James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, August 11, 2006

What is Left? What is Right?

I've read all the contributions in The American Conservative's What is Left? What is Right? Does it Matter? symposium.

I'm quoting from two that made the greatest impression from me. From Scott McConnell:
The defining issue of our day is the Iraq War and American foreign policy. It has been so since the shocking attack of 9/11, an event that showed that the survival of the United States as a free society was unexpectedly at risk. Foreign policy, when the stakes are war, peace, and national survival, inevitably becomes the deciding issue when it moves to center stage. The division in this case was whether the United States would seek to isolate al-Qaeda from the Arab world in order to marginalize and destroy it. Or would it pursue policies that inevitably pushed more and more of the world’s one billion Muslims towards al-Qaeda’s view of America and the world? Astonishingly and recklessly, George W. Bush, influenced by neoconservative advisers who believe the only thing Arabs understand is force, chose the latter course.
When one sits down with a liberal, [other] issues become something that can be discussed without rancor or passion, or simply ignored. Next to the war, they hardly seem more important (though surely they are) than whether the Yankees return to their rightful place in the World Series. On the Right, one has good conversations with those who are either antiwar or good friends of long standing. But it has become hard to imagine striking up a new friendship with a pro-Bush “let’s invade the world to make it democratic” type.[emphasis mine]

From Jeffrey Hart:
That brings us to George W. Bush, the most ideological president in American history. He thinks in abstractions and acts on them. No president stands at a greater remove from Burke’s critique of ideology. His foreign policy—the march of democracy—is immune to fact and, notably in Iraq, to a Burkean sense of history. In economics (supply-side dogma, calamitous debt), in science (Intelligent Design), in his opposition to stem-cell research and therapy, Bush has been a brass-bound ideologue.
The common denominator of successful presidents, liberal or conservative, has been that they were realists. Because Bush is an ideologue remote from fact, he has failed comprehensively and surely is the worst president in American history—indeed, in the damage he has caused to the nation, without a rival in the race for the bottom. Because Bush is generally called a conservative, he will have poisoned the term for decades to come.

1 comment:

  1. ...9/11, an event that showed that the survival of the United States as a free society was unexpectedly at risk.

    ...only due to the majority's reaction to it.

    Because of that reaction, the terrorists have won. They need do nothing else but watch 'merika unravel itself.

    Sadly dumb.