I recently came upon a post by someone on Epinions. Normally I would ignore the drunken ramblings of a liberal, but two phrases struck me, and since the author wrote that he seriously wants my feedback and opinions, I will share them with him and the general public.
Chad, who posts under the name of lemon_lime on Epinions, recently wrote a disjointed screed about school teachers, their pay, and a bunch of other (un)related issues. Here was the first sentence that struck me:
“In other news, and just for certain readers, anybody willing to vote for George W. Bush in the upcoming election is officially insane.”
Referring to someone with whom you disagree politically as “officially insane” is merely a debate trick designed to shut up the opposition. There are a multitude of these ad hominem “debate stoppers,” but the most common ones include calling one’s opponents insane, or book-burning Nazis, or sheet-wearing Klansmen. Once these phrases are used, the debate effectively dies, and the name-caller’s objective has been achieved.
Orson Scott Card very recently touched on this subject:
“Folks, it’s the first mark of fanaticism when you assume all your opponents are either stupid or immoral. Even if it’s true, it’s very bad manners to say so, and doesn’t promote rational discussion.”
Back in the heyday of the Soviet Union, political dissidents were often judged clinically insane because, after all, only the truly insane would stand up to the Politburo or disagree with them. Total conformity was the rule, and woe be unto the nonconformist “nails” that stood out from the crowd. The Soviet hammer came down hard on them. Since Chad is willing to judge Bush supporters as insane, how close is he to endorsing the Soviet re-education camps of yesteryear?
Here’s the second bit of Chad’s post that struck me as interesting:
“Rather, I am voting for Kerry (though fully admitting that he was not my first choice for Democratic candidate) because of the fact that he is pro-choice and pro-international involvement in the ‘war in Iraq’ that Bush, sadly, guided us into.”
I realize it would be useless for me to argue the point about abortion. In my decades of debating the issue, I have yet to encounter a person whose opinions and views on the subject have not become fixed and immovable. But Chad’s claim that Kerry is worth voting for because he is “pro-international involvement” seems to ignore the fact that the Iraq war already is international. Back in 1991, President George H. W. Bush amassed over 30 countries in his coalition to remove Saddam from Kuwait, but his son brought together over a dozen more countries in his coalition to remove Saddam from power. Granted, this number was reduced by one when Spain suddenly turned French and surrendered to the 3/11 terrorists by electing their new, craven Prime Minister. But apart from the Spaniards’ lack of political spine, about 25% of the world’s nations have followed the lead of President George W. Bush and joined the coalition. If one-quarter of the world’s nations doesn’t count as “international,” what would?
I can tell you what would make this coalition truly international for many liberals: the addition of France, Germany and Russia to the list.
But why should we bother? Russia was once a great power, but now, like an old and worn-out boxer, has the mere shadow of the military might it once commanded. The last time Germany was a major military player, Panzer IV tanks were rolling down the Champs-Élysées. And speaking of the French, their military history is far from impressive. But taunting the French aside, there is a very simple explanation why France, Germany and Russia were not eager to oust Saddam from power: Saddam was bribing these nations with the “Oil for Food” program. So they dug their heels in and resisted shutting off their gravy train.
But John F@#$%ing Kerry is Chad’s main man because Kerry wants to suck up to the French, Germans and Russians to make this coalition “truly international.” Kerry must be as ignorant as Chad when it comes to recognizing the international nature of the coalition that has already removed a tyrant from power. But let’s pretend for the nonce that Chad’s idea of a more international force is a good and needful one, and let’s also pretend that John Kerry is the U.S. President instead of George Bush. If Kerry were President, the 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq and Saddam would not have been enough. He would have shown Saddam no mercy by introducing an 18th, 19th, and yes, if necessary, a 20th UNSC resolution. Boy, that sure would have shown Saddam who’s boss, wouldn’t it?
What bloody good is the United Nations, anyway? Can anyone point to a concrete benefit that derives from being a member nation? What exactly does the UN do for America that America couldn’t accomplish confidently and competently on its own? Other than taking up expensive New York acreage, what does the United Nations offer to America?
Regardless of the nay-sayers in the UN and at home, President Bush has been responsible for the liberation of more than 50 million people from the oppressive governments that once dictated their lives. While the UNSC dithered and scribbled endless resolutions, and liberals wrung their hands and demanded that we give the sanctions still more time to work, President Bush saw no need to wait for France, Germany and Russia to stop accepting oil bribes before he took decisive action. After all, a leader rarely has the luxury to wait for a consensus that may never come, nor should he stick his finger into the wind to determine his opinion for the day. A leader must learn to make decisions and proceed, accepting the consequences. President Bush has shown he is quite capable of doing just that. John Kerry, on the other hand, wants to build consensus with the same nations who were elbow-deep in Saddam’s pocket. This is one reason why I could never, in good conscience, vote for Kerry.
But what do I know? I’m just one of Chad’s “officially insane” conservatives. I guess that means I should shut up now.
Addendum (7/07/2004): While talking about abortion is often useless because of the deep-seated opinions people hold on it, Senator Kerry recently exposed himself as the flip-flopping hypocrite that he is. He said, “I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.”
I would understand if this revelation were devastating to Chad, who identified Kerry’s stand on abortion as a primary reason he would vote for the man, but it should also be disquieting to anyone who truly considers the implication of Senator Kerry’s words. Since Kerry believes that life begins at conception, the taking of such a human life by abortion cannot be seen as anything else but murder. Well, unless you are a liberal.
Addendum (7/27/2004): I sent this article to Chad after I wrote it. After he replied, I sent him the following on June 14th in response:
> Oh, and come on man, the idea that the war in Iraq was an International Effort is a joke. You lost a bit more credibility when you tried to claim otherwise in your essay. I’ll concede some points, but that’s just a joke.
Well, let’s look at it. Our strongest ally in this conflict has been the UK, and last time I counted, the U.S. and the UK made two nations. The simplest definition of “international” is comprising two or more nations, and this coalition contains over forty member nations to date. So, yes, the coalition is an international effort. It just isn’t, obviously, international *enough* for your tastes. So what would make it international enough for your liking? As you have probably already read in my article, France, Germany, and Russia had no intention of joining this international effort while they had sufficient financial reasons not to join–in essence, they were receiving lucrative oil bribes from Saddam’s government in exchange for their opposition to the war.
Had President Bush decided that we needed the backing of these three bribed nations, we would still be wrangling with the UN Security Council about what to do with Saddam. Are the Iraqi people better off now that Saddam is out of power? Dr. Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, seems to think so. When giving a recent address in Arabic, he broke into English to say, “I would like to thank the coalition led by the United States for the sacrifices they have provided in the process of the liberation of Iraq.”
Approximately fifty million people are no longer under the thumb of oppressive, dictatorial governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d say that is a notable accomplishment on President Bush’s part, and one you need not be insane to appreciate.
Three weeks ago I sent him a follow-up message letting him know I had posted my comments as to why I will vote for President Bush this November. There has been no response, even though he stated in the Epinions article that he really wanted feedback and opinions.