I’ve been posting a lot of political items lately; too many, really, as I don’t want political issues to dominate here. I also think I am giving the impression that I am far off on the right, when actually my opinions vary widely on an issue-by-issue basis – I tend to side with the Left on most social issues (gay marriage, church/state, abortion, drug laws, environmental and energy policy), with the Right on some others (affirmative action, gun control, border control, and a general aversion to socialism), and with the neoconservative Right on one issue only, which is foreign policy (to the extent that US influence is fairly and honestly brought to bear in a struggle against tyranny). I have defended, at length, our our decision to knock Saddam off his perch, but I agree also that the job was catastrophically bungled, and that certain heads that still issue orders should have rolled long ago. I also share the Left’s low opinion of George Bush generally – his swagger, his smug religiosity, his inarticulateness, his lack of intellectual subtlety, and his inability to admit and correct error – as I have made abundantly clear in any number of posts.
So I’ll try to ease off on the political rants. But not just yet; here’s one more.
Everybody seems to be linking to an article called Head-in-the-Sand Liberals by Sam Harris. I thought I should link to it too, just in case there are any waka waka waka readers who haven’t seen it already elsewhere. The essay discusses the attitude folks on the Left tend to have toward the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Here is an excerpt that resonates well with some of the comment threads in recent posts:
… despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.
At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government “assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;” 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.
Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.
I have emphasized in boldface a key point that I have hammered on in these pages: the “Noble Savage” view, so common on the Left, and so utterly wrong, in which all that is violent or selfish in Man was put there by (modern, Western) culture, and none of it by Nature.
Do read this essay. Harris, like Richard Dawkins, tends to go overboard in his antipathy to all religion, but he makes good sense here.