~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Labels, schmabels

My earlier obsession with practical political labels is apparently ground already covered by a mind greater than my own.

... I made the comment that because I was a liberal, in the US in 2003 that made me a "conservative". The real problem here is that it's actually multidimensional. There's an axis which has "conservative" on it; there's an axis which has "liberal" on it. But they're orthogonal to one another.

The opposite of "conservative" isn't "liberal." Well said, sir.

Read the definative word on the subject here.

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The great Crunchy Con debate

Interesting stuff over at National Review's breakout book blog surounding Rod Dreher's new work, Crunchy Cons.

Rod advances a manifesto that criticizes those among the conservative movement who believe money is everything:

A Crunchy Con Manifesto

By Rod Dreher

1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”

10. Politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives.

Does moral living count for more than naked consumerism? Of course it does. But this whole thing come off as a bit... well, preachy. Isn't naked ambition a valid means to a philanthropic end? Isn't it up to the individual to choose both the means to prosperity and the moral code underlying his daily actions? Isn't it impossible to be an effective steward of your fellow man and the natural environment while scraping by at subsistance level? Is it not true that monetary surplus (a surplus that critics might call excess) is required in order to devote energy to philanthropic and environmental conservation?

In short, can I be a good conservative without shopping for overpriced organic veggies at Whole Foods? I think I can. It would seem to this capitalist that Rod is advancing a "poor yet happy" philosophy. Well, maybe not poor, exactly, but he is relishing in the trappings of middle class stereotypes, and his attempt to enoble the monastic qualities of granola just doesn't sound right to me.

Money isn't everything, but it's a good start, and I refuse to accept a middlin' station in life.

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This, too, is brilliant


Americans don't go to war for oil and anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand what the word "fungible" means.

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This is brilliant

Stupid Girls.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

On the dangerous attraction of being codgery

Negative Derb is at it again. This is the post in which I try to buck up my recently diminished optimism for the future of Western Civ. It's no secret that I've fallen into something of a funk lately.

John Derbyshire despairs thusly:

My neighbor was a keen gardener, too, and also a war veteran. There was nothing much unusual in 1955 about an ordinary working man of little education knowing the arts of soldiering, gardening, butchering, and cabinet-making. I suppose this man’s grandchildren occupy themselves with watching TV, day trading on their computers, and working out their income taxes. I suppose my kids will do likewise. Perhaps they will be happy, but it looks to me like lotus eating — a flight from humanity, from the basics of human existence.

The best joke I heard as we were returning stateside from Iraq came from 22 year old Greg, who planned to immediately join the VFW, his desert-tan not even faded, drink beer and whiskey sours, and complain loudly (cue comical old man voice) about how, "These kids today don't understand what war is!"

Derb? Of the half dozen married couples in their late twenties and early thirties that I call my circle of friends, we have multiple veterans, handimen, knitters, homemakers, door hangers, amatuer wood workers, pool installers, deck builders and gardeners. To the best of my knowledge, not one hires anyone for their lawn work. While it's true that most sit in front of a computer for their day jobs, it's equally true that we still enjoy working with our hands. That particular satifaction is not lost on us, you old coot.

I cheer every time I accumulate another gray hair. It's a kind of counter, ticking off the days until I'm allowed by society to hold forth my opinions without regard to reality. I'll scream at the neighborgood kids, "Now get off my lawn! Go back to yer Play Station 5000s what with their fancy-pants hologram displays! Why, in my day all we had was Frogger, ya bunch of shiftless whippersnappers!"

It's gonna be sweet.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

CNN races rearward in an effort to be the last infidel put up against the wall


CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.

These cartoons are by definition newsworthy. They are at the center of the substance of the article for Pete's sake! Not reproducing them is shitty journalism born of the stupendously wrong-headed leftist politics of "tolerance" that pervades most media. As Mark Steyn puts it, tolerating the tolerable is easy. To be a double-super tolerant human being, one must also tolerate the intolerable. Even if it leads to burkas and stoning.

Muslim extremists hate our Western values, the merits of which they dismiss as thoroughly corrupted by our decadence. If we are not willing to defend our democratic principles, then what's left to defend? Debauchery for it's own sake? This act of "respect" by CNN is why our enemies hold us in such contempt. They see us as an easily conquered people, too weak to resist the sins of delicious pork chops and co-ed dormitories. And to prove the obvious truth of this, they need only point to weak responses to their threats of violence.

I'm beyond livid. Nice going CNN! Just go ahead and surrender for all of Western Civilization. Torch your own Atlanta headquarters while you're at it. Why is that female corespondent walking around uncovered!? Prayer time! Stop the broadcast! Don't forget to drop the kids off at the madrassa for bomb belt construction class!

Lastly, CNN's declaration of "respect" for Islam contains a grammatical error. They can't even surrender in proper English without using a split infinitive.

UPDATE: Apparently they're hypocrites as well. No fear of angering that famously volatile Christian street, I guess.

You see, this is why I am no longer certain of our (decisive and relatively bloodless) victory in this fight. Because despite the toe-tapping, infectious rhythm, not a word of this is untrue.

(Via: The Corner)

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

This will end badly, I'm afraid

I'm sorry. I'm generally an upbeat and happy person, an "Every little thing is gonna be alright" sort. But lately I'm not so sure.

And Neal Boortz puts his finger on the reason for my unease.

When will moderate Muslims declare fatwa on the Splodeydopes?

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Intolerable hubris

Pat Buchanan thinks the State of the Union address was directed at him. This is because Pat's a moron.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Another re-post

Hugh Hewitt asks... what modern novels are worth rereading?

Hugh is not a rereader whereas I am a habitual rereader. (A re-rereader? Anyway.) I love to go through old material and experience again the emotions evoked by favorite passages. Therefore, as a rereading fanatic, I'll list only a short list of the works I've read more than twice:

Fiction - The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Far and away my favorite book ever. I must've read this one fifteen times. I keep 5 or six copies in the house for easy and frequent loaning to friends. While the plot is unremarkable (a murder on campus, the guilty students band together to evade investigation) the writing is truly gorgeous. Rich and velvety language. If words were food, The Secret History would be warm brownies with milk.

Sci-Fi - Ender's Game/Speaker for the Dead/Xenocide - Orson Scott Card

Card has opined (and there is much truth in it) that the Morality Tale has one genre left: Science fiction. No one (willingly anyway) reads Everyman anymore, but millions have read the Ender trilogy and been stimulated to ponder the merits of good, evil, and indifference.

Historical Fiction - Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet

Deeply engrossing story of the origins of the first gothic cathedral built in England. Epic in scope and pulling together 3 generations of characters, Pillars of the Earth is plausible, fun, and presented in Follet's trademark easy-reading style. It's not Umberto Eco, but if it was, would you reread it?

Other - Lord of the Barnyard - Tristan Egolf

I stumbled across this one on the bargain table at Border's and picked up the hardback on a whim. Boy am I glad I did! A real gem of a weird tale. The writing drips with the same emotions felt by the characters. Egolf has captured the dark underbelly of semi-rural Indiana. The best description of this indescribable story appears on the front cover. "Killing the fatted calf and arming the aware in the cornbelt."

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31 days without a cigarette

Whoa. Haven't done that since... well, never really.

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