Monday, December 20, 2004

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The other day while channel surfing, I came across "A Charlie Brown Christmas". By chance I happened to tune in right at the moment Charlie Brown yells out "does anybody know the true meaning of Christmas!?!?!"

Linus steps up and calmly answers "Sure, Charlie Brown. I do"...

"Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord..."

Does anybody think an animated Christmas special made today would dare quote (gasp) the Bible?

It got me thinking about all the attacks on any public displays or even the mention of Christmas by groups like the A.C.L.U. If you haven't been paying attention, the effort to remove all vestiges of religion has really been stepped up this year. Christmas has been targeted like no other time in our history by bureaucrats, educators and "civil rights" organizations. Personally, I think it is partly some childish sort of payback for reelecting Bush.

I don't doubt that should the ACLU succeed in removing all the military chaplains, swearing ins using a bible and painted over the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court, they would eventually seek to have this sort of program banned from the public airways. Doubt it? Ask a Boy Scout.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Nothing more than Feelings...

Recently I sent this article to a number of people whom I thought might find it interesting. Of particular interest were the number of historical references about the Middle East that most people are unaware.

When a friend's spouse replied that she was "insulted" by my email, I was dismayed to have upset her, but was also curious about what could be "insulting" in the article? In my reply, I pointed out there were no historical misrepresentations or factual errors as far as I could tell. Besides, she did not even make that accusation. Even if there were inaccuracies, why would that "insult" anyone? There were no negative racial stereotypes or derogatory epithets employed, which I agreed would be insulting.

I really wanted to know what upset her to the point of writing a longtime friend of she and her husband a rather harsh response.

No such luck. What I received in return was a reiteration of the first reply minus the personal attacks.

What is so interesting to me, if you haven't figured it out yet, is the use of "insult" in lieu of an argument. Unless you consider the charge that I don't "get it" suffice for debate.

This is what is meant when the charge is made that liberal beliefs are more guided by feelings than by reason and logic.

Rather than being personally "insulted", I suspect a more accurate description is her feelings were being "assaulted". Instead of confronting unpleasant facts that may challenge her world view, she became agitated and ended all further discussion (and thought) by being personally insulted. Certain perceptions just aren't to be faced or questioned. It also makes sense when someone's positions are based on feelings rather than logic they are more likely to take offense at disagreements.

This helps illustrate why it is so difficult to change certain people's minds on certain subjects. Yes, people can have different opinions. You like yellow, I like blue. But on a whole host of issues we can't both be right. When someone chooses to be insulted rather than choosing to debate, I know which of us is.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Both Sides Do It

Recently I sent this Thomas Sowell article to my nephew, who is a sophomore at UCI.

I've decided to share our subsequent correspondence.

I guess turnabout isn't fair play after all?


Hey Scott, I realize I send a lot of stuff and also realize most people don't read everything. I do appreciate that you do read some and hope you find it thought provoking if not the most fascinating material you've ever laid eyes on(!) Black conservatives, like Thomas Sowell, Ward Connerly and especially Clarence Thomas are reviled in the press and academia, so you probably don't get to hear their opinions very often.

I am interpreting your response to Thomas Sowell's article on judges as "both sides do it" when they have the power. This is what your grandmother thinks ("the pendulum swings back and forth") and it drives me crazy. Hopefully my lengthy response won't make this the last question you ask.

I personally don't subscribe to the theory that the two parties are basically mirror images of each other regarding politics and power. However, the differences in the two philosophies is most clear when it comes to the law.

Regardless of your or my personal thoughts on abortion, racial preference, death penalty or same-sex marriage the question is: in a free society who gets to decide such issues; the people or unelected judges?


With the agenda of the political left increasingly rejected by voters at the polls, the only way to get the items on that agenda enacted into law is to have judges who will decree the liberal agenda from the bench.

Think abortion, racial preference, death penalty and same sex-marriage for examples.

Here's Andrew McCarthy:

In a democracy, it is to be presumed that great social conflicts will be resolved democratically. That presumption is not beyond rebuttal, but for it to be overcome there must be unmistakable proof that the dispute at issue was removed from democratic consideration by the Constitution.

President Bush campaigned on the promise of judges who acknowledge and respect objective limits to their awesome powers, rooted in the Constitution as written and in tradition.

The bottom line is liberal judges legislate from the bench. Conservative judges do not. Both sides don't "do it".

Democrats (and even more liberal Republicans like Arlen Spector) and their choice for judges believe in a "living constitution" and get around the constraints of the constitution by cleverly "reinterpreting" the words. Most amazingly they do so openly. The media doesn't care because they subscribe to the same philosophy and support the same issues. Conservative judges believe their power is constrained by the constitution and believe in "original intent". Judge Bork framed this well in his response to a question during his unsuccessful confirmation hearing; "its not my opinion, its the law".

Republicans have been slow figuring this out as evidenced by the horrific Supreme Court appointments of David Souter (Bush Sr.) and Sandra Day O'Connor (Reagan). Democrats meanwhile have long understood the power of the courts and have been staging an unprecedented filibuster of FEDERAL court judges . This is a first in our nation's history and is more evidence why "turnabout isn't fair play after all" is not an accurate depiction of the two parties.

Best regards,

Your uncle Rick

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Where Failure is an Option

I was leaving my local liquor market just now, opening my bag of M&M's when the headline of the San Francisco Chronicle: caught my eye:

Assault on U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia shows militants remain capable of attacks

Four of the "militants" were killed and a fifth was captured alive. Five foreign workers were killed in the attack, but no Americans. Undoubtedly killing Americans, any Americans, was the singular goal of the attack.

Earlier this morning, I read about an editor of Newsweek rewriting of history while comparing this episode to the mythical seizing of the U.S. embassy in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Remember, the Tet offensive was a tremendous victory for America. The media turned it into defeat simply because, like the headline in today's Chronicle says, the enemy was "capable" of such an attack.

You wouldn't know it from the Chronicle but the Saudi Consulate attack was also a failure. This after all, was a suicide mission designed to kill Americans that resulted in no American casualties and one "militant" captured alive. They weren't even successful in the "suicide" part. The Chron headline could have just as easily read:

Militants Becoming Increasingly Desperate as Election Nears

What I realized is thanks to our media, success or failure are no longer the only factors in our enemies' missions. Showing our media that they are "capable" of attacking is almost as important: "...militants remain capable of attacks". Hell, I'm capable of attacking.

Victories in the War on Terror will not be on a grand scale like El Alamein or Midway. That doesn't mean this wasn't a victory - one of many thousands we won't celebrate.