TCS Daily


The Problem of Saints, The Hope of Freedom

By Douglas Kern - August 21, 2006 12:00 AM

"Yet this much we know with certainty: The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way."
-- President George W. Bush
United Nations Headquarters, September 21, 2004
New York, New York

I wish I could disagree with Bush's quote. As a conservative, I hate everything about it. The quote goads me to lash out with cynicism and sarcasm -- or, better still, with the kind of pseudo-sophisticated nihilism that sometimes passes for worldly conservative insight. I want to tell you: "No trustworthy sentence begins with an abstract noun and ends with 'resides in every human heart.' Conservatism is predicated on the notion that no ideological abstraction can capture the truth about every human heart."

But the wisdom on the far side of realism brings us back to the starry-eyed optimism of Bush's remark. Yes, men are wicked; men are selfish; men are inescapably parochial and petty, hostages to biochemical impulses and discarded philosophical debris -- true, all true, and yet some tiny sliver of the human heart wants to be free.

We are confounded by the problem of saints. I don't like saints. They fail to sink to my low expectations of humanity. Furthermore, they make me feel bad about myself because I am not a saint. And yet they exist, and we must acknowledge what they portend.

I first encountered saints as a prosecutor. Criminal law is not the best place to find the very holy. I went into prosecution as a conservative and came out a raging reactionary. If you seek confirmation of all your worst suspicions about human nature, pursue a career that involves the word "criminal." It was tempting in those days to succumb to the fashionable cynicism that affects career prosecutors and defense attorneys alike: everyone is bad, nothing you do will ever make a difference, so punch the clock, collect the paycheck, and let it all slide out of your mind at the end of the day.

But those saints, those maddening saints! You would be doing your job, mucking through the slime of human nature, comfortable in your contempt, and then you would meet one. Behold, cynic: the cop who reports corrupt cops, even to the detriment of his own career and his own friendships. Behold the witness who insists on testifying about the shooting, even though the shooter's family has made the perfectly credible threat of revenge against him. Behold the advocate who gave up the affluent, leisurely life that her husband's income permitted in order to help crack-addicted prostitutes testify against their pimps. Behold the defense attorney, reared in poverty and abuse, who beat incredible odds to get the law degree she uses to help the indigent. Once in a long, long time you would find these people, jewels gleaming in the filth and mud, staying in your world just long enough to remind you that dishonesty and violence are not the last words about the human condition.

Nothing explains saints. Nothing acts upon them to make them good. What they are, they choose to be -- freely, happily, without hope of reward, without coercion. Saints become saints through the exercise of free choice, which all men possess.

We find such people in every society, in every era. There is no dictator so awful, no tyranny so complete but that a few remarkable souls find some measure of freedom and decency amidst the horror. There is a Bonhoeffer for every Hitler, a Solzhenitsyn for every Stalin.

I conclude, therefore, that human nature -- for all its evil, for all its corruption -- possesses a small but real propensity for freedom; for the free exchange of ideas among men with dignity; for creation instead of destruction; and for honorable peace instead of war or dishonorable subjugation. But the angel of freedom is beset by two countervailing demons: the well-known propensity to enslave, and the more mysterious propensity to be enslaved.

Consider: many politicians in free societies have won elections by running on platforms that amount to: "I will take care of you. I will make hard decisions for you. I will take away your freedom and autonomy and I will give you security in return." Why do you suppose that unrepentant Communists win elections in Eastern European countries? Consider also: no tyranny could survive in the face of a general uprising, and yet such uprisings are rare. Why? And consider this, too: the overwhelming majority of civilizations in human history were unfree. Were all of those ancient peoples unhappy? The evidence is clear: some part of man wants to be in the thrall of another. Some part of us does not want to bear the burden of individual choice and personal responsibility. We crave safety and predictability; we prefer to busy ourselves with the little pleasures of family and friends and private accomplishments, rather than fighting for abstract notions like "freedom" and "dignity." Men will bear appalling burdens if their stomachs are full, and if the whip of the master does not land on their backs too often.

The wisdom and the limitations of Bush's statement now become clear. The desire for freedom does indeed lie within every human heart. But so, too, does the desire to perform evil; so, too, does the desire to succumb to evil's force. The shepherd, the sheep, and the wolf all live together in human nature -- and the sheep and the wolf outvote the shepherd, two to one.

If Bush's statement is an invitation to a rosy, Whig interpretation of history, it is an invitation best rejected. The history of the world is not the history of freedom; the history of the world is the history of terror and indolence, with brief scintillating moments of heroism and decency beckoning to us from within the darkness. The desire for freedom is not a promise that freedom will always win. The desire for freedom is a spark around which we must cup our hands, so that it might grow into a flame.

We don't know what makes saints. But we do know that some circumstances are more likely to produce saintliness than others. We know that strong families and intermediary institutions are conducive to decency and dignity. We know that small governments have limited ability to wreak havoc. We know that democracy tends to encourage accountability and transparency. We know that love begets love and hate begets hate.

Nothing is guaranteed to produce freedom. The prisons are full of men who were raised with love, encouragement, and every advantage, but chose evil anyway. At the bottom of every free choice is an unfathomable mystery. We try to influence that choice as best we can, but no one truly knows why anyone chooses anything. Thus, every time we aspire to build freedom where freedom was not to be found before, we embark upon an act of faith.

An act of faith! Oh, it turns my conservative stomach! Have we built our free, strong, affluent, educated society on this kind of sentimental twaddle? And, more specifically: did we embark upon this mad venture of building democracy in Iraq on the strength of hope? Billions of dollars spent, thousands of lives squandered, all on a wing and a prayer? This is conservatism?

Well, yes and yes and yes. Everything we have achieved in our society -- all our wealth, all our accomplishments, all our health and prosperity -- rests on our collective faith that the mores and institutions of freedom will continue to produce Americans who both desire and deserve the blessings of freedom. Every generation, we gamble that we can bring freedom and democracy to yet another group of savages: our children. Sometimes -- perhaps most of the time -- this gamble fails. The sheep and wolves outnumber the shepherds. And the whole project may yet fail; America has no certainty that it will endure.

Knowing the inclination of the human heart toward evil and idleness, we nevertheless risk everything on the hope that the culture of freedom will once again defy the sneers of realists and scoffers by producing free citizens -- and, perhaps, a few saints to show them the right way. And for two hundred and thirty years and counting, our freedom somehow endures. Taking a chance on freedom is what Americans do. It is in our nature. And what conservative can deny the force of human nature?

The hope of freedom does not permit us the luxury of endorsing every mad scheme to enhance freedom; neither does it permit us the luxury of believing that the human inclination to goodness is anything other than a tiny stream running through a desert of depravity in which utopian schemes wither and die. The hope of freedom will not excuse us from the burden of choosing right over wrong, and sainthood over sloth; it is a hope that will not permit us any escape from the central drama of humanity. Bush's statement is not a utopian credo; it is simply a reminder that the battle between good and evil will be fought whether we elect to participate in it or not. Freedom will always find a way. So will hatred and indifference.

What side are we on?

The author is a lawyer and TCS Daily Contributing Writer. He recently wrote about 'To Hulk With Them' Conservatives.

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41 Comments

Some people are rational, some are just nuts.
Some people are strong, some weak.
Some people are smart, some stupid.
Some people are energetic, some lazy.
Some people wish to lead, some follow.
Some people wish question authority, some to accept it.
Some people wish to live free, others with to cower.

But,

some people wish to kill other people, cut their heads off, use their children as shields, beat their women if they show an ankle in public and then avenge their sister's or daughters's rape by stoning them, screaming "god is great" while flying planes into buildings, live in the 7th century, and seek paradise with 72 virgins for all eternity,

and

other people live in the modern world, follow a set of ethics, and yearn to be free.

I'd help the later, and if I could, throw the switch on the former.

TS

One of the best articles I have ever read.
Congratulations, Mr. Kern. I don't know if there has been a better article written since the original Publius (in the form of Alexander, Hamilton and Jay) wrote the Federalist Papers.

I'd buy you a beer if I knew where you lived. Once again, an excellent piece.

Second that motion- Should be on TCS Hall of Fame- Reminds us why we come here.
The best part is that Mr. Kern comes to realize (and reminds us) the crucible of experience constantly refines our view of humanity, its variability and complexity, its capability and depravity.

Great writing
Doug,
What a wonderful piece. Thank you for this. I will certainly add it to my quotable list.
Ricky

Children of Light
""Darkness is real, and it can be terrifying, sometimes it seems to be everywhere . . . The question for us is what do we do when darkness surrounds us. Saint Paul answered that question. He said we must walk as children of light."

http://www.winthropsociety.org/news/danforth_sptimes.htm

"Remind us, O God, that all the darkness in the world has never yet put out a light."

http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/peopleofpower/apowelldavies.html

One of the best articles......
I "third" the motion. What insight and perspective!
I appreciate TCS even more.
Otto

Many people want freedom for themselves the question is what do they want for their neighbors?
Many people want freedom for themselves the question is what do they want for their neighbors?

Marjon is on target
I find Mr. Kern's outlook on life dark and dreary. It would depress me, but I have unlimited hope, because I am a Christian. As a Christian his essay is old news. Over 3500 years ago, God revealed through Moses that Adam and Eve both rebelled from Him by free choice in a free environment, the Garden of Eden. In Christianity, this is the doctrine known as the "Sin of Man", and from that point on in time, men/women continue this rebellion daily. Men/women will never progress to moral perfection under their own strength. Mr. Kern points this out very well. We live in moral chaos today in America.

General Revelation confirmed by Divine Revelation (Bible) tells us, however, that if man/woman followed the first principle of natural moral law, happiness is achievable. The first principle of this law is "we ought to desire the things that are REALLY good for us". But, all of these things cannot be desired unless we have free choice and in a society where freedom is a Constitutional right. The person who acts on these desires to achieve the things that are really good for him, also becomes aware that his neighbor must have the same freedoms as he does to act on these same desires. He must love his neighbor as himself for both to achieve happiness.

The progress towards happiness omits nothing that ought to be desired over the person's total life. Happiness is defined as the "totum bonum" of things that ought to be desired and accomplished in a person's life immediately before death, not daily things that ought to be desired and accomplished. Freedom is essential to achieve happiness. But because of the Sin of Man, the only way for approaching happiness successfully is through Christ. It is through His strength and love that helps us work towards happiness, but not perfectly on this earth. "Totum bonum" happiness comes only after death and for eternity in the presence of the Lord.

Freedom Felled by Friends
Simply stated, you can not succeed in a global campaign to spread freedom that relies upon ruthless dictatorships as "allies" like Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt...

Pentagon Pays Uzbekistan for Use of Air Base
November 17, 2005, Reuters

The Pentagon, despite objections in Congress, has paid Uzbekistan nearly $23 million for use of an air base that has been a hub for U.S. operations in neighboring Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan in July gave the United States six months to leave the Soviet-era Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, called K-2, in the Central Asian country following U.S. criticism of the Uzbek government's VIOLENT SUPPRESSION OF DEMONSTRATORS in the town of Andizhan in May.
The Senate voted last month to delay the payment for a year, saying the U.S. SHOULD NOT PAY A CORRUPT, REPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT THAT HAS EVICTED U.S. FORCES. But the measure was part of a bill that has not been completed.

...Defense officials said it is the practice of the Pentagon to pay its bills. But Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told the Senate last month, "Paying our bills is important, but more important is America standing up for itself, AVOIDING THE MISIMPRESSION THAT WE OVERLOOK MASSACRES and avoiding cash transfers to the treasury of a dictator just months after he permanently evicts American soldiers from his country."

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1307416&C=asiapac

Make up your mind, Kern:
Para 1:

‘No trustworthy sentence begins with an abstract noun and ends with 'resides in every human heart.'

Para 4:

"Oh, it turns my conservative stomach!"

Marjon....
Life on this earth is often dreary, - nothing new, because evil is allowed through our failings and weaknesses to dictate in our lives.

you say: "the only way for approaching happiness successfully is through Christ".

True, - but it is again through freedom of choice. Christ wouldn't want it any other way.
Freedom is not wrong, - only the choices we make sometimes,...:)
And (lasting) happiness, will only be when we freely abandon our lives to Christ.
Otto

out here in the real world
we recognize that we can't fix all the world's problems at once.

The sad thing is, during the days of the Soviet Union, rhampton was one of the guys who kept telling us how we had to learn how to make nice with the murderous thugs running the countries behind the iron curtain.

He's also one of the guys who wanted us to play nice with Saddam, rather than replace him.

Now he tells us that unless we overthrow all of the world's bad guys, yesterday, then we aren't serious.

The Problem of Saints, The Hope of Freedom
None of us should be surprised at how hateful, venal and mercenary people can be. Anyone who is thus surprised has been on some other planet most of the time. This country has had presidents who were the kind of people who give scumbags a bad name. That we should be surprised at the appearance of someone who was not as mercenary, as selfish or as hateful as the rest of the population is less a commentary on them than on ourselves. In addition, it's never seemed to me that the folks referred to as "saints" are anything substantially more than just the next notch up the line and are primarily noticeable due to the contrast (at close range, I hasten to add) between them and the surrounding self-driven bunch. You can't even use Kant's Categorical Imperative to explain the existence of such against-the-grain people; they are there despite what should be great obstacles to their presence. I'm not really comfortable calling them "saints", though. Certainly all the people who do these things are not Christians, and some who are would say that their activity did not grow from their faith, these are the ones whose presence among the rest is most puzzling to me. Some people truly seem to have something inside them that leads them to volunteer their time or seek their livelihood among the non-saints. I'm most familiar with the actions of evangelical Christians in this area; Christians are not driven by hope of reward or praise or anything else in the world when they perform unselfish acts or volunteer their time; they are obeying God's command to do good works to His glory, not their own, and so I agree with marjon's comment that we are supposed to act as children of the light. As for the hope of freedom - this can be as difficult to explain to the average citizen of a Muslim country as explaining riding in an elevator to a person who had no knowledge of them. The concept isn't just a big step for the average Muslim; it's more like abandoning everything you know for something very strange that doesn't look so good from where you stand. Muslims tend to think of westerners as corrupt libertines and sexual sinners whose sin knows almost no bounds at all. It's easy for them to feel they are superior to us - they are adhering to their religion, while we are not (as far as many Muslims are concerned, all westerners are Christians); they are standing for morality, while the west stands for debuachery and immorality of almost literally every kind. If you can get past that, you can probably explain the concept to the average Muslim, but it's a tough barrier to pass. I have a feeling that if you can actually get to the point of explaining democracy to a Muslim, he will probably agree with you that it may be better than the way he already lives, but remember that their imams have a vested interest in them continuing to regard westerners as scumbags. Good luck.

Preaching a False Message
"we recognize that we can't fix all the world's problems at once."

We will never fix "all the world's problems" (meaning foreign governments).

The instability and/or hostility of foreign governments threatens our financial interests -- especially long-term contracts for nationalized commodities like oil. This begets the lobbying of politicians to maintain the status-quo for. Consequently, we will gladly fund the Saudi royalty in perpetuity given the likely alternative of Saudi freedom.

The moral of the story is this: Practice what you Preach

as usual, rhampton declares he knows what everyones real motive is
rhampton knows beyond knowing, that the US actually likes other countries to be stable. More to the point, he knows without knowing, that it is the US that is causing other countries to be stable.

The moral of this story is that you don't know what other people's true motives are. You just assume that everyone you disagree with is evil, so they must have evil motives.

Sentimental Drivel
Speaking of sentimental drivel,"The Problem of Saints, The Hope of Freedom" ranks among the more egregious examples I've ever read in that genre.

As a defense of the pathological Wilsonian impulse to make the world safe for democracy by expanding the American Empire, as manifested by the Bush Leaguers in the government and elsewhere, it suggests something that could have been written by Scott McClellan after
a 12-hour one-on-one with The Decider at Camp David.

The author seems bereft of even a glimmer of awareness of the extent to which the Bush Administration, with its secret prisons, renditions, assassinations, torture, indefinite detentions without charges or legal representation, and warrantless surveillance of American citizens is the very embodiment of the mind-set described in the author's own words regarding totalitarians throughout history:

"I will take care of you. I will make hard decisions for you. I will take away your freedom and autonomy and I will give you security in return."

U.S.-Saudi Energy Relations in the Global Perspective
Alan P. Larson
Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs
Washington, DC, April 22, 2002

[Remarks at Conference Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations; the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, Inc.; and the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council]

...As one of its first priorities upon entering office, the Bush Administration addressed, and continues to place the highest priority on, the energy challenges facing our country and the world. Almost a year ago, the Administration issued the NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY REPORT, a comprehensive and balanced look at the energy issues facing the U.S. and the world, along with recommendations for dealing with these challenges. I want to share with you some of the international aspects of this report, particularly those dealing with Saudi Arabia and our shared energy interests.

THE U.S. & SAUDI ARABIA HAVE SHARED INTERESTS IN THE STABILITY AND RELIABILITY OF THE INTERNATIONAL OIL MARKET. The National Energy Policy highlights a number of policies that Saudi Arabia and the United States have taken to IMPROVE STABILITY and reliability of the oil market. Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has been a linchpin of supply reliability to world oil markets. Saudi Arabia holds the world's largest oil reserves, and its oil policy reflects its own economic interests, which include maintaining the viability of oil as the world's leading fuel source well into the future.

As our National Energy Report makes clear, Saudi Arabia has pursued a policy of investing in spare oil production capacity, and diversifying its export routes to both of its coasts. These investments help make Saudi Arabia a reliable oil supplier, and can be likened to AN INSURANCE POLICY FOR THE WORLD ECONOMY. The consequence of these enormous investments by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is that the Kingdom can credibly assure markets that it has the capacity to mitigate supply disruptions in any region. And, as recent events in the Western Hemisphere have shown, disruptions can occur in any region. The United States, much like Saudi Arabia, is also a central market participant in the global energy picture.

...Our International Energy Agency allies also maintain stocks. Together, consuming governments are ready to do their part to provide stability and reliability to the market, in the event of a major supply disruption. Both producers and consumers know that the USE OF OIL AS A POLITICAL WEAPON IS UNACCEPTABLE, and the lesson from instances in the past is clear, it does not work. We appreciate the recent statements by many OPEC countries that reject the use of oil as a political weapon. Each country has its national interest, yet each country has interests that coincide and which are complimentary. MAINTAINING STABILITY IN WORLD OIL MARKETS is just one of those interests.

...In a global energy market, U.S. energy security can not be achieved in isolation from the rest of the world. We enhance our own global security by working cooperatively with key countries to expand the sources and types of global energy supplies. The National Energy Policy underscores the need to deepen our dialogue with major oil producers on information related to oil markets. This is consistent with Crown Prince Abdullah's call for deepened producer-consumer understanding. This ENHANCED DIALOGUE WITH OIL PRODUCERS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A WELL-FUNCTIONING OIL MARKET. Together, we can improve the transparency, timeliness, and accuracy of the data that guide global oil markets. We all benefit from a better understanding of changes in demand and timely adjustments of supply.

...The United States welcomes the benefits and contributions that large international investments have made in our energy sector. Both producers and consumers benefit from ensuring that global energy supplies and infrastructure are sufficient and flexible to meet growing demand ... The United States has long been open to these major foreign energy investments. Saudi Arabia is now moving to open its own economy to more foreign investment.

The Crown Prince's Natural Gas Initiative was itself an important step forward in reinforcing and deepening the ties between oil producers and oil consumers. His visionary initiative is not only important for Saudi Arabia's economic development, but it is being watched by many other countries considering opening their own energy sectors. The United States fully supports the Crown Prince's initiative. A prompt conclusion of ongoing negotiations will REINFORCE A MESSAGE OF CONFIDENCE IN SAUDI ARABIA'S INVESTMENT CLIMATE, and be a strong step forward in bolstering the commercial ties that bind Saudi Arabia with its many friends...

http://www.state.gov/e/rls/rm/2002/9623.htm

Absolutely inspired. Absolutely poetic.
Thank you for writing this.

LIBERTY: Birthplace of Freedom
Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe.

"Our Founding Fathers believed that we live in an ordered
universe. They believed themselves to be a part of the
universal order of things. Stated another way, they
believed in God. They believed that every man must find
his own place in a world where a place has been made for
him. They sought independence for their nation but, more
importantly, they sought freedom for individuals to think
and act for themselves. They established a republic
dedicated to one purpose above all others - the preserva-
tion of individual liberty..." Ralph W. Husted

- from The HUMAN PARADIGM





Time to put the Kool-Aid down.....
and also taking your head out of your sandbox.
Talking about "drivel"...
This comes straight out of the far left manifest "book".
Twisted and false at the core.
Hatred shows through, - and I can't even call it prejudice,... it's more than that,... it's deliberate in order to carry out character assassination.
Not much understanding involved....
just like the jihadists,.... can't expect them to see things different from their radical views.

Otto

I am an optimist
"I find Mr. Kern's outlook on life dark and dreary. It would depress me, but I have unlimited hope, because I am a Christian."

Danief - You reference Revelation, but don't mention that it says things will get pretty bad before they get better.

Yes, I am an optimist. Things will get real bad before they get better. I am an optimist because in the end, Jesus wins!

Be a Saint, try the TheOneLaw
You don't have to save the world to be a saint.

Your life, and how you live it, primarily affects your family, your friends, and your community. Follow TheOneLaw - Never harm another for benefit or pleasure and only expect the same of others - and I can promise a better life for you, your friends, and your community.

TheOneLaw is natural law - simple and straight forward so that everyone can understand the law and participate. Now ask for a government that abides by this principle.

Thanx,

Kevin

Having shared interests is bad?
You insist on seeing conspiracies everywhere you look.

Insanity, Hypocrisy
Our shared interests means our foreign policy depends on protecting an oppressive kingdom that "owns" the national oil rights -- meanwhile we proclaim for all the world to hear that only freedom can cure the Middle East and our it's our God-given duty to spread freedom by force if necessary.

In reality, we're only concerned with freedom in the Middle East when it suits us -- and everyone is aware of our hypocrisy except, perhaps, for diehard Neoconservatives who are deluded beyond reason.

your projecting again
Shared interests do not mean that we must protect anybody.
It just means that on certain projects, we can work together.

Why do you believe the US has the ability to solve every problem in the world, and do it in a single day?

Projecting Freedom by Force
"Why do you believe the US has the ability to solve every problem in the world, and do it in a single day?"

Unlike President Bush, I don't believe that WE can solve the Middle East's problems. The Middle East can only BEGIN to untangle when the Palestinain refugees, the Right of Return, and the "ownership" of Jerusalem come to a negotiated, peaceful settlement between Isarael and Palestine.

That means the responsibility lays with the Isaraelis and Palestinians -- NOT US!

You're making less sense than usual
Bush has never said he intends to solve all the world's problems at once.
Yet you keep condemning Bush for not solving all the world's problems at once.

Then you admit that the US can't solve all the world's problems, much less at once.

Why do you attack Bush for not doing what he never said he wanted to do, and what you admit we can't do?

Read Bush's Lips: "Ending Tyranny in our World"
"Yet you keep condemning Bush for not solving all the world's problems at once."

Nope. I'm condemning Bush for saying, and I quote:

Bush: Expand freedom 'in all the world'
CNN, January 21, 2005

...During the first wartime inauguration ceremony in decades, Bush indirectly referred to the Iraq war, saying that "because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it."

"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: THE SURVIVAL OF LIBERTY IN OUR LAND INCREASINGLY DEPENDS ON THE SUCCESS OF LIBERTY IN OTHER LANDS. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," Bush said.

[Unless the citizens of our "allies" like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, etc. were to gain freedom -- then our survival would be in greater danger.]

"So it is the policy of the United States," he said, "to seek and SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS AND INSTITUTIONS IN EVERY NATION AND CULTURE, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

[Unless democratically elected officials are anti-American, like Hamas, the Islamic Brotherhood, Hezbollah, etc.]

http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/01/20/bush.inauguration/index.html

since when does stating a goal imply that the goal must be acheived immediately?
...

Allies Fight for Freedom?
"since when does stating a goal imply that the goal must be acheived immediately?"

Since when did I state that any goal in the Middle East must be acheived immediately?

I haven't.

But I do know that trying to promote freedom by relying upon allies with oppressive governments is a LOSING STRATEGY even if we were to give the Neoconservative decades to "stay the course."

There is no plan, no intention, to democratize Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because it's citizens are anti-American. The Neoconservatives only believe in freedom for pro-American nations -- hence the OBVIOUS fatal flaw and the duplicitous hypocrisy in their global proclamations.

You have been complaining since the start of this thread
that Bush and company are not fixing every single country that you consider to be a problem, right now.

Realism & Honesty
"You have been complaining since the start of this thread that Bush and company are not fixing every single country that you consider to be a problem, right now."

Wrong again. Let's refresh:


Name: Rhampton
Subject: Freedom Felled by Friends
Date/Time: 21 Aug 2006, 2:36 PM

Simply stated, you can not succeed in a global campaign to spread freedom that relies upon ruthless dictatorships as "allies" like Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt...

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1307416&C=asiapac


Now this DOES NOT MEAN President Bush needs to fix every country at once. What it does mean is that President Bush needs to be REALISTIC & HONEST -- we have no intention of spreading freedom to friendly, oppressive governments whose citizens are predominantly anti-American.

More Drivel
Otto's response to my critique of Mr. Kern's essay entitled "The Problem of Saints..." is notable for its total lack of substantive argument.

It merely labels my brief critique in various pejorative ways without addressing a single issue that I raised.

It is a good example of emotional labeling as a substitute for thinking.

But thinking, I'm afraid, is not the strong suit of advocates of and apologists for global US hegemony.

now you are speaking
At least now we have something in common, and I appreciate the fact that you recognized all those detestable things I did instead of "thinking". I debated it a while, whether it was worth to respond to your "total lack of substantive argument". Finally, I could not resist.

The fact is also that you are in groove from which you probably won't come out. Well, seems the same with me.

That's why I didn't even bother to give it a try to respond in a more civil manner. You read like a manifesto from some liberal ivory tower. The trouble is that this makes you probably feel good to let the world know of your elite position.

I am sorry, if I hurt your "feelings", and all that comes with it. That was not my intent.

My intent was to see whether I was a jerk alone, or we both were. :)
Make a guess,....:)

Otto
PS:
don't take everything so serious.

so many paranoid fantasies in such a short post
What US hegemony? You liberals keep telling us that the US is alone in the world, no nations are supporting us in what we do.
If we run this big hegemony, why is it that nobody pays us any mind? You can't have it both ways.

Likewise, there are no secret prisons, there are no assignations, there is no torture.
Indefinite detentions has always been the lot of prisoners of war. We get to hold them until hostilities are over.
BTW, treating them like POWs is doing them a big favor. They are illegal combatants, and should have been shot on sight.

Anyway, the notion that all our freedoms will be taken away so that the govt can protect us, is usually the drivel presented by the left.

since when is a bunch of baseless, unsupported drivel, a critique?
"It merely labels my brief critique in various pejorative ways without addressing a single issue that I raised."

That's exactly the way I read your original post.

"It is a good example of emotional labeling as a substitute for thinking."

Funny thing, that's exactly how I felt about your post.

Emotional Labeling
I freely admit to having cut to the chase in my brief critique of Mr. Kern's essay, but I did not label him a liberal or a conservative or a neocon artist or anything else in the process. In my post, I pointed to specific behaviors of the Bush Administration, which behaviors have been the stock-in-trade of despots throughout history. The Bushists have publicly defended these behaviors as being necessary to what they refer to as the "war on terror", which of course is a ridiculous concept if you think about it, but which seems to hypnotize many feeling, as opposed to thinking, people. Moreover, they are trying to sell their attempts to gut the Bill of Rights as being in the interests of the safety of the American people, summed up succinctly by Mr.Kern in the words: "I will take care of you. I will make hard decisions for you. I will take away your freedom and autonomy and I will give you security in return." Are you saying that that bill of goods doesn't sound familiar to you? Are you unaware that the Bush Administration has engaged in the behaviors I catalogued in my previous post, which you "felt" was an example of emotional labeling as a substitute for thinking?

what you listed was nothing more than a paranoids list of dark fantasies
none of the things you listed has happened, but you don't care about the truth, you are too consumed by hate to let anything as trivial as reality to get in your way.

Catch the News
Are you also among the 50% of Americans who believe that Saddam had WMD at the time of Iraq's being invaded?

Don't you have access to newspapers and television where you are?

If you know how to Google something, try that on each of the Bush Administration activities in question and get caught up a little regarding what your government is up to.

Then come back and tell me about "dark paranoid fantasies."


If all you read is the MSM, no wonder you are so ignorant
The WMD's have been found.

As to the rest of your dark fantasies, they never happened.
There has been no torture, there have been no secret prisons, etc.

Wilfull Ignorance

I gather that you didn't trouble yourself to Google any of the activities of the Bush Administration that I referred to.
I should think, though, that even if you've limited yourself to government propagandists such as Hannity, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly as your sources of information, you'd at least be *aware* of those government activities.
To take only one of the activities in question, it must be a total mystery to you why President Bush would threaten to veto and Vice President Cheney would lobby Congress to defeat the anti-torture legislation introduced by Senator John McCain, since there has never been any torturing of prisoners nor any memo by Attorney General Gonzales defending the practice to begin with.
At any rate, it isn't possible to have a discussion when one party to the discussion is oblivious to basic, well-publicized facts and refuses to make any effort to become aware of them.
If, rather, than exerting yourself to acquire the requisite knowledge to participate in an evaluation of the current administration, you prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of their depredations against the Geneva Convention and the US Constitution, be my guest,
but don't expect me to waste any more time attempting to bestir you from your political stupor.
So long and good luck.




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