- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Hero and the traitor
"If Hollywood had dreamed it up, the critics would have dismissed it as absurdly far-fetched.
"Two young Americans; two soldiers. One a hero; the other a traitor. One from the heart of small-town conservatism; the other from the most renowned enclave of liberal relativism. One fought for the CIA; the other battled for the Taliban.
"Americans are just beginning to grapple with the extraordinary story of John Walker Lindh from Marin County, Calif., and Johnny Spann from Alabama. Not so long ago, the press was full of analysis of an evenly divided country exposed so starkly in the last election: the vast swath of Republican America in the center of the country and the more liberal and cosmopolitan coasts and big cities.
"Before the red, white and blue of the terrorism war, there was the red and blue of the culture war. The story of Walker and Spann is in some ways a story of both of the interplay of patriotism and culture, faith and fate."
Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Johnny Walker Red," in the Sunday Times of London

Osama's ideology
"On the videotape released by the administration[last week], Osama bin Laden explains why the American effort to exterminate him and his al Qaeda cockroaches might actually bring a little sanity to the demented politics of the Arab world: 'When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse,' the mass murderer opines.
"Might, in his view, makes might. Bin Laden reveals himself as a believer in a power politics as austere and unthinking as his Islamist faith. And in this regard, he is absolutely in the mainstream where the Arab world is concerned.
"George Orwell tried to capture the horror of totalitarianism by asking us to imagine a 'boot stamping on a human face forever.' Most nations of the Arab world are not a perfect fit with Orwell's Oceania, but they're close.
"These are extraordinarily stable tyrannies whose absolute rulers control almost every aspect of public and private life. They use secret police, informants and rigorous ideological orthodoxy as means of domination.
"And they seduce their citizens into believing that their real enemies come from outside from Israel and from the United States."
John Podhoretz, writing on "His True God Is Power," Friday in the New York Post

Racial psychology
"America's obsession with the therapeutic is often traced to the wave of humanistic psychology in the 1950s and '60s. But [Elisabeth] Lasch-Quinn, a historian and the author of 'Black Neighbors,' believes that the story really begins with Kurt Lewin, who in the '40s pioneered the T-group, or sensitivity-training group, to promote interracial harmony.
"Instead of asking Americans to live up to their own moral creed, as Gunnar Myrdal had done in 'An American Dilemma' or asking them to reform Congress or business practices psychological approaches, as Lasch-Quinn puts it, 'altered not only the means by which change could be seen to come about, but also the ends themselves. The desired goal was no longer civic equality and participation, but individual psychic well-being.'
"Although psychology offers people certain comforts Lasch-Quinn believes that the turn to New Age therapy has had disastrous consequences for racial equality. For one thing, while the promise is self-fulfillment, the experience is actually somewhat authoritarian: group leaders, the experts, know the 'right' answers to questions, and those who trust their own feelings and experiences are often treated as pariahs.
"There is also the whiff of self-interest: Consultants must find evidence of racism to sell, often at quite high prices, their methods of curbing it. Finally, psychological techniques are, literally, endless: there is always another defense mechanism to be overcome."
Alan Wolfe, writing on "Race Experts," in the Dec. 9 issue of the New York Times

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