Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Letter to a Conservative Friend

'A Donnochadha,

Thank you for the kind compliments. Yes, I think it is a sad state of affairs that the current political debate has degenerated to essentially name-calling and ideological purity witch hunts – of which neither bodes well for the state of democracy. In fact, I am increasingly dismayed with the postmodernist Left. The complete abrogation of responsibility and the embracing of "moral" relativism is as pernicious a disease as I might dare imagine.

Eugene V. Debs, one of the founders of the Socialist Party and man I still admire, once told an audience that if he could lead them into the Garden of Eden, he wouldn't; because if he could do that, someone else could just as easily lead them out. "You must take yourselves there!" Hmmm…personal responsibility anyone?

As for the death of right and wrong, which the moral relativists of the Left seem only too happy to extol, is for me, contrary to the very basis of my being involved in Leftist politics. I joined it precisely because it offered moral clarity; i.e., it was wrong to exploit people, it was the right thing to do when you supported the civil rights of people denied them for no other reason than the color of their skin, etc., etc.

George Orwell, another socialist, while writing of the general public's perception of the Left in 1930's said:

“In addition to this there is the horrible – the really disquieting – prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words “Socialism” and “Communism” draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, “Nature Cure” quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.”

Thirty odd years ago when I first read those lines, I chuckled. It doesn't seem so funny to me anymore.

As a former military officer, you might be surprised to learn that I, the man you fondly describe as left of Ted Kennedy, advocated going after the Taliban a full six months before September 11th! They were (and I suppose, still are), as Christopher Hitchens described them, "Islamofascists" who have no respect for even the most fundamental of human rights. Good riddance to the bearded vermin.

And, although I might have some serious questions about how we were sold on the entire Iraq issue and, even more importantly, what exactly are we go to do now that we are there, only a crank could believe that the world isn't a little better place sans Saddam Hussein & Sons.

Yes, D - , you and I might disagree on a good many things, but the concept of E Pluribus Unum still means something to both of us, that democracy and the rights of individuals and equal protection under the law are worth arguing about and fighting, and possibly, dying for.

Then again, perhaps we have gone through the looking glass and that the idea of ordinary men, not those of privilege, might control their destiny for the benefit of the common good has become a cornball fantasy. For everyone's sake, let's hope not.

Slán go foill,

Baírnín MacGiollaFhaolain


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