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Mark Steyn: through a dark glass, cleverly
Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, August 26, 2006

Glenn Greenwald, on Mark Steyn (about whom, I have mixed feelings)
Mark Steyn is a hero to neoconservatives. They consider him a true foreign policy genius and run around drooling with praise, like John Hinderaker in the presence of George W. Bush, every time he releases a new column about the Epic Global War of Civilizations We Must Wage.
I'm not really sure the "neoconservatives" really think of Mark Steyn as a "true foreign policy genius". Many in the Rightosphere and Punditocracy do cite and praise his polemics quite often, but that's not quite the same thing.

Still, I'm torn. On one hand, Steyn is a wonderful writer. From his monthly "Post Mortem" obituaries in the Atlantic Monthly to his syndicated column to his one-off columns for various outlets, his style and verve is compelling. He has the proverbial 'way with words'.
his style and verve is compelling. He has the proverbial 'way with words'.
On the other hand, he's still a polemicist for whom style and hyperbole sometimes seems more comfortable than complexity and sophistication. They are fun—even envigorating—to read, but his columns often remind me of something written a few years ago about Hitler and Churchill and the inadequacy of red meat polemicism.
"When you read Hitler's private assessments of the man who stood between him and world domination, they're just silly: Churchill was "that puppet of Jewry." OK, that's fine as a bit of red meat tossed to the crowd when you're foaming at Nuremberg, but as a serious evaluation of your opponent made in the quiet of your study it's simply ... inadequate."
Steyn throws clever rhetoric at a hazy picture. I'm reminded of that comment when I read Steyn and his kind sometimes. Powerful writer, wonderful way with words, not at all convinced that he's presenting the situation, the complexity and the cross-currents accurately. He writes with clarity of prose, but an almost naive simplicity. Steyn throws clever rhetoric at a hazy picture.

Incidentally, the person who wrote the passage quoted above was Mark Steyn.
 
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Sweet Jesus, His Mother Mary, and all the saints and angels, there’s Jon writing about Greenwald again. Any moment now, Mona will show up to defend Greenwald’s lies and hyperbole.

[Getting it out of the way so an actual discussion might ensue.]
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
LOL. Well, since that’s out of the way.... :)

Really, citing Greenwald was just a way to introduce something I’d written to a friend about Steyn a few weeks ago. I wanted to post it, but I didn’t have a causus belli until that Greenwald comment offered me an opening.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
See there’s Mona defending Greenwald and attacking his critics...
Irony works SOOOO well, after all is Joe:
a) agreeing with Mona; or
b) Subtlety mocking Mona; or
c) Both?

The answer IS Mona, show up and AAGREE that Greenwald IS a Potaohead, on this or that issue.

The rest is about Jon Henke, not even Greenwald or Steyn.

I like Steyn, heard him Thrusday laughed a lot. And OF COURSE Jon Henke wants "sophistication and complexity"... I guess that’s because nuance has already been taken and laughed down.

I think that’s your problem Jon. Life is NOT complex or sophisticated, at its fundamental levels. IF you spend more than you take in, you are debt-ridden and eventually bankrupt. If you’re promiscuous, STD’s and psychic damage acrue.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Keys to the Kingdom:
1) Love your Lord with all your heart, mind and soul
2) Love others as you love yourself.
Those are it, of course what is "usury"; are nuclear weapons OK or not, is gay marraige acceptable? The DETAILS can be complex, the fundamentals aren’t.

Four forces shape the Universe:
1) Strong Force
2) Weak Force
3) Electro-magnetism
4) Gravity

Everything from the tertiary and quatenary bonds of your DNA to the Local Cluster of Galaxies is formed by only those four forces.

Islamo-Fascists hate us and want us to become like them or die, OR just leave them alone in their little part of the world, but eventually that "little" part becomes bigger and biggger and soon it’s not just British Guyana it’s Whitehall and British Columbia. It’s not COMPLEX, it’s only "complex" to those who want it to be complex. Islamo-fascists in Baghdad, bomb’em...Islamo-Fascists at CAIR, 1st own up that they ARE Islamo-Fascists and argue with them. Dealing with the simple can take many forms, but at its fundmanetal level many things, to include the GWoT is simple.

To broaden it further, Jon, you oppose many things that this President does, fiscally, apparently to include tax cuts. That’s nice, I understand your point about a "potential" coming train wreck, BUT the reality is either the current tax structure and entitlement picture or a Democratic one. You try to carve out a "Third Way" position which is simply non-existent. In short you don’t like the political realities of our era so you attempt to obfuscate them.

In this case it’s that Steyn lacks a grasp of "complexity and sophistication". But beyond those stylistic objections who has the better grasp of the current era, Steyn or Moore, polemicist for the OTHER side? See in this debate it’s NOT complex, one side ploemicizes, one side LIES. One side wants Western values to triumph, the other side calls the Insurgents the "Minutemen" and pulls for their victory. YOU like to fudge things up, so you don’t have to side with THOSE PEOPLE, you know the Republicans, because well, you’re a Libertarian...but in the real world those are your choices, because there are only two parties that count.

But rather than face that, you’ll nit-pick and attempt to find both sides equally wrong... pull for "divided government" that won’t accomplish anything, but that’s OK, because Nothing is better than something, unless that something is libertarian Henke-ism, sadly that’s not what we’ll get because Henke-ism or even Neo-Libertarianism is just a tiny tiny thing of no real impact. The reality is that unless Henke and his merry band choose a party and stick with it, they will ALWAYS be outsiders, much akin to Paleo-Cons, both sides would rather be "RIGHT" than in POWER, apparently, because PURITY is better than accomplishment...it’s also SAFER, but that’s another post, about Moral Cowardice masquerading as Purity.

In short "complexity and sophistication" are really terms Jon uses to avoid facing stark realities, the choice was ALGore or Dubya, Dubya or Kerry, "targeted tax cuts and credits" or Dubya’s. Demorats writing the budget or REpublicans writing it....See simple choices, unpalatable to YOU choices, but really the only choices.

Finally Jon your stark fiscal "realities" are equivalent to David Shaunessy’s stark "ecologic" ones, disasters in the FUTURE and as yet not proven, really based on the idea that "IF things continue on like this, THEN that will happen..." as things never DO continue on like this, that almost NEVER happens, either.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
In this case it’s that Steyn lacks a grasp of "complexity and sophistication". But beyond those stylistic objections who has the better grasp of the current era, Steyn or Moore, polemicist for the OTHER side?
I reject your false choice.
Finally Jon your stark fiscal "realities" are equivalent to David Shaunessy’s stark "ecologic" ones, disasters in the FUTURE and as yet not proven, really based on the idea that "IF things continue on like this, THEN that will happen..." as things never DO continue on like this, that almost NEVER happens, either.
Funny, I distinctly recall Republicans making precisely that argument about the unsustainability of Social Security.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
OK reject away... tell me what choice you’d make, Steyn, Moore and............

Social Security AS IT STANDS IS UNSUSTAINABLE....the question IS how big a train wreck looms and how to avoid it? In Jon’s Universe there is ONLY a GIANT train wreck, and those DARN Bush Tax cuts merely speed it along!
OK reject away... tell me what choice you’d make, Steyn, Moore and............
Actually, NO that’s a typically Henkeian statement, On one side you have Steyn/Coulter and the other Moore and Sheehan. Those are the policy/polemic spheres... Jon Henke’s top 10 probably don’t get the eyeballs, those folks get, so for better or worse, those ARE the options...to me typical of the argumentation here, "Yes, but...." or "OK, that may be true, BUT..." all that’s good and well at a PhD dissertation committee meeting or at a Academic Departmental meeting, but in the land of policy it’s all irrelevant. I used to do it all the time listening to Limbaugh, "Yes but..." until I realized that fundamentally he and I agreed and that in the realm of achievable policy options, his "simplistic" ones were acheivable and my "nuanced" ones were not or that the differences in effect were so small as to be meaningless. So reject away, but please don’t submit some obscure Hit and Run piece as an alternative....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m not sure what choice you’re asking me to make. If I don’t think Michael Moore has a good view on the war, then I must think Steyn does? If not Steyn, then Moore? Why must I choose one of them?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Islamo-Fascists hate us and want us to become like them or die, OR just leave them alone in their little part of the world, but eventually that "little" part becomes bigger and biggger and soon it’s not just British Guyana it’s Whitehall and British Columbia.

[zombie trance]

Yes, I believe! There is no solution but carpet bombing! My options are "Steyn or Moore"! I believe! Materialism and Capitalism are too weak to stand! Carpet bomb! Carpet bomb!

[slaps Henke] psst, get back in line, you traitor.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Hi Mona and Jon,

How interesting I would find you both here. I was just arguing with Mona and responding to Jon over at inactivist.org. We disagree on when "enough is enough" and violence becomes necessary.

I will put my two cents in on this discussion:
for Steyn - I think he nails it most of the time

 
Written By: Mike Roark
URL: http://
I’m not sure what choice you’re asking me to make. If I don’t think Michael Moore has a good view on the war, then I must think Steyn does? If not Steyn, then Moore? Why must I choose one of them?
Because variants of them are the policy options on the table???? And the Elections of 2006 and 2008 will, to an extent, be decided on those positions, not the positions of Alberto the Libertasrian Seer....
Yes, I believe! There is no solution but carpet bombing! My options are "Steyn or Moore"! I believe! Materialism and Capitalism are too weak to stand! Carpet bomb! Carpet bomb!
Obviously my post was too long for you to read Wulf... Still if can muster the will power do so.
But are you suggestng that there is an INTERMEDIATE Islamo-Fascist position? If so what is it? The Dar-al-Islam of 1683? Or we can educate our women, BUT thye must wear potato sacks?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Or we can educate our women, BUT thye must wear potato sacks?

Yep, that’s exactly what I was saying, Joe. After I failed to have the willpower to finish and comprehend your post, of course.

You are asking what other policy options there are, but from a stance that makes it clear that you don’t want to contemplate any, because your mind is very made up. You can take it as a compliment that it reminds me of Steyn. But it isn’t meant that way.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
... Materialism and Capitalism are too weak to stand! Carpet bomb! Carpet bomb!
Oh and Wulf, for a host of reasons you might have forgotten something, CAPITALISM DID SURVIVE BY CARPET BOMBING. And it survived by the credible threat of something WORSE than Caprpet Bombing. Again, you may be German or European and not really care to examine the world 1941 on or you just might have forgotten that there was this thing called the Second World War, and in it RAF Bomber Command and then later the US 8th and 15th Air Forces CARPET BOMBED Germany...and from 1944 on the US carpet bombed Imperial Japan. And if they hadn’t well, Materialism and Capitalism MIGHT WELL HAVE PERISHED. Being RIGHT does not ipso facto make you VICTORIOUS. Being stronger and smarter makes you victorious... the US was RIGHT in Vietnam, but we weren’t VICTORIOUS. The Marxist-Leninists won that war. So yes Carpet Bombing can INDEED secure Materialism and Capitalism, without it in fact they would have died in the 1940’s.

And of course, there was this thing called the Cold War, from 1948 until what 1989? For fifty years the US and then the US and its NATO partners threatened the Soviet Union and its partners with something a whole lot worse than Carpet Bombing. And if we hadn’t Materialism and Capitalism would have gone down then, too.

These examples may have escaped you for a number of reasons, mayhap you are of an age of one of my nieces, born in 1987, she can NEVER understand the relief and the sense of fin de siecle that washed over me when Bush 41 stood down SAC from 15 Minute Alert; or mayhap for ideological reasons you are loathe to examine history, but the REALITY is any ideology that hasn’t got a sword in its hand, is an ideology that ultimately dies. Carpet Bombing is sine qua non of survival in THIS world. Even the religion of the Prince of Peace, survived because the Pope managed to find an Imperial Army, under Constantine.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well REALLY whip that INTERMEDIATE position out...Yes I’m pleased to be in the Steyn camp,BTW. I’d rather be on the side of the West than the other side, you know Voltaire, Montaigne, the Declaration of Independence... or the side that says "Stone the gays" and "keep your women in potato sacks and uneducated," the side that says, "Stone her, she used a ’cell ’phone in public." Because right now I don’t see a lot of intermediate position, care to point it out in Iran, Hamas, Hizb’Allah, the FIS in Algeria or elsewhere? Again Max the Muslim Prophet of Missouri hardly counts.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So, Steyn doesn’t possess enough new lines to understand the various issues? (Steyn throws clever rhetoric at a hazy picture.)

That seems more than a little reminiscent of John Kerry.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Joe hits on the explanation for my foreign policy views — I really do love Gunny Sack dresses, and wore one to a Xmas dance my senior year of high school — as well as to a few other events — to the envy of many. As this Baby Boomer Memories site says:

don’t know if all Baby Boomers can relate, but some of us born at the tail end remember ...Gunny Sack dresses for the girls, usually worn to prom, homecoming or church.
Yup, that fashion preference is precisely why I think turning the Middle East into a glass parking lot may be a tad extreme. The invading Muslims will dress me so well when they take the reins of American govt.

[Taking Joe as seriously as his arguments merit.]
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
No one, least of all Steyn, has held Mark Steyn up as a "true foreign policy genius." Mark Steyn’s genius is his ability to articulate what legions of us who do not have his way with words believe about the challenge that the Western liberal paradigm faces from this ideology of radical atavism that is infecting the Islamic world.

Obviously the Left and the Greenwaldians ( a distinction without a difference) do not agree with us. In the same manner that Greenwald contemptuously dismisses Steyn, our concerns are sneeringly dismissed as "fear mongering."

Despite the occasional allusions to "nuance" and "complexity", though, the Left has failed to offer a coherent competing narrative. For the most part, they appear to be content to offer cynicism, sarcasm, and snarky little comments.



 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
MONA, just to clarify things, Do you really think there is no challenge to the west from Islam? And if you think there is one what is the level you ascribe to that threat?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
KYLE — Certain strains of Islam and its adherents represent both a terrorist threat, and in some Western democracies, a cultural one — insofar as they will not assimilate to Enlightenment values. They do not, however, represent an existential threat to the United States.

Thuggish Muslims intimidate Western artists and writers so that they do not publish or utter certain things they would, if they were not afraid to do so. That should be combated, but the solution is not military.

This Radley Balko post speaks for me.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
It is easy to lampoon a cartoonish picture of America run by Islamic fundamentalists. I don’t think to many of us worry about that.

On the other hand, a mix of conventional explosives and some highly radioactive substance like spent nuclear fuel, cesium that is commonly used in medicine and industry, or plutonium from a conventional nuclear power station that is not high-grade enough for making nuclear weapons could be used to build a "dirty bomb" capable of creating a radioactive cloud that would cause severe and long-lasting contamination. If such a bomb were detonated on Manhattan, humans might have to abandon the island for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Maybe that does not rise to the level of "existential threat", but I think it warrants concern.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
"Incidentally, the person who wrote the passage quoted above was Mark Steyn."

Oh ho the irony! Now there’s some sophistication! Didn’t see that one coming!


"...not at all convinced that he’s presenting the situation, the complexity and the cross-currents accurately."

Maybe you just assume - incorrectly - that for anything to ring with truth it must be inherently complex and sophisticated. That’s a risky path to walk. I’ll take the truth as simple as possible. Less room for error that way. That doesn’t mean it’s always simple either. In additon, a lot of the so-called sophistication in a situation is often irrelevent to the bigger, more critical picture.

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Maybe you just assume - incorrectly - that for anything to ring with truth it must be inherently complex and sophisticated.
And on top of that, it must be utterly devoid of humor. Jon, Mona, and Greenwald’s thinking seems to be that the more mind-numbingly boring and stultifying their posts are, the greater the gravitas.

The kind of people who are riveted by actuarial tables. Tell you what, professor. You keep boring the t!ts off your snobbish echo chamber, and we’ll continue to whack these Muslim savages over the head with a rhetorical lead pipe.

Can you imagine a "call to action" from Jon, Mona or Greenwald? How do people this passionless manage to reproduce?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Can you imagine a "call to action" from Jon, Mona or Greenwald? How do people this passionless manage to reproduce?
Passionless prose, from moi? Geez, that truly is a first. Wrt my online frolicking, I’ve been called: shrill, militant, b*tchy, provocative, insane, hyperbolic, mentally ill, evil, and other flattering things along those lines, but never passionless. And the idea that Glenn Greenwald’s prose — whatever else one might want to say about it — is passionless, is utterly preposterous. And I suppose Ann Coulter is shy and reticent?

Anyway, Jon will have to explain human reproduction to you, cuz I’m a lady.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
They do not, however, represent an existential threat to the United States.
Thuggish Muslims intimidate Western artists and writers so that they do not publish or utter certain things they would, if they were not afraid to do so.
Again, you demonstrate a childish grasp of things that showcase why you cannot be taken seriously.

Read the two quotes.

Tell me again how quote #2 does not refute quote #1? If you really think an "existential threat" only constitutes the ability to militarily conquer our territory, you’re sadly mistaken.

Oh, and as for this:

That should be combated, but the solution is not military
Care to tell me how? I remember once before on the topic of the Muslim cartoons, your "solution" was to have the Pres. encourage the publication of the cartoons - as if that actually would have had any effect. So please avoid any more of your laughable "solutions".


 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
I dont read Steyn. But more importantly, I dont read Greenwald’s criticism of Steyn.

If Steyn’s not worth reading, why the F_ck would I care what Douchebag Greenwald says...

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Shark the good playmate inquires:
Tell me again how quote #2 does not refute quote #1?
What’s Wrong With These Pictures?
One of These Things

(Is Not Like The Others)


One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn’t belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you’re absolutely...right!


from Sesame Street, by Joe Raposo and Jon Stone
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
Maybe that does not rise to the level of "existential threat", but I think it warrants concern.
Absolutely. And there are important distinctions to be drawn between the proper response to (a) State actors, (b) non-State actors and (c) the intersection of the two of them. Mostly, it requires a good non-proliferation and deterrence strategy. Playing military whack-a-mole with potential threats is a not a sustainable policy, though, and it’s that kind of policy that Steyn, et al, are advocating with the constant ’they can’t be deterred, so they must be fought’ rhetoric.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
After hearing an endless drone from the left about their favorite talking points, Steyn is a welcome relief.
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
Powerful writer, wonderful way with words, not at all convinced that he’s presenting the situation, the complexity and the cross-currents accurately. He writes with clarity of prose, but an almost naive simplicity. Steyn throws clever rhetoric at a hazy picture.
About eight years ago, I started writing a 750 word monthly column for a computer publication.

It was, by far, the hardest writing I’ve ever done.

Invariably the first draft would be 1400-1500 words. Trimming it always took longer than writing it. I had to look multiple times at every word, thinking "do I really have to have that word?"

The result was clarity for a simple message, but at the expense of detail and nuance. Because detail and nuance take word length that just isn’t available. That did not mean that I didn’t understand the subject in depth - just that it was impossible, for me and maybe for anybody, to put that depth into 750 words.

Putting complexity into newspaper columns isn’t practical. Thomas Sowell, who writes about economics brilliantly in his books, knows better than to veer off into a theoretical discussion in one of his columns. Based on only his columns, I think Sowell would be vulnerable to the same charge of "naive simplicity", but we have his books to know that he’s a pretty deep thinker.

Steyn generally does not write long works, so I can’t point to them the way I can with Sowell. But if you think what he does is "naive simplicity", I’d suggest that you look elsewhere for the naivete. Taking complex ideas of any sort and writing about them with a very strict word limit, addressing a broad audience (not just hyper-political bloggers), and making the writing entertaining while still getting a point across, is an overall challenge very few writers are able to meet consistently. And it takes a lot more depth of thinking than it appears on the surface.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Steyn throws clever rhetoric at a hazy picture.
Uhmm, yeah. So I think I just confine myself to the brilliant Glenn Greenwald. I think that’s what Radley, and the boys at Hit & Run and Reason would tell me to do.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Well said Billy.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Mona

Your command of Sesame Street is impressive but you don’t quite answer the question....

You know me, I’m all for snark but Mona- that’s all you have?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Is it just me or has Mona given up her cover and become the open partisan commenter that she came here to be?
Assignment: Use humor, if possible, but make the point clear: "The Republicans are wrong to make such a fuss about terrorists". Good work on Inactivist. I think you are making good progress there. Try to back-flush that to more credibility on qando.
"Certain strains of Islam and its adherents represent both a terrorist threat, and in some Western democracies, a cultural one — insofar as they will not assimilate to Enlightenment values. They do not, however, represent an existential threat to the United States."
"Playing military whack-a-mole with potential threats is a not a sustainable policy, though, and it’s that kind of policy that Steyn, et al, are advocating with the constant ’they can’t be deterred, so they must be fought’ rhetoric."
If I may crawl out from under my wet bed to quaiver a few words: Nevermind those scruffy guys in the beerhall. Those types never amount to much. What we really have to fear are those who (forgotten group that the idiots thought posed a larger threat at the time). If I were constructing a narrative I would take the time to look up an acutal quote from the thirties, but I think you get the point.
Oh, and smallpox wasn’t an existential threat to humanity; sixty percent of the population survived, many with terrible scars on their faces. And bhurkas every day for life make a good comparison to wearing potato sack dresses to a high school dance. Hee hee.

Leftist rhetoric is getting a little silly.











 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Dancing on Parody’s Grave.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
I checked out Mona’s link. I guess you have to bring with you the politically correct attitude.
"The fact that a third-rate theater critic who knows nothing about foreign policy (or anything else) is taken as a foreign policy guru by the right-blogosphere makes perfect sense; after all, a fusion jazz musician and a Second Amendment scholar who know nothing about foreign policy are the most popular "warbloggers."
I think it is amusing that the left constantly accuses the right of following a "guru" when what is actually occurring is that the right is recognizing their own, pre-formed opinions and attitudes when they are concisely and cleverly (or not) written. It is obvious why the left adopts that view, they slavishly follow the edicts and holdings of the Liberal Narrative and disagree with one of their gurus only when the guru steps outiside the boundaries (and therefore the critic can feel safe in being critical) of the Narrative. Ask Lieberman about violating the Narrative.

The above blockquote? Typical liberal attitude that only those fully steeped in the Narrative and academically credentialed can hold a valid opinion and comunicate same to others. Liberal elitism.

Is liberal elitism part of neo-libertarianism?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
there are important distinctions to be drawn between the proper response to (a) State actors, (b) non-State actors and (c) the intersection of the two of them. Mostly, it requires a good non-proliferation and deterrence strategy.
This reads like word salad to me.

How would the "proper response" to state actors/non-state actors and their intersections, or "a good non-proliferation and deterrence strategy" have prevented 9/11?

I’m sure it feels good to cynically and smugly lampoon the idea of America being taken over by the Taliban, or to reduce the issue to a panic over brown-skinned people on airplanes, as one Democrat memorably put it in a recent comment here.

After 9/11, though, the Dems were not making snarky comments about brown-skinned people on planes. They were furious that Bush didn’t "do something" to prevent the attacks after having received a memo warning that al Qaeda was determined to strike inside the US.

Well, now anyone who opens a newspaper can see that the jihadists are determined to strike again, and Steyn speaks for those of us who take that threat seriously. No, that doesn’t mean "playing military whack-a-mole." Military force made sense in Afghanistan, a failed state where the al Qaeda leadership and infrastructure was conveniently clustered, but it isn’t the only tool in the toolbox.

Tweaking our foreign policy or trying to play defense will not prevent the next attack. Steyn’s point, us I undertand it, is that the only way to defend the country against the next, possibly apocalyptic, terrorist plot, will be to proactively seek out the networks who are planning the attacks and taking them off the board with any means at our disposal. I agree with that.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
only those fully steeped in the Narrative and academically credentialed can hold a valid opinion and comunicate same to others.
Well Mr. Fulton, I agree with you there. Mark Steyn (and the others dissed at my Lawyers, Guns & Money link) is not a joke because of his status as a theater critic, third-rate or whatever. He is someone whose positions and prescriptions should be taken with great caution because — notwithstanding the elegance and wit with which he states them — as Greenwald documents, if one were to look up "wrong" in the dictionary, Mark Steyn’s name will appear.

Not that this would be fatal to Steyn’s credibility if he admitted his gross errors, and reflected on where he went amiss. But that, to understate, is not the case.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
...if one were to look up "wrong" in the dictionary, Mark Steyn’s name will appear.
No doubt. How near the top of the list would he be, and whose name would be nowhere to be found?
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/2006/08/post_40.html

I’d say Greg says it all.

Steyn is extremely useful. Just not in the way he thinks he is.

 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
"Not that this would be fatal to...[one’s]... credibility if he admitted his gross errors, and reflected on where he went amiss."
"Well Mr. Fulton, I agree with you there."
So, Mona, was using that link a gross error or not?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Jon is, if anything, understated.

Aldo, we live in a world surrounded by threats. Occasionally, lack of awareness of a given threat leads to catastrophe. In other circumstances, the massive, insistent trumpeting of imminent threat, often ignoring credible contrary evidence, leads to panicked and self-destructive behavior - be it looting, rioting, ill-conceived military offensives in war, whatever.

Frankly, we’ve had years and years to boil in the stew of panic about WMD terrorism, and it is absolutely a genuine threat. However, the world’s non-proliferation system is absolutely broken, and continued military insecurity and/or competition is inevitably going to make the problem worse.

In a world of partial solutions and half-measures, "standing up to Iran" becomes a fantasy panacea for ending security competition between regional powers, for ending creeping proliferation, for ending the threat from radicalized Sunni non-state actors actually responsible for almost 100% of anti-western terrorist events in the past five years...

At a time when effective and realistic military solutions to our terrorism and WMD problem are nowhere to be found, reading Mark’s Steyn’s columns for solutions are like force-feeding yourself amphetamines to prepare for a crossword puzzle contest.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Sorry Davebo, I followed your link. Not being steeped in the Narrative, I was unable to follow the periorations of the writer. He seemed to be complimenting Bush of being wise enough to have Powell handle the negotiations with Pakistan (but wait, isn’t Powell a Bush Boob for making the UN presentation? Not to mention that Bush can’t do anything right).
The material in your link was obviously written for the LN choir since it contains little interior logic and consistency discernible to non-liberals. It would be helpful if you paraphrased what you think it says and perhaps that would be understandable to lay persons.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"...WMD terrorism...it is absolutely a genuine threat."
Watch Out, glasnost!" First the Judge Taylor thing, now this. You are getting outside the boudaries of the Narrative pretty far here (fear mongers, bed-wetters, etc.). Next thing you know your liberal credentials will be suspect. Better rush in to clarify that this "genuine" threat has been blown out of all proportion by the [fill in the blank] for crass political purposes.

 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"The fact that a third-rate theater critic who knows nothing about foreign policy (or anything else) is taken as a foreign policy guru by the right-blogosphere makes perfect sense; after all, a fusion jazz musician and a Second Amendment scholar who know nothing about foreign policy are the most popular "warbloggers."
I wonder what these leftist academics have to say about Al Gore- patron saint of the environment though he has not a whit of bona fide scientific credentials, (other than the movie and book, of course). Is there a sophomoric entry at elementropy for him too?

This is what passes for rigor in academia these days?



 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"I dont read Steyn. But more importantly, I dont read Greenwald’s criticism of Steyn.

If Steyn’s not worth reading, why the F_ck would I care what Douchebag Greenwald says..."
Well, of course, bains, you have grasped the essence of this discussion. One could rightfully stride into the theater, turn up the lights and say: "What are you fools doing? None of this is real! Get back to work."

You are no doubt correct to rise above this thread. But where is the fun in that? And Sunday commentary if for fun, isn’t it? Otherwise, the three hosts would be here shooting everyone down, wouldn’t they?

Since you didn’t turn up the lights and left immediately, I forgive you. Oh, and the rules require an asterisk (not an underline) when one writes f*ck. You just want to be a non-conformist.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
In a world of partial solutions and half-measures, "standing up to Iran" becomes a fantasy panacea for ending security competition between regional powers, for ending creeping proliferation, for ending the threat from radicalized Sunni non-state actors actually responsible for almost 100% of anti-western terrorist events in the past five years...
Glasnost,

I absolutely agree with this paragraph. I certainly do not think that military action against Iran is warranted, and if Steyn has taken the position that it is I would completely disagree with him on that point.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Frankly, we’ve had years and years to boil in the stew of panic about WMD terrorism, and it is absolutely a genuine threat
Aren’t you the very same one who on the comments to another post took a "it’s no big deal" attitude to the WMD terrorism threat? I believe your specific quote was "it won’t be the end of western civilization" - puts you quite in line with Mona’s "it’s not an extitential threat" canard.

But global warming, now THAT’S an extitential threat you can two can get behind...

Mona: Thanks for not answering the question I posed....
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Mona wrote:
They do not, however, represent an existential threat to the United States.
And she’s only correct in the short term. If they don’t lose, then eventually they get lucky.

We should make them lose.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Mona wrote:
"They do not, however, represent an existential threat to the United States."
And she’s only correct in the short term. If they don’t lose, then eventually they get lucky.

We should make them lose.
Indeed, and short term Nazi Germany & Imperial Japan were not existential threats to the United States, either.

The Islamic threat is hard to gage, since they often appear so cartoonish, and they represent a culture that’s been loosing for the last 500 years. In 732 an outright Islamic invasion of France failed, but now we have Islamic riots in France.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Sorry Davebo, I followed your link. Not being steeped in the Narrative, I was unable to follow the periorations of the writer.
Why? Because he didn’t make up enough words in a rather silly attempt to sound intelligent?
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
OK, I mispelled perorations and actually misused it as well, since it refers to oral speaking. Speech is a synonym. So you had a choice of taking me to task for improperly spelling a word (that was probably mis-used as well) or responding to the clear meaning of my question. I don’t think that YOU know what the hell the author was saying, else you would have gone on to explain it. I sometimes use a link to an author who says something much better than I could say it, but I never use one unless I understand what the author is saying (or, at least think I do). Was Bush wise to let Powell handle the negotiations with Pakistan or not? If so, the author’s logic fails.
Members of the liberal elite often cannot resist going for the cheap shot of a misspelled or misused word, leaving the issue unanswered - believing that they are then seen as the bullfighter pirouetting away from the bull that stands dazed and confused.
In my ineptitude I did manage to get the question asked. In yours you failed to answer it.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Was Bush wise to let Powell handle the negotiations with Pakistan or not?
Djerejian thinks so and I certainly agree. That would seem obvious to me. But it was but a qualifier in the post. The "crux of the biscuit" of course was that Steyn is a hypocrit. That today he bemoans the lack of "power play diplomacy" yet, at the time, he had nothing but scorn for the man that was actually carrying it out.


Perhaps Steyn truly didn’t know who was responsible for getting Musharraf in line and on our side (which is yet another example of why one should read him with a grain of salt).
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
OK. With the clue (although I have never heard of a biscuit crux) I was able to re-read the piece and I think I got it. Sometimes I forget that liberalism does not have to be consistent. Powell was a BushBoob at the UN, but for the purposes of shooting at Steyn to make him a hypocrite, he was a brilliant strategist.
I don’t read Steyn, but if the Alberta piece is any example I wouldn’t care to. So, provided the author of the link is not on record with a BushBoob piece on Powell it is a good shot at Steyn and an appropriate link for this post. Thank you.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Steyn’s in the same category as Hitchens, good writers who’ve allowed pride and prejudice to impair their work. Neither can ever admit as, say, Buckley has, that they were wrong about Bush and Iraq. When Steyn encounters an opponent, his typical response is ad hominem attack and slurs rather than debate and factuality. Alec Baldwin ,for instance, is a second rate actor not because of his performances but because of his politics. Mark Steyn is becoming a second rate writer because of his performance as a political shil.
 
Written By: Gordon Tryon
URL: http://

 
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