June 22, 2004

We Rarely Practic Discern

* Michael Kinsley, in WaPo: Could there be an emptier claim made on behalf of someone hoping to lead the United States of America than to say that he is "optimistic"?

"As recently as the 2000 election, today's President Georgie Sunshine was eager to spread pessimism and gloom. And apparently he remained optimism-deficient until recently. What else can explain the job losses of his first three years as president?

"We don't want a president who sees the silver lining in every cloud. We want a president who sees the cloud and dispels it. We want someone who will make the objective situation justify optimism, not someone who is optimistic in any objective situation. If optimism is hard-wired into the American character, it should be especially important to have someone sober at the wheel of the car. Of course, such clear-headedness is a hopeless ideal. But it is odd that politicians of every stripe now promise that their vision will be clouded.

"And if forced to choose between a leader whose vision is clouded by optimism and one whose vision is clouded by pessimism, there is a good case that pessimism is the more prudent choice. Another name for pessimism is a tragic sensibility. It is a vivid awareness that things can go wrong, and often have. An optimist thinks he can pop over to Iraq, knock Saddam Hussein off his perch, establish democracy throughout the Middle East and be home in time for dinner. A pessimist knows better."

* Via bookslut: Lazy design:

David Amsden's Important Thing's Don't Matter

Spoon's Kill the Moonlight

* For the Love of Freedom. excerpt:

"Our leaders have done us a great disservice, and have systematically thrown the Middle East into utter chaos in order to further their own craven agendas. But from halfway across the world, the distinction between America and its government is a hazy one at best. Those that subscribe to terrorism against the United States are, in effect, taking part in the same knee-jerk reactionary anger that many Americans are still coming to grips with.

"But by painting this war as a fight between those who support freedom and those who support terror, Bush is able to polarize the issue into that same old cliché 'good vs. evil' garbage that he's been spewing out. It's convenient rhetoric, it fits nicely into a sound bite, but it's patently untrue and absurdly misguided.

"It serves to cover up the ugly truth - that while the citizenry of America is generally in favor of truth and justice, our government has been betraying us abroad for many, many years. This is a hard fact for many people to fully come to terms with. And when the alternative of, 'We're good and they're evil!' is presented, it's very tempting to take that quick and easy route to absolution. But we need to deal with this at some point in order to move on as a nation, and in order to reclaim our nation from this corrupt minority that has perverted the principles of America and desecrated the spirit of freedom that Bush so ardently claims he loves."
"If we ever hope to achieve victory against terrorism, we must change the way we behave on the national stage. We must demand that our government end its support of petty dictators and political hatchet men. We must insist that our leaders use the military as a tool of defense, not occupation and economic insurance. We must force them to bow to our will. The will of the people.

"Only once that is done, can we force each and every last one of the sick, murderous bastards that had a hand in 9/11 to take responsibility for their deplorable treachery without behaving like hypocrites in the eyes of the world."


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