Free Markets, Free People

Palin is the Right’s Tank

In the online multiplayer game Final Fantasy, players must collaborate to get very far in the game. Individuals train up at the beginning by fighting weak mythical creatures, but taking on the powerful monsters they meet later requires teams with assigned roles.*

It’s all self-organizing; no one at the game maker assigns a player to a task. Players find roles they are good at, and team up with others who possess other skills.

Teams normally have an interesting role called a “tank”. This player has the capability to attract and hold a monster’s attention, absorb a tremendous amount of damage from the monster, and regenerate quickly from the damage. Other players use the distraction of the tank to attack the monster in various ways, and if the team does their job, eventually the monster succumbs to their combined efforts.

If you’re on a team with a tank, you don’t have to like the tank much. You just have to appreciate the tank’s capabilities. Your main objective is to subdue the monster.

In my mind, this maps very naturally to the role of Sarah Palin in bringing down the monster of collectivism.

OK, OK, this sounds like the kind of high-falutin’, silly comparison that people like Maureen Dowd use for a cheap column in the New York Times. But attend me: this kind of metaphor is going to work a lot better with someone in their twenties than something we old guys would naturally use from a 1960s TV show.

I came around to this comparison as a way of explaining my own opinions of Palin to the younger set that hangs around with my sons. It’s sometime hard for me to explain what I like about her, because I’m not overly impressed with Palin’s leadership potential or her deep thinking about the issues. I haven’t seen much evidence that she possesses leadership or deep thinking in any great quantity.**

I am impressed, though, with her intuition, her courage, and her resilience. She absolutely refuses to be intimidated by the usual post-modern, politically-correct leftist BS. She absorbs anything the self-righteous Olbermann types can throw at her, laughs it off, and “punches back twice as hard”, to follow the advice of a well-known leftist.

The constant, withering attacks from legacy media do cause some damage to her image, according to various surveys and polls. However, she has a core group that regards every such attack as proof that she’s right. These folks have been looking for someone of consequence to tell the left-leaning media to pi$$ up a rope for a long time. The fact that it’s a woman doing it just adds to the frission.

Of course, there’s a core group on the left that regards her as beneath contempt and laps up everything the legacy media hands out. They are joined by the pusillanimous establishment Republican types who still quiver in fear that the Washington Post might say something negative about them, and go into a fan-waving fainting spell when they see someone with enough self-confidence and guts to not give a whit what the lefties at the Post think.

Both groups attack her regularly. Amazingly, though, after the attacks die down and Palin gets back to her tweets and Facebook postings, the damage seems to dissipate. Her unfavorable numbers oscillate around, but the key is that they do oscillate; they don’t go negative and stay there. Plus, the more illogical and mean-spirited attacks sometimes have the opposite effect of damaging the attackers and helping Palin.

So my message to those on the right who are not especially enamored of Palin is this: you need her. She’s the tank on the team. The leftist monster must be slain.***

I’m not the only one thinking along these lines, of course. I first mentioned the tank comparison in a comment at Legal Insurrection last week, and William Jacobson seems to be on the same general page in his post yesterday. This is just my way of explaining why we need her, even if we don’t think she’s perfect.

I have no idea what her chances to become president are, and at this point it’s too early to care. She’s certainly not my top choice, but she comes in well ahead of Mitt “Plastic Fantastic” Romney. (Mike “Worst of Both Worlds” Huckabee isn’t even on the list; if the GOP is stupid enough to nominate him, they might as well prepare for a third party).

As long as she’s highlighting the dishonesty and mendacity of the left, the overall bias of the media, and the cowardice and privilege-protecting mewling of the establishment GOP, she has my support. It will take a team to do what has to be done, and we need a tank. She’s the best one we have right now.

(*) I’ve never playing Final Fantasy, but as the father of two teen boys, it’s a frequent topic of conversation around the house. Actual FF players, please forgive my no-doubt incomplete understanding of the game’s concepts.

(**) Not that these are necessary attributes to be elected president, based on some recent examples.

(***) For civility-obsessed idiots, that’s a metaphor.

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68 Responses to Palin is the Right’s Tank

  • I think you are on to something, Billy.  Palin’s greatest contribution to this next POTUS election is as the “tank” who eats the spears and arrows of outrageous Collectivist stupidity and venom.  IFFFF she keeps on her present course, she will help whoever emerges as the GOP candidate.

    • Another Don’t Run Voice
      The only thing ” Billy is onto is a version of the don’t run Sarah, cause certainly out there are candidates willing to tell us what they think we want to hear, then doing what they want when elected. Mitt Romney comes to mind.
      And I am open, so just who could emerge as the establishment candidate that Palin would be willing to get behind. That person, who in their life, has stayed the course with their values, beliefs, and vision for America?
      And the name is ?????

      • So in your mind, there’s no room between “Yay Sarah! I’m with you all the way!” and “Don’t run, Sarah! You’ll looooose!”

        Sorry, no sale. I’m not saying Sarah shouldn’t run, and that’s not what this post is about. Did you read all the way to the bottom?

        I have no idea what her chances to become president are, and at this point it’s too early to care. She’s certainly not my top choice, but she comes in well ahead of Mitt “Plastic Fantastic” Romney.

  • Another Palin analogy is: “The Roadrunner”.
    As Wile E. Coyote gets the poop end of the stick in every encounter, so goes the Malfeasant Media.
    And just like Wile E. Coyote, the M.M. never learns.

  • Never played FF either, but I can attest to the same concept in games with superhero teams (we just call them ‘bricks’ instead of ‘tanks’).  At least one member of the team steps out in front and sucks up the villains’ attention and attacks.  It does require teamwork, though, an area where Republicans are not known for strength.

    • Tank works. D&D (online and pp), World of Warcraft, Guild Wars and other cooperative games uses the term “tank” for the role you describe.

  • I’ve always have used the simple term “lightning rod” for Sarah Palin, and previously Newt Gingrich.
    It is a useful position but not coveted.

  • Palin is at best a blood-elf paladin in greens, ungemmed, specced halfway into ret (for soloing dude!). She obviously bought her account at max level (actually, McCain bought it for her). The appropriate action for the rest of the group to take is to let her charge off into the next mob and refuse to heal her, allowing her to perish (metaphorically speaking) and then rage-quit, leaving said group better off.

    • Hehe more like a Night Elf Huntard who multi-shots everything, constantly breaks crowd-control, then feigns death while her allies wipe.  Followed by ninja-looting everything, quitting the group and getting blacklisted on all the forums after threatening to beat them up in real life.

      But these fogeys were born about 60 years too early to even grasp why WoW is more relevent than FF11.

  • Well, she certainly has a high threat multiplier (meaning that she attracts a lot more attention than the damage she does to them warrants).
    The thing to remember is that the tank is one leg of the trinity.  The other two legs are damage dealers and healers.  I would put the tea party/base as the healers — they keep her going with unending support.  That would leave the politicians in the Republican party as the damage dealers, actually passing laws that do something and blocking bad laws.
    They are slacking on the job.
    When one part of the group fails, the whole group collapses.  If the tank doesn’t hold aggro, then the healers get smashed.  If the healers don’t keep the tank strong, then the tank gets smashed.  And if the damage dealers don’t do enough damage fast enough, then the tank and the healers both run out of energy and everything gets smashed.
    The damage dealers need to pick it up.

    • That’s a good expansion of the metaphor. And if we have to depend on establishment GOP types to deal out the damage, the team is indeed in a lot of trouble.

      • No, the establishment GOP are like the stupid scouts and rangers, they sit back and hide and shoot arrows, and often hit their own party.

  • It’s sometime hard for me to explain what I like about her, because I’m not overly impressed with Palin’s leadership potential or her deep thinking about the issues. I haven’t seen much evidence that she possesses leadership or deep thinking in any great quantity.

    I find it odd that Palin gets this response.

    She was doing find as governor until the left decided to make her the target of endless lawsuits. She also did a good job leveraging from the lead of the energy depatrment or whatever it was to governor. While she is lacking in high level leadership experience, she has more experience than the top three Democratic 2008 candidates combined, and I have no reason to conclude she has little potential.

    I’m not sure how much deep thinking is actually required. Good leaders have a mix of skills, but they usually are not the smartest person in the room. And the smartest person in the room usually isn’t a good leader.

    I think Palin suffers due to being an attractive female who doesn’t sound like the prototypical Harvard lawyer that many seem to think is the “right type” to operate at high levels of Washington DC. That, and attacks from the left and the establishment on her.

    • Those “prototypical Harvard lawyer” types haven’t really done us much long term good.

      • lawyers haven’t done anyone much good.
        Although if I wanted to screw someone really bad then a lawyer is legal as opposed to a leg breaker.

  • I’m not sure how much deep thinking is actually required.

    In normal times, with a reasonably limited government firmly in place, I would agree. 

    These are not normal times. I’ve already seen people such as Bill Frist campaign on limited government principles and be totally assimilated by the Beltway Collective as soon as he got to DC.

    I’m convinced that it will takes someone who has thought through the issues and philosophy of limited government to be strong and firm enough for the battle it will take to restore it. 

    That doesn’t mean they need to look like an intellectual. Reagan, for example, certainly didn’t look like one. But if you study his speeches, you see that he has thought about the issues of freedom, responsibility, government power, and so on to pretty considerable depth. 

    That’s what I’m hoping for, and that’s what I’m not seeing in Palin. I’m not saying it isn’t there; perhaps it just doesn’t show up in 140 character tweets. But I’m certainly not going to assume she has the kind of depth needed to defeat the DC Borg Collective until I seem some evidence of it. 

    • Do you read her longer-form works? Have you read Going Rogue and America By Heart? Do you read her eloquent and heartfelt facebook posts? Because nobody’s deep in tweets, but if she’s writing it and you’re not reading it, it’s not her lack of depth that’s at issue.

      • I read perhaps a hundred pages of Going Rogue. I considered it superficial, but I understood that it’s not aimed at me. I was lukewarm about Levin’s book for the same reason. So, no, I didn’t find what I was looking for. If you have specific places in her works you think I should read where you think the depth comes through, I’d look forward to hearing about them.

        I have not looked at America by Heart. It’s pretty new, and I’ve been swamped. But I’ll be candid; I don’t care much for any political philosopher that starts the message by stating outright that faith is a big part of it.

        First, it’s unnecessary. There is a perfectly good case to be made for limited government that does not depend on any form of Christian faith. Even the Founding Fathers understood this. 

        Second, like it or not, this nation’s culture is way, way bigger than any particular variant of Christian faith. Putting the emphasis there tends to shut out that part that doesn’t accept the faith.

        I’m not actively hostile to someone who bases their political philosophy on Christian faith. But I do consider it a distraction from the battles we have to face.

        • America by Heart … the Times gave it a good review … I wonder what’s wrong with this picture.

        • “Even the Founding Fathers understood this. ”
          Not to go by what they wrote.  It wasn’t a distraction, it was a foundation.

          • I presume you don’t put Jefferson, Franklin, or any of the other Deists in your group.

            There’s a reason it was expressed as “endowed by their Creator” instead of “endowed by God”, and that “Jesus” does not appear in any of the founding documents. I say again: a philosophical foundation for limited government does not have to depend on Christianity, and the Founding Fathers knew it. 

            I’m not denying that a number Founding Fathers were devoutly Christian, nor that many of them considered Christian philosophy and morality to be a key ingredient, or in a few cases the key ingredient, in their political philosophy. However, based on my understanding, that view certainly wasn’t universal, and I don’t recall from my readings that any of them insisted that others should derive their political philosophy from religion. Certainly not from any particular denomination; they varied a lot themselves in their particular demonination.

          • Perkins is right. I’m not clear about Franklin, but most of the rest of these unorthodox believers were not really Deists. True Deists do not talk about Providence, because they see God as removed from human affairs. Albert Einstein was more or less a true Deist and a determinist, but he wasn’t a founding father. Most of the mildly evasive language had to do with the variety of sectarian approaches to Christianity that were current in largely Protestant America. But the natural law opening of the Declaration could still be footnoted to Aquinas, who comes before there is any Protestantism.

            Christianity is the great religion of the West. If you want to move it conveniently to the side to attend to more pressing issue, you are essentially moving the infrastructure of transcendental values to the side. When you do that what you have left is a postmodern atavism, a throwback to something not Judeo-Christian, and a careful examination of that reveals a world arranged quite differently. A quick scan of other civilizations, living and dead, should suffice to cement the argument.

          • If you want to move it conveniently to the side to attend to more pressing issue, you are essentially moving the infrastructure of transcendental values to the side. When you do that what you have left is a postmodern atavism, a throwback to something not Judeo-Christian, and a careful examination of that reveals a world arranged quite differently. A quick scan of other civilizations, living and dead, should suffice to cement the argument.

            If the foundation of our system must be Christianity as it currently exists, then we are totally lost because even many prominent Christian denominations (e.g. Methodist) have completely lost connection to limited government principles. Other, supposed more conservative denominations have themselves adopted many post-modern features in defense of doctrines such as creationism.

            I’m sure you would contend that those people have just lost their way, and we need to bring them back to reality as well. OK. I don’t argue with people about faith, whether it be faith in God or faith in collectivism. I consider such an effort even more doomed to fail than restoring our federal system to sanity, though.

            In the last 250 years, we have seen the spread of ideas independent of their Judeo-Christian roots. The ideas of Hayek or Friedman do not depend on any sort of Christian religious faith to be workable, any more than they depend on the faith in Greek gods that was a component of the first quasi-free societies 2500 years ago.

            I agree that the morality and ethics fostered by Christianity are part of the foundation of a viable system for free men. I do not agree than one must be Christian to adopt such morality and ethics, or indeed that a society must be.

          • I pretty much agree with Billy on this. Christian faith provide the key aspects of our culture, but you don’t have to be a Christian to follow them.

            What is capitalism but “thou shalt not steal” fully fleshed out?

          • Albert Einstein did not believe in any gods.  His “god” was a metaphor for nature.  Only by cherry picking quotes from him, ignoring his poetic language, can you argue that he was a believer.  He explicitly denied that he was a believer and was immediately excoriated in the press for influencing people to doubt their faith (as though it is somehow better to encourage people to believe things with no evidence than to encourage them to be rational and skeptical).
            Politicians, both today and historically, have been smart enough to pretend to be believers.  But with a growing percentage of Americans identifying themselves as non-theists, it’s silly to actually believe that virtually every politician is a believer.
            In a society where “apostasy” (which often is based upon the preposterous assumption that a person is born a believer) is punished by death, the demographic charts will show 0% being atheists.  Do you buy that?  Remember Ahmadinejad proclaiming that there were no homosexuals in Iran and being roundly laughed at, to his face?  When there are people ruthless enough to kill you for following the natural feelings you were born with or for not believing in imaginary things, you deny yourself publicly.
            As for “Judeo-Christian values” being the foundation of our civilization and necessary to its moral health, this has been completely debunked by Hitchens, et al..  Nearly all devout Christians would never want the actual “values” espoused by the holy books, what with all the murdering people working on the sabbath, the giving daughters away to rape mobs, the murdering of one’s daughter to celebrate a military victory, the genocide, and the petty, childish nature of the so-called omnipotent, loving creator.
            If you get a chance, watch “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking” for some animations demonstrating the massive size of the universe.  Realizing the scale of the whole of everything, a sensible person cannot believe the tales of burning bushes and parting seas, as though a being capable of creating billions of galaxies would care or engage in such cheap parlor tricks.  Then there are the obsessions with foreskins, sexual activity, diet, and the supposed holiness of a patch of land so infinitesimally tiny in the grand scheme of it all.

            In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” —Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

          • Christian faith provide the key aspects of our culture, but you don’t have to be a Christian to follow them.
            What is capitalism but “thou shalt not steal” fully fleshed out?

            Don, the “golden rule” and proscriptions against stealing are basic ethics which predate holy books.  My problem with “Christian ethics” is that along with the sensible advice to respect the rights of others come a lot of negative baggage, whether it’s sacrifice of the self or celebrating death over life, or it’s teaching little children that they will not only miss out on heaven, but actually physically burn forever if they say the wrong words, think the wrong thoughts, or simply don’t commit to some extremely strange beliefs, which defy every other experience of their lives.
            That borders on child abuse to instill such a fear into a kid’s mind.
            I need no threat of hell to be decent to other people.  In fact, I worry about the person who does, just as I worry about the person who needs the threat of arrest and jail to dissuade them from preying on their neighbors.
            It is not necessary to draw upon any faith to have a solid moral code.  Faith is a liability, not a virtue.  Why should believing something for which there is no evidence be admired?

          • The weight of the evidence on Einstein is that he was what is essentially called a Deist. He was a determinist, who believed that God basically wound up the universe and then walked away, and that everything is predestined. See Walter Isaacson’s biography “Einstein” for the argument, not “cherry-picked” quotes. Einstein had no interest in organized religion and certainly rejected the idea of a personal God. I only mentioned Einstein because I thought that he was a good example of a modern Deist.

            The West is firmly rooted in the Biblical tradition of a personal God directly involved in the affairs of men. This is often captured with the term Providence, which George Washington firmly believed played the key role in the Revolution.

            All Christians are creationists, because they all believe that God created the world. That term is often confused with “Creation Science,” which is a phenomenon based on Biblical literalism, which interprets the Bible as literally true (the six days of creation are literally six days, for instance). “Creation Science” and the general term ‘creationism’ should not be used interchangeably for the reasons I just cited. In defense of Creation Science (Six Day Creationists), if the prevailing theory of the Big Bang is correct, then they at least have a big win on the first day, with plenty of time left over.

            The ideas of Hayek and Friedman, great as they are, are not sufficient to form the basis of a great society. The West’s greatness is rooted in the Church and its transmission of Christ’s teachings. When that is over, the West is over.

          • The weight of the evidence on Einstein is that he was what is essentially called a Deist. He was a determinist, who believed that God basically wound up the universe and then walked away, and that everything is predestined.

            Again, Einstein directly refuted that suggestion.  He was not a Deist.  At the most he might have been agnostic.
            It’s not “cherry picking” to cite someone saying he doesn’t believe in any god.  It’s his own statement of non-belief, for which he was roundly excoriated by religious leaders in the press at the time.  Only after his death did revisionists ignore his explicit statements to try to argue that he was a theist.

            The West is firmly rooted in the Biblical tradition of a personal God directly involved in the affairs of men.

            “Heretics” were murdered in past centuries by Christians.  Now, that mostly happens in Muslim countries, or in conflicts between differing types of theists.  But even in the more tolerant West, non-theists risked being shunned by the community.  Merchants and politicians could not afford to be hated by so many people, so those who weren’t believers pretended they were.  So, for theists to make some claim of popularity (particularly among those historical figures who were admired) is to ignore the reality of societal pressure.  Being openly atheist was nearly unheard of until a matter of decades ago, and one risked scandal at that.
            It’s a decidedly poor reflection on the institution of monotheistic religions that so many practitioners are not willing to allow others to make up their own minds.  How confident must such people be in their beliefs that their reaction to doubt is so often hostility?

            The ideas of Hayek and Friedman, great as they are, are not sufficient to form the basis of a great society.

            How would you know that?  That seems to be more in the realm of mysticism than rational argument.
            I don’t see how faith is anything but a hindrance to civilization.  The West flourished because The Enlightenment led to new ideas, after centuries of the Church keeping Europe in the Dark Ages.  Religion was used as an excuse by a significant part of the American population to hold on the the abominable practice of slavery, for example.

            The West’s greatness is rooted in the Church and its transmission of Christ’s teachings.

            On the contrary, Western civilization flourished despite the archaic superstitions, intolerance, and counter-productive fighting which came from so many Christian believers.
            Besides, the influence of the Church is very weakly tied to what are nominally the teachings of Jesus.  As Hitchens so eloquently explains, nearly all devout Christians would not want to live under the actual rules set forth in the holy books.  Westerners don’t stone people to death for adultery, working on the sabbath, idol worship, or usury.  It’s very good that we don’t follow the “old testament” books in dealing with one another.  We’d be backwards savages like the Taliban if we did.
            As for the teachings of Jesus which supposedly supplanted the “old testament” rules (or “fulfilled” or whatever), I don’t see many pacifists who give away their wealth to the poor, so there’s not enough people following his alleged advice to give credit to that for civilization.
            And still, so many people in the West who loudly or even violently try to retain “Christian values” in the community, if they’re not attacking one another in Ireland, or attacking Jews or Muslims, are busy spreading hate about homosexuals.  Nothing I’ve ever read about Jesus would lead me to believe that even one bit of such activity would be condoned by him.  I’m no longer a Christian, but I just don’t accept the word of a self-described Christian who supports such things, or who supports invading other countries.

            When that is over, the West is over.

            The doom of Western civilization is not rational skepticism leading people to reject religion, or to turn to Eastern or New Age beliefs.  It’s the surrender to collectivism.
            While you declare that a good civilization couldn’t be built on the ideas of Hayek and Friedman, a civilization built on such ideas probably wouldn’t be embracing collectivism.

          • I gave a cite on Einstein. Isaacson, see Chapter Seventeen: Einstein’s God. He was not an agnostic. When he was about 50 he began to make his beliefs clearly known. They are best described as Deist. Isaacson calls them “deisitic.” And you are cherry-picking. See the cite for the best available account of his mature beliefs.

            Your point about heretics being murdered barely merits a response. There is no teaching in Scripture that calls for the murder of heretics. But the question of real heresies, at given points in history, is a very serious one, and not simply a question of tolerating the village atheist or showing forebearance to other religions. But that’s a broad, deep discussion, and I don’t see any reason to have it here.

            As far as Hayek and Friedman go, the pure question of whether they could be the basis of a civilization is ridiculous. Of course they could not. They’re economists. Economic Man is the very error of collectivism. A response to collectivism based in Economic Man is just that, a correction to collectivist economics. It is not the basis of a civilization.

            And Christianity is not a superstition. Fear of black cats and walking under ladders is superstition. Western civilization is the Church, is Christianity. It flourished because it grew out of a religion in which the Logos was made flesh and there was an explicit answer to the great mystery. That is the West, and it is the denial of that, whether through atheistic collectivism or the equally insipid modern skepticism, that is the end of the West. The luxury of free riding notwithstanding.

          • And you are cherry-picking.

            I take Albert Einstein at his word:

            My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.
            Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 216.

            A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms-it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.
            Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, Secaucus, New Jersy: The Citadel Press, 1999, p. 5.

            Awe of nature and its beauty is not the same thing as the belief in a creator.

            Your point about heretics being murdered barely merits a response. There is no teaching in Scripture that calls for the murder of heretics.

            In the “old testament”, being sent to commit genocide of those who did not accept the Hebrew faith is a glaring counterexample to your claim.  But, if you want to stick with the “new testament” (and somehow rectify that the same god who gave orders for genocide put forth these new rules), my points are (1) such barbaric acts were anathema to the nominal teachings of Jesus which contradicts the notion that the Church created the foundation for enlightened Western civilization and (2) that analyzing the writings of the Founders (or other famous people of history) must include great skepticism, as the non-believers would have been fearful of explicitly being honest about their lack of belief, for fear of the popular backlash.

            As far as Hayek and Friedman go, the pure question of whether they could be the basis of a civilization is ridiculous.

            Review what you wrote.  I didn’t mention them.  You did.
            But I would argue that, quite obviously, adhering to the principles they put forward, as limited in scope as they might be to the totality of human activity (though, there’s always von Mises and his praxeology), would still yield better results than the intolerance and ignorance of lifting faith up as a virtue and adherence to a jumble of sometimes contradictory ideas collected from people who weren’t even smart enough to know about germs, atoms, electricity, chemistry, cosmology, and all of the truly amazing fantastic things in this universe that one would expect people privy to genuine divine revelation might actually offer to civilization.

            And Christianity is not a superstition. Fear of black cats and walking under ladders is superstition.

            I see no substantive difference between believing that a black feline can inexplicably alter events in the future and believing that putting your hands together and saying words will alter events in the future.  And, the ideas of transubstantiation and physical resurrection are simply belief in magic, little different than tales of vampires and zombies which are so popular in movies these days.

            Western civilization is the Church, is Christianity.

            So Greeks and Romans were time travelers?  Were the American inventors and industrialists successful because they prayed?
            Again, after the Church took over the Roman empire and they clung tightly to scripture, Europe was stuck in the Dark Ages.  Once people started thinking for themselves, doing scientific experiments and looking for answers outside old mythologies, the Renaissance occurred.

            It flourished because it grew out of a religion in which the Logos was made flesh and there was an explicit answer to the great mystery.

            What’s the answer?  What’s the mystery?  Are you actually seriously putting forth the argument that all of the technological advances made in the past century, and all of the scientific discoveries from particle physics to the exploration of deep space via telescopes is nothing compared to the ideas of the “new testament”?
            Why didn’t the ancients tell people of super novas or viruses?  You’d think that letting people know of the awesome scope of the cosmos, of the magnificent and glorious events that occur around us might be more inspirational than tales of burning bushes and parting seas.  Or, giving people information about how to protect themselves from diseases, how to construct transoceanic vessels, where to find millions of other people in far off lands, might be something useful.

            That is the West, and it is the denial of that, whether through atheistic collectivism or the equally insipid modern skepticism, that is the end of the West. The luxury of free riding notwithstanding.

            I don’t defend any form of collectivism, whether it’s the anti-religious socialism in which the state or “dear leader” replaces god, or the theistic forms of collectivism.  Just about every organized religion celebrates sacrifice of the self to others and, in varying degrees, shares tenets with collectivism.
            Skepticism, rather than being boring or somehow an upstart phenomenon of recent days, is merely the application of one’s mind to evaluate the claims of others by comparing them with reality.  If your neighbor tells you that you have been reincarnated as various creatures, are you not skeptical?  Or, if she tells you that she’ll cast a spell to help you increase your profits, don’t you doubt her promises?
            You’d be a gullible idiot not to be skeptical of things people tell you which are at odds with your personal experience.  Such a lack of intelligence is more insipid than being educated in science and critical thinking.

    • I see your point. I haven’t read her books, so i won’t comment on that.

      My thinking goes back to Thatcher, when a “third way” was proposed for conservatives, slamming down a copy of a Hyack book and saying “this is what we believe”. My point is that you don’t have to come up with the theory to push it. But of course, you have to stand by the theory and not back down. But she has an edge here: she’s been on the receiving side of a lot of nastiness from the left, and I doubt she forgets that.

      • Exactly. If Palin brought out Free to Choose or The Road to Serfdom or even Sowell’s Basic Economics, and said “This contains the principles I believe in and will govern by” and demonstrated in questioning that she actually understood what the book said, then I’d be firmly on her side in a run for the presidency.

  • I’ve thought something similar myself. If she’s really a team player, the optimal strategy is for her to make as much noise about running as possible, but not to actually run, leaving the rest of the field to develop without being under withering fire. If she plays it right she can still make it sound like she’s thinking about it a few primaries in. She’s got special skills in the fire-drawing front but there’s a lot of other people who can be good Presidential candidates.

  • Final Fantasy, Billy?  Really?  WoW is where it’s at!
    I kid.  In reality, it was a good analogy.  Well done.

  • Billy-


    Now if you could only do one using Gears of War  🙂

    • Sorry, I tried GoW and went back to Halo.

      However, there might be something I could do on comparing various types of leftists to alien races in the Covenant. I don’t think it would be hard to match up Prophets, Jackals, Grunts, and Drones to corresponding leftist groups. Elites might be a bit harder; they seem to actually have a sense of honor.

      Then, of course, there’s the semi-mindless, zombie-like Flood. I think we both know what imbecilic political “scientist” that would get mapped to.

  • Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He’s something new in national politics: He’s normal. He’s also Tea Party.

    Johnson-Rubio takes everything.

    Sarah Palin can’t get a straight sentence out of her mouth.

    • Wow.  I have to disagree.  I’ve heard her speak, and found her quite good, as did the crowd.  Very definitely effective before people.
      She’s no RW Reagan, but it took him decades to polish his speaking style.  She often BETTER, IMNHO, than Teh One.

      • Palin can give a speech. In Q&A she can’t get a straight sentence out of her mouth. And that is lethal. Ronald Reagan was a natural; he was little more than a lad when on radio he took telegraph transcripts of baseball games and turned them into live action narration. Sarah Palin is 46 years old and she speaks, in normal conversation, like a public school bureaucrat. She often sounds like she’s making it up as she goes along.

        • Yeah, she’s too easy to ridicule from people who don’t want to give her a chance.  And a good chunk of the public have been swayed by that.  In fact, with too many people, the fact Palin supports it can be used to discredit an argument.
          Unfortunately its the benefit of having a nearly exclusive lock on the media.  Demonization of individuals not only hampers those people’s careers in politics, but allows you to use them to then use those people to drag down ideas.  Only Reagan was able to escape the demonization process for the most part.
          Although he was very skilled, I also believe it was also circumstance.  Part of it was that he was shot so soon after taking office that they had to lay off for a little while in the beginning.
          And Part of it was that there was an inconsistent message on his demonization.  On one hand he was an idiot.  On the other he was a plotting mastermind.  Although that happened to Bush, those differing messages clumsily overlapped one another frequently.  Ironically there was even a SNL skit about the conflicting images that sort of ridiculed both.  That has changed courtesy of the internet.  The Media can synchronize their message against a person now.   And unfortunately with a large portion of people unfamiliar with this intellectual incest in the media, go by the old days where media rapid consensus meant there was likely some validity to a message.

          • I can say, honestly, that I pay very little attention to what the liberal MSM says about Palin. I pay attention to her, and I find her grating, I really do. I like her basic values. I’m prone to defend her against slobs like Andrew Sullivan and that whole HuffPo world out there. And I don’t dislike her, yet. But she’s working on me. I did watch one episode of her Alaska series and found her mostly charming. I would take her in a heartbeat over the Marxist Obama, but I would like to do better. Contrast that to Romney who I would never support because he created and still defends a state-run health care system. No one comes back from that, in my book. I don’t want a hyper-active janitorial socialist to replace and explicit malignant socialist.

  • This may be a NOOB question but is FF11 the true final one?

  • Like Don, I find this response odd:
    It’s sometime[s] hard for me to explain what I like about her, because I’m not overly impressed with Palin’s leadership potential or her deep thinking about the issues. I haven’t seen much evidence that she possesses leadership or deep thinking in any great quantity.
    Guys, guys, I rise in her defense although neither you nor anyone else at QandO would trash her. Rather, look at the Cuda, “Puma” babe through my eyes 12 time zones away and over the course of nearly four years now.
    Your premise is off. Why should she think like you? Why should she follow your particular line of socio-economic thought? By all examples, it is precisely this particular line of reasoning which has been used since WWII that has gotten us in this mess.
    Deep thinking: Just one example
    Based upon her Catholic upbringing and her switch to the Pentecostal Church, that choice must have entailed a profound reasoning no “Come to Jesus” meeting in a big tent could have managed even if Billy Graham were presiding. Given the fact that she knew the folks in Rome would reserve a space for her on their lengthy excommunication list, she must have thought and prayed for some time before she made that decision. She looks pretty happy and wildly successful to me.
    No … just because she is not thinking like you or me doesn’t mean she’s not thinking.
    Suffice it to say that in the time since what should have been her career resignation from the governorship of Alaska to now, truly, anything is still possible in America if you have the drive to make it so.
    She has the looks Reagan would envy during his heyday. Just listen to the “women” who hate her. The Cuda must derive immense satisfaction from the knowledge that … “hatred is the purist form of envy.”
    Granted, her time in the Couric interview must have been hell, waiting for the next exquisite paper cut. But she consciously went about fixing that cosmetic damage. How? She went on the circuit. She aligned herself with the Tea Party in a genuine grassroots sense. Her “real” TV hit was another ‘un-presidential move that turned to gold. I gotta say, when Rove misses the same pitches I did, I don’t feel so bad.
    This last attempt to tar Sarah and the Partiers with every impossible slanderous allegation and libelously imagined relationship with a mad man had me saying “Hell, yeah. Stand up to them. Who the hell cares what Newt thinks?”
    Every move she makes is specifically not directed at you, or me or anyone else of “consequence” in the halls of power. Rather, she is strutting her stuff for the folks who are genuinely fly over, not fly next to.

    • That’s fine, and her choice of course. And Mike Huckabee is free to thump his Bible and appeal to the people he wants. And Mitt Romney can buy more neatly pressed suits and appeal to the people who judge candidates on those qualities.

      I can only say what matters to me. Yes, I’m hard to please; I’ve spent a lifetime being disappointed by politicians. I’ve watched the problems they create go from annoying to serious to really serious to disastrous and now we’re into catastrophic territory. The reasons for that progression were not hard to see for anyone with the ability to read a basic graph, but somehow we’ve never had a critical mass of politicians willing to look at them, and darn few who would speak out about that at all in a way that communicated to the masses just how much trouble we were getting ourselves in.

      Reagan was far from perfect, but he at least understood that the basic principles of socialism were wrong and clearly communicated that. Plus he didn’t wander off into social conservative irrelevancies very often.

      I get no particular reassurance that Palin would even rise to the level of a Reagan, and we’re in so much more trouble now that we need someone even beyond a Reagan. She seems all too easily distracted into the social conservative issues. If that’s her passion, so be it. There are certainly plenty of people who care about those things. I regard them as distractions from the main job of preventing an economic meltdown the like of which the world has never seen because the worldwide economic system has never had the incredible velocity of money and information it does now, nor the crushing loads of debt it is taking on.

      I’m looking for what appeals to me. To be honest I don’t expect to find it; I rarely do. That’s the burden of being an individualist and minarchist.

      So far I haven’t seen it in Palin. But, as I stated, I’ve already written off others as beyond hope. I’m still leaving open the possibility that I could support and vote for a Palin, which in itself is fairly rare.

      • Hmm. I see your point.
        So, if you have not written Palin off but would still like her to run interference in a ground game like a ‘tank’ to thoroughly mash the previous metaphors, then who would you prefer? Daniels, Pence, Pawlenty?
        Like it or not, none of the three manage the kind of magnetism needed to best the unicorn rider. Palin is the only person who can do that at this point and I see no other even in the far distance.
        I’m afraid without her, the Republicans will be staking out a sacrificial candidate in anticipation of a 2016. And if so, it truly would be disastrous.

        • I think your evaluation is correct. Those three seem too wonkish and lack the passion that I think will be required to fight for the serious changes we’ll need. I put Paul Ryan, to name another sometimes favorite among conservatives, in the same bucket.

          Besides their lukewarm appeal as candidates, I’m not sure they could get the job done even if elected. I think any of them would be unlikely to do more damage, and they would tinker around the edges with repair. But we’re beyond that. We need decisive and disruptive action, and none of them seem like the type to do that.

          So I have not seen anyone to get behind. I only sent money to one candidate in 2008 (Thompson), and I have yet to see one I’d do the same with in this round. But it’s early. 

          • Ahh, but even Reagan had limited effect on the national scene. Of course, that was in part due to the main focus on the Cold War, and Democratic control of Congress. But I don’t see anyone ready to fill his shoes.

            I like Ryan, but I also want someone with actual executive experience. I’d be very happy with Palin in the VP slot. At this point I see no one I really like for the top spot.

  • Palin is not the tank; she’s a poorly protected healer.  One of the commenters above made the observation that Republicans are poor at team play.  This is evidence.  Given the absence of a competent tank, the monsters (most of which are intelligent) will figure out that if they take out the healer, everyone else dies.
    She does not appear to intentionally be waving red flags; she appears to be trying to define where we should be headed.  She wants to talk about what the state of affairs *should* be.   She’s taking a lot of damaging attention because people who should be her allies are allowing it.
    It may be necessary that someone be the tank in politics, but being the tank is fundamentally incompatible with winning elections.   Political tanks are brash, they are brusque and they’re impolite; they’re a lot of things but one thing they are politically NOT is popular enough to win elections.  Ann Coulter was in many ways Ronald Reagan’s tank, at least during his presidency.   She had the good sense never to run for anything, knowing that the role she had chosen was incompatible with being elected.  Rush Limbaugh makes a decent tank as do most other political talk show hosts.

    • I hope this conversation is not over. If so, I would have never gone to sleep.
      I think Dan Melson has a handle on what I was saying about Palin being a leader/healer. Now, I don’t know about the role play analogies but ‘healer’ is good enough. She is talking the politics of continuity and community that can support change. She is anything but divisive unless you are a sociocrat or median minion. And, she is taking lumps for so many folks that should be shared, just as Dan says, by her allies. Here is where I squarely agree with Dan with a caveat. She is waving red flags precisely because she is trying to re-define the political battle space and rob the medians of their sole ability to frame the argument (as the old legal adage goes). This whole ‘civility’ trope is a case in point. (As a famous blogger recently wrote – Bite me! – and to that I say here, here.) So long as the medians control the direction of the ‘discussion’ they are on the higher battleground and nothing more because with a little help they too could fall off that little hill of theirs.
      It seems to me that there are three legs on this stool and we have and only two are sturdy, Sarah and the Tea Partiers. The Republican Party is really nothing more than the palest shadow of a shadow government unable and certainly unwilling to get out there in the weather and lead. I never really much thought of Newt because back in ’94 I thought he was more bomb thrower than anything else. Well, my attitudes have changed and we dang sure need a whole passel of bomb throwers. I think those in the Tea Party will be more than happy to warm up in the bull pen. Frankly, given the Republican Party’s timidity, I think the Partiers are going to have to do double duty and act not only as bomb throwers (damage dealers) as well as tanks (by throwing up every obstacle they can muster). And, in the absence of anyone else (like Fred Thompson who blew a splendid chance to change the face of campaigning and the direction of politics in a fell swoop), I think I will have to go with Sarah and count myself lucky because she will wield a veto pen and not ‘do deals’ like a Newt or others will probably do.
      Thanks for letting me in on the good discussion.

  • I kinda hope Palin holds off on presidential aspirations, not because I think she’s inferior to the  listless gaggle of Republican front runners… but because of the point you raised here:  She exhausts and exposes the left like nobody’s business.  She has their number and they hate it.
    As I pointed out here:

    I think she needs to take a ‘bye’ in 2012.  Oh, she’s far more qualified than the radical in chief now.  I’m thinking long term for the conservative movement.  If she runs in 2012, she makes it easy for the left to run against her.  They’ve already expended considerable time and money in the past two years and as the Pub nominee, it would be cheap and relatively effortless for the left to run against her.  Recycling talking points is what the left does best in elections.
    If she were to retain her present role as ‘king maker’,  and if she helps nominate a Tea Party dark horse, the left would have to start over and expend considerable effort against her and the dark horse.  Not only that, if she continues on a ‘king maker’, she can help us shape Congress -and the political climate- for the next generation.
    If she chooses to run in a later presidential contest, it would definitely help us bleed the left of resources in the future.  We need to keep the left frothing from the mouth and bleeding cash profusely for several decades.   Sarah Palin needs to be liberal bloodletter-in-chief to help the conservatives regain their footing.

    Keep kicking ’em, Sarah.

    • Blue,

      I’m right there with you, she’s got too much going for her as a gadfly and fundraiser to run for President. I think she’ll do something fantastic by backing a good Republican candidate early in the primaries.

      • Thanks.  She can help us build a generation of conservative/libertarian candidates who are viable with -or without- the cocktail party a.k.a. the stuffy and isolated GOP.  She’s a threat to not only the leftists but the RINO’s in power at the GOP.
        Hear our plea, Sarah: help us bleed out the ivory towers of isolation!
        That’s a metaphor for any leftist idiots with their new rules of ‘civil discussion’ on hand.  Piss off. I don’t abide by those stupid rules.