Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Respect, not censorship, is the issue

One of the things that is interesting about the Bushbots is how anybody who does not automatically toe the Bushevik line is a "liberal". That includes traditional conservatives such as myself (a believer in a limited government that does only what time and/or experiments in other countries have proven is proper for government to do) or Pat Buchanan.

When we say that exporting democracy at gunpoint is a Wilsonian liberal idea, not something that a good conservative would ever support doing, we're lambasted as "liberals" or "paleo-conservatives". When we say that interfering in the affairs of other nations overseas is not something a real conservative would ever support, we're blasted as "isolationist" and "anti-freedom". When we point out that the neo-conservatives have adopted the methods of the Communists, ranging from the Central Committee that formulates the Party's message to the Party commissars responsible for spreading said message and enforcing Party unity, we're accused of being "alarmists" and "objectively pro-terrorist" for not properly supporting our Dear Leader in his quest to squelch out those dirty nasty liberals who are traitors to America and thus fair game for any methods, no matter how vile the source of said methods.

Those of us who are conservative point out that the Constitution gives three basic roles to the national government -- to defend Americans from foreign threats, to secure this nation's borders and ports, and to regulate interstate commerce -- and that said roles do not include spying on Americans exercising their free speech rights, prohibiting substances that people voluntarily ingest while knowing full well their effects, or regulating how people can die -- then we're called lefty loonies. If we condemn the no-fly list as an unwarranted intrusion into freedom of travel within the borders of the United States, we're accused of a "pre-9/11 mentality" and again accused of being lefty loonies.

If we raise the alarm about a Dubai company buying major U.S. ports we're called anti-Muslim. If we raise the alarm about the neo-con's policy of defending Israel to the last American, we're called anti-Semitic. If we raise the alarm about unrestricted immigration from Mexico creating a new American slave class and depressing the wages of American workers, we are called anti-Mexican racists. If we state that the job of the American government is to serve the American people -- i.e., America for Americans, not for Bosnians or Kosovars or Iraqis or Afghans or whatever other country our leaders decide to "liberate" next -- we're accused of being bigots who don't care about the fates of brown people in other lands. When we object that charity at gunpoint is theft, that we pay our taxes to a government that is supposed to serve America and Americans not some foreign people overseas who have their own government that's supposed to take care of them, we're accused again of having a "pre-9/11 mentality" and of being racist bigots.

If we object to the war in Iraq because it has nothing to do with defending America and Americans and everything to do with liberal ideas of exporting democracy at gunpoint, we're accused of having a "pre-9/11 mentality" and being "racist" and "liberal". If we state that increasing the size of government by more than any president since LBJ is about as conservative as Leon Trotsky, the answer is... [crickets].

Now, here comes Pat Buchanan again, weighing in on the Danish cartoon issue. Pat basically says, "sure, a right-wing Danish newspaper had the right to publish those cartoons. But the U.S. government and its people also have every right to condemn such blatant bigotry." Pat points out that by supporting or at least appearing to support this bigotry against Muslims, so-called "Conservatives" in Washington today merely confirm to the Muslims of the world that America and Americans are all bigots who hate Muslims, and therefore that Muslims should support the terrorist fighting America, rather than supporting America. By appearing to support this bigotry against Muslims, we show that we have no respect for the Islamic faith, and thus have no business tromping around in one of Islam's holiest lands, Iraq.

And frankly, my own opinion is quite similar to Pat's. That right-wing Danish paper had the right to publish cartoons that depict the Prophet Mohammed as a bucktooth inbred foul-mouth terrorist. And I have every right to call them a bunch of bigots and condemn the cartoons as ignorant hate speech by a bunch of folks who are only inches removed from being neo-Nazis. Similarly, the Muslims have every right to protest the cartoons and demand that the Danish government condemn the cartoons as a blatant racist statement by people who are not fit to be seen in mixed company. Free speech is free speech, after all.

I eagerly await to see what the Busheviks are going to say about that little bit of heresy on the part of Pat (and myself). I suppose they can't accuse us of anti-Muslim bigotry. I suppose it's going to be the anti-Semitic libel this time. We support protests against the cartoons because we hate Israel. Or we have a pre-9/11 mentality. Or something. I dunno, it doesn't have to make sense, after all. We're talking Busheviks. Just any old bullshit and lies does for them. Weapons of mass destruction, bay-bee. MARS! Fuck yeah!

-- Badtux the "Wondering which lie the Busheviks will try NOW" Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 2/14/2006 08:52:00 PM  


I have agreed with Pat Buchanan less than 10 times in the last 10 years. That three have occurred in the last year is a frightening thing to me.

That includes traditional conservatives such as myself (a believer in a limited government that does only what time and/or experiments in other countries have proven is proper for government to do) or Pat Buchanan.

I agree with everything you said except the "time or experiments in other countries bit" While I appreciate that the Supremes ruled that executing minors was incorrect, we shouldn't have to wait to have other countries show us the way. Now, while I don't want to support people who don't want to work, I also don't want to pay for missiles that shouldn't be used. I'm conservative in the fact that I want to take care of America first (our borders and infrastructure are a disaster) and liberal because I realize that serious money and effort must be expended to help our citizens at the ends of the spectrum (Paris Hilton) get the help they need to become productive members of society and so that for their children poverty or illiteracy will never be an issue.

Or, as someone once said "you have to spend money to make money".

We live in interesting times. Which I believe is an old Chinese curse.
# posted by Debra : 15/2/06 6:52 AM  

Debra, a country as large as the United States is hard to move rapidly, and if a mistake is made, it is a *BIG* mistake, possibly affecting the entire world. Thus it's only wise to wait until smaller countries or individual states try different ways of doing things before choosing which one works best. That way, you avoid the mistakes that others have made, and avoid the impact on the world that happens if the world's leading superpower stumbles down the wrong path.

A true conservative does nothing in a hurry, whether it's go to war in Iraq or implement universal health coverage. We have been experimenting with universal health coverage (for those over 65 years of age) since 1968, and I believe that the end result is good enough that it should be rolled out nationwide (with private health insurance allowed as a supplement to cover things not covered by Medicare), but if you'd asked me in 1968 whether that was true, I'd have told you "No. It's not proven and tested enough yet."

I have no problem with the notion that government has a role outside of the few areas mentioned in the Constitution. the few areas mentioned in the Constitution. Times change. Things like medical care, for example, have become much more costly and much more of a drag on the national economy since the Constitution was written, when medical care consisted of leeches and razor blades to bleed "ill humors" out of sick people. What I do have a problem with is expanding government abruptly, without sufficient time for a national consensus to arise and maintain itself that the change is necessary, and in a way which has unknown consequences because nobody has ever done it that way before. The United States is too big, the consequences are too huge, to do that on a national scale until it's darned well certain that it's necessary and proper.

I'm one of those irritating people at work who makes others justify why they want a new feature in the product. It's not good enough that the feature is "cool". It has to solve some problem that customers have. Otherwise it's complexity that will make the product hard to use and add maintenance upkeep on our side. Keeping the product simple to use is like keeping government small and transparent -- it requires conservatives to be on board and constantly vigilent. Alas, there are no conservatives in the Bush Administration -- just Trotskyite liberals pretending to be conservatives. Invade Iraq? When Blix had shown they had no operational weapons and thus there was no immediate threat? Nationalize airline security? When the weapons that the 9/11 hijackers had carried on board were legal and thus nationalized airline security wouldn't have stopped them? That's about as conservative as Karl Marx! A true conservative just DOES NOT MOVE THAT FAST unless there's some immediate reason to do so (such as, say, the existence of Osama bin Laden in-country, where Osama had attacked America and thus immediate action WAS necessary to attack Afghanistan to get his butt... alas, the Busheviks fucked that one up, too).

- Badtux the Conservative Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 15/2/06 8:46 AM  

It is perfectly fair to protest against the bigotry and hatred on both sides of this issues. But if someone insults you by calling your religion and your prophet violent, and then you protest with violence, you just validated the reason opinion of you.

"Don't you dare call me violent or I will kill you."

Rascism is a trait common to all humans. Intolerance and Prejudgice is a trait of those that are ignorant of the reasons for rasicm, and are unable to expand their limited view on the world. Their wisdom has not evolved to the level required to function in today's civilization. Education of the young is where tolerance begins.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 15/2/06 10:16 AM  

I still agee with you, I feel our government rushes into programs haphazardly, throw money away by the trillions on products and services that are unneeded. I also feel we can be a leader in changing the world for the better. But we keep trying to do it with bombs.

I want my government responsible for the physical aspects of this country. Regulating certain industries to the benefit of the people, including the ones who work in them and the end consumer. Healthcare, real education, disaster relief, protecting our borders, that kind of stuff. My body, mind and spirit? Not so much.

By the way, when I buy a product, I ask what does it do, why does it do it, is it the best bang for my buck, how lazy am I and do I really need it?

Blogger won't let me post, driving me crazy. Which today seems to be a very short ride.
# posted by Debra : 15/2/06 10:33 AM  

Nick, there's always an asshole in every crowd. The vast, vast, vast majority of Muslims protesting the Danish cartoons have done so non-violently. The fact that there's a couple of assholes who did not, does not remove the free speech right of the remainder of Muslims to protest neo-Nazi disrespect for their religion.

- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 15/2/06 10:34 AM  

Debra, basically I believe our national government needs to be handling only those problems too big for state or local governments to handle. Thus disaster relief in New Orleans was, in my opinion, a job for the national government, because neither the local nor state governments had the capacity to handle it (that's no surprise, the poorest major city in the country and the poorest state in the country obviously aren't going to have many capabilities or much capacity to handle anything big). Thus regulating the purity of food and drugs which cross state boundaries in interstate commerce is a job for the national government, because a state government has no ability to go into a packing plant in another state and ensure that goods intended for sale in their state are packed in a plant that meets their cleanliness standards. Only the federal government has that ability.

That said, I strongly oppose any expansion of a federal role in national life that is not absolutely necessary in order to deal with severe life-threatening problems affecting Americans. Lack of medical care kills over 18,000 Americans per year, so obviously this is a life-threatening problem that local and state governments have proven to lack the capacity to solve. But nobody was dying because airline security was handled by airlines rather than by the Federal government (as I noted, the box cutters used in the 9/11 hijackings were totally legal to possess on an airliner at the time) thus it was completely improper and wrong to nationalize airline security, creating a huge, inefficient, bloated "Homeland Security" bureaucracy that is unaccountable in the courts (due to government immunity for officials).

Whether people are dying due to a problem is, of course, the first thing that tells us that we need some sort of intervention. People die for lack of health care. People died due to lack of federal intervention in New Orleans. But if people are not dying because of the problem, then forcing government into the situation is just a blatant power grab intent upon setting up bureaucratic empires at our expense. And even if people *are* dying because of the problem, we should look first to local and state governments, not the federal government, for the solution to the problem. If and only if they are unable to handle the problem themselves should the federal government become involved.

- Badtux the Conservative Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 15/2/06 10:53 AM  

Pat Buchanan decrying bigotry is like Ann Coulter decrying cheap, black cocktail dresses.
# posted by Lab Kat : 15/2/06 11:50 AM  

It's a sad testament to how batshit loony the Republicans under Bush have become, when Pat Buchanan starts sounding sensible by comparison. We have officially gone through the looking glass, people.
# posted by Aaron : 16/2/06 9:03 AM  

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"Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce." -- Molly Ivins, 1944-2007 "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

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