232 years ago, a group of bitter men clung to their guns and religion, driven by their antipathy towards people who weren't like them. It the end, I think it worked out OK.
(Via Charlie Foxtrot)
(Via Dr Sanity)
Guns and God? Hell, yes: Obama attacks two of the things that elevate the U.S. above places like Europe
By Mark Steyn
Sen. Obama's remarks about poor dumb, bitter rural losers "clinging to" guns and God certainly testify to the instinctive snobbery of a big segment of the political class. But we shouldn't let it go by merely deploring coastal condescension toward the knuckledraggers. No, what Michelle Malkin calls Crackerquiddick (quite rightly - it's more than just another dreary "-gate") is not just snobbish nor even merely wrongheaded. It's an attack on two of the critical advantages the United States holds over most of the rest of the Western world. In the other G7 developed nations, nobody clings to God 'n' guns. The guns got taken away, and the Europeans gave up on churchgoing once they embraced Big Government as the new religion.
How's that working out? Compared with America, France and Germany have been more or less economically stagnant for the past quarter-century, living permanently with unemployment rates significantly higher than in the United States.
Has it made them any less "bitter," as Obama characterizes those Pennsylvanian crackers? No. In my book "America Alone," I note a global survey on optimism: 61 percent of Americans were optimistic about the future, 29 percent of the French, 15 percent of Germans. Take it from a foreigner: In my experience, Americans are the least "bitter" people in the developed world. Secular, gun-free big-government Europe doesn't seem to have done anything for people's happiness. Consider by way of example the words of Keith Reade. He's not an Obama speechwriter, he's a writer for the London Daily Mirror. And the day after the 2004 presidential election he expressed his frustration in an alarmingly Obamaesque way:
"Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets. The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', nonpassport ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest d*** in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong.'"
Well, that's certainly why I supported Bush, but I'm not sure it entirely accounts for the other 62,039,073 incontinent rednecks. Reade, though, does usefully enumerate some of the distinctive features that separate America from the rest of the West. "Self-righteous"? If you want a public culture that reeks of indestructible faith in its own righteousness, try Europe - especially when they're talking about America: If you disagree with Eutopian wisdom, you must be an idiot.
Obama and far too many Democrats have bought into this delusion, most thoroughly distilled in Thomas Frank's book "What's The Matter With Kansas?", whose argument is that heartland voters are too dumb (i.e., "moronic muppets") to vote for their own best interests.
Europeans did "vote for their own best interests" - i.e., cradle-to-grave welfare, 35-hour workweeks, six weeks of paid vacation, etc. - and as a result they now face a perfect storm of unsustainable entitlements, economic stagnation and declining human capital that's left them so demographically beholden to unassimilable levels of immigration that they're being remorselessly Islamized with every passing day. We should thank God (forgive the expression) that America's loser gun nuts don't share the same sophisticated rational calculation of "their best interests" as do Thomas Frank, Obama, too many Democrats and the European political establishment.
As for "gun-totin'," large numbers of Americans tote guns because they're assertive, self-reliant citizens, not docile subjects of a permanent governing class. The Second Amendment is philosophically consistent with the First Amendment, for which I've become more grateful since the Canadian Islamic Congress decided to sue me for "hate speech" up north. Both amendments embody the American view that liberty is not the gift of the state, and its defense cannot be outsourced exclusively to the government.
I think a healthy society needs both God and guns: It benefits from a belief in some kind of higher purpose to life on Earth, and it requires a self-reliant citizenry. If you lack either of those twin props, you wind up with today's Europe - a present-tense Eutopia mired in fatalism.
A while back, I was struck by the words of Oscar van den Boogaard, a Dutch gay humanist (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool). Reflecting on the Continent's accelerating Islamification, he concluded that the jig was up for the Europe he loved, but what could he do? "I am not a warrior, but who is?" he shrugged. "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it." Sorry, it doesn't work like that. If you don't understand that there are times when you'll have to fight for it, you won't enjoy it for long. That's what a lot of Reade's laundry list - "gun-totin'," "military-lovin'" - boils down to. As for "gay-loathin'," it's Oscar van den Boogaard's famously tolerant Amsterdam where gay-bashing is resurgent: The editor of the American gay paper the Washington Blade got beaten up in the streets on his last visit to the Netherlands.
God and guns. Maybe one day a viable society will find a magic cure-all that can do without both, but Big Government isn't it. And even complacent liberal Democrats ought to be able to look across the ocean and see that. But, then, Obama did give the speech in San Francisco, a city demographically declining at a rate that qualifies it for EU membership. When it comes to parochial simpletons, you don't need to go to Kansas.
Even Bob Herbert!
Post below recycled from Just one minute. See the original for links
Even Bob Herbert of the Times can concede the obvious regarding the issues swirling in the Democratic
Senator Obama, for his part, seems to have lost sight of the unifying message that proved so compelling early in his campaign and has stumbled into weird cultural predicaments that have caused some people to rethink his candidacy.
While some of those predicaments raise legitimate concerns (his former pastor, his comments in San Francisco) and some do not (stupid questions about wearing a flag pin), he has allowed them to fester unnecessarily. The way for a candidate to eventually change the subject is to offer policy prescriptions so creative and compelling that they generate excitement among the electorate and can't be ignored by the press.
Voters want more from Senator Obama. He's given a series of wonderful speeches, but he has to add more meat to those rhetorical bones. He needs to be clear about where he wants to lead this country and how he plans to do it. That's how a candidate defines himself or herself. Instead, Mr. Obama is allowing the Clintons and the news media to craft a damaging persona of him as some kind of weak-kneed brother from another planet, out of touch with mainstream America, and perhaps a loser.
Wednesday night's debate in Philadelphia may have been a sorry exercise in journalism, but even many of Senator Obama's own supporters were disappointed with his lackluster performance.
Wow. Obama has been thumped recently by MoDo, Brooks, Krugman, and now Herbert. OK, MoDo is insane, Brooks is a righty, and Krugman has been pushing Hillarity's health care plan for months, but what is Herbert's excuse? I am troubled that Obama is not sweeping the Times editorial board. How dare they be distracted from the real issue, which is America's yearning for hope. And change, too.
Why the Madrassa? And Why "Hussein"?
Earlier today, when posting about opinion polls in Afghanistan and Somalia, I was forced to mention the current presidential campaign. Since I had to bring it up, I decided to have a little fun at the expense of the candidates, particularly the Democrats. I'm not a party-line voter, but - to paraphrase South Park's Matt Stone - I hate Republicans, but I really f***ing hate Democrats. I'd sooner vote for a rabid tree shrew for national office than pull the lever for a Democrat.
We have a sometime commenter here who goes by the nickname "The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon", or - to those who knew him in his LGF days - "Nodrog". Nodrog is unhappy when I let my loathing of the Democrats show, and he takes me to task for it. In my recent post he mentioned my use of "the Barack HUSSEIN Obama angle, new, but also pathetically trite." He also said this:
As for the "madrassa" angle, I would refer you to the source for such internet-based smears. The Muslim school Obama attended for part of the time he was a child was not a Madrassa. According to the free dictionary online, a madrassa is defined as A building or group of buildings used for teaching Islamic theology and religious law, typically including a mosque. Websters online dictionary has a more broad definition, a Muslim school, college, or university that is often part of a mosque. So, of course Baron, you will now crow that you are technically correct to say that Barack Obama attended a madrassa in Indonesia. But, given the popular understanding of a madrassa as an al qaeda nest, the characterization of Obama's Indonesian school as such is nothing more than another cheap smear.
Nodrog isn't the only person on the Left who objects to formulations such as these, and his comment made me wonder what all the fuss might be about. Here's my response to him.
Nodrog - While it may or may not be "technically correct" to refer to the school that Barack Obama attended in Indonesia as a "madrassa", mentioning it is not a "cheap smear". Considering that the young BHO - according to the testimony of his sister - did what all the other children at his school did, that is, he memorized and chanted the Koran in Arabic, it's not a trivial piece of information. It deserves to be mentioned, since it's unlikely to get much coverage in the MSM.
I freely acknowledge that referring to the next President of the United States as "Barack Hussein Obama" is a dig, and that I enjoy doing it. So tell me: what is it about my doing so that bothers you? I presume it wouldn't disturb you if I referred to "John Fitzgerald Kennedy", or "Lyndon Baines Johnson", or "James Earl Carter Jr.", or "William Jefferson Clinton", or "Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton". So what's wrong with "Barack Hussein Obama"?
There's nothing wrong with his having a Muslim background, right? So why be concerned about my referring to it? Is it because the average American, if allowed to become aware of it, would become suspicious of BHO, and thus less likely to vote for him? If so, why would the average American, despite all the years of incessant televised propaganda that tries to convince him that Islam is a religion of peace, be suspicious of someone with a Muslim background?
Do you think that somehow, against all odds, the truth has gotten through to Joe Sixpack and Suzie Bighair, and that they realize there's something fishy about most devotees of the Prophet? Are you perhaps afraid that the truth will in fact sink your candidate? If so, let truth reign!
ABC Debate Obama Flag Pin Question `Planted from the Right'? Nutrooters REALLY losing it now!
Houston Chronicle blogger Bob Cavnar needs to take some time off, or lay off the caffeine, or maybe someone should gently tell him that the black helicopters aren't following him after all. Whatever the case, Cavnar used his April 19th posting to go off on a wild eyed rant that is so twisted that it ends up blaming Republicans and Mickey Mouse for the fact that Barack Obama isn't patriotic enough to wear an American flag lapel pin! This is just another hilarious example of the overheated far left's panty bunching extravaganza that we've seen since the ABC debate aired.
During the last Democratic presidential debate, a woman from Pennsylvania was shown on videotape pointing out that Barack Obama refuses to wear an American flag lapel pin unlike most of the other candidates who do from time to time and Cavnar has decided that some dark, Obama hating conspiracy at ABC pushed this woman into the debate. Here was her question at the ABC debate:
Senator Obama, I have a question, and I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen, policemen and EMS wear the flag. I want to know why you don't.
As Cavnar points out, the woman, Pennsylvanian Nash McCabe, was quoted as concerned about that very question by The New York Times on April 4th. So, because this woman's point against Obama was known before the debate, Cavnar claims that McCabe being presented as a "typical voter" by ABC is somehow a lie.
Cavnar also points out that Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch agrees that McCabe's question was unfair and more proof of the "travesty of a mockery of a sham of a presidential debate" that ABC perpetrated on the nation. Bunch was just as peeved as Cavnar and said, "So Nash McCabe wasn't located at random at all. Instead, someone at ABC News decided that they wanted to go after Obama on the patriotism issue, and they actively sought a Pennsylvanian who they knew wanted to bring it up."
But, it all amounts to a big "so what?" Did ABC ever SAY that McCabe was chosen at random? No would be the answer to that. Both the Houston Chronicle's Cavnar and the Philly Daily News' Bunch set up a nice strawman that they could then easily knock down. Of course, it is true that ABC sought out this woman and that she wasn't found "at random," but I'm not aware that anyone at ABC DID say she was found by accident in the first place.
ABC did look for this woman to pose this question, without question. But it was not an ABC hit job at all. It was a substantive question on an issue that Obama himself made into an issue. Cavnar and Bunch's absurd claims of ABC's malfeasance aside, it was Obama himself that we can blame for the lapel flag issue.
Americans are interested in why Obama won't wear his American flag pin. It's just that simple.
(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)