June 30, 2004

BREAKTHROUGH

Ali threw a party when he heard of the handover:

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.”

As Bremer said, "A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq!"

(via Hud)

MORE TO GROK:

More thoughts on The Power of Scraps:

Historians will someday recognize June 28, 2004 as one of the most important days of our century. The United States, a nation of unopposable military might, invaded smaller, weaker Iraq and conquered it. We said we'd done it to rid the world of a murderous tyrant. Our detractors said we did it for oil, or for domestic political gain, or for any of a number of other contemptible reasons. We expunged the tyrant's government root and branch, then supervised Iraq's transition from the chaos of war back to a semblance of peace and order, despite many attempts to disrupt it. On June 28, we gave the Iraqi people freedom and autonomy, with a sincere promise of assistance should their embryonic republic encounter any difficulties it was still too young to handle.

We gave our blood and treasure to liberate Iraq from the villainy of Saddam Hussein. Then we gave our word that Iraq would be freed from our supervision as well. Then we stood by it. That is the significance of Paul Bremer's "scrap of paper."

(Via Bunker)

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June 24, 2004

NATURE OR NURTURE?

In my attempts to understand the way people think, I started wondering about the nature/nurture split. It started with thoughts about another topic entirely, for much has been said about the biological vs. envioronmental influences in relation to homosexuality. I then started to wonder about how nature/nurture applies to politics.

We've all met siblings who have vastly different political leanings, despite being raised in the same household and having relatively similar life experiences. Even siblings who are still young -- those who haven't gone off on their own to encounter the world -- can have wildly different worldviews. One sibling works for the military and the other writes a dissertation on the virtues of Mandela and Khadaffi. How can this be?

Bunker's post was food for thought, which led me to The Motivations of Political Leftists and then to Why Are People Leftists?; these took me two days to read and digest. I then found a paragraph that echoed my questions: Leftists Are Born That Way, which is filled with interesting links that lead only to abstracts. I ended up with more questions than I have answers.

I know of people who were Leftists but abandoned their worldview; many of them were prompted by 9-11 to reevaluate their beliefs. But for many of us on both sides of the spectrum, 9-11 only confirmed what we already thought we knew, though it taught us monumentally different lessons. I personally have leaned Right for as long as I can remember, and I simply hid my more right-of-center views from my college friends. My worldview started to really solidify even before I cared at all about politics; it was fueled by the anti-Americanism I experienced in France and at the riots in Goteborg, and by an epiphany at a lecture by Dinesh D'Souza, among other things. Only later did I get into blogging and current events...and the military.

But where did it originate? Other people endured the hate and garbage in France, yet it didn't have the effect on them that it did on me. I must've already had the seeds of right-leaning ideas before I hit this point. But where did they come from?

I'd say both of my parents are fairly conservative, though we never talked about politics when I was growing up. I can't remember ever having a conversation about voting or foreign policy or anything of the sort. Did they somehow influence me in a subconscious way? Or was I born right of center and just viewed everything through that lens?

We talk about knee-jerk reactions, but isn't that just following your gut? The first blog I ever saw was U.S.S. Clueless and I immediately felt at home. Even before I had studied anything concrete about how the world works, I simply nodded my head in agreement and felt deep in my instincts that what Den Beste writes is true. No one had to teach me that; in fact, much of what we encounter in higher education these days should have persuaded me just the opposite. How was I not convinced?

I sure don't have the answers to these questions. I have always leaned a bit right of center; what about you? Do you think you were nurtured into your views or have you always felt this way? Did you have an epiphany or a gradually developing worldview?

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June 23, 2004

BADGE

Dennis Prager (via Amritas) divides Americans into two groups:

Those who are ashamed of America for being hated and those who wear this hatred as a badge of honor.

For weeks now I've been trying to understand those who disagree with me, and for weeks Amritas has been trying to get me to see that which Den Beste has said before: "It is more important what you stand for than who you stand with." I know this deep down, but my recent feelings of sadness and pessimism have been hard to shake. But tonight I finally understand what it means to be hated.

Sometimes being hated is the right thing. Sometimes being hated is not so much a reflection of you as it is a reflection of those who hate you. And sometimes being hated is something you should wear as a badge of honor.

I grok that now. Thanks for not giving up on me, Marc.

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