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Don’t Support the Troops!

January 25, 2006

Prichard sends a link to the "Warriors and Wusses" column from the L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein with the observation "at least this guy has a good sense of humor".

The joke is Joel Stein.

I’ll admit there are some mildly funny lines in his column. And I’ll credit him for his honesty and logic: Stop lying to yourselves. If you don’t support the mission, you don’t support the troops.

For real amusement however, take a peek as Hugh Hewitt takes Stein behind the woodshed. <cue cartoon punch sounds> The utter shallowness of Stein’s moral reasoning, not to mention his pathetically ignorant knowledge of the military or his juvenile use of the word "imperialism", become more and more evident as the interview progresses. I hope he looks back someday at this interview and cringes with embarrassment, for then he will have become a better person.

The thing is, when he says

I don’t support our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to
have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper
stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even
Calvin is unwilling to urinate on…

But I’m not for the war. And being against the war and saying you
support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have
ever taken — and they’re wussy by definition. It’s as if the one lesson
they took away from Vietnam wasn’t to avoid foreign conflicts with no
pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward…

The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible,
whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making
individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people
ignoring their morality is horrifying.

I think he is honestly, and even innocently stating what many so called "Progressives" believe. For that, I thank him. He thinks Calvin pissing on the troops would be a good thing. He doesn’t support the mission, and he doesn’t support the troops. They are all "tools of American Imperialism" and are essentially committing murder.

That’s about the manliest take one could have on what is essentially a nihilist wussy worldview: Nothing is worth fighting for short of a reaction to a direct attack- and even then…


In truth, I have little anger for Stein, and much pity, perhaps because I so recently felt very close to his point of view. He’s a Man without a saving story. He has a narrative –  a vulgar Marxism – but it is strangely abstract an impersonal. There is only the clash of  gigantic dialectic political/social forces, and his small part in it all is fortunately to make six figures writing one column a week trashing the people who make his freedom possible.

This is the attitude outlined in Roger Kimball’s "After the Suicide of the West" article I linked to earlier. Quoting author James Burnham her writes:

The issue, Burnham saw, is that
modern liberalism has equipped us with an ethic too abstract
and empty to inspire real commitment.

[Modern Liberalism] does not offer ordinary men compelling motives for personal
suffering, sacrifice, and death. There is no tragic
dimension in its picture of the good life. Men become
willing to endure, sacrifice, and die for God, for family,
king, honor, country, from a sense of absolute duty or an
exalted vision of the meaning of history… . And it is
precisely these ideas and institutions that liberalism has
criticized, attacked, and in part overthrown as
superstitious, archaic, reactionary, and irrational. In
their place liberalism proposes a set of pale and bloodless
abstractions—pale and bloodless for the very reason that
they have no roots in the past, in deep feeling and in
suffering. Except for mercenaries, saints, and neurotics, no
one is willing to sacrifice and die for progressive
education, medicare, humanity in the abstract, the United
Nations, and a ten percent rise in Social Security payments.

Compare to this exchange in Hewitt’s interview:

HH: Let me ask you a tough question, Joel, because this is the toughest one. J.P. Blecksmith was a young Marine lieutenant, graduated from Annapolis, killed in Fallujah on November 11th, 2004. Just a tremendous human being and man. If you meet his parents on the street, what do you say to them?

JS: That I’m so, so sorry.

HH: Do you honor the service that their son did?

JS: To honor the service their son…now this is a dumb question, but what do you mean by honor? That’s a word you keep using. I’m not entirely…maybe that’s my problem. But I’m not entirely sure what you’re…

HH: Honor usually means gratitude and esteem. Are you grateful for and esteem what he did? Honestly?

JS: Honestly? I admire the bravery. I don’t…you know, I feel like he did something I could never do, so I’m kind of in awe on some level. Am I grateful, that I feel like he protected me? Um, no I don’t.

HH: And so, do you think he died in vain?

JS: Yeah. I do. And that’s why I’m so horrified by all this, and why I don’t want empty sentiments prolonging the war.

HH: And the people who’ve died in Afghanistan. Have they died in vain?

JS: Well, if they haven’t, what have they accomplished?

HH: I’m asking you, Joel. You wrote the column. You tell me. Have they accomplished nothing?

JS: Well, um, do I think that I, as an American, are safer because of what they did?

HH: That wasn’t what I asked. I asked did they accomplish anything in going to Afghanistan.

JS: If I were an Afghani, I would probably…if I lived in Kabul, I probably would think that they accomplished something, sure.

Nothing to live for = nothing to die for. But he’ll hang with y’all in Vegas!

I hope he takes up one of Hewitt’s listeners for a personal escort to a military base for some education and dialog. Maybe if he met a few soldiers he’d be less inclined to say in print what he’d be too "polite" to say face to face.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 26, 2006 11:39 am

    Hi Count,

    I sure am glad you have started blogging. You do have the ability to add a unique perspective to current events, rather than just parrot what others are writing like most of the rest of the blogsphere. Tim C. also makes a fairly decent devil’s advocate as well. : -)

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