Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A few good articles

A friend on an e-mail list sent this link. It's written by Dinesh D'Souza, the Indian-born columnist (the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, New Republic, and National Review) and author. It's an excerpt from his book, "What's So Great About America?" Now, if you're one of those sorry individuals who think that American stinks, you may not want to read this. It'll make you sick. Fair warning!
Ordinary Americans not only enjoy security and dignity, but also comforts that other societies reserve for the elite. We now live in a country where construction workers regularly pay $4 for a cappuccino, where maids drive nice cars, where plumbers take their families on vacation to Europe. As Irving Kristol once observed, there is virtually no restaurant in America to which a CEO can go to lunch with the absolute assurance that he will not find his secretary also dining there. Given the standard of living of the ordinary American, it is no wonder that socialist or revolutionary schemes have never found a wide constituency in the United States. As Werner Sombart observed, all socialist utopias in America have come to grief on roast beef and apple pie.

Another D'Souza column, titled "10 things to celebrate: Why I'm an anti-anti-American", contains more of the same, I'm afraid:
Indeed, newcomers to the United States are struck by the amenities enjoyed by "poor" people. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s when CBS television broadcast a documentary, "People Like Us," intended to show the miseries of the poor during an ongoing recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, with a view to embarrassing the Reagan administration. But by the testimony of former Soviet leaders, it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans have TV sets, microwave ovens and cars. They arrived at the same perception that I witnessed in an acquaintance of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States. I asked him, "Why are you so eager to come to America?" He replied, "I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."

Ain't it great?

Now, something a tad more political. From, this article by Douglas Kern called "When Superman Shrugs":
A small but growing number of ideologues on both sides of the political aisle believe that America is simply too powerful. Some of these ideologues will say so directly; they distrust America, or even detest its culture for being fascistic and/or decadent, and they believe that the world will be a better place if America's prominence diminishes. Others strenuously deny that they want to reduce America's power, but their preferred policies achieve just that goal. If the Democratic response to the war on terror has seemed strangely disjointed, it is because many Democrats do not feel free to say what they truly believe: that America would be a kinder, richer, and safer nation if it relinquished a significant portion of its economic, military, and cultural might. Such a position isn't contemptible, but it is wrong and contrary to the beliefs of most Americans.

So Democrats don't speak it aloud. Instead, they give us policies that undermine American power in the name of American power: an Iraqi policy that favors disengagement over success; a reactive anti-terrorist policy that gives our enemies the permanent advantage of the offensive; and an excessive reliance on international institutions whose members crave nothing more than seizing power and influence in those areas from which America withdraws. The Democrats will never improve their position in national politics until they resolve the obvious conflict between their rhetoric and their actual preferences.

Well worth reading. Finally, Richard Lindzen on Al Gore's movie:
A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. ... there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce--if we're lucky.

Dr. Lindzen is the author of a great metaphorical global warming quote, too:
The notion that if you’re ignorant of something and somebody comes up with a wrong answer, and you have to accept that because you don’t have another wrong answer to offer is like faith healing, it’s like quackery in medicine – if somebody says you should take jelly beans for cancer and you say that’s stupid, and he says, well can you suggest something else and you say, no, does that mean you have to go with jelly beans?

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