THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 380 September 19 - 25, 2005
Highlights this week:
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September 19, 2005
Avast there! Shiver all timbers! Pieces of Eight!
Subject: Pirate Translator
In honor of talk like a pirate day here is an English-to-Pirate website translator.
http://www.mediocreminds.com/content.php?articleID=160 . Your mail page comes out quite well
Thanks! Alas and alack Pirate Talk don't lend itself to no compliments you scurvy swab!
Anyone interested in the space program will profit from reading Henry Vanderbilt's latest Space Access Society report:
|This week:||Tuesday, September
We are beginning to learn some of the lessons of Katrina, but we will not much like what we learn. Probably we will pay no attention, and move toward a more efficient central bureaucracy. It will operate as bureaucracies do.
September 21, 2005
New virus warnings. See mail. I am still digging out from various plagues of locusts. The good news is that Roberta is out of the cast. Now she wears Das Boot, but she can get around a bit. High tech is wonderful...
September 22, 2005
Cleanup day. My apologies to new subscribers and those who renewed in the past few weeks. I will today clean up all the registration paperwork, and get notes out to you all, and I can only say it has been a hectic month: First NASFiC (which I had to attend because of the Heinlein medal, but it wasn't a burden); the column ate up the rest of the first part of the month, then PDC, and of course there's Roberta's foot. My desk is under two feet of junk, the Great Hall looks as if Katrina's younger cousin went through, and all in all I have got way behind.
My friend Cat held a big National Review party up at her house about a block from here. I was a charter subscriber to National Review, back when paying for it wasn't easy; but I didn't go because not long after the Iraqi War started, National Review had the egregious Frum write an editorial denouncing all those who weren't enthusiastic about our invasion of Iraq. "As they turn their backs on us, we turn our backs on them." Then they had "rebuttals" in which Frum got to insult Stephen Tonsor, something I still have trouble understanding given Tonsor's stature. So I declined to go up the hill, even though I was assured that the egregious Frum wouldn't be attending.
I had thought I had pretty good conservative credentials, at least of the old school. Possony and I wrote books together, Russell Kirk was a very old friend and godfather to one of my sons, etc. I was, true enough, more Cold Warrior than political philosopher, I did manage to be campaign manager for Barry Goldwater Jr.'s first campaign for Congress, and more than one conservative congressman knows who I am. I have a few credentials and can claim a few accomplishments in slowing the mad rush to Jacobinism. But Frum made it clear, those who weren't for the war from the start are to be ignored. Without discussion or debate: "We turn our backs on them."
Incidentally I note that Buckley now says "If I had known then what I know now, I would not have supported the war." Which is fair enough, but National Review read out of the conservative movement all those who did know then what he knows now: that invading a secular regime in Mesopotamia is not the way to curb militant Moslem fanatics; that killing terrorists in Mesopotamia while allowing the hotbeds and breeding grounds of the madras system to flourish is futile since for each one killed there will be at least one more to avenge him; and that while it is easy for the Army to conquer these places, pacification requires constabulary, not Army, and the tasks of soldiers are not those of constables; that Saddam was largely deterred; and that the argument that if we do not fight them over there we will have to fight them over here is true only if you continue to allow open borders and unrestricted travel to the US.
And finally, that $300 billion is better spent on energy independence for these United States than on breaking things and killing people in Iraq; or even trying to pacify the old Turkish Empire provinces welded together into a compensatory kingdom for the Hashemites. Well, some of us knew all that then, and now presumably Buckley does as well; does Frum get to read him out of the party? I confess I almost went up the hill to Cat's house just to ask him, but I didn't really want to be the unpleasant guest at what Cat tells me was a pleasant party.
Now it remains true that we can't just cut and run. The neo-conservatives have got us into a pickle, and if we cut and run now we hand the jihadists a victory of great value and magnitude. That can't be the right way out of that place. But it also remains true that we need to look very hard at how we got into there; at what arguments induced us to believe that democracy can be exported on the points of our bayonets; at the Jacobin assumptions that seduced us into going abroad to seek monsters to slay. We need to look very hard at the notion of expanding the standing army with foreign recruits so that we can avoid conscription, and at the price of both conscription and a large standing army; and we need to rethink the requirements of a global war on terrorism. There are far better ways to wage that war than putting the flower of our youth into Mesopotamia, disrupting the National Guard and Reserve systems, and generally reorganizing for waging of overseas war of long duration. Those are more the skills of empire than republic, and any student of history, particularly our history, should know this. We need to learn from our own history -- but then, until recently, that is precisely how America did learn. By studying the New World Order we created one hot summer in Philadelphia.
William Buckley once notably said that America was unique in that anyone could study and learn to be an American. That was before "diversity" was elevated to the chief goal of the land. Now we aren't sure what it means to be an American although sometimes events like Katrina demonstrate some of the best of what that used to mean. Is it not time that we turned our attention to what we had all during the Cold War and are now losing? Would it not be better to pay attention to the fading republic rather than seeking overseas monsters to slay? But of course Adams warned us that losing our own republic might well be a consequence of going abroad to slay dragons. I suppose Frum turned his back on Adams as well -- assuming that he ever heard of him.
September 23, 2005
Noon. I have taken my walk, done some household work, and now I must get out to Fry's and other places for errands. I got a letter off to subscribers last night. If you are a subscriber and didn't get it, please let me know. In some cases mail boxes were full. In some cases mail was bounced for reasons not clear to me. I'll try to update the badmail page soon, but I have not yet done, so don't look there until notice here.
My schedule is a bit disrupted. With luck I'll be back on a more reasonable allocation of my intellectual resources; but for the moment I seem to be an entirely interrupt driven system, and I'm processing a very deep interrupt stack.
I have a long but interesting letter in reply to my note on why I didn't go to the National Review party. I should have them up before I take Roberta to her first movie since she broke her ankle. We'll go see the Reese Witherspoon chick flick...
September 24, 2005
Be sure to see the Letter From Baghdad in Mail, and the discussion that follows. Do we "finish the mission," bug out now, or -- what? And what are the consequences of each course of action? All these things must be considered.
September 25, 2005
Brunch with friends (Richard and Joan, of the Sandpipers and Bye Bye Bertie) and then I took the day off. ROME was well done as usual.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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