[lit-ideas] Re: Victor Hanson in Iraq

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 10:07:57 -0800



Some like Howard Zinn think they are taking the moral high ground and not
merely advocating the defeat of America.  In his dialogue with Dennis Prager
we find: 

DP: Well the casualties in Germany were ten times those of the casualties in
Britain. So is Britain and Hitler morally equivalent? 

HZ: Well let's not go back to World War II. 

DP: No, no but you are making the assessment on the basis... you are making
the assessment of morality on the basis of numbers killed. 

HZ: No. I think, no, I think regardless of the numbers, when you kill
innocent people there is immorality. So there is immorality on both sides .
. .

And Irene says the same sort of thing imagining I suppose that she is taking
the moral high ground as well: 

". . . the world would in fact be better off today with Saddam in power.
Certainly the poor Iraqis would be better off."

How long will it take Leftists to realize, or if realization is impossible
for Conservatives to adequately expose that position as unprincipled and
immoral.  Where are the patriots who once cried "give me liberty or give me
death"?  Are there no more like them?  The Leftist of a few years ago said,
"better red than dead," did that begin the modern trek toward the
abandonment of principle?  Today, they can say with Howard, better under
Hitler than dead, or with Irene, better Saddam than dead.  Is their
anything, Eric, these unprincipled Leftists would die for?





-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Eric Yost
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 9:03 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Victor Hanson in Iraq


 >>I'm not sure whether Brian agrees with Zinn or Hitchens.  But it 

doesn't matter.


Sure it matters. It matters because a nation is not insulated from its 

defeat. Defeat is never good. Our post-Vietnam defeatist generation may 

think that it's good for a terrible policy to be defeated, for the 

troops to come home defeated, and for the population to realize they 

were complicit in a defeated terrible policy. (As though in some fantasy 

we could all sing peace songs together and realize the errors of our 

ways and live happily ever after.)


Defeat is always worse than any terrible policy that engenders it. 

Defeat leads to even more terrible policies, and ever more defeatist 



What Lawrence refers to as leftism is basically what I referred to as 

"suburban nihilism." a belief in nothing that also believes itself 

immune from defeat. As though the water will always run and the 

electricity will always be on, the government will always be guilty and 

wrong, and the "enlightened" people who dispose of what the 

"unenlightened" propose will always be secure enough to do so.


Defeat always makes things worse. The inept policies of Carter for 

example (who George McGovern called the worst President of his 

lifetime)  were born of the defeat of Vietnam.


So the real issue is not leftist or suburban nihilist per se, but the 

consequences of defeat, our attitude toward defeat. Should we have gone 

into Iraq? That question matters less than our attitude toward defeat. 

It's a larger question than whether the neo-con agenda was stupid and 

cruel. It's a larger question than whether we can pompously and 

self-righteously moralize over prosecution of our elected leaders.


When and if China becomes the new global hegemon, I doubt there will be 

such masochist scruples in Beijing. By then, of course, we may have 

grasped the significance of defeat, and our whiny little voices full of 

moral outrage will be our only defense against our failure. Toy dogs 

snapping at the ankles of power.



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