x
schencka
This is why...
I go to nationalreview.com every so often: I agree with some things some writers say, but not all. Example of partial agreement: Victor David Hanson's "letter to Europe" is a decent read.

Others write Bush Administration talking points with less subtlety than Fox News; I don't read them.

The afore-linked VDH opinion piece is good and I agree with his general ideas, but want to look through and point out things I disagree with.

1) "this debased era of multiculturalism" VDH says, referring, I think, to something like the Academic Left. Any person that upholds civil, political, and property rights doesn't think uncritically that it's okay for revenge rapings in Pakistan or political unfreedom in China.
2) "this latest illiberal scourge of Islamic fascism": the Right's militarism against the Middle East's fundamentalists reminds me of the groupthink of (name any) American Christian Church where everybody "knows" that abortion should be illegal in any case, end of discussion; gays are going to Hell, end of discussion; and so on. I'd like more isolationism in the backwater parts of the world--surely American Indians would have been better without "being reformed from their 'savage' ways," in the Andrew Jacksonian lingo. Islamo-Fascism, as Kip Hitchens terms the movment it, actually is a reaction to Western geopolitical decisions, as still-on-the-loose bin Laden makes clear.
3) "Your idealistic approach to health care, transportation, global warming, and entitlements have won over much of coastal and blue America, who, if given their way, would replicate here what you have there." This is true. Have you ever seen the beauty of Southern Germany, or felt the not-perpetually-pissed-off-ness of most people in Europe, an extension of their emphasis on life instead of work?
4) "Abroad you face even worse challenges. In the post-Cold War you dismantled your armed forces, and chose to enhance entitlements at the expense of military readiness. I fear you counted only on a tried and simple principle: That the United States would continue to subsidize European defense while ignoring your growing secular religion of anti-Americanism." It seems like Americans are the ones who got fooled here. We're under no obligation to protect Europe or have bases there. Our vast military-industrial complex only feeds imperial misadventures (read: Iraq); our citizenry would be happier to have health insurance instead of read of blown-up soldiers (some our sons and daughters)  in foreign lands.
5) "But the choices are not so starkly bipolar between either chauvinistic saber rattling or studied pacifism. There is a third way, the promise of muscular democratic government that does not apologize for 2,500 years of civilization and is willing to defend it from the enemies of liberalism, who would undo all that we wrought." This is good writing, and I appreciate a conservative who understands the correct definition of "liberalism," but there's a thin line between "does not apologize for" and "seeks vast imperium."
6) "The world is becoming a more dangerous place, despite your new protocols of childlessness, pacifism, socialism, and hedonism." Europe is obviously less hedonistic than America. Our 5% of the world population gobbles 25% of world resources. American hedonism is pat-yerself-on-the-back hedonism. Jesus wants me to work hard, be successful, get rich, live in a suburban McMansion and drive a 10-mpg SUV and buy The Purpose-Driven Life and other media shit of self-help (read: Dr. Phil). It's a vulgar, unselfconscious hedonism, and far worse.
7) VDH finishes with the lament that Europe "may pass away." It's the current America that's not sustainable. Civilizations crumble inwardly. VDH decries China, but our government borrows primarily from that authoritarian state.

All in all, VDH's historical flourishes are interesting; his work on more topical subjects follow the general weakness in writing and rhetoric that defines NRO's talkboys.
--ADAM
 
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