Alarming News

February 28, 2006

Thought for the day

Support for the Iraq war is decreasing not because of the casualty rate of our troops but because Americans are losing faith in the concept of Muslims having a democracy. They’ve watched the murder of Van Gogh, the beheadings, the kidnappings, the suicide bombers, the riots for weeks in Paris, the insanity over the Muhammad cartoons and they’ve concluded that these people can not live in our world and instead of bringing them closer to our point of view, the best thing to do might be to get as far away from them as possible (see Dubai port deal). At this point, there’s very little the American government can do to restore faith in Muslims being compatible with freedom and democracy, despite Bush being the biggest champion of the idea that Muslims are no different than the rest of us. Muslims can only help themselves now.

Posted by Karol at 09:26 AM |
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It doesn’t help that the MSM ignores or tries to downplay every good thing we achieve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: ll at February 28, 2006 at 1:04 pm

Was it worth learning that lesson for a quarter-trillion bucks?
Sounds like money well spent.

Posted by: Jane Grant at February 28, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Well, you’ve just summarized the difference between the neo-con and the “paleo-con”/Von Bek view of the world. The paleo-con view certainly has become seductive in the last few weeks, with even the Democratic senators enjoying scoring points saying the Arabs aren’t to be trusted. You can see that conflict in Mark Steyn’s recent columns, with him trying to make the sort-of complex case that Islam and democracy won’t work together in Europe but will in Iraq. He makes a good case but it’s a fragile position to hold, compared to the easy “no point working with the Arabs” stance.

Posted by: Yaron at February 28, 2006 at 1:16 pm

“Americans are losing faith in the concept of Muslims having a democracy. ”
India is a democracy and has the largest Muslim population outside of Indonesia.
I think it is more accurate (and politically incorrect) to say that more Americans are losing faith in the idea that Islam has any inherent moral worth.

Posted by: Dave at February 28, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Ah, Yaron, thou shalt not use my name in vain. I really don’t consider myself a paleocon. There are a number of issues that I disagree with them on, be it my support of free trade, my support of a market economy and my general support for American intervention in the Second World War and the Cold War (though I generally concede their points on the First World War).
I would say that a large segment of the American population would maintain that democracy and freedom stem from a decidedly Western, European, Judeo-Christian tradition which rely on large populations of freemen who own property. Now certainly democracy can flourish outside the West, look at Japan and South Korea for instance, though their economies are more like ours than the Middle Eastern nations.
As for the port deal, you will have to forgive Americans if they want to have American safety being run by Americans. I suspect we Americans would also want our borders secured by Americans. It may be hard for to believe but American nationalism remains a very strong force in our nation, especially in the heartland. We are proud to be from here. We are proud of our history and our homes. We recognize that we have a very special heritage and we want to secure it. It is not everyman’s heritage alas. We are the city on the hill, not Mecca, Rome, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Delhi, Cairo, etc. I think that may be more of a factor here than Americans losing faith in Islam.

Posted by: Von Bek at February 28, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Alright, well, my apologies, although I think we disagree on some of the definitions. A social conservative who’s against free trade and a market economy – that doesn’t sound like a paleo-con to me, that sounds like an out-and-out fascist, which is just a step or two away from a Communist.
But anyway, it seems people are coming around to your view, though I don’t know about your take on the ports issue. It’s my understanding that a majority of our ports are already controlled by foreign companies, so to say it’s motivated by nationalism as opposed to just a distrust of certain foreigners doesn’t quite fit.

Posted by: Yaron at February 28, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Yeah but there is a difference between ports run by the Swedes and Norwegians (I’m thinking of my father who retired from the navy and my little brother, both of whom work for shipping companies) and ports run by the Muslims. And let’s be real. Most Americans did not even know that foreign interests ran our ports till recent times.
There is some truth in what you say though there is a decentralizing asepct of paleoconservatism, the southern conservatives in particular, which makes the claim of facism or communism a little off target. I do not know if you can be for local community control and be a facist.
Still, I would not call myself a paleoncon for another reason. I think a paleoncon would generally see and despise the free market for what they see as the social liberalism that accompanies it. They would agree with Reagan that capitalism is the most revolutionary force in terms of breaking down traditional social standing but they do not see that as a positive development. They also see a large number of big businesses as part of the same centralizing force as big government.
As I generally like Walmart, McDonalds (speaking of which I should grab a Big Mac for dinner since I gave up beef for lent), Coca Cola, ESPN, and American culture in general, I think that puts me out of what I see as being a paleocon. I generally prefer to think of myself as a traditional American conservative which is a bit different than what paleoconservatism is.

Posted by: Von Bek at February 28, 2006 at 6:12 pm

Von Bek,
Can you elaborate when you say paleocons don’t like the concept of the free market for the social liberalism that accompanies. And what is your definition of traditional social standing? Your points are interesting.

Posted by: Zelda at February 28, 2006 at 8:53 pm

“… Americans are losing faith in the concept of Muslims having a democracy.”
Alas, I am probably one of them. But I have not yet given up hope when I can see Turkey as a long-established [semi-]democracy, and note that in Iraq both al-Sistani and al-Sadr (!!!) have spoken against the latest violence.

Posted by: John Anderson at February 28, 2006 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for the kind comments Zelda. I would say that paleocons would agree with Marx and Engels that capitalism and the bourgeoise are very destructive to traditional society. While Marxists would praise this, paleoncons would abhor it. When I refer to traditonal society standing and traditional society here, I am thinking a firm social order with the bottom offeirng a great deal deference to the top, be it a plantation culture, an agrarian one or even a peasant/surf one. I think that paleocons and Marxists see the world in much the same way though they are obviously on different sides. You may want to see Richard Hoftsteder’s take on John C. Calhoun in “The American Political Tradition” where he refers to the Great Nullifer as the “Marx of the Master Class”. I’d also advise you to look at the recent works of Eugene Genovese, a historian of the 19th century south and a Marxist who is very sympathetic towards southern conservatism. I’d say both Marxists and paleocons would argue that capitalism is the great revolutionary force in modern times in terms of breaking down the old order. Under capitalism, they would argue, you do not live your life in the same place you were born and are rootless. Local character is destroyed. Religion is less importnat. Women do not raise their children but instead work. It does not matter, in theory, who your parents are, what your religion is or what your skin color is. What matters is how much money you can make for yourself and your employer. Morals are destroyed. Both the paleocons and the Marxists would agree this happens due to capitalism but again take different sides. The paleocon would see this as a godless empty wasteland where people have no roots and no sense of order and its why many of them generally loathe American society today. The Marxists would simply say this is the next step toward their goal.

Posted by: Von Bek at March 1, 2006 at 1:23 pm

Let me congratulate you for being the first person to say what the vast majority of Americans (who the MSM polls and misinterprets through their slanted questions) actually believe about the War on Terror. The longer this goes on, the more Americans believe there is nothing good about Islam, and the tougher and meaner we need to be to preserve ourselves and our way of Life. Thanks for being the first intelligent person in the world on this subject.

Posted by: Subsunk at March 4, 2006 at 8:11 pm
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