Friday, October 20, 2006

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Here are the winners from last week.

Within the council, first place went to Trauma, Passivity, & the Fear of Aggression by ShrinkWrapped. It walks through a number of recent news items that might have flown below most people's radars, and it finds in them evidence of some of the modern societal problems ShrinkWrapped specializes in spotlighting: Narcissism, "radical feminists pathologiz[ing] all forms of "unacceptable" (ie male) aggression and the nanny state promulgat[ing] an increased passivity among those who were maintained in a dependent position.

The post concludes by identifying a "particularly insipid kind of cowardice."

Apparently, those who counsel caution recognize that they cannot be criticized if by inaction disaster occurs. Only those who take decisive action warrant criticism. Isn't this the core of the Iraq War debate? Isn't this the issue with North Korea and Iran? The preferred approach to any conflict in the world is to be passivity and appeasement; no one should criticize the Clinton administration for the North Korean bomb; after all, they spent years talking to Kim and he agreed to be nice. Now the big, bad Bush administration, with thier hyper-masculine aggression, has made Kim frightened and angry and he exploded an atomic bomb. The only fault lies with those aggressive men.

Certainly there's an element of that in the anti-war position. Domestic critics often are misidentified as anti-Americans who really are no such thing. They're isolationists, which can be a perfectly patriotic position.

But no longer a realistic one. Ever since 1914 a large chunk of the American people, including political leaders, have been yearning for the old European imperial order and balance of power -- or some successor -- to restore itself, so that we can go back to ignoring the rest of the world and basking in George Washington's commandment against foreign entanglements.

It's amazing to read today the degree to which Americans, as late as 1945 -- as recently as 1989 -- still clung to that happy dream. A few in the corridors of power always have been seduced by the sirens of empire. But the rest of us really don't want this job. And will deny, deny, deny that we've reached the point where we can no longer behave as innocents, and where our inaction is as potentially lethal and morally compromised as our action.

A vote (mine) also went to No Greater Love by Right Wing Nut House. This is absolutely essential blog-writing. Here's an American hero, killed in Iraq, whose name, if it appeared in your local newspaper at all, was buried deep in a story about futility and failure. On Rock's site, the man gets the moment of heartfelt thanks and proud admiration he earned with his life, his death.

Also getting votes were So Julia Wilson and Her Parents Are Idiots, But Hey What Else Is New? by Rhymes With Right, which looks at the news reports of a teenager whose "Kill Bush" MySpace site earned her a brief Q&A visit from the Secret Service.

RWR picks up on this quote from the girl's father, who found the agency's reaction "over the top": "You'd think they could look at the situation and determine that she's not a credible threat." RWR points out that, in fact, is exactly what they did in this case. He also notes that the parents seem to have been "completely unaware of what their child was doing on the internet."

So, no, not very bright. But surely brighter than that drunken village idiot in the White House, eh?

Newcomer to the Council -- but an old friend here -- American Future got votes for Sanctions on North Korea: The Weakest Link, a critique of Condi Rice's overly rosy public pronouncements about China's cooperation in sanctions against North Korea. The usual thorough and thoughtful job from Marc.

Running Down the Middle by AbbaGav also got a vote. It's a nice eye-rolling piece about those who insist running further and further to the left is the right game plan for Ned Lamont in Connecticut.

The non-council winner was Prison Jihad?, a column in The Weekly Standard. This is, on one hand, the kind of writing I value on the Internet. It's an insider writing with authority on a topic perhaps too edgy for the media that are conveniently, if vaguely, lumped into the category "MSM."

Trouble is, it is in a more or less MSM publication. Which is why I didn't vote for it. Otherwise, yes, and there's nothing wrong with publishing it in Weekly Standard, but I prefer to reward citizen-journalists who work it all on their own.

What It Means To Be a Conservative by Villainous Company is a fluently written manifesto, all the more valuable because it builds largely on the great and important pool of beliefs that modern American conservatives and liberals have in common.

Another vote went to March 2001: Iraqi IIS Wants To Attack American Assets by Captain's Quarters, a look at a translation of a captured Iraqi military document, but one that I don't think necessarily has the dire meaning attributed to it.

Only US Congressman Who Admitted to Statutory Rape Dies Suddenly by Gay Patriot tells a tale of two pedophiles, and the different treatment meted out to them.

Finally, there was It Isn't "Life, Liberty and Property Insurance" by TFS Magnum:

Here is a clue; if you are unwilling - or unable - to bear the cost of living in a hurricane-prone area, then you should not live in a hurricane-prone area. You should not expect that I will be willing to help you defray your costs of living there.