Saturday, October 01, 2005

Notebook: DeLay, Bennett, and more

Bennett's comments: William Bennett has come under fire for recent remarks on his radio show. Opinion Journal explains:
Bennett and a caller to his radio show the other day were discussing a hypothesis in Steven Levitt's book "Freakonomics" (available from the OpinionJournal bookstore): that the explosion of abortion after Roe v. Wade depleted the number of potential criminals and thus helped reduce the crime rate. Bennett rejected such utilitarian pro-abortion arguments:
It's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could--if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

Bennett's common sense comments - an empirical fact about the crime rate, and a rejection of the notion that we can use positive ends to justify the killing of unborn children - were quickly called "outrageous," "ignorant," "hurtful," "ridiculous," "asinine," "insane," and "racist." Nancy Pelosi: "What could possibly have possessed Secretary Bennett to say those words, especially at this time?" Bobby Rush: "Where is the indignation from the GOP, as one of their prominent members talk about aborting an entire race of Americans as a way of ridding this country of crime?"

Am I missing something, or are Bobby Rush and company revealing themselves to be mentally-handicapped? I knew politicians could be morally corrupt, but I didn't know they could be so jaw-droppingly stupid and "ignorant" of what Mr. Bennett said - after hearing or reading Mr. Bennett say it. Illiteracy - perhaps that's the problem.

The irony is that most of these liberal critics support the genocidal practice of abortion, which Bennett, in his remarks, rejected. Should people like Rush, who apparently thinks Bennett is considering this idea, be whole-heartedly agreeing rather than violently disagreeing?

Opinion Journal pretty much covers everything on this little controversy. Plus, Bennett's website.

DeLay trouble: I'm guessing Tom DeLay's indictment is baseless, but I can't know for sure. DeLay is an outspoken, principled politician and a hero for many social conservatives. I'm glad to see his supporters are standing up for him, and that DeLay isn't afraid to express some humility: "I am sustained by my Lord and savior. If you know him, and he is on your side, there ain't nothin' but joy." (Update: Cal Thomas explains why this is likely just a dirty liberal attempt to bring down a good conservative.)

Iraq: Clifford D. May writes that in this clear-cut, good vs. evil conflict, journalists and so many others lack the moral sense to pick the right side, often seeming to throw their support for terrorists and the like. May shows how ideology blinds many to the truth (i.e., Maureen Dowd says that the war "ended up curbing women's rights").

But Charles Krauthammer distinguishes between the literally crazed war opponents and the decent ones:
The mainstream opposition view of Iraq is that, while deposing the murderous Saddam was a moral and even worthy cause, the enterprise was misconceived and/or bungled, too ambitious and unwinnable, and therefore not worth expending more American lives. That is not [Cindy] Sheehan's view. Like the hard left in the Vietnam War, she declares the mission itself corrupt and evil: The good guys are the "freedom fighters'' -- the very ones who besides killing thousands of Iraqi innocents, killed her son too.

(Speaking again of Sheehan, who I've written much about, Larry Elder further explains why every American must regard her as a crackpot - and why the media attention is so shameful.)

Krauthammer continues:
You don't build a mass movement on that. Nor on antiwar rallies, like the one last week in Washington, organized and run by a front group for the Workers World Party. The WWP is descended from Cold War Stalinists who found other communists insufficiently rigorous for refusing to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Thus a rally ostensibly against war is run by a group that supported the Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan; the massacre in Tiananmen Square; and a litany of the very worst mass murderers of our time, including Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il. You don't seize the moral high ground in America with fellow travelers like these.

As long as the crazed war opponents are in charge of the opposition, the anti-war movement will (hopefully) not succeed.

Krauthammer also notes that, unlike Vietnam,
Today there is no one to negotiate with, no middle ground, no even apparent plausible compromise. The only choices are to succeed in establishing a self-sufficient, democratic Iraq or to call an abject retreat that not only gives Iraq over to the tender mercies of people who specialize in blowing up innocents, but makes it a base of operations for worldwide jihad.

The very fact that Cindy Sheehan and her WWP comrades are so enthusiastic for the latter outcome tells you how difficult it will be to turn widespread discontent about the war into a mainstream antiwar movement.

The judiciary: Greg Koukl notes that the oath John Roberts just took "requires that the words of the Constitution have determinate meaning; the words mean something fixed and particular." Obviously. "If there is no determinate meaning, there is nothing to pledge fidelity to. There is nothing in particular to 'support and defend,' and nothing specific to 'bear true faith and allegiance' to." The view taken by all non-originalist judges - that means at least 6 of the 9 current Supreme Court justices - undermines everything and is blatantly incompatible with American government. More on this issue.

Taxes: Conservatives are divided over whether the flat tax or the "fair tax" is a better tax reform idea. Neal Boortz and Daniel J. Mitchell debate the issue here.

Bashing Bush, praising Reagan: I wrote about Ann Coulter's frustration with the Republican Party in this post, and she continues that theme here. As she did after last year's election, Coulter bashes Karl Rove, who people assume is some kind of genius. She makes some good points: "In 2004, America was at war and the Democrats ran a gigolo to be commander in chief. The nation hasn't changed so much since Reagan was president that the last election should have even been close." And she continues to make the case that conservative Republicans are more successful and electable than moderate ones.

Katrina and spending: reviews everything that happened surrounding the Katrina disaster.

Also, I wrote recently that the Katrina spending is an example of President Bush's big-government conservatism. Larry Kudlow attempts to defend the president from conservative attacks - first by saying the spending is necessary to send a message to terrorists, that we must do whatever it takes, and that the debt isn't such a huge problem anyway; and secondly, by noting the conservative nature of the spending, as I wrote about.

Kudlow makes a good point about the budget deficit. But the issue to debate is whether "compassionate conservatism" is preferable to traditional conservatism, and I believe it isn't. (But again, it's much better than the generic welfare state.)

The big picture: Michael Barone provides reason for optimism about just about everything, whether it's the advance of freedom in the Middle East, the strong economy, or U.S. opinion abroad.

Money talks: Why do seemingly intelligent Democratic politicians join the far left in acting like psychotic nutjobs? Tony Snow says it's about the money - and all because of McCain-Feingold. This explains the transformation of the formerly-respectable Harry Reid.

Darwinism: Charles Darwin found the philosophical implications of his theory counter-intuitive. Large-scale evolution conflicted with something he knew to be true, thus stirring up some serious tension in his thought life: "What a book a Devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low & horridly cruel works of Nature. My God, how I long for my stomach's sake to wash my hands of it."

Also, Melinda Penner and Chuck Colson both note that a group of Darwinists has admitted their blatant bias toward philosophical naturalism. This means that their "science" isn't just concerned with the method of investigation, but with the conclusion that that method may come to. Some conclusions are ruled out regardless of the evidence. See this post.

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