Forever Stupid

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

From conservative Powerline blogger Paul Miregoff’s post "Forever Young":

Vietnam and Watergate are seminal events for almost all liberals my age. Vietnam taught them to distrust the use of force by our military, and to despise leaders who aggressively use military force in the name of the national interest. Watergate confirmed that a leader who projects military force overseas for that purpose can be expected to usurp power at home.

These "lessons" were rejected by most baby-boomers even at the time of Vietnam and Watergate. And despite the dominance of Vietnam and Watergate-obsessed boomers in academia, subsequent generations have found the lessons even less worth learning.

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.

Interestingly, Paul does not explain exactly why he rejects those lessons.  He just does.  Apparently, it is delusion-based, as evidenced by his next paragraph:

The Democratic party, however, has not just learned the lessons, it has internalized them. And to its great detriment. The electoral tide turned against the Democrats during the Vietnam era, and hasn’t turned back. One can argue that the Vietnam/Watergate syndrome — fear of the exercise of American power based on profound distrust of our military, our government, and our motives — is the main cause of the decline of the Democrats.

I don’t know exactly what data points Paul is employing here.  Sure Bush was elected President twice, but barely both times (and it’s still questionable as to the first time).  Prior to that there was eight years of Clinton.  "Electoral tide" that "hasn’t turned back"??  This strikes me as typical conservative if-I-say-it-then-it-must-be-true reasoning.

Paul also ignores the rise in libertarianism, a movement based on "profound distrust" of government.  While that movement hasn’t inured to the benefit of Democrats, it hasn’t helped mainstream conservatism either.

Many liberals seem not to dispute this. In fact, they acknowledge the "failure" of most Americans to embrace "harsh truths," and see this as further evidence that something is wrong with our country ("what’s wrong with Kansas?").

The book is called What’s The Matter With Kansas, and it’s not a book wherein liberals say something is "wrong" with the country — it’s about how conservatives have successfully caused people to vote against their own self-interest.  Conservatives are able to do this by, in part, spreading false information much like Paul’s own post.

Paul says later:

But the Democrats (Hillary Clinton aside) are psychologically incapable, after so long in the wildnerness, of "letting the game come to them." Or perhaps they understand that Iraq is not Vietnam. Thus, they overreach — being too quick to compare Iraq to Vietnam, to eager to insist that we are failing there, and too quick to cry foul over domestic spying that targets mass murderers, not Larry O’Brien and Daniel Ellsberg. And the public recoils.

"Public", to Paul, apparently means "me, the people I associate with, and the people I see on Fox News".  Paul, have you read the public opinion polls lately?  Or, like, ever?