Sunday, May 07, 2006

Council Winners

This week's Council winners have been posted.

First place went to a powerful "never again" post by Dymphna at "Gates of Vienna,"who is not Jewish but feels the experience of the Holocaust nonetheless in a personal way.

... I am now in same helpless position my mother once occupied. The fact that I am more informed than she was does not render me more competent to do anything. The fact that I know she and I were and are part of a larger historical wave of Western self-destruction does not provide surcease.

Second place went to New World Man for this rip at the 'dissent is the highest form of patriotism' meme as recently awkwardly expressed by John Kerry.

Patriotism is devotion, but also, more directly, a willingness to sacrifice. A high form a patriotism would be to support a foreign policy contrary to your principles. Sir Thomas More was a patriot as well as a saint: Given the unfair choice whether to serve his church or support his king, he kept quiet. It will take a better man than John F. Kerry to convince me More wasn't a patriot because he didn't make self-referential Kerry-like speeches.

Also getting votes were Rick Moran's powerful review of "United 93," and Strata-Sphere's Power Grab By Ultra-Liberal Delusionists, a look at the incestuous relationship of the players in the CIA leak story (as depicted in this chart).

Outside the Council, first place went to Villainous Company for Can America Still Win Wars?, which walks the waterfront of recent history and ends up at the end of a dark pier:

War has often been termed 'politics by other means', but in such a climate political will is the one thing an open society arguably cannot sustain indefinitely. So long as the underdog mentality reigns supreme and legitimacy is conferred only by perfect consensus, the American military may wish to reconsider its willingness to fight and die in defense of "American ideals". If we cannot learn to withstand the disapproval of our critics, if we no longer find our own ideals worth defending or dying for, it may well be that the most irresponsible of our critics have been proven right. To rephrase John Foregainst Kerry, "How do you ask a man to be the last to die for something we no longer believe in?"

It is just as true, and more often forgotten, that politics is war by other means.

Also getting votes were two -- count 'em, two -- posts by that raconteur Gerard Van der Leun: his review of "United 93" and his account of a coffeehouse conversation between an old communist still carrying a torch for his cause and a young acolyte.

Much has been made of Hannah Arendt's phrase, "The banality of evil," and I suppose I'm witnessing a small satori of that kind here on the sidewalks of Seattle. But it seems to me to be a more insidious event than that. After all, there's nothing evil in speech that argues for ideas that have proven, without exception, to be evil. It is, after all, only speech and the strength of the American system is to protect all forms of speech, especially the idle blather of a coffee house revolutionary. There's nothing, really nothing, in this overheard conversation that threatens the existence of the United States. The mere fact that it can be had, five years into the First Terrorist War, underscores just how strong this nation adherence to its founding principles remains. Here on Capitol Hill dissent of even the most egregious sort, is not only tolerated but celebrated.

Yep. The coffeehouses are like that here, too.

Also getting a vote was Mr. Porter Goes to Tripoli by The Business of America Is Business. It got a vote from me, in fact. It's a fascinating account of an experiment with capitalism in Libya.