Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And this ...

Is yet another exercise in counter-factuals:
I'm interested in that notion of a "trustworthy government" among conservatives. I *think* it boils down to the reality that conservatives (or at least neocons) trust the government in the form of the military, but not in the form of the post office.

I'm not sure why. Part of it seems to be the endless WWII nostalgia which view all wars through that lens. Part of it is that the crazed secular messianic ideologues of "creative destruction" who have grafted some of their old leftist believes in the power of raw force to heal and redeem on to their new schemes for a Greater America. Part of it is terror of the alternative: the thought that Bush and Co just have no clue how to fight the War on Radical Islam and don't know what they are doing.

I don't think that leftists have accepted anything resembling "the power of raw force to heal and redeem" in at least 40 years unless we are talking about communists. Secondly, the last time I checked most leftists have never had any "schemes for a Greater America," new or otherwise. Leftism, at least as a modern political ideology, tends to presuppose an internationalist lens that puts it "above" issues of nationalism and the like.

Secondly, the broad assertion that Bush has no clue about how to fight the war on terrorism is just a caricature. Bush does have an idea how to fight it and it is one that Mark is obviously aware of since he has now decided that Bush's Wilsonian rhetoric and strategy makes him a heretic. You may disagree with him, but please acknowledge his views on the matter. To note that he possesses these views on one day and then ignore them on another is at least as Orwellian as anything that Giuliani has said about torture.

20 comments:

Donald R. McClarey said...

"I'm not sure why."

1. Honoring people who are willing to put their lives on the line for their convictions.

2. The military is the sword and shield that guards our freedom.

3. Unlike most arms of the government, the military is usually very effective when the politicians allow them to fight all-out.

4. The military is very clear who our foes are. Clue: they aren't "neo-cons", Bush-Cheney or the "rubber-hose right".

5. American history. Mark should try reading some in his moments of leisure.

6. The military is the living embodiment of that great truth expressed by Orwell: "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

7. Because of men like Corporal Jeffrey Star, killed in Iraq in 2005: "If you're reading this, then I've died in Iraq. I don't regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we're in Iraq; it's not to me. I'm here helping these people so they can live the way we live, not to have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. Others have died for my freedom; now this is my mark." [discovered on his laptop computer]

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

If Mark wants to privatize the military (which is what conservatives want to do with the post office), then I'd be interested in hearing his arguments. Otherwise, I'm not sure I get his point.

Susan B. said...

Mark should also remember that unlike other gov't entities (like the Post Office), the military is an actual legitimate function of the government according to the Constitution.

Newman said...

The post office rocks. Anyone who berates it is an effing hypocrite (unless he lives under a rock and receives no mail).

BTW, Cosmo Kramer is a demented fruitcake AND a racist.

paul zummo said...

Susan B. hit upon the real reason that conservatives support the military. The military does the thing that it is government's prime duty to do: protect the citizenry.

I haven't necessarily heard too many right-wing anti-post office screeds recently (certainly post office bashing is one of the true bi-partisan sports in our country). All in all, as a "small government" conservative myself, what I want is not necessarily a government that does nothing, but a government that does a few things well rather than a whole bunch of things poorly.

Susan B. said...

I'm also a conservative who has no complaint with the Post Office. After all, my late father was a letter carrier for over thirty years. All in all, I think they do a pretty good job. I'm not sure privatizing it would make much of a difference one way or the other. Also, IIRC, they don't receive taxpayer money...their funds come from stamps and postage charges.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

I'm not sure why wanting to privatize the post office makes one a "effing hypocrite". I'd be more than happy to have a private company deliver my mail, but I can't - because the government has made doing so illegal. In Canada the government runs all the liquor stores. Is it hypocritical for anyone who's not a teetotaler to oppose this? I don't think so.

Private enterprise generally performs services more efficiently and with higher quality than does government. It would be weird if the post office were an exception to this, and it's not. Whenever private companies have been allowed to compete with government mail, they've outperformed it, which is why the government needs a mail monopoly. If anyone's interested, here are some historical examples:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj13n1/cj13n1-5.pdf?bcsi_scan_A049DEC227A5A9FC=0&bcsi_scan_filename=cj13n1-5.pdf

http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/tucker/tucker38.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Letter_Mail_Company

Anonymous said...

Susan B., I knew there was something I liked about you. :) Well, a lot of things, actually. I'm also the daughter of a letter carrier.

We should form a club. :D

Diane

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Look up "counter-factual" in the dictionary and you'll find Mark Shea's picture...

Susan B. said...

Hi Diana,

We should call it The National Mailmen's Daughters Association. :-D

Art Deco said...

Postal services are no longer a natural monopoly, so there are not efficiency gains to be had from maintaing a public agency devoted to them. The regulatory dimension of what the U.S. Postal Service does could be retained in a public agency while the service provision and associated physical and working capital was put up for sale. You could add subventions to mail delivery to a selection of rural and inner-city locations to guarrantee universal access (as was done with airline flights to Alaska after deregulation in 1978).

There would likely be transition costs as the institutional culture of the Postal Service is not characteristic of private companies. A critic of the airline employee unions (I think it may have been Gregg Easterbrook) offered that they responded to deregulation with "hold-my-breath-till-I-turn-blue" behavior. One might wager the postal worker unions would do the same.

Anonymous said...

We should call it The National Mailmen's Daughters Association. :-D

LOL. Love it.

Diane

Bubba said...

Mark, on Christians who oppose Harry Potter, writes, "when Khristians insist on telling stupid lies, believing stupid rubbish, and slandering perfectly innocent people because they enjoy the books ... they are no longer merely having a disagreement about literary taste: they are bearing false witness against their brothers and sisters and committing a sin."

"Why is it that ignorance and arrogance always seem to be located on the same gene?"

I'm not sure what's more noteworthy, that Mark can't refrain from name-calling even in discussing a subject as minor as Harry Potter, or that he's so lucid here in condemning precisely the behavior he himself demonstrates regarding Bush and even the American government.

Apparently only the Potter-bashers are the "Khristian Kook Konspiracy Mongers," not Shea himself.

Anonymous said...

Apprently Mark cannot refrain from behaving uncharitably toward anyone he disagrees with about anything. Witness his sneering contempt toward Catholic traditionalists, for instance, as well as toward Harry Potter foes.

I'm not a rad-trad myself, and I've never read the Potter books, so I have no opinion on them. But I know perfectly good, sincere, intelligent people in both the Trad and the Potter-Foe camps.

Catholic author and artist Michael O'Brien--who is far better known than Mark Shea--is among the opponents of the Potter books; he's a very intelligent, insightful guy, not some sort of lunatic-fringe kook; and even if I don't agree with his views, I respect them. Same goes WRT other Potter foes, including EWTN host Johnette Benkovic and (from my own personal acquaintance) Martha Shuping, a respected local Catholic psychiatrist and Rachel's Vineyard retreat leader. These are all very sharp, very good people, and it is both absurd and uncharitable for a relative lightweight like Mark Shea to smear them as nutburgers just because they happen to disagree with him about Potter. sheesh.

Apparently, if you disagree with Mark about anything he feels strongly about--from Catholic traditionalism to Rod Dreher--then you immediately become Fair Game for Sheavian insult and name-calling. The rhetoric gets ratcheted up about ten notches; the snarky, colorful insults start pouring from his word processor...Lordy! How is this Christian behavior by any definition??

I don't get it.

Diane

Joe Marier said...

I also have to say that, occasionally, firebreathing is fun, though. It just has to be, well, based on valid data-points.

Regarding Harry Potter, I do think that some of the anti-Harry folks, while good people, were rather unconvincing.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I don't disagree that they were unconvincing. (Again, haven't read the books, so I'm kind of out of the loop here.)

But intelligent Potter-Foes like Michael O'Brien are scarcely lunatic-fringe crazies, nor should they be contemptuously written off as such. As always with Mark Shea, it's the tone, the manner, not the substance, that is so objectionable.

God bless,

Diane

Joe Marier said...

Diane,

There's some there I can agree with; even when Mark is right, he can be mean. But I can't say that it's just his style, and not the substance.

Comparing anti-Harry Potter folks to the KKK is not just mean, it is substantively wrong.

Anonymous said...

Comparing anti-Harry Potter folks to the KKK is not just mean, it is substantively wrong.

He did that?

I-yi-yi!!!

That is simply deranged.

Diane

Anonymous said...

He implicitly compared very specific anti-Harry Potter folks to the KKK by calling them the "Kristian Kook Konspiracy Mongers". And from the looks of it they are stark raving loony.

Respectable Anti-Potterites should shun such people like respectable gay activists should shun gays who insist on behaving like rutting animals by having anonymous sex in public places. Using Mark's lack of coddling towards people who should be in straight jackets, and who are anti-Catholic to boot, as a bludgeon is not the most effective way to fight him. But then any stick will do, right?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Apparently, if you disagree with Mark about anything he feels strongly about--from Catholic traditionalism to Rod Dreher--then you immediately become Fair Game for Sheavian insult and name-calling. The rhetoric gets ratcheted up about ten notches; the snarky, colorful insults start pouring from his word processor...Lordy! How is this Christian behavior by any definition??

I don't get it.


First, Diane, it's not Christian behavior by any definition. Second, Shea views his blog essentially as a totalitarian state; disagree with him and you are an Enemy Of The Church/State/Humanity Who Must Be Silenced At All Costs.

Third, and most importantly, Shea has not grown out of the adolescent need to bully others. He is extremely insecure. He needs psychological and spiritual help.