?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Yes, actually, maybe some failure would be good - Baxil [bakh-HEEL'], n. My Sites [Tomorrowlands] [The TTU Wiki] [Photos]
View My LJ [By Tag]


February 13th, 2005
12:43 am
[User Picture]

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Yes, actually, maybe some failure would be good
I don't know how many of you keep up with political blogs, but there's currently something of a to-do over the latest round of righty charges, including from the broadly-read and usually less inflammatory Instapundit, that the left is literally and consciously aiding the terrorists. This has brought up the usual set of associated talking points: the left hates America, the left wants the U.S. to fail ...

Which brings me to a piece I want to quote almost in its entirety. I ran across it about a week ago in the comments section of a Crooked Timber post, and I'm still struck by its eloquence. The usual lefty response to the "you want America to fail" charge is to say "do not," which is only appropriate, since the vast majority of liberals see America skidding into a quicksand of failure and want to stop the slide. But Tad Brennan (no relation) started from the premise of "actually, yes, I was hoping for a failure," and then laid out a plain, simple case for why that attitude was not only rational but morally defensible.

Quoted text begins:
This morning [1/31], mixed with my relief that yesterday’s death-toll in Iraq wasn’t higher, and my joy over the amazing demonstration of people-power, I was ashamed to detect in myself a trace of disappointment that things had not gone worse. Hoping for failure? Isn’t that clear evidence that I hate America, or am just deeply irrational? Well, I can rule out America-hating—maybe there are some cartoon lefties who hate our country, but I’ve never been one of them. So how could it be rational for me to harbor even a fraction of a wish for a disaster, when everything I hold dearest—the future of my country, of my children, of democratic ideals—is tied up with the success of democracy in Iraq?

How could it ever be rational to wish for a car-crash, when you and the things you love are riding in the car? Easy. If you are strapped into a car and a notorious drunk-driver is at the wheel, it is perfectly rational to hope he crashes before he gets out of your drive-way, in order to avoid an even more catastrophic crash on the highway. It is perfectly rational to hope that your own car will suffer a minor embarrassing crash, so that you and your friends can wrestle the keys out of his hands and avoid a major crash that will total the car and kill all its occupants.

Bush is a serial drunk-driver. I have watched in horror as he has lurched from one hit-and-run to another, leaving victims in his wake—spending like a drunken sailor, impoverishing my grandchildren for decades to come with his deficits, lying about WMD before, during and after the invasion, turning decent US soldiers into torturers and deviants at Abu Ghraib, ruining America’s reputation overseas for a generation. After a close and bitter election he is even more drunk on power and arrogance, and I am horrified at the carnage he may create next. I keep waiting for sober voices to take the keys away, but his enablers are always there to deny that there are any problems, to claim that actually that screeching plunge into the ditch was part of the plan all along. So his cronies egg him on, making him more drunk, more reckless, and more dangerous.

And so I’m left hoping for some small catastrophe—please God make it a small one—that will still be big enough to sober everyone up, to make them realize how dangerous this drunk-driver is. It would have been terrible if things had gone badly yesterday—but less terrible than if Bush’s enablers use this minor triumph to justify lurching into Iran, or destroying Social Security, or attacking gays, or invading Pakistan, or whatever insane scheme these people will come up with next.

Yes, you Bush-lovers, you won the election, and for another few years there’s no way for me to wrestle the keys out of his hands. But please, for the sake of the country that we both love, don’t keep lying about the road-kill he has left behind. Try to keep him from running down any more innocent victims. Don’t feed his arrogance by pretending that every lying change of rationale was part of the plan all along. Use his many documented failures to rein in his ungodly ambitions, for the good of the country we all love. When you can admit Bush’s failures along with America’s successes, and not follow him blindly into disaster after disaster, then my heartfelt hopes for America’s success will not have to be mixed with a conflicted hope for Bush’s failure.

-- Tad Brennan, February 4, 2005

Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: "Metal Gear May Cry," Jared Hudson
Tags:

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:February 13th, 2005 10:52 am (UTC)
(Link)
I completely agree. The only way to stop the unfolding horrors of the proposed American Empire is for the US to fail exceedingly badly. Also, I'd rather see failure in Iraq rather than the almost inevitable and even more serious failure when (as seems more likely every day) the US invades Iran. US failure will ultimately save US lives and more immediately, the lives of the resident of the nations it is intent on conquering. I see absolutely nothing wrong with wishing a bad for global tyranny to fail.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:necama
Date:February 13th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I agree for the most part with that post; US foreign policy (and domestic policy, for that matter) is fairly screwed up right now. That isn't to say that Iran isn't screwed up, or that Iraq isn't screwed up. But I don't think it was our job to fix their problems; it's our job to fix our problems. And right now, our biggest problem is the evangelical "christian" fanatic who is running our country.
[User Picture]
From:roaminrob
Date:February 14th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
And right now, our biggest problem is the evangelical "christian" fanatic who is running our country.



No, actually; our biggest problem right now is thta a majority of the voting American population elected an evangelical fanatic.



Really, think about it for a second: a lot of people are pointing at Bush, at Karl Rove, at others in his cabinet and other powerful individuals in politics and the media, and saying, "These people are to blame for our troubles." What so many people seem to be missing, is that these people are successful only because a very large number of Americans believe that things are happening as they should be.



For another, related American cultural problem, look at the encroachment of Intelligent Design into the public school system, and even higher education.



No, Bush is not America's problem. America's problem is far more systematic, and I don't see a way to fix the country. I am usually the very last person to look at any particular grave situation and say, "This is hopeless," but I think we're standing now at the precipice of the long, gradual, inevitable decline of American society.
[User Picture]
From:gchpaco
Date:February 14th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
A good point, and something I've noticed as an near-perpetual outsider. I've tried to educate some of the people I know, and it's very frustrating; I don't really understand why someone would insist upon sticking their head in the sand, but they do and there's precious little I can do about it.

The only upside to all of this, as far as I can tell, is that even if they don't believe in reality, reality believes in them. This kind of willful ignorance will not go ... unrewarded.

[User Picture]
From:roaminrob
Date:February 15th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
(Link)
A good point, and something I've noticed as an near-perpetual outsider. I've tried to educate some of the people I know, and it's very frustrating; I don't really understand why someone would insist upon sticking their head in the sand, but they do and there's precious little I can do about it.

Don't try to educate them; instead, listen to them. Ask them questions; not pointed, or loaded ones, but simple ones about their opinions.

Many people make decisions based either on their emotions, or on someone else's opinions. That's why marketing is so effective; you rarely see any kind of advertisement that really tries to educate anyone about anything. Instead, advertisements try to touch our emotions; they try to find the places where we're emotionally needy, and touch them. "Buy our jeans, because popular people obviously wear our jeans, and you want to be popular."

There is an antidote for every poison.

The antidote for this poison is conscious thought. You can't force a person to think; you can't educate them against their will. What you can do is have a conversation with them, and gradually draw them out. If you ask a person the right questions, they'll begin to discover on their own that they need to give some of their ideas a little more thought.

I've had some great conversations this way.

The only upside to all of this, as far as I can tell, is that even if they don't believe in reality, reality believes in them. This kind of willful ignorance will not go ... unrewarded.

I can't sit idly by and watch karma go to work.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 28th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC)

But what about the alternative?

(Link)
I am posting anonymously due to not having a live journal account, my apologies.

If bush did not get elected, then Kerry would have. Would he have been better. I don't like bush, but when I compared the two I liked kerry less.

The main complaint I had against him was I never really knew what he stood for, at least I know where Bush stood. I think if there was more honesty (or a more competent person) with Kerry's campaign, we could have seen him elected instead.

Or am I off on the wrong track on this?
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:March 1st, 2005 09:41 am (UTC)

Re: But what about the alternative?

(Link)
I think there's room to disagree on who would have made a better president, and I think there's plenty of room to discuss what the Democratic campaign could have done better to make their candidate look more appealing.

Take the piece I quoted as representative of a sentiment from a large segment of the political left that was galvanized into action by what they (and I) saw as such a horrible president that any alternative would have been better. It was written in response to literal claims that the Left is engaging in treason by dissenting -- so hopefully you can see where the rhetoric I quoted is coming from, even if you disagree that hoping for a small disaster is called for.
Tomorrowlands Powered by LiveJournal.com