Republicans. We give more to our church than some people make in a year. We love our land and are prospering organic gardeners. We go to the Met and enjoy "La Boheme" as much as we enjoy Alan Jackson at our country fair. We hire kids who need to mow and mulch a lawn to get through school because we believe it is honest work and payment that builds character and teaches that money is not evil.

We are shocked to learn that we "neocons" hate the environment, are backward and prejudiced Bible-beating subhumans that have no compassion for all those who suffer.

My, oh my! It is we hard-working capitalistic Republicans who sponsor families from Cuba, volunteer at soup kitchens, become Big Brothers, coach, mentor and live the example which we want all young Americans to emulate.

My family has one soldier in Afghanistan and another awaiting orders for Iraq. They are not deluded. They want their children to grow up without the threat of Islamofascism. Too bad that you in California embrace the liberal ideology of multiculturalism, entitlements and self-hatred. It is sad to see that you do not and will never appreciate the United States.

For your penance please read "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, for you are the true looters in this world. Nationalize all industry and redistribute the wealth evenly beginning with wonderful Hollywood. After all, they seem to bleed the most for all and should be the first on the list to give up their wealth.

In the meantime, we will quietly work hard and instill in our children the values of hard work; no hand-outs, respect for God, country and our environment. We will continue to teach our children that life is not always fair, but that they should be fair and live out their faith as well as represent themselves as proud Americans wherever they may go. They shall be tolerant of all, but never be tolerant of those who spout the drivel of Dean Opperman. May he go to Canada and live well with the other "America haters."

Better yet, send him to one of the states in "Jesusland" where he might learn a thing or two about the people who make this country great.

I wish you a Merry Christmas! I am not and will never be politically correct. Thank God!


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

An email from a reader of "Dissecting Leftism":

I am always surprised to find anyone willing to admit in print that they don't think Americans are stupid. Even more impressive was the way you supported it with facts. It may be that Australians are like Americans and can understand us for that reason.

Australia began as American did with outcasts and outlaws. That makes elitist societies condescend to us. I don't know how Australians react to that but Americans just laugh at the absurdity of it and say, "All right then, just hide and watch what a country of outlaws can do." We know that many of our ancestors were cast out for being different, or not sufficiently subservient to the will of the ruling classes who ruled not by merit, but by an accident of birth. We just don't buy that as a way to govern. Our ancestors were outlaws because they refused to bow down to outmoded caste or class systems. They were jailed for stealing bread rather than lying down and dying of hunger. I am not sugar coating it. I know there were real outlaws. But what a complicated issue it all was. So there will always be a streak of the outlaw in Americans. We will return to the outlaw when our government begins to serve itself and not the people. We will turn outlaw to protect our families if we feel justice isn't being served. It is a check and balance built into the system.

When we turn our Superpower eyes out to the world, we don't want to colonize other countries as the British did when they were a Superpower. We are a peaceful people. We want to laugh, dance and sing while we watch our children grow in a prosperous and peaceful nation. But, as with Pearl Harbor and 911 in New York, if an aggressor kills our people we will rise up and fight for our country, home and families. We are incredibly sentimental about each other. We feel every death as if it is our own brother and sister. When other nations see us playing in our music and movies they think we are stupid because we have no trouble reaching into ourselves and finding the happy child. We grudgingly guard that child and play often and hard so that we do not lose it to oh so fleeting fads in government, religion and world opinion.

Many countries love us when we cry for their starving people and air drop food. Yet they jealously hate us when we stop feeding them and expect them to begin taking care of themselves. Many countries who hate us still get billions of dollars in aid from us each year.

Americans work the longest work week and take shorter vacations than any industrialized nation. We work hard, play hard and have big hearts. But we aren't fools and we do have our limits.

I personally believe that the Middle East hates us because they fear loss of total control over their people. If their people become attracted to our culture they lose power. Women in those countries are many times less valued than cattle. So, there is the US with women in every job and equal rights to men. That might give ideas to their women and if the women rose up and took power just for themselves half their power would be gone. Then what if the men started thinking they could worship any God or none at all as Americans can? The leaders religious and government (which are often the same so one man has a whole lot of power) would lose power completely. They scream infidels at us which always seems hilarious to Americans because it is so 18th century. Even in the 18th century it was absurd. So what those people screaming infidel really feel is frustration and fear.

Until they started killing us on our own soil we just thought that if their people wanted to live that way it was their business. Now we think it is our business since they destructively aimed it at us. We never suffer bullies well. We still work hard and play hard. After the attack on New York we watch our children more closely, but we kept right on playing as a way of saying, "you can kill us, but you won't defeat us on any level." It is one of the ways we stubbornly hold on to what we are. I think in the same circumstances our Australian cousins would do the same.

In America anyone can be born in the worst possible situation and rise up to be anything they want to be. Where a person is born has nothing to do with who they are, it is an accident of birth. We don't hold accidents against people. I am fifth generation Texan and before that were several generations from Virginia to Tennessee to Mississippi and then on to Texas. Needless to say all those generations of Americans boasted educated wealthy people and uneducated poor people. And yes some of them were stupid as in any family. But enough of them were people with dreams who made this country better. We look at our ancestors as a curiosity not an indication of who we are. Each of us is free to write our own story in our own way, or not. That is the wealth we defend.

Spiritual gurus say if you do what you love the money will follow. I think that is true. In America we try to find what we love to create, build, nurture or improve. We prosper because we are allowed to find our unique talent or passion, then make it our work. We don't have to do what our parents did unless we like it. That makes a dynamic society. We work more hours because a great many of us love what we do so much a work day is fun and sometimes even play. We love it when someone has a new concept or has made us see something old in a new way. We reward with money, which fuels creation exponentionally.

I used to be somewhat against a strong capitalist way of life, thinking it was a bit boorish. Then in time I understood that in a free country capitalists have their place just as much as our Zen Buddists. Both are essential to the balance. It is all Yin and Yang. So now capitalism makes me smile. We have checks and balances to protect against exploitation by any group. Too much quiet contemplation would grate on me and much as too much capitalism. It is an imperfect system, but all systems are and we are always striving.

I think the reason I decided to email you was your pro-American statements and more than that the comment about you, "Remind me never to get this guy mad at me?" A city government once made me angry and I enlisted the aid of 6 friends to write an underground newspaper. We overthrew a corrupt city government in less than a year. It's the American way!

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Tipper" has emailed me the following:

"Overcoming Leftism: A 12-Step Program"

Several months ago, I heard radio host Michael Savage refer to leftism as a “mental disorder.” As odd as this concept might seem, I think I actually agree with him. I’ve seen leftism turn some of the most intelligent people I know into propaganda-spewing robots who care only about the message, not the inaccuracies behind the message. Emotion always trumps logic for them, regardless of the blatantly obvious.

Given the difficulty in bringing lefties into the light, I thought it might be helpful to provide them with a 12-step program that could make it easier for a successful transition into reality. As conservatives, we have to remember that we can only be supportive to lefties in this program. They cannot do it alone, but we also cannot do it for them.

The Program:

Step 1: Admitting that you’re a lefty

This is the first step for every lefty on the way to recovery. It is important to understand that you’re not “progressive,” “moderate,” or “enlightened.” You’re a lefty, and you need to be honest with yourself about that fact.

Step 2: Pledge to support your beliefs with facts

Realize that truth is more important than moral superiority and is the only way to come over to reality. You must research beyond propaganda from the Sierra Club, Hillary Clinton, and CNN (the Communist News Network) to understand things as they really exist in the world. You can no longer argue based on “feelings” or emotion. You will actually need to back up your arguments with real information. This is a difficult step, because it means you can’t be lazy any more.

Step 3: Love America

This may be the most difficult step for those of you who are hippies and peaceniks. Admitting that the country you hate actually stands as a beacon to defend freedom throughout the world can make some of you physically ill. You might want to make a visit to a military cemetery to better understand that these men and women gave their lives so that you could spew hatred. Otherwise, you would currently be living in a police state that would never let you wear that nasty patchouli oil, let alone speak out against your government.

Step 4: Take a college level economics class

I’ve always defined a Socialist as someone who’s never taken an economics class. Most Socialists I’ve spoke with would have a hard time balancing their check books, let alone explaining the simple concept of supply-and-demand. It’s time to flush your complete ignorance of basic economics down the toilet and understand how the world actually functions. This concept will be very important for the next steps that involve communism, facts about corporations, and the inefficiencies of government.

Step 5: Say “no” to Communism and Socialism

While this concept is obvious to most of the free world, it is an important step in your recovery process. If you have difficulty with this step, spend a week living and working in Cuba.

Step 6: Corporations are not evil

If you’re reading this article online or in an e-mail, it’s thanks to corporations. If you get some kind of pay check, you can thank corporations. If you work for a non-profit or the government, you still have to thank corporations. The non-profit sector and the government wouldn’t have any money to pay you without corporations. It is also important that you understand that making a profit doesn’t equate to “greed” or exploitation. Capitalism has created the greatest society in our world’s history. Even communist countries need corporations to survive, so enjoy a nice, hot cup of reality.

Step 7: The government is inefficient

If you are one of those lefties who believe the government should tax us more in order to take care of society, you need to pay special attention to this step. You need to realize that government bureaucracy will waste most of your tax dollars, while the private sector will put your money to much better use. Even most Democrat politicians understand this to some degree, which is why Hillary’s socialist healthcare proposal was voted down by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. Go to your local post office or call the IRS to ask a tax question if you need a reminder about government inefficiency.

Step 8: The earth is not your “mother,” and she’s not dying

The time has now come to stop your donations to Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, and every other EnviroNazi organization to which you belong. Face the reality that the earth, society, and our environment are better off today than ever in recorded history and that they are continuing to improve. I realize that many of you tree huggers will have a very difficult time letting go of the Douglas Fir on this one. I would suggest reading The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg. Mr. Lomborg is a former member of Greenpeace and is currently a statistics professor at a university in Denmark. He set out to prove the world was in bad shape and ended up surprising himself by proving the exact opposite.

Step 9: Stop smoking the wacky tobaccy

Okay, some of you might need to enter another 12-step program to complete this step. Marijuana is distorting your sense of reality, and you need to stop using it. Besides, you’ll save a fortune on snacks.

Step 10: Eat a hamburger

If God didn’t intend for us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat. You can put your sprouts and tofu on the hamburger, but get some meat into you. You’ll look and feel better than you ever imagined. You can always remind yourself that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian to get you through this step.

Step 11: Stop re-writing political history

It’s now time to admit that Bill Clinton is a lying-cheating-sexist-racist-rapist jackass, Hillary Clinton is one of the worst role models for women in this country, Al Gore really did lose the 2000 election by every vote tabulation you attempt, Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War and didn’t create the homeless problem, John McCain is not a typical Republican, and Jimmy Carter is a nice man but has one of the worst presidential records of anyone in history.

Step 12: Be a missionary

Once you have completed the previous steps to overcoming leftism, it’s time for you to share this awakening with others who are not as fortunate. Go out amongst the lefty sheep and spread the good word of your freedom from the chains of ignorance that once bound you. Congratulations, and welcome to reality.

Friday, December 17, 2004


A reader sends in his observations:

1. The Left hates America and would create a totalitarian country if it could

2. The Left do not have good intentions, ever. (Are you listening Dennis Prager?). Their STATED intentions, goals, charters, etc are what I call a Left head fake to disguise their true motive which is the opposite of the stated intention.

3. The Left may be arrogant but they are not stupid. They have an attack plan and are executing it on multiple fronts which I call 'sectors'. These sectors do not have to 'conspire'. They know what the end game is and each knows his part to play without having to conspire.

4. If they can't create a totalitarian country right away they aim to create a sense of unease, disquiet. I call this the CHAOS theory. Coddling criminals, gun control, ending capital punishment, eroding private property rights,excessive taxation and regulation , global warming, and a multitude of alarmist pronouncements regarding our food, water, air, obesity, etc fall into this category.

5. They support terrorists and the states that grant them harbor and they support other Leftist totalitarian regimes,eg Stalin,Mao,Pol Pot,Castro,Hugo Chavez, Mugabe, Kim Il Sung, Hussein, Milosovich, the Sandanistas, Ho Chi Minh, Ceauceseau.

Let's take the sectors one by one:

Education -- left head fake is to educate- real purpose is to PREVENT education, especially among inner city blacks and hispanics, while indoctrinating kids with multicultural and environmental ideology while repressing discussion of American ideals. Also, uses 'zero-tolerance' policies against young boys by the use of drugs and suspension for violent behavior like playing copys and robbers using fingers as guns. This Leftist ideology goes from the N.E.A. through the teaching colleges through the text books down to the teachers. They will do anything they can to prevent school choice whether it be vouchers or home schooling. Why? Very simple. An uneducated mind is more susceptible to propaganda. That means potential voting blocks. Much more could be said here.

Environment -- left head fake is to protect environment and endangered species- real purpose is to prevent any constructive use of the land to produce resources usable by man. They would rather let forests burn to the ground, taking the endangered species with them, then let single log be harvested by those evil timber companies.

Labor unions -- left head fake is to work for better wages, benefits for workers- real purpose is adjunct to democratic party and furtherance of Leftist ideology. Labor had a big chance to step up to the plate on ANWR. This was not a trade issue or right to work or organise. This was about the creation of about 500,000 good-paying jobs if that God-forsaken frozen tundra were opened for drilling. Sweeny and the others applied no pressure.

Trial lawyers --left head fake is compensation for injury- real purpose is extortion of small businesses by threats of lawsuits, jurisdiction shopping for class action suits to put companies out of business(asbestos, silicon breast implants) or more extortion(tobacco), undermine our health system through Hillary-care, force doctors out of state or out of business. Why? See CHAOS theory and it's a 3-fer because they also get rich in the process which enables them to give vast political donations to the Democrats.

Race pimps- left head fake is to support minorties- real purpose is the opposite. Minorities must be kept down through lack of education, victimization, welfare, opposition to tax cuts and minority home ownership, hyphenating their race to divide them from other Americans, affirmative action, denigrating conservative blacks as 'uncle toms', discouraging any form of self-advancement as being like 'whitey'. Why? George Orwell said it best.

Liberal federal judges -- left head fake is a 'living' constitution- real purpose of course is to achieve by making law from the bench what cannot be achieved thru the democratic legislative process.

The Media -- left head fake is to provide news- real purpose is to slant the news to the Left, emphasize negative stuff about America and republicans, omit positive news favorable to America and, in some cases(Rathergate), commit outrite fraud. And, always be a sympathic arm of the Left.

United Nations -- left head fake is international diplomacy- real purpose is one-world government with the Left in charge. nuff said. Failing that give lip service to its charter and undermine democratic institutions around the world while providing support for totalitarians.

Religion -- left head fake is separation of church and state- real purpose is to eliminate belief in God and Christ. This is done through multiple mechanisms: elimination of all religions symbols from the public square, taking Christmas to XMAS to 'happy holidays', persecuting the boy scouts, infection of church hierarchy with Leftist leaders, using the ACLU to intimidate thru threat of law suit, coarsening of our culture thru Hollywood, etc.

In summary, if you accept the premise that the Left is smart, ruthless, wants consciously to bring America down, then I submit that all of their actions logically follow.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Antiwar Right's Bent View of the World

 Lawrence Auster

I first became aware of something deeply askew on the antiwar right shortly after it came into being in the spring of 1999, as an intellectual protest movement against the U.S. war on Serbia. I myself was deeply opposed to the war, seeing President Clinton's initiation of the conflict—on March 24, 1999, one month and twelve days after his acquittal by the U.S. Senate—as utterly lacking in moral or legal justification, and as leading to the ruin of Kosovo. While the Kosovo war is not the subject of this article, a summary of it (or at least of my view of it) will provide the background for my ensuing discussion of the antiwar right.

The Kosovo disaster

Prior to the NATO intrusion into Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, there had been a low-level civil war going on in Kosovo for many years, and it was a classic zero-sum game: at any point in time, either the Serbs were on top, and oppressed the Albanians, or the Albanians were on top, and oppressed the Serbs. There was therefore no universally "just" solution possible in Kosovo. Either one side would dominate, or the other. In the 1980s, the Albanians had the upper hand and many Serbs fled the country. The New York Times—irony of ironies—published an article on November 1, 1987 that sympathized with the plight of the Kosovo Serbs under an Albanian reign of terror. Following the election of Slobodan Milosevic as President of Serbia in 1989, which took place in response to the Albanian aggression, the tables were turned and the Serbs became dominant in Kosovo, with Albanian military groups rebelling against them and the Serbs beating the rebels back.

However, instead of accepting this latest reversal of fortune in a zero sum game in a faraway place, the U.S. government saw the prospect of a Serb victory in Kosovo as an intolerable threat to the liberal, pluralist order of Europe. The multicultural paradigm that U.S. foreign policy makers had adopted in the 1990s required that all ethnic groups in a conflict-ridden region or country, even if they are utterly incompatible with each other and are killing each other, must be made to live together rather than being allowed to resolve the conflict through war or mutual separation. Acting on these premises, and backing them up with fraudulent claims that the Serbs were committing "genocide" in Kosovo, the U.S. and NATO under Clinton's leadership issued the so-called Rambouillet Agreement—described more accurately as the Rambouillet Ultimatum—which required Serbia to submit to NATO Rule, not only in the contested province of Kosovo, but within Serbia proper. When Milosevic quite rightly rejected this outrageous and illegal demand, the U.S., as it had previously threatened (which is why the Rambouillet agreement was really an ultimatum), and without the slightest color of legal authorization from either the United Nations or the U.S. Congress, began a massive bombing campaign against Serbia and the Serb forces in Kosovo.

The next, ruinous step was predictable—and had been threatened by Milosevic himself. Now that the U.S. and NATO were engaged in an all-out effort to destroy forever the Serbs' hopes of maintaining control over their historic heartland of Kosovo, Milosevic, quite rationally if thuggishly, also decided to play for keeps. He sought to settle once and for all the ancient conflict over Kosovo by expelling all 800,000 Albanians from the province. The resulting humanitarian disaster, of a scope unseen in Europe since World War II, necessitated and justified the continuation of the very bombing campaign that had triggered the expulsion of the Albanians in the first place, since the bombing (combined in its latter stages with a threat of a land invasion) was the only way to force Milosevic to permit the Kosovar Albanians back into their country. Milosevic finally yielded to U.S. demands and the Albanians returned to their ruined land under international protection, at which point the Albanians gained decisive power in Kosovo and forced many of the remaining Serb minority to leave.

Thus, through the illegal, bullying intervention of the United States, all carried out in the name of multiculturalism and pluralism, the Kosovian zero sum game was finally settled in favor the Muslim Albanians against the Christian Serbs, and enforced by a multinational military presence that has remained in Kosovo to this day.

Such was Clinton's Kosovo war, which the Republican leadership and the neoconservatives supported from start to finish.

The antiwar right becomes the anti-American right

George Szamuely, a New York writer who had been associated with the neoconservatives and had worked for the Hudson Institute, was among those who forcefully and eloquently attacked the war. His articles were published at Antiwar.com, a website that had come into existence for the purpose of opposing the U.S. action in Kosovo. I agreed with his arguments, as I agreed with most of the other writings appearing at Antiwar.com at the time. (I also sent money to support the website.) But then something very strange happened with Szamuely, and with Antiwar.com

itself. Not content with merely opposing the U.S.-led war on Serbia, he began retrospectively attacking America's entire effort in the Cold War against the former Soviet Union. He did this by denying that Communism had ever represented a threat that needed to be stopped. It was as though, once he had switched into an oppositional mode against what he saw as the unjustified use of American power in the case of Serbia, he was compelled by some mysterious dynamic to see any use of American power abroad as wrong or imperialistic, even when that power had been used for such a righteous and necessary cause as resisting the spread of Communism, and even though he himself had previously been an anti-Communist and a supporter of the Cold War.

This came as a shock to me. And the shock didn't end there. I soon noticed a similar adversarial stance among other antiwar rightists, a wild denunciatory quality that did not confine itself to particular wrongs committed by the United States, but eagerly embraced any assertion against America, no matter how ridiculous. For example, Antiwar.com repeatedly charged that the Clinton administration was "racist" for arresting the Chinese-American scientist Wen Ho Lee as a suspected nuclear spy. The charge was ridiculous. This, after all, was the administration that had been in bed with the Red Chinese, giving them advanced missile technology in exchange for illegal Chinese contributions to the Clinton re-election campaign. This was the president who made multiculturalism our national policy, this was our "first black president," this was the president who said he eagerly looked forward to the day when America, as a result of continued mass nonwhite immigration, would no longer be a white-majority country. Could anything be sillier than to say that the Clinton administration in arresting Wen Ho Lee was driven by a racial animus against Chinese people rather than by a concern about the theft of nuclear secrets?

Furthermore, why was Antiwar.com, a supposedly right-wing website (though its editor, Justin Raimondo, is a paleo-libertarian rather than a paleoconservative), trafficking in the kind of trumped-up racism charges that conservatives normally see as a curse on our society? The answer, as I came to realize, was that from the point of view of Antiwar.com, the Clinton administration was imperialistic, therefore it was illegitimate, and therefore it deserved whatever it got. Any crazy charge was ok, so long as it made the U.S. government look bad.

The antiwar right's turn against America, their indulgence in reckless attacks on the good faith of the American government even when it was combating espionage or containing Communism, suggested to me that at bottom many antiwar critics were not motivated by a love of country or a belief in truth, but by resentment. It was exactly the kind of resentment normally associated with the left, the impotent fury at a traitorous father figure or a supposed "oppressor" whom the supposed "oppressed," seeing himself as powerless and therefore not subject to any responsible restraints, feels justified in striking back at in any way he can. One of the typical forms this resentment took was the notion that the oppressor has no rational basis for doing what he's doing, but is acting out of insane or evil motives.

The denial of objective reality

The antiwar right's attack on virtually any use of U.S. power as sinister and irrational, as well as doomed to failure (a failure the antiwar right has often openly wished for), continued into the post 9/11 period. In the midst of the invasion of Iraq, British military historian Correlli Barnett made wildly off-base statements not only against the Iraq war, in which he virtually expressed the desire for an American defeat, but against the Cold War as well. In the April 3, 2003 edition of the Daily Mail, the mouthpiece of Britain's antiwar right, Barnett prophesied that the U.S.-led war to topple the Saddam Hussein regime had not "reached the end of the beginning"; that the Iraqi people were "rallying behind Saddam"; and that America would be humbled before the gates of Baghdad. Of course, within a few days of these dire predictions Baghdad had fallen to the victorious U.S. forces. Almost as though seeking succor for his disappointment over the results in Iraq, Barnett turned to another bad U.S. war, indeed the Mother of All Bad U.S. Wars. Writing in the May 19, 2003 issue of The American Conservative, he gave the following account of President Johnson's decision to send American forces into Vietnam:

Why did he do it? Vietnam had no oil fields, industries, or key raw materials—only rice fields. The answer lies in America's central motivation in waging the Cold War: ideological hatred of Communism.... American policy-makers did not regard the Soviet Union as simply a rival power block, but an evil empire threatening the free world. Such righteousness justified the global commitments and military adventure. [Italics added.]

In brief, America had no good reason to fear Communism or to try to protect our South Vietnamese allies from being taken over by Communist dictatorship. Not only the Vietnam war, but the entire Cold War was unnecessary, and was brought about solely by America's irrational "hatred."

What we see here is the standard leftist put-down of all non-leftist or conservative positions—namely that when conservatives are addressing some external threat to society, the threat, according to the left, doesn't really exist but is rather the result some mental sickness or political calculation on the part of the conservatives. If conservatives take a stand against Communism, it is not because of anything wrong with Communism, it's because conservatives are emotionally crippled people who need an enemy. If conservatives think that Clinton is corrupting and defiling America, it's not because of anything Clinton has done, but because of an unreasoning hatred (fed by a twisted sexual Puritanism) that they bear against Clinton. If conservatives are leery of the racial-oppression claims of the organized black movement in this country, it is not because they believe the black complaints to be false and destructive, but because, as Clinton himself repeatedly put it, whites have a sick need to "look down" on blacks. If conservatives are concerned about mass immigration, it is not because they are concerned about the harm immigration is causing to our society, but because they have an irrational "fear of those who are different." And, finally, if President Bush is waging a war against Islamic terrorists, it is not because he seeks to protect America from real harm, but because he seeks political gain through the manipulation of the public's fears. After all, as the Democratic Party's favorite filmmaker Michael Moore says, "There is no terrorist threat."

Such has been the usual left-liberal tactic, employed with increasing regularity throughout the entire post World War II period, aimed at delegitimizing non-liberal positions and preventing them even from being discussed. And now this same type of anti-American, anti-conservative propaganda has found a home in a magazine called The American Conservative. Could anybody have imagined that a publication edited by the inveterate Cold Warrior and Reagan speechwriter Patrick Buchanan would deride as a sick fantasy Reagan's historically important labeling of the USSR as an "evil empire"? Does Buchanan think that Reagan's greatest achievement—the moral condemnation, political isolation, and ultimate defeat of Soviet Communism, was really just paranoid shadow boxing?

Just as the antiwar right, along with the antiwar left, portrays international communism as a fantasy, it does the same with Islamic terrorists. The Islamists are not really enemies at all, the Antiwar Party tells us; rather the belief that they are enemies has been planted in us by propagandists. The following passage—and you may want to put on your work gloves before reading it—comes from an article by Neil Clark, a British leftist, in the December 1, 2003 issue of The American Conservative:

Arabophobia has been part of Western culture since the Crusades, with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden being bogeymen to scare our children. For centuries the Arab, despite bequeathing us the telescope, the pendulum, the watch, soap, chemistry, and modern arithmetic, has played the role of villain, seducer of our women, hustler, and thief—the barbarian lurking menacingly at the gates of civilization. In the late 20th century, new images emerged: the fanatical terrorist, the stone thrower, the suicide bomber. Now, as the Project for the New American Century suffers it first major setback in the back streets of Baghdad and Basra, Arabophobia, the one form of racism about which Hollywood does not make films, has been given a new lease of life.… Scratch a neocon, and you find an Arabophobe.

Leaving aside Clark's lurid construction of a fictional West that historically has only demonized Muslims (to the contrary, as Ibn Warraq shows in his book, Why I Am Not a Muslim, European writers have been casting a romantic, approving aura around Islam and ignoring its dark side for centuries), what Clark is saying here is beyond sick. His main point is that the terrible Islamist phenomena that have so roiled our world in recent years—Muslim suicide bombers, Osama bin Laden's fatwa to "kill Americans and Jews wherever you find them," Arab crowds dancing in ecstasy at the mass murder of Americans, and all the rest of the hellish spectacle of Islamic radicalism—are nothing more than "images" manufactured by "neocon Arabophobes" in the U.S. government in order to advance their own sinister objectives. Beyond singling out the evil neocons as the creators of these terrorist bogeymen, Clark's main aim is to render moot all criticism of and opposition to our enemies, or, rather, his aim to eliminate the belief that our enemies even exist, while sowing bitter hostility against our own side.

This is the kind of leftist poison that a once-distinguished writer at National Review, Joseph Sobran, in a celebrated essay published in 1985, described as alienism: "a prejudice in favor of the alien, the marginal, the dispossessed, the eccentric, reaching an extreme in the attempt to 'build a new society' by destroying the basic institutions of the native." But, in a further sad illustration of my thesis, Sobran, in addition to becoming an outspoken Israel hater in recent years, has turned against the most basic institution of America, of which he was once a foremost champion. Having spent his entire writing career as an indefatigable exponent and defender of the U.S. Constitution against its modern statist distortions, Sobran in 2002 came out as a Rothbardian libertarian anarchist, agreeing with his newly adopted mentor, the late Murray Rothbard, that it's not the liberal perversions of the Constitution that are the problem, but the Constitution itself; that the state is "nothing but a criminal gang writ large"; and that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 were engaged in a "coup d'├ętat."

So, just as former patriots on the right have become anti-Americans, and just as former Cold Warriors on the right have become apologists for Communism, a former leading constitutionalist on the right has become an enemy of the Constitution—indeed, of the very existence of government.

The key to the destructive mindset of the antiwar right, which I hope to explore in future articles, is that their ideas about politics are not the product of rational thought and a concern for the common good. Their ideas are, very simply, the product of burning anger, a sense of perpetual hurt and victimhood. And that is why they have become so much like the left.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Woolley-Headed About Dennis Prager: No Mileage for Libertarians

By Wayne Lusvardi

Miles Woolley, a partially paralyzed Viet Nam veteran, has written a woolly (i.e., confused; uncivilized and unruly; Encarta Dictionary) column posted at the increasingly leftist libertarian website LewRockwell.com ("Democrats Not Attuned?," Dec. 2, 2004). For anyone who listens to nationally syndicated talk radio show host Dennis Prager on a regular basis, Woolley’s diatribe is mostly a non-sequitur (an unwarranted conclusion). Strangely, Woolley's rant runs against all that libertarianism stands for.

Woolley’s online column is a response to Prager’s article originally published in the Nov. 21, 2004 issue of the Miami Herald entitled “Why Democrats are tagged as the party without values” (also posted at Townhall.com Nov. 9). Prager’s column is a rejoinder to Arizona Democratic Party Governor Janet Napolitano’s question: “how did a party that is filled with people with values – and I am a person of values – get tagged as the party without values?”

Woolley states that he voted as a non-partisan for Bush most his adult life but swung into the Democratic fold due to "big oilman Bush" becoming a "warlord.” A warlord by definition is military leader acting outside of government. Putting hyperbole aside for the moment, the term warlord would certainly match many other actors on the world stage today, such as Osama bin Laden, but not a U.S. President who must share power with his political opposition. Bush can be criticized by libertarians for his pre-emptive war doctrine and his notion that democracy can be imposed in Iraq. But he is not a unilateral actor or the warlord over a tribe.

Woolley takes Prager to task for making a contradictory statement that “the Democratic Party is not representative of the average Democrat’s values than the National Council of Churches is of the average Protestant’s values.” Woolley asserts that this is a contradiction because political parties by definition are representative of the views of their members. But Woolley’s accusation is itself a non sequitur. Prager wrote that the Democratic Party does not reflect its mainstream member’s values, not their interests. Ever since Max Weber, we know that a political party resides in the sphere of power, not values, which are the domain of religion.

Prager’s statement that he is articulating the view of how most Democrats see things is characterized by Woolley as an over-used generalization. Woolley says Prager’s repeated use of the term “most Americans” is misleading and his article should have been dubbed “How Prager Alone Sees It.” But if you can’t make some generalizations, you can’t have any public discourse; a point made repeatedly by Prager on his radio show. Prager says he is an ex-Kennedy Democrat who became a Republican when the “party left him.” So in some sense Prager can speak for what he calls the Kennedy Democrats.

Next, Woolley lambasts Prager for attacking Michael Moore as a “Marxist and a film propagandist who portrays the American military as callous buffoons.” Woolley writes that Prager can’t prove that Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 film is propaganda or a lie, therefore Prager has told a lie himself. If Woolley’s allegation isn’t an example of psychological projection, I don’t know what is. Anyone who wants to come to the defense of Michael Moore’s one-sided adolescent movie is himself involved in Orwellian doublespeak. Even antiwar libertarians should be better able to discern Moore’s filmography as nothing but pure propaganda.

Woolley writes that “lying seems to be a common characteristic of Bush lovers.” As a Viet Nam war veteran, Woolley ought to know better. Is Woolley so politically immature as to be unable to distinguish between lying and political speech during wartime? As George Friedman points out in his book America's Secret War, Bush’s reticence about the larger geopolitical strategy of the war has more to do with avoiding a wider war with all of Islam and putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to stop supporting terrorists, which was complicit in 9/11. Has Woolley never heard of Plato’s concept of a “noble lie?” By now most Americans know that WMD’s, democratization, or the removal of the tyrant Saddam are not the principal reasons for the war. Surely, Prager can be taken to task for being a true believer about Bush’s stated reasons for the war. But unfortunately, Woolley merely emotes rather than challenges Prager on this key issue. Parenthetically, Prager has repeatedly said on his radio program that the Iraq War may be moral (as to removing a dictator), but history will prove whether it was wise.

Woolley proceeds to criticize Prager for naming Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as “race- bating demogogues.” Woolley says they are heroes to the Democratic Party. This is certainly a strange position for a libertarian to take, since Jackson and Sharpton value racial groups over the individual.

In another non sequitur, Woolley lambasts Prager as being concerned about unimportant issues such as the California Democratic Party’s sanctioning of cross-dressing and multiculturalism while Americans murder Iraqis. But if the war is so important, Woolley doesn’t say why the Democratic Party is so worried about rights for cross dressers and multiculturalism? And again, when did libertarians embrace multiculturalism over the value of the individual?

Prager’s moralizing about the Democratic Party’s use of obscenities at its major public fund raisers and contemptuous trips to Cuba by leftist Hollywood stars are also singled out by Woolley as unimportant compared to sexual humiliation of prisoners at abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the carnage of the war on the TV. Again, when did libertarians embrace Castro’s Cuba as a model of liberty? Prager comes across as more of a libertarian than Woolley when he says that obscenity should be restricted to R-rated films or a Las Vegas comedy act, not public meetings attended by candidates for president of the United States. Libertarians are typically for the freedom to do things on private property or in the privacy of one's own home without government intrusion or censure. But Democratic Party fund raisers broadcast on TV are in the public sector. Woolley does make a point however that the Republican’s exploitation of the Monica Lewinsky scandal during the Clinton presidency could also be seen as obscene.

Prager’s elevating of the American military as heroic and more important to safeguarding freedom that the ACLU, U.N., or some university (all Democratic-dominated institutions), also draws Woolley’s ire. Prager denounces the Democratic Party for viewing the military as a necessary evil. Woolley retorts that as a war veteran and Democratic Party member, the military is a necessary evil. It doesn’t follow, however, that the military is necessarily always evil as Woolley insinuates. I thought that the right to bear arms and self defense is one of the fundamental libertarian principles?

Woolley chides Prager's criticism of the Democratic Party doctrine “make love, not war” by retorting that this philosophy was uttered by another liberal who promoted love over violence; namely Jesus Christ. Woolley goes so far as to unequivocally state that “Jesus, was in all likelihood a registered Democrat, Himself.” Sidestepping the religious idolatry issue raised by such a ludicrous statement, is Woolley talking about the same Democratic Party that got us involved in Viet Nam, that escalated the war in Viet Nam by lying about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and building up military forces to 500,000?

Woolley's accusation that Prager plays the gay card by advocating traditional marriage is a canard. Woolley defends activist Democratic judges rather than pointing out that libertarians traditionally have wanted the state to get out of sanctioning marriage. In any event, both Woolley and Prager are unaware that the whole same-sex marriage issue has less to do with morality or discrimination and more to do with whether gays have the right to pass their social security survivor benefits along to their partners whenever social security is "privatized."

Woolley is aghast at Prager’s views on abortion as immoral when Bush is murdering over 100,000 innocent Iraqis. Leaving aside the contentious issue of abortion, Woolley’s 100,000 Iraqi casualty figure is wildly inflated. Even the independent non-profit Iraq Body County Project run by peace educators has estimated civilian casualties from 14,272 to 16,405 before the Fallujah battle, and this likely includes many civilians who have died as a result of the actions of the insurgents.

Woolley has missed a golden opportunity to enter into a dialogue with Prager about the wisdom of the libertarian approach to the Iraq War and a host of other issues. Instead what we get is a highly emotional and woolly-headed invective that embraces leftist positions that are the furthest from libertarianism.

John Stuart Mill was quoted as saying that “Conservatives…(were) by the law of existence the stupidest party.” Dennis Prager has repeatedly stated on his radio program that Republicans are the stupid party, and the Democrats are the dangerous party. As a mouthpiece for other libertarians, Woolley's attack on Prager is both stupid and dangerous in that it indicates that libertarians cannot distinguish their positions from those on the political Left.

Wayne C. Lusvardi is a Viet Nam War veteran in Pasadena, California. He served with the 25th Infantry Division in Cu Chi in 1968. He has been published in the Orange County Register, Privatization Watch (Reason Public Policy Institute), Public Utilities Fortnightly, and the USC Online Journal of Planning and Markets. He is registered in the Libertarian Party. The views expressed are his own. Contact: wlusvardi@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Speaking English Preserves Our National Heritage

By Nathan Tabor

“Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said: ‘This is my own, my native land’?” Most of us have heard those famous lines. But exactly why do they resonate across the years? I believe it’s because they capture the essence of patriotism and national identity.

Today we have a large and rapidly growing population of immigrants, both legal and illegal, surging into the United States, many of them Hispanic. As a result, some well-meaning folks are advancing the idea that our schools should teach classes in Spanish to accommodate those who don’t know English.

America, the modern politically correct theory goes, should become a multilingual culture to reflect the multicultural backgrounds of the various ethnic groups who now live here. Thus our election ballots, laws, public records, court proceedings, etc., should all be conducted in at least two languages and possibly more.

This misguided idea represents the epitome of enlightened liberalism.

I believe that such a move would be a cultural disaster because it would result in the Balkanization of American society. After all, there are currently more than 300 different languages spoken by various groups within America.

It is true that we are a “nation of immigrants,” and that the proverbial American “melting pot” contains individuals from a variety of different cultural backgrounds. It is also legitimate for people to remember and preserve many of their ancient traditions and their ethnic heritage.

However, the essence of immigration has always been assimilation into the larger American society. People flocked to our shores en masse because America alone promised them freedom and the opportunity for a better life than they had elsewhere. While they might speak their native languages at home, in public they did business in English so that they could flourish and prosper in this new land.

To become naturalized American citizens, these newcomers had to learn our language and our history, and then take a solemn oath to obey our laws and defend our way of life. In other words, they had to change and adapt to the new common culture they desired to join. They might retain their own personal cultural distinctive, but their new national identity made them all uniquely Americans.

“There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americans,” pronounced President Theodore Roosevelt a century ago.

“The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag. We must also learn one language and that language is English,” TR shrewdly observed.

Roosevelt’s authoritative proclamation came at a high tide of American immigration, when literally hordes of immigrants from Eastern as well as Western Europe were flooding America’s shores and filling her cities and factories with the raw human resources of the Industrial Revolution. He saw the dangers as well as the blessings of this massive influx of humanity.

Today there is an effort afoot to pass legislation declaring English to be the official language of the United States. This was not done by the Founding Fathers, because back then there was no reason to pass a law mandating what was already true in fact. The overwhelming majority of settlers in colonial America came from what Winston Churchill later famously called “the English-speaking peoples.” Thanks to the navies of the British Empire, the English language has encircled and dominated the globe.

Declaring English to be the official language of America today would mean that official government business at all levels must be conducted solely in English. This includes all public documents, records, legislation and regulations, as well as hearings, official ceremonies, public meetings and election ballots.

Today twenty-seven states have some form of “Official English” law, and there is an ongoing effort in Congress to pass national legislation. Of course, the ACLU opposes this idea, despite the fact that 82 percent of adult Americans favor it, according to the latest Zogby poll.

An Official English laws will not only preserve our cultural heritage, historical documents, and uniquely American way of life, it will also enable immigrants to fit in and flourish here. At a bare minimum, Official English legislation would:

Promote unity within the society;
Empower immigrants to prosper in the community;
Produce efficient, common-sense government.

“I believe we are being dishonest with language minority groups if we tell them they can take full part in American life without learning the English language,” said S.I. Hayakawa, the founder of U.S. English, Inc., the leader in promoting Official English.

Hayakawa’s sentiments thus agree with those of President Ronald Reagan, without question the most respected and beloved American leader of the 20th Century.

“By emphasizing the importance of a common language, we safeguard a proud legacy and help to ensure that America’s future will be as great as her past,” Reagan said.

For both our great nation and her diverse people, Official English makes good sense.


Copyright 2004 by Nathan Tabor

(Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina. He has his BA in Psychology and his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. He is a contributing editor at www.theconservativevoice.com. Contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Reasons to Give “Conservative” Thanks

By Nathan Tabor

Thanksgiving is the time of the year when families and friends traditionally gather together for fellowship and food. Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, candy yams and all the delicious pies — consuming these dishes is the centerpiece of the day. We will sit around and eat until we can’t eat any more. One nice rarity about this holiday is the fact that corporations haven’t commercialized it … yet.

Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect on the past year and all that we have to be grateful to God for. Each of us could talk about many personal things and how our lives have been changed or improved. I encourage you to share these at the dinner table with your family and friends.

I also believe there are a number of other things for which we should be thankful. Here’s just a small sampling of some good things that have happened in 2004.

For starters, moral values carried the day in the political area, with potentially sweeping ramifications. George W. Bush, a man of sincere faith, ethics and integrity, will serve as President of the United States for four more years with a clear mandate to govern. Republicans also added to their majorities in the Senate and the House. Hopefully, with this additional margin of control, we will be able to confirm more principled, conservative judges to the Federal court bench.

This was also the year that the Democratic National Convention nominated two archliberal Senators: John Kerry as their candidate for President and John Edwards as his running mate. This historic blunder truly shows how out of touch the DNC is with the average American voter.

In South Dakota, underdog challenger John Thune defeated incumbent Senator Tom Daschle, the Democrats’ obstructionist Minority Leader. This upset victory not only weakens the Democrats in the Senate. It also sends the message to other out-of-touch liberal incumbents that they too can be beat.

Speaking of elections, we should note with both satisfaction and relief that the vaunted al-Qaeda terrorists, for all their bluster and threats, were unable to deliver another blow to America to disrupt our political process. Domestically, America has been safe and secure from terrorist attacks throughout 2004.

Moreover, on the cutting edge of our domestic Culture War, eleven states voted to add Constitutional amendments stating that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. The liberal media pundits howled in disbelief, but the overwhelming majority of average Americans has spoken loud and clear: gay marriage is an aberrant idea whose time definitely has not come.

Similarly, the pro-life movement was given a building stone for future legal arguments when Scott Peterson was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his own unborn child. This verdict is a landmark decision, which sets a huge precedent for future criminal cases involving the personhood of the pre-born child.

Internationally, American soldiers liberated Iraq from the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein and eventually found the once-feared dictator hiding in a spider hole in the ground. The women of Iraq are still waiting for Patricia Ireland of NOW to thank President George W. Bush for stopping the rapes and other atrocities they had been experiencing under Hussein. They shouldn’t probably hold their breath.

I personally believe that we should all be forever thankful for the courageous men and women of the United States military who have given their lives to secure our freedom and to spread liberty abroad. We should also pray for those who are currently serving in foreign danger zones, as well as their family members who have sacrificed immensely.

Moving to outer space, 2004 was the year when the United States of America landed an unmanned vehicle on Mars. The potential impact of this feat on science could be astonishing over the years to come.

This year the most beloved and admired President of 20th Century was laid to rest. Ronald Reagan’s vision and courage are responsible for where the conservative movement is today. The people living under communistic rule around the world saw the Soviet Union’s “evil empire” crumble under Reagan’s principled leadership. From the United States to the rest of the world we are all thankful for Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s legacy.

Mel Gibson received thanks from Christians for his selfless act. He produced a self-funded movie that the Hollywood elite blackballed and predicted would fail miserably. Instead, The Passion of the Christ was a box office blockbuster, as people all across America rushed to the theaters to see it.

Finally, President George W. Bush summed up the true meaning of Thanksgiving perfectly in his most recent Saturday radio address. After delivering his own list of blessings, Bush said: “On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge that all of these things, and life itself, come from the Almighty God.”

Copyright © 2004 by Nathan Tabor

Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina. He has his BA in Psychology and his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. He is a contributing editor at www.theconservativevoice.com. Contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Oldspeak: Did We Have to Destroy Fallujah to Save It?

By Wayne Lusvardi

"Those who control the slogans of the past, control the present"

(George Orwell)

As a Viet Nam veteran, I am compelled to respond to many of the clich‚-ridden letters to newspapers and emails to websites from those on the political Left who, in the face of the TV images of the destruction in Fallujah, have tried to revive the mantra of the Viet Nam war -- "we had to destroy the village to save it" -- by posing the question: "did we have to destroy Fallujah and its religious shrines to save it?" Many of those raising this question don't know the history of Iraq, much less that of Viet Nam.

"We had to destroy the village to save it"

The phrase "we had to destroy the village to save it" is attributed to an unnamed U.S. military officer during the Viet Nam War. The phrase "we had to destroy the village to save it" is most associated in the public's mind with the court martial of U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley for atrocities of the U.S. military in the village of My Lai where 500 civilian lives were lost. Trying to stick this slogan on the recent Fallujah battle in Iraq is an unwarranted conclusion for many reasons.

"Bomb my house please"

As recently reported by web journalist Michael Totten in an aptly titled article "Bomb My House...Please," one U.S. soldier has recently e-mailed his father from Iraq that: "...the refugees (are) telling us where their houses are and asking us to bomb them because the muj (muhajadeen) have taken them over." Unlike Viet Nam, reportedly many Iraqi people want the U.S. to bomb the thugs who have taken over their homes, mosques, and cities (See here). The inverted moral compass of many on the political Left misplaces the blame for destruction of mosques on the U.S. and not on those heinous killers who put religious shrines and innocents in harms way.

"Since Bush broke Iraq, he now owns it"

Another superficial clich‚ with no basis in reality, borrowed from Colin Powell, often heard recited by those on the political Left is that since Bush "broke Iraq, he now must own it." Iraq has always been a broken nation of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish tribes that the Ottomons and then the British and more recently Saddam Hussein tried to make into a cohesive nation by force, all to no avail.

"We didn't commit enough troops, we shouldn't have disbanded the Iraqi army, and we should have put Iraqis back to work"

Another triple-tongued clich‚ often heard recited by the political Left is that the failings of the war could have been averted if we had committed more troops, not disbanded the Iraqi army, and put more Iraqis back to work. We put 500,000 troops in Viet Nam, transferred the active war to the South Vietnamese, and initiated a pacification program with the populace through jobs, even including jobs on our own fire bases, all to no avail. The troop build-up and Vietnamization and pacification programs only made the South Vietnamese more dependent on U.S. intervention and money. The huge sums of U.S. aid to South Vietnam corrupted Presidents Diem and Thieu and eroded the legitimacy for the war in the eyes of many South Vietnamese. During my tour of duty in Vietnam one of our fire base camps near Dau Tieng was overrun by Viet Cong sappers after it was turned over to South Vietnamese troops. The South Vietnamese troops were found dead in their bunkers along with their families and farm animals as they considered military duty as a jobs and housing program. The Vietnamese barber who cut my hair in the field Headquarters for the 25th Infantry Division in Cu Chi, South Viet Nam during the war was eventually discovered to be a major in the Viet Cong.

"Historical ignorance is strength"

Another common phrase often heard about the Iraq War, which smacks of historical ignorance, is that it is "Bush's War." Many are not aware that it wasn't Bush I or Bush II that initially got us involved in the Middle East and ultimately in Iraq, but Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt who made a compact with King Saud in 1945, which obligates the U.S. to protect the Saudi royal family from threats from nearby terror-sponsoring nations, such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan, in return for the priority to buy oil. The Left's convenient failure to understand the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East reminds one of the slogans in British writer George Orwell's book '1984:' "ignorance is strength."

Who controls the past controls future; who controls the present, controls the past

In the novel 1984 by British writer George Orwell, the slogan of the totalitarian political party was "who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past." Orwell's warnings about the use political propaganda described totalitarian regimes. But they equally apply to slogans of anti-war activists and those on the political Left. The Left's ability to capture public opinion is often its skill in inventing catchy slogans and bumper stickers. Often those who don't know what they are talking about rely on such convenient slogans. Surely, the political Left has some justification for alleging that the official reasons for the Iraq War -- weapons of mass destruction, ridding the world of a tyrant, and democracy building -- were political propaganda. But the public often suspects that government produces propaganda, especially during war. And the Bush administration may be hiding its true strategic goals in the Iraq War to avoid a larger war with all of Islam. (See: here). But those on the political Left who try and invoke the past slogans of the Vietnam War to control current public opinion about the Iraq War, perhaps spread an even more insidious form of propaganda, in that propaganda is typically thought to be produced only by the state.

(Wayne Lusvardi, Pasadena, California, has been published in the Orange County Register, Privatization Watch (Reason Institute), the USC Online Journal of Planning and Markets, DissectingLeftism.com and many other online weblogs, and is active in the Libertarian Party -- wlusvardi@yahoo.com)

Note: The column below is reproduced from "The Pasadena Star News" of Nov. 17, 2004

Was so much destruction really necessary to free Iraq?

By Gerald Plessner

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - ONCE again the war in Iraq has pulled our country into conduct that will stain our reputation and haunt our international relations, especially with the Muslim world, for generations. Iraqi insurgents have drawn our Marines and soldiers into a bloody battle that has almost destroyed a city, increasing the hatred of America by average Iraqis. Current events will probably enhance the recruiting power of terrorist groups as well, for such has been the case during our entire time in Iraq. Clearing Fallujah of well-organized resistance forces was a worthy goal. Elections should be held in January because they are essential to the legitimacy of any future government.

But did we have to destroy Fallujah to save it? A city of 200,000 to 300,000 people should not be subjected to the tyranny of Saddam Hussein's henchmen and secret police. If a new government is to survive and develop a more open society, people must live in safety and freedom. To remove this threat to the elections, U.S. forces have reportedly killed 1,600 insurgents. But did we have to destroy mosques to finish the job?

If an occupying army destroyed the Crystal Cathedral or defiled the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, wouldn't we be outraged? How long would we remember bitterly such treatment and to what length might we go to seek revenge or justice? The destruction and defilement of mosques will be used by Islamic extremists the world over to generate even more hatred for America. It is one more reason why the war in Iraq is a big negative in the war on terrorism.

It is also a bonanza for those who stoke hatred against us. This is not to critique the plans or execution of our military leaders in Iraq or elsewhere. In our democracy, they execute plans to achieve the tasks that civilian leaders set for them. And when it comes to such things, they are the best. It is sad that our civilian Pentagon leaders didn't listen to our military experts before they led us into this war. We have written before about the arrogance and disrespect that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has consistently shown to any general with the temerity to suggest an alternative to his preconceived goals.

Now the United States is reaping the whirlwind that Rumsfeld and his fellow neo-imperialists created by their arrogance. We are fighting an insurgency made more virulent by their not disbanding salvageable parts of the Iraqi army, by not allocating enough troops to secure a nation with scores of ammunition dumps, and by failing miserably to put Iraqi men back to work. Now thousands of Iraqi men, women and children are being killed or forced to hide in their homes for days without food or safe water, which can itself lead to death. And an entire city has been laid to waste. Our Marines and soldiers are being killed and wounded in a city barely brought under control and we can only imagine which city will be next as our military tries to bring democracy to Iraq.

Before our election, it was reported that people around Rumsfeld knew that their neo- imperialism goals were ashes. It was also reported that the administration would go to any lengths to assure that an election would be held in Iraq. Then, after a few months of Iraqi self-rule, the president would again proclaim "mission accomplished' and begin the pull-out of our troops from Iraq. Experts also predicted that the resulting chaos will probably degenerate into a terrible civil war across Iraq. With Secretary of State Colin Powell announcing his resignation, his Pottery Barn adage that, "If you break it, you own it,' seems quaint.

Which raises an even larger question, "Did we have to destroy Iraq to save it?'

(Gerald Plessner is an Arcadia businessman who writes on issues of politics and culture. He can be contacted at gerald@geraldplessner.com).

Friday, November 19, 2004


Father Mike Walsh of the Maryknoll organization writes:

Piqued somewhat by your own observations, and for whatever it's worth, I have been trying for some time to analyze the pathology of leftism. Local conditions may account for some variations; I speak for what I have observed in the U.S., among American liberals, and this is just a preliminary assay, subject to later modification. Several characteristics are prominent:

It is elitist. There may be some patronizing superficial regard for working-class people, but basically, for people who have 'traditional' values, liberals feel nothing but contempt. And in the case where an approved minority supports those values, they just ignore that uncomfortable fact, and promote leaders among that minority who are more like themselves. "Flyover country" -that's where people like me live, in spirit, if not in fact. Liberalism is egalitarian in theory, but not in any way that would challenge the status of liberals. For example, almost no liberal who could afford not to would send his kid to a public school.

Liberalism is moralistic. But liberals are also highly selective in their moralizing, opposing only things that would not require change on their part. Liberals are generally opposed to hunting, for example. Personal morality, for which they mostly no longer have a religious basis, is nevertheless still a source of pain and struggle, which is another reason they transfer their self-righteous anger to things that require of them no pain or personal struggle. Movie stars are particularly egregious examples of this. They regard themselves as gods, above petty human morality, but concerned with larger matters of war and peace, the security of nature, etc

It is statist. Liberals believe in government, except when it comes to doing what government does best, or does most legitimately, e.g., defense. Why this is so is something that might be worth exploring at greater length sometime. Perhaps it stems from the fact that warfare entails real moral consequences rather than comfortable symbolic ones. Liberals believe in redistributing wealth, but not in any way that would increase people's real freedom (securing property rights, school choice), but only in ways that would create larger and larger classes of government dependents. They are careful to reject all aspects of "ownership society" such as privatization of social security or health care savings accounts.

It is anti-intellectual. This claim may seem odd, in light of the fact that leftists dominate the universities and mass-media. But they are rapidly abandoning the intellectual traditions that gave rise to those institutions, and their intellectuality is increasingly a sham. This is one reason why they frequently dismiss the work of 'dead white males', for these are the foundations of which they are increasingly ignorant, and from which the strongest critique of their views may come.

The roots of modern liberalism are several. On one level, modern American liberalism is simply the last and most desiccated form of Protestantism. They are what remains of the Puritans in America. You can chart the progress, or devolution, from Calvinism to Puritanism, and eventually to Unitarianism, to Transcendentalism, to liberalism. The subjectivity is key: it is a progression from justification by faith to justification by self-regard. And as the Puritans would look for a sign of election, so modern liberals seek validation by ratifying the PC stance on whatever crusade is current; a strong (symbolic) moral stance they can take with the assurance that comes from solidarity with the like-minded. And that is why they get so angry when you disagree with them: with their egos so strongly rooted in their opinions, any disagreement is experienced as a personal threat. Theirs is not merely a presumption of moral superiority, but a profound need.

Another root is of course, the 'Enlightenment'. Having lost any God-centeredness, it becomes the source of the morality that is central to Liberals' self-image. Freedom and equality are the main tenets, but these contraries are reconciled in the modern liberal imagination by reducing the first to autonomy and the latter to arithmetic. For them, freedom is personal 'lifestyle' choice (what a more classical view would regard as at best characteristic of adolescence); the highest, indeed the only real virtue for the liberal, is tolerance; tolerance specifically of other peoples' choices. And equality, for the liberal, does not mean equality before the law, but equality of results. The liberal exists in a state of anxiety and will likely never rest until all differences have been reduced to a flat, grey, androgynous mean This also accounts for their affection for government, which alone can exert the force necessary to achieve this Procrustean goal.

I think it is significant that while there are many notable examples of people who were leftists and moved rightward, one only rarely encounters the reverse. The rightward shift usually happens when egalitarianism costs them something, or when they can no longer endure the contradictions that liberalism leads them into.

Liberal Catholics -- my personal betes-noire -- have bought the progressivist agenda tout court. They love the title of "prophet", but are incapable of bringing any critique to bear upon the Left, and their enthusiasm for sugar-coating every leftist outrage, or ignoring those they can't do this with, shamefully belies their promise to preach the Gospel "in season and out of season."

The publishing wing of my own religious order once put out a book entitled "Love and Struggle in Mao's Thought." It should not even be necessary to point out that it was not written by a Chinese. What is it about Western liberals that compels them to canonize even the most vicious anti-Western demagogue? Perhaps an example from the schoolyard may be illustrative: that of the cowardly child who sucks up to a bully in order to mollify him. It is beyond my ability to mock; it is pointless to lampoon what is already utterly absurd. Which is why I use the term "pathology" for this little exercise.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Snake That Swallowed Its Tail: some contradictions in modern liberalism , by Mark Garnett Imprint Academic, 96pp, 8 pounds 95p

Book Review by John Gray

One of the curious features of the present time is that, even though we are all liberal, there is no agreement about what liberalism means. Some people will tell you that the core liberal value is personal liberty, but others insist it is equality. Some say that liberal values require multiculturalism, while others believe they demand a common culture based on personal autonomy. For some, liberalism is a strictly political theory that applies only to the structure of the state. For others, it is a whole way of life.

These are not just minor differences. They extend to the basic concepts of liberalism itself and to the underlying philosophical beliefs in line with which they are interpreted. If some liberals see freedom as mere absence of interference, others view it as a positive ability to act. For some liberal thinkers, justice requires protecting private property; for others, it means redistribution. Underlying these differences are even larger divergences: some liberals are ardent supporters of rights, while others are defenders of utilitarianism; some are devotees of social contract theory, and yet others are partisans of value pluralism.

What all liberals have in common is a touching certainty that they are right. Liberalism is a missionary faith, and proselytising zeal is not normally conducive to sceptical inquiry. Whatever the core values of liberalism, they can surely conflict with one another - and with other goods such as social cohesion. Yet it rarely occurs to liberals to ask themselves whether their values - however vaguely or inconsistently defined - are viable in the long term.

It is this last question that preoccupies Mark Garnett. In "The Snake That Swallowed Its Tail", he argues that a highly individualistic type of liberalism - "the philosophy of the short term, of the speed-dating, cold-calling society" - has come to pervade political life in Britain. In the past, thinkers such as John Stuart Mill had a vision of liberal values in which altruism was prized. As Garnett sees it, Mill's "fleshed-out" liberalism was displaced in the Thatcher era by a "hollowed-out", Hobbesian philosophy in which self-interest is at the centre. Liberalism of this latter kind is ultimately self-undermining, he believes: it can end only by "swallowing its tail", at which point a reaction in favour of saner values will set in.

Few academic writers know enough about the business of politics to be able to write intelligently about the tangled links between theory and practice. Garnett is one of the few, and his arresting and often amusing account of the political history of postwar Britain as a transition from fleshed-out to hollowed-out liberalism will be read with profit by anyone interested in the role of ideas in politics.

This does not mean that his account is always convincing. Like many critics of the narrow version of liberal individualism that has shaped politics since the 1980s, Garnett portrays it as a deeply pessimistic philosophy that owes a great deal to Hobbes. To my mind, it is precisely the opposite. In so far as Margaret Thatcher and her disciples had anything resembling a coherent political vision, it was of a neoliberal utopia.

Thatcher believed that the British economy could be revolutionised, and that at the same time Britain's culture could remain unchanged - or revert to the norms of the 1950s. She never understood that the ideology of choice and innovation she promoted in the economy would inevitably spill over into other areas of life. She believed that unfettered choice would somehow be virtuous, and completely failed to foresee the anomic, crime-ridden society that has actually developed. Like other neoliberals, she seems to have imagined that freedom is the natural human condition - a view Thomas Hobbes scorned heartily, and rightly so.

If "The Snake That Swallowed Its Tail" has a positive message, it is "Back to Mill" - the embodiment of the fleshed-out liberal philosophy that has supposedly been abandoned over the past generation. No doubt Garnett is right in thinking that Mill's was a superior form of liberalism, but it is hard to see how it can be revived today. He tells us that it will return only "once Britain has been entirely hollowed out". However, to adapt a well-known adage of Adam Smith's, there is much hollowness in a nation - and in liberalism. Most likely Britain will drift on much as it does at present, a country where everyone believes in liberal values, yet no one knows what they are.

John Gray's latest book is: "Heresies: against progress and other illusions" (Granta). This review first appeared in the "New Statesman" of November 12th., 2004

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Harvard's Nazi Ties

by Stephen H. Norwood

When I began researching how the American academic community responded to the Nazi persecution of the Jews in the 1930s, I expected to find some troubling episodes.  But what I discovered is far more disturbing than I ever anticipated.

At  a Boston University conference this week, sponsored by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, I described some of my research findings, especially those pertaining to Harvard University.

The Harvard University administration during the 1930s, led by President James Conant, ignored numerous opportunities to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime and the antisemitic outrages it perpetrated, and contributed to Nazi Germany's efforts to improve its image in the West.  The administration's lack of concern about Nazi antisemitism was shared by many influential Harvard alumni and students.  A faculty panel that supervised a mock trial of Hitler in 1934 ruled that Hitler's anti-Jewish actions were "irrelevant" to the debate.  Nazi leaders were warmly welcomed to the Harvard campus and invited to prestigious social events, as the Harvard administration strove to build friendly relations with thoroughly Nazified universities in Germany.  By doing so, Harvard's administration and many of its student leaders offered important encouragement to the Hitler regime as it intensified its persecution of the Jews and strengthened its armed forces.

President Conant's insistence on treating Nazi academics as part of the "learned world," and his reluctance to offer faculty positions to prominent Jewish refugee scholars, was shaped in part by his own antisemitic prejudices. When the DuPont corporation sought his advice about hiring a German Jewish scientist who had fled the Nazis, Conant urged it not to employ him, noting that he was "very definitely of the Jewish type--very heavy."  The scientist they rejected, Max Bergmann, was described by the New York Times as "one of the leading organic chemists in the world."

Prominent Harvard alumni, student leaders, and some faculty assumed a major role in the friendly welcome accorded the Nazi warship Karlsruhe when it visited Boston in 1934, flying the swastika flag.  Boston's Jewish community protested vociferously.  President Conant remained silent.  Officers and crewmen from the warship were entertained at Harvard, and professors attended a gala reception in Boston where the warship's captain enthusiastically praised Hitler.

That year, the Harvard administration welcomed a top Nazi official, Ernst Hanfstangl, who was Hitler's foreign press chief as well as a virulent antisemite, to the campus for his 25th class reunion.  The student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, editorialized that the university should award Hanfstangl an honorary degree "as a mark of honor appropriate to his high position in the government of a friendly country."  The joyous reception Hanfstangl received on campus was interrupted when a local rabbi confronted him and demanded to know what Hanfstangl had meant when he recently remarked that "everything would soon be settled for the Jews in Germany."  The rabbi cried out, "My people want to know . . . does it mean extermination?"  Hanfstangl replied that he  "[could] not discuss that.  I am on vacation.  I am with my old friends."  The Nazi official proceeded to President Conant's house for tea.

Anti-Nazi activists opposed Hanfstangl's visit.  Some put up posters in Harvard Yard, only to have the Harvard police tear them down.  Others held a rally in Harvard Square.  Seven demonstrators who tried to speak at the rally were arrested, and sentenced to six months at hard labor.  Conant called the demonstration "very ridiculous."

Several months later, the Harvard administration permitted the Nazi German consul-general to lay a wreath bearing the swastika in the university's chapel, beneath a tablet honoring Harvard men killed fighting for Germany in World War I.

During the next several years, Harvard participated in academic student exchanges with Nazi universities. In 1936 Harvard contributed significantly to Nazi Germany's effort to gain international respectability by accepting Heidelberg University's invitation to send a delegate to its 550th anniversary festival.  Heidelberg had expelled its Jewish professors, reshaped its curricula to reflect Nazi ideology, and staged a massive public burning of books by Jews.  The Germans had exploited the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Bavaria to extol Nazism.  It should have been obvious they would do the same at Heidelberg.  American newspapers described the Heidelberg festival as a "brown-shirt pageant" in which Nazi leaders delivered antisemitic harangues.

Moreover, Conant did not sign a petition that some American educators circulated in 1937 when Polish universities required segregated seating for Jewish students.  Poland's Jews considered this a major step toward ghettoization in all areas of life, and appealed to Western educators to denounce it.

It is shameful that the leaders of America's most prestigious university remained indifferent to Germany's terrorist campaign against the Jews in the critical years leading up the Holocaust, and on many occasions even assisted the Nazis’ efforts to improve their public image in the West.  


Bush election earthquake presents Europe with huge challenge

The US has a government aimed at overthrowing much of the post-World-War II order

By Martin Wolf

THESE US elections were an earthquake. The American people have done far more than re-elect an administration that is as reckless as it is radical. They have also given the same party secure control over Congress. Republicans will now try to secure a Supreme Court of much the same complexion. Should they succeed, right-wing populism will animate all three branches of American government.

Contemporary Republicans are not conservatives. On the contrary, theirs is a revolutionary movement aimed at overthrowing much of the post-World War II order at home and abroad. For two groups, in particular, this seismic shift in US politics poses a huge challenge. The Democrats must reverse their slide from predominance to irrelevance. Europeans face much the same task.

Let us leave the former to their pain and turn to the latter instead. With the end of the Cold War. Europe is important to the US neither as an arena nor as an actor. In Europe many Americans see a collection of states that are neither willing to follow obediently nor able to help effectively. They view the European economy as decrepit and the European future as dismal. In earlier times, Europeans visited two cataclysmic world wars upon the planet. More recently, they failed to deal with the minor challenge of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Instead, they wrung their hands like so many Pontius Pilates.

While powerful Americans view Europeans with contempt, the latter respond with a growing dismay. This is only partly because the contemporary European attachment to secularism and the welfare state is as powerful as that of Republicans to their opposites. Far more important is the divergence over foreign policy. As two distinguished American scholars, Robert. Tucker and David Hendrickson, note in a brilliant article in Foreign Affairs, this administration has proudly overthrown all four of the pillars that supported US legitimacy in the postwar world: "its commitment to international law; its acceptance of consensual decision-making; its reputation for moderation; and its identification with the preservation of peace".

For most Europeans, the Americans have put the world back on the road to international disorder of the worst kind. If might made right, the European Union itself would founder. The big powers would again dictate to the rest. A Republican US is a new American challenge for Europe. The dream of a deep and durable alliance between the two sides of the Atlantic is defunct. A good working relationship is possible. But Europe must first reinvigorate itself economically and politically.

Europe's demographic decline makes economic resurgence even more essential. As the report on the "Lisbon strategy", under the chairmanship of Wim Kok, former prime minister of The Netherlands, notes: "The pure impact of ageing populations will be to reduce the potential growth rate of the EU from the present rate of 2-2.25 per cent to around 1.25 per cent by 2040 ... Already from 2015, potential economic growth will fall to around 1.5 per cent if the present use of the labour potential remains unchanged."

Yet, far from making the best use of available resources, the EU economy shows signs of growing difficulties. After a glorious period of catch-up with US incomes per head, the EU has experienced a marked relative decline since 1990. Behind this lies a worrying deterioration in both absolute and relative productivity performance; and the proportion of people of working age actually at work is only 64 per cent in the EU of 15 members, against 71 per cent in the US, with particularly poor performance in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

In March 2000, European leaders committed the EU to become, by 2010, "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world". If nothing else, this demonstrated a sense of humour. Needless to say, the EU will fail to achieve this objective, as the Kok report demonstrates. It cannot even be said that they are any closer to that objective than they were more than four years ago. If Europe is to sustain its vaunted social model, provide steady increases in living standards to its population or sustain its position in the world, this performance has to improve. I doubt whether there is a credible cooperative answer to this challenge.

The solution should come instead from intense competition among companies and among the regulatory regimes offered by governments, within the context of a free internal market. That spirit of competition must also be extended to institutions of higher education. A revitalised economy is the beginning. On it must be built two crucial changes. First, Europe must have military forces able, at the very least, to bring security to Europe and its immediate neighbourhood and, ideally, to act effectively abroad. Only then are the Americans likely to take Europe's voice seriously. Secondly, Europe must avoid both the current British policy of slavish obedience and the equally depressing French policy of instinctive opposition. Europeans need to have foreign policies of their own. Frequently they will be allies of the US; sometimes they will wish to stand aside; and - only occasionally, one hopes - they will find themselves in carefully calibrated opposition.

Bush's re-election brings one salutary benefit for Europe: it is clearly time to grow up. The era of a benign tutelage is over. The era of partnership may yet begin. Europe must both revitalise its economy and maintain its own security. It must not seek to confront the US for the sake of it: that would be childish. But it must also refuse to trot by the American side, regardless: that would be infantile.

It is time for the old continent to become an adult, with a mature voice in the world's councils. That voice is desperately needed. Can Europe rise to the challenge of supplying it? I doubt it. Who, given the record, would not? But I also hope.

The above article appeared in "The Australian" newspaper of 11.11.2004