Thursday, December 29, 2005

When good conservatives go bad

Sully is not the only split-personality blogger I read from time to time. James Howard Kunstler is usually insightful and well-tethered to reality. However, like the famous Pooh, Kunstler appears to have some wingnutty blind spots.

The full-bore warbloggers justify their defacto repeal of the rule of law with unapologetic Hobbesian rhetoric: might makes right and we should sacrifice everything in the pursuit of order. I disagree profoundly, of course, but I understand the internal logic.

But what Kunstler is doing here is something else entirely. More principled thinkers feel some need to harmonize their primal fears with the Constitution they want on some level to preserve. And so, as so often happens, the way they resolve the conflict between inconvenient facts and essential belief is to toss the facts out the window:

...while I think much of the public views 9/11 as just another drama that came over the cable channels, I also think it was an extraordinary injury to the nation in reality, and a huge insult to the professionals in the defense, state, and various intelligence departments. This extraordinary injury and insult has produced extraordinary results -- an unprecedented use of invasive electronic surveillance to desperately try to prevent another such injury. Unlike the Nixon years, no evidence has emerged yet that this spying was directed widely at critics of government policy. If we are listening in on phone conversations and Internet chatter involving jihadists, then that is okay with me. If this spying were to swing over to critics of the war and the news media on a wholesale basis -- as in the Nixon / Vietnam years -- I'd feel differently about it. But I do not see any evidence that it has. In the meantime, I don't see how it can be avoided.

Ummm..hate to break it to you, Jim, but if you don't see any evidence of abuse of power in the Bush police state, it is because you are suffering from a profound case of willful blindness. The Times belatedly let us all in on the massive over-reaching now happening on a regular basis. We know that the Pentagon is spying on anti-war and environmentalist groups. In short, exactly the things you say would cause you to change your opinion if they were happening, are happening.

So go ahead and reject the data if you must, but don't expect to break bread with those of us on the logical side of the ideological divide.

(Blogged from the kitchen table of Dr. Bloor, who is alive, well, and better get his bloggy ass in gear.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i about fell off my chair when i read the latest post by Kunstler at CFNC - like you, i was really disappointed.

11:30 PM  
Blogger spectral_ev said...

'much of the public views 911 as just another drama...'
is he living in the same country i live in? we were a long way from ground zero in my state, but i remember the shock and grief we all felt. i remember that all the churches were open, and people on the street were talking to each other, and there was a readiness to do anything we had to do to help our country. our president advised us to go shopping. and now this guy wants to believe the average american doesn't care. why does this elitist hate americans so?

6:47 AM  

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