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Archive for April 5th, 2011

The Senator, Dropping Nuggets of Wisdom At the Latest Presser

Well, if you’re Lindsey Graham,  the undies go next, and you make sure everyone gets a really good look.

After being rightfully skewered for his suggestion that Americans shouldn’t be able to burn Qurans because that will make the heathens rage and burn stuff and kill people (completely ignoring that they need almost no provocation to rage and burn stuff and kill people), Lindsey spoke to Robert Costa at the National Review, and demonstrated that he <i>still</i> doesn’t get it.

General Petraeus sent a statement out to all news organizations yesterday, urging our government to [condemn] Koran burning. Free speech probably allows that, but I don’t like that.

No, Lindsey.  It doesn’t “probably allow it“.  It unquestionably allows it.  That’s the whole point of the words “Congress shall make no law…”.  As for not liking it, you might get used to it. 

I don’t like that public education has completely failed entire generations in this country to the degree that “critical thinking” has been reduced to repeating whatever someone else with an agenda has told them, so they will push it, even in the complete and utter inability to voice a logical and coherent explanation for doing so. 

I don’t like the fact entire portions of our history or no longer taught, or are reduced to a footnote, and that many of the people who set the grand plan for this republic to paper, and helped to advance it, are reduced to footnotes, or slandered and maligned by people whose primary agenda has been to find new and innovative ways to make what is yours theirs.

When General Petraeus wants us to say something because our troops are at risk, I’m glad to help. I don’t believe that killing someone is an appropriate reaction to burning the Koran, the Bible, or anything else, like I said Sunday; but those who believe that free speech allows you to burn the flag, I disagree. Those who want free speech to allow you to go to a funeral and picket a family, and giving more misery to their lives than they have already suffered, I disagree. And if I could do something about behavior that puts our troops at risk, I would. But in this case, you probably can’t. It’s not about the Koran; it’s about putting our troops at risk. And I think all of us owe the troops the support we’re capable of giving.

So why restrict freedom as a means to avoid an “inappropriate response” to the exercise of it?  Why not draw that line in the sand, and defend it?  We used to consider piracy to be an inappropriate response to passing through certain waters, and therefore we dealt with it.  And you know what?  It reduced the number of pirates willing to attack our ships.  And Senator, with all due respect, those soldiers, even the General, have taken an oath to defend Constitution, and by extension, the freedoms it guarantees.  These troops are already in war zones.  Every day there is dangerous.  I take umbrage at the notion that there is a moral obligation to refrain from exercising a freedom that the troops have sworn to defend so that they won’t face violence from people who stage astonishingly bloody and “inappropriate” expressions of outrage at little or no provocation to begin with. 

Frankly, if Karzai was willing to gin up this controversy to inflame people so willing to kill others who had nothing to do with the “offense” in the first place, then maybe the time has come for him to run that little corner of paradise without anyone to help keep the very real extremists who oppose him at bay.  Maybe its time to let a people so eager and enthusiastic to be backwards to be backwards, and enjoy the spiritual enlightenment that comes from beating women for the crime of being raped, living without sanitation, antibiotics, education, and decent nutrition.  Maybe its time to let the world pass them by as they apply a 4th century brain to 21st century life, or what passes for it a few miles outside of Kabul, Tekrit, or Tehran.  But you sure as hell do not reward bloody tantrums by capitulation or surrender of the very rights that make us who we are.

 Nobody said anything to me when I said that you can’t burn the flag. People say that is free speech, but I don’t agree. What I was saying is, if I could hold people accountable, I would. But I know that we can’t. I just don’t like the idea of free speech being used as a reason to put our troops at risk. They’ve got enough problems already. I really believe that responsibility ought to be part of free speech. You can’t yell “fire” in a theater. There are a lot of things that you can’t do under the guise of free speech. I just hate it when somebody here, some crazy person, acts in a way that puts our troops in jeopardy. I really feel the need to condemn that. To me, that is not a responsible use of free speech. 

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If not a particular act, I would like to be able to push back against things that put our troops in harm’s way, at home and abroad. But there is no way to regulate all of the speech that you are talking about. I am not suggesting that we have a constitutional amendment to ban Koran burning, or Bible burning, or anything else. I am suggesting that I wish that we could make people accountable.

And now we get to the real nub of the matter.  Responsibility and accountability.

It is great irony having someone who is part of a body that has done more to erode responsibility and accountability in exchange for dependency and the power and authority that it accords lamenting a lack of responsibility and accountability for what people do with freedom.  Having a government that has done so much to infantilize people, to encourage irresponsibility, to attack the moral checks on baser impulses, and to marginalize the sources of those moral checks that people and societyimposed without the assistance or participation of government really is a lot.  After decades of this we find ourselves in a place where the people who have sworn to protect the freedoms guaranteed to us constantly behave as if we are not to be trusted with them.  Whether its supporting this ludicrous idea that we must curtail the exercise of freedom here at home so that people elsewhere in the world do not act badly, or that because someone would act badly here at home because that freedom made it possible, those who serve us appear possessed of the idea that only they can determine what freedoms we should be allowed at all, because some among us chose to exercise them without responsibility or accountability.

Living with freedom is difficult.  It’s work.  And it should be.  There is a reason why Benjamin Franklin told a citizen inquiring what the result of the Constitutional Convention was “A republic, if you can keep it.”  If the Senator wants more responsibility and accountability for what we do with freedom, I suggest he start at work, and apply his efforts to ending laws, regulations, and programs that take responsibility and accountability away from the individual and entities. 

And read the Constituion every day, until he can fully grok what it is that he is there to preserve and defend.

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Yeah, not so much, as noted rocket scientist, chart maker, and shibboleth-slayer Geoff points out for us all.

I’m sorry.  I just can’t afford your lifestyle.  And neither can my kids.

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