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October 14, 2007


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Joe's family was threatened with violence by Jack. Joe knew Jack had commited violence before and he was worried. He contacted the police, but they said they could do nothing about it because there was no evidence except Joe's say-so. Joe did not know for certain that Jack would carry out his threat, but he could not wait for Jack to make his move and have the advantage of surprise, time and place. He knew the police couldn't help him. Joe took matters into his own hands. He felt he had no choice. True story. There probably are others like it every day, somewhere.

We like to think we live in an ordered society, where there are rules and things are under control. This is an illusion. We are as much in the "jungle" in modern western society as primitive tribesmen. Only the environment is different. Anything can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. The authorites are likely not to be there to help when a crime occurs. You're on your own. You do what you need to survive, laws in force or not.

The same is true in international relations. Treaties and laws are established, but rogues appear and try to do things their own way if they think they can. They don't care about rules, threaten others, and the others must react accordingly.

I am not very politically astute or smart. My views are simple. I see liberals as idealists who want the world to conform to their ideal and are not happy if things don't work out that way. I see conservatives as pragmatists who deal with things as they are in a more practical, common sense fashion. They deal with what is, and not with what could or should be. Bumper sticker--Annoy a liberal: work hard, succeed, be happy.

For example, if I am in an alley and some crazy thug goes after my kid with a knife and I have a gun, I'm going to shoot him. I'm not going to take the time to ask him to stop and discuss his disadvantaged upbringing, lack of education, desperate drug habit, etc. I'm going to act. I don't care if guns are prohibited in my locale and that this thug has had a crappy life. He's catching a bullet before he can get to my kid. I'll worry about the consequences later. First things first.

I think the Bush administration had to act. We can't sit around kissing fanatic murderers' butts while they plot to kill more of us. "Can't we all just get along" doesn't cut it. We have to take it to them. There are no rules. They don't care. The world is a jungle.

Obviously mistakes have been made and things have been mishandled. If we could go back, many things would be done differently.
But if you're in a no rules fight, you do what appears to be best at the time with the tools and information you have. Maybe you should have picked up a rock instead of a stick and taken out the guy in the blue jacket first because it turned out the guy with the red jacket was not as dangerous. Maybe you should have circled instead of going straight in. But you didn't know that at the time. You react as best you can. Hindsight is 20-20. It's easy to be a monday morning quaterback. And all those cliches.

There is this thing about "waterboarding". Again, some maniac is about to blow up a school where your kid is. You have his accomplice who knows where the detonator is, but he won't tell you. You beg, you cajole, you bargain, but he remains mum with a confident smirk on his face because he thinks you won't squeeze the cigar cutter on his finger. He thinks the law will protect him. The timer is set to go off in a few minutes. Do you squeeze the cigar cutter?

The problem is that laws and constitutions are not flexible enough to apply to a life with infinite variables. When it comes to life or death, you have to wing it. There is a Romanian proverb: "It is permisable, in times of great peril, to walk hand in hand with the devil until you get to the other side.

A liberal is someone who hasn't been mugged yet.

Tucson, you said that conservatives are pragmatists who deal with things as they are. The way I see it (as did the Newsweek article), it's just the opposite.

Bush thought Iraq had WMDs. He thought occupying the country would be a cakewalk. He thought cutting taxes and increasing spending wouldn't increase the deficit. He thought global warming wasn't happening, despite all the scientific evidence. He thought Terri Schiavo wasn't in a persistent vegetative state.

I could go on and on with "He thoughts" that were fantasies, unrelated to factual reality. As the infamous British intelligence quote said, "The administration fixed the facts around the policy [to invade Iraq]." Or words to that effect.

I share some of your conservative leanings. My mother inculcated in me a William F. Buckley conservatism -- which would be called libertarian now in many respects. Small government, lack of interference in people's affairs.

This is precisely the opposite of what conservatism has become. Now it's big government, big spending, big meddling in personal decisions.

Progressives aren't immune to reality distortions. But I've found them to be considerably more open to facts and alternative opinions.

Brian responded to my comment above:

"Bush thought Iraq had WMDs."

--Most everyone else bought into it also.

"He thought occupying the country would be a cakewalk."

--Agreed. they underestimated culture, religion, tribal factions, foreign influence, etc. Huge miscalculation.

"He thought global warming wasn't happening, despite all the scientific evidence."

--Anyone can see something is going on with the climate. The questions are..What is going on, what is causing it, and is there anything we can do about it? See:


"He thought Terri Schiavo wasn't in a persistent vegetative state."

--This is so unfortunate. Religious, scientific and legal THEORY shouldn't trump the obvious physical evidence. Her plug should have been pulled long before she died.

"The administration fixed the facts around the policy [to invade Iraq]."

--I think this is a good possibility, but the motivations may not have been as sinister as some like to believe. They really thought they could stabilize the middle east and the oil (world) economy by getting rid of Saddam. Nice theory. Didn't work. Too good to be true. Powell warned 'em.

"This is precisely the opposite of what conservatism has become. Now it's big government, big spending, big meddling in personal decisions."

--You must agree this is true politically of both parties. Bring on the libertarians! Unfortunately libertarians are losertarians in elections. Too few bucks and clout. If they got those, they'd be like the rest. Human nature. Generally, I like their premises of live and let live as long as you don't hurt anyone else, keep government as small as possible, strong law enforcement and military, but in a complex world of infinite variables, this is difficult to achieve. I have no answers. Let the 'deity" sort it out.

"Progressives aren't immune to reality distortions. But I've found them to be considerably more open to facts and alternative opinions."

--This may be true comparing them to the religious right, but secular conservatives like Buckley generally make more sense to me.

over and out

Dear "Tucson,"

Are you the same one who calls yourself "Tucson Bob"?

Robert Paul Howard

Well, the gap between blind belief and trust is really thin. I am all for trust. But blind belief is also a part of trust. I believe it is destiny.

I love Bush despite his gaffes. Atleast, he does not give a damn to the Islamic jehadi terrorists. Remember, Islam is terror number one. I will prefer Bush anyday to Osama and the Commies. Christian Bush is not as bad as Islamic jehadis who mercilessly killed Pearl.

Let's face it. History will treat Bush kindly, though Americans will not like it. I am an Indian. I know the damages of Islamic ghettoes. Bush has a supporter in India. It's me.

Hey Brian. I think we will stick to RSSB rather than venture into international politics. There is a whole lot of crappy sites when it comes to international politics. But for RSSB, this is the only popular blog.

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