11 January 2007

Labor theory of war

[source, source]

“The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict,” President Bush said last night. “It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.” Markos “Kos” Moulitsas begs to differ:

I can’t take anyone bellowing crap like “decisive ideological struggle of our time” seriously when they refuse to call for the sort of national sacrifice that a real “decisive ideological struggle of our time” would demand.

If Bush and his pals truly believe the fate of Western civilization hangs in the balance, they should show they mean it. Mobilize the country. Call for a draft. . . .

And yeah, of course they won’t go anywhere near a draft. They don’t believe in their war that much, enough to kill them electorally for a generation. But if the struggle is so dire and dark, why not do something as tame as repeal their precious tax cuts for the wealthy?

It’s a common trope on the left: the measure of your devotion to a cause is the extent to which you are willing to expand governmental power in the name of fulfilling it. The question of whether a draft or tax increases would, as a practical matter, benefit the cause is treated as irrelevant; what’s important is the symbolism of the grand gesture. It is analogous to evaluating a man’s devotion to his wife or girlfriend solely by how much money he spends on her.

Logo-Realism in action, valuing symbolism over results. It’s exactly the same impulse that judges the charity of society by how much is spent on welfare programs, not what condition the poor are in. See The End of Equality for a good treatment of the subject.

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When you can't keep your shame private anymore

[source, source]

ATLANTA — Fourteen members of an advisory board at the Carter Center resigned today, concluding they could “no longer in good conscience continue to serve? following publication of former President Jimmy Carter’s controversial book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.?

“It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy,? the board members wrote in a letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support. Therefore it is with sadness and regret that we hereby tender our resignation from the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center effective immediately.?

These kind of stories are a bit depressing, because you realize that no amount of feedback, even as strong as this, will have any impact on The Worst President Ever.

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On the other side

Cindy Sheehan and company visit Cuba to protest the Guantanamo prison camp for Caliphascists. Naturally, they completely ignore a request from the wive of Cuban dissidents to visit their prison.

The leader of Ms. Sheehan’s trip, Medea Benjamin, said the American activists had not seen the letter [from the dissidents’ wives] and that they would be focusing solely on Guantanamo.

“It just so happens that this is where the [Guantanamo] prisoners are,? Ms. Benjamin said. That the group is visiting Cuba, where prisons define daily life for many, is “very incidental,? she added […]

So Sheehan et. al. is openly not about civil rights, but only civil rights for enemies of the USA.

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