Comment on A Challenge to all Lefties

A Comment:

On FreeSpeech, I wrote this:

At the risk of being deleted by AW for being off topic--this isn't really about Bush lying--I'd like to ask you a question about your last post. What about leadership?

Consider the point made by your anonymous: "The US cannot go it alone, militarily or economically. The French, Germans, Canadians, et al are not any more greedy than we are."

Fair enough. But if America can't go it alone, neither can any of these. We need each other, yes. But that need is at least as strong on their side as ours--stronger, I should think.

If, as seems to be the case, the French &c. come around to our way of seeing things, what we have is not a rift but a momentary disagreement. If France and company chooses debt relief for Iraq, aid to NATO/Coalition missions abroad, and a stronger line toward Islamism (as, for example, a ban on the hijab such as France has undertaken); well, then, perhaps they have not been driven away from us, but awoken by us to a duty they have been ignoring. That duty--to preserve the Order of the West, with its unique vision of human liberty--is the real cause. It is the only cause. It has been America's cause from the Founding, even if individual Americans have lost sight of it.

Is it possible to fight in that cause without seeking the reform of terror-sponsor states? Was there a means to the real reform of Iraq short of regime change? I am open to evidence, as you know. I haven't seen anything to convince me that we have done wrong here. If it was wrong to dwell on WMD, it was wrong not because it played up an argument that was dubious. It was wrong because the WMD dance at the UN delayed the freedom of Iraqis. It extended the reign of terror by a year. If any innocent Iraqi blood is on our hands, it is that blood.

France will come around--indeed, has come around. If we had come around to them, would the world be better, or would tyranny still darken Mesopotamia?

Leadership is needed, for these are deadly times. I think I am an honest observer--as honest as any. I have seen nothing to suggest that anything other than the union of the West offers hope. But not just any such union.

Only this union: a union of the West devoted to fight for the cause of liberty on any front, in any fashion. If that can be inspired through rhetoric, so be it. If it can be inspired through action, as well. If it must be inspired through example, we ought to stand to the labor.

There are many Westerners who do not agree. There is no alternative but to convince them, and no means but leadership to do so. That leadership means taking them places they fear to tread, and it will for that reason necessarily cause resentment and wrath.

It must be done, nevertheless. They will turn to our side. They do so even now. It is what they were born for, though they fear it; it is what their proudest traditions sponsor. Even the French remember the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. It is the cause, and the duty, of the West.

ScrappleFace: NARAL: Abortionist's 34-Year Assault Sentence 'Cruel'


It used to be said that the Bards could produce a satire so cruel that it could wither a man. I always thought that was an exaggeration, until today. From ScrappleFace: NARAL: Abortionist's 34-Year Assault Sentence 'Cruel':

'This is cruel and unusual punishment,' said NARAL President Kate Michelman. 'Rather than confine this man behind bars with a bunch of brutal murderers where he cannot use his prodigious gifts and talents, Dr. Finkel should be returned to his practice to continue his service to the community.'

In two decades of service, Dr. Finkel performed some 30,000 abortions. His crimes consisted of kissing and fondling his abortion patients against their will.

'We cannot condone the disgusting things Dr. Finkel did to women who trusted him,' said Ms. Michelman, 'However, we must consider the greater good of the community. If he is returned to his professional work, then ultimately it will reduce the number of women who might be victims of sexual assault by reducing the actual births of boys and girls who grow up to be sexual assailants and victims.'

NARAL-funded studies show that unwanted fetuses, whose mothers fail to choose abortion, are more likely to become involved in sexual crimes as adults.

'If Dr. Finkel is able to prevent just one sexual assault by aborting the potential assailant or the victim,' she said. 'It will, in a sense, atone for his crimes against women.'
That must be the cruelest thing I have ever read, and perhaps one of the truest. Abortion is one of those things people believe must be morally OK, exactly because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. It makes one shudder.

Daily Kos || Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.

More from the Daily Kos:

One more thing I forgot the first time out. In a piece called "Which is the party of states' rights?", Kos says this:

The Democrats never claimed to be the party of states' rights, so that rules them out.
Er, what? That's going to come as a bit of a surprise to every advocate of States' Rights for 140 of the last 160 years. But hey, we don't do history on the left; we're progressives. It's time to move on, isn't it? Isn't it always?



We mentioned Samizdata yesterday. Today, we note with pleasure that they have agreed to exchange link-hospitality with Grim's Hall. You'll find them under "Other Halls," to the right and down.

One of our Own

One of our Own:

Bravery Needs No Translation.

David Yeagley's

Bad Eagle:

Bad Eagle has some thoughts on empire, including a picture of Sherman's grave. May he... well, I am from Georgia, after all.

DoD News: Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing


May it always be thus:

Elsewhere in Baghdad, individuals inside a white Opel fired small arms at ICDC personnel at the Al-Amil gas station. The Civil Defense Corps soldiers returned fire, and Iraqi customers waiting for fuel also fired at the Opel. The assailants broke contact, and a search of the area met with negative results.
Emphasis added. Hat tip Samizdata, our brothers in England.

Grim's Hall

On War:

It is time to speak seriously about war.

I am brought to the topic by Kos, who approves of a line being taken by Howard Dean on the topic of the war in Iraq. Kos seems to think that this will prove to be a winning argument:

We've not paid attention to al-Qaida. We've spent $160 billion, lost over 400 servicemen, and wounded and permanently maimed over 2,000 people because we picked the wrong target.
First of all, it may be said that the claim that we've paid no attention to al Qaeda is wrong on its face. The same period has seen a USMC mission against Qaeda targets on the Horn of Africa; the capture of Khalid Shiek Mohammed; allied arrests and prosecutions; continued SOF operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere; and indeed, more "focus" on al Qaeda than can easily be rehearsed. But that is not what bothers me.

What bothers me is this gleeful counting of American war dead. Kos replies to Dean: "Checkmate. And that's beside the fact that we've lost 34 soldiers since Saddam was captured, not ten. (Someone update this guy's notes!)"

Here is my reply:

In this argument, you have drunk yourselves full from the cup of despair. If 400 dead soldiers--heroes and volunteers!--represents failure to you, then there can be no success. America fielded 150,000 troops in this war. In nine months it has lost less than five hundred--less, that is, than one in a hundred of those it deployed onto the field of war. If 99% survival is not acceptable to you, then war is not acceptable to you.

This is no small sacrifice to make. If you will not fight war, you give over to those who will. In a poem to one of the war dead, Lance Corporal Ian Malone--I am told it will be published soon in a volume called Eternal Voices or something like that--I wrote this:

What, one Irish fighting man
to free millions from cold chains?
Not noble words, not gracious plan
could make real such gains.

Or--Is our time so coy,
so wild and free a thing?
Not Harvey nor Kelly, boy
of Killarn, not the Brian King

Freedom bought at such a cost,
where glory's priced so steep:
Where the name of each good man lost
Can memory's Herald keep.

It is still true. Of old, men memorized epics: even the Iliad. Should our foes succeed in killing three times as many of our soldiers as they have done, so that 2,000 Coalition men lie dead in Iraq, yet one man who wished could remember their names. He could, if he devoted himself, remember their names, their ranks, and something of the history of their units. It lies within the power of the human mind.

And for this sacrifice, we have achieved something that passes human power to estimate. Three hundred thousand dead! And their widows and their children, and the fear in the night. It is gone, on the winds of morning. It is gone, forever.

Run against that? You fools, you cowards, you children of cold hearts. If this is a winning argument, we deserve destruction. We are no longer fit to bear the sword, for we have not the courage to lift it.

But it is not so. We do remember the strength of old steel.

De Oppresso Liber.


I have posted on occasion about the upcoming political race, although it is only now heating up enough to be worth a lot of attention. The big question looks to be Iowa. If Dean wins there, the nomination process can be all but closed, and we can proceed to the general election. If he loses, it's still an open game.

FundRace--which I've tended to follow instead of polling data--suggests that the race is very tight between Dean and Gephardt. Gephardt is interesting because he's run to the left of Dean on everything except the war. Dean's claims to being a member of the "Democratic wing" notwithstanding, the Gephardt attack site makes only liberal criticisms of Dean's policies, excepting Dean's desire to cut national defense funding. It speaks volumes that Dean and the fellow to his left are leading the pack in Iowa.

All of that makes Dean's latest ploy curious to me. A lot has been said about Dean's "grassroots army," although it is in fact substantially smaller than GWB's. Nevertheless, it's larger than the ones fielded by other Democratic candidates. Dean has enlisted them, I see, to write letters to the citizens of rural Iowa. These letters are supposed to "to make sure everyone in the state has heard about Howard Dean's positive vision for America." (One wonders if the letters mention that job #1 in the "positive vision" is raising taxes.)

Now, here's the part I'm curious about. Most of these letters--you can see by following the link above--are coming from California, New York, or Massachusetts. Coming from rural America myself, I can tell you exactly how such a letter would be received in my home. "Hello! I'm from New York, and I'd like to tell you how I think you should vote." Sorry, pal. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I would have expected Iowa to feel the same way, but given the fundraising, maybe they don't.

Or maybe they do. Check the fundraising by county, and you can see that both candidates have gotten nearly all their money from less than a third of the counties in the state. Meanwhile, checking the fundraising by-state, for all candidates, we see that Iowa trends slightly Republican. If the two candidates of the left-left are leading the Democratic fundraising, but the majority of the money is going to Bush, one suspects a lot of those letters are being written in vain.



I am making some cosmetic changes to the site, mostly in terms of color scheme. More will follow, most likely.

UPDATE: Still to come: proper heraldry--for now I have only my shield's partition, but it is otherwise unblazon'd. I shall also try to make a place for reader comments--another occasionally requested feature--and a biography, since some of you want that. If you have other requests, email.

The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase


This week I'm voting for The War Journal for political entry. The link appears to be messed up, so if you go, you'll have to dig around to find the good parts. The nonpolitical entries, er, don't really merit a vote.

Great lines in politics

Great Lines:

BBC Radio 4 has given us one of the great lines of political history:

It was trailed as a "unique chance to rewrite the law of the land". Listeners to BBC Radio 4's Today programme were asked to suggest a piece of legislation to improve life in Britain, with the promise that an MP would then attempt to get it onto the statute books.

But yesterday, 26,000 votes later, the winning proposal was denounced as a "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained piece of legislation" - by Stephen Pound, the very MP whose job it is to try to push it through Parliament.

Mr Pound's reaction was provoked by the news that the winner of Today's "Listeners' Law" poll was a plan to allow homeowners "to use any means to defend their home from intruders" - a prospect that could see householders free to kill burglars, without question.

"The people have spoken," the Labour MP replied to the programme, "... the bastards."

"The people have spoken... the bastards." I love it. Of course, our Mandarin friend was not done explaining his disdain for the electorate:
Having recovered his composure, Mr Pound told The Independent: "We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of Radio 4. I would have expected this result if there had been a poll in The Sun. Do we really want a law that says you can slaughter anyone who climbs in your window?"
"We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of Radio 4." This, after he had recovered his composure. Can you imagine a Congressman saying, "We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of NPR"?

As for the last part of the question, yes, that is what they really want. And rightly so. No one accidentally climbs into your house, and there are very limited circumstances under which someone doing so means anything but harm to you and your family.

The whole thing brings to mind another piece of British journalism which I mentioned here in August, Aidian Hartley's "How to Kill a Burglar" from the London Spectator. In any event, kudos to Mr. Pound for his keen wit, and shame on him for his "principles," which are both antidemocratic--respectable in a Lord, but absurd in a member of the House of Commons--and directly opposed to one of the fundamental rights of Men. The defense of those rights is the business of liberal government. Indeed, it is the whole business. Explaining morality to the people is neither part of the duty of government, nor a welcome addition.

The Current Royal Family > HM The Queen > Background

To the Queen:

I may be the only American citizen who led a toast to the Queen of England last night. It was the third, and last, of our New Years' toasts (conducted at Grim's Hall with sparkling, but nonalcoholic, apple cider. This is a kindness offered to Mrs. Grim, who doesn't care for alcohol's flavor).

It may seem the odder given that I am a Jacobite. But I have reason.

On September 13, 2001, 187 years after it was written, the reigning Queen of England ordered that "The Star Spangled Banner" be played at Buckingham Palace for the mid-day changing of the guard, as a memorial to the people killed in the terrorist attacks early that week in the U.S. On September 14, 187 years to the day after Francis Scott Key wrote the first draft of the song, the Queen asked that it be sung at the memorial service at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Not only did she ask that it be sung, she sang it. She had learned the words by heart.

Long live the Queen, and have a happy New Year.