- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

Vidal vs. America
"Anti-Americanism is an emotion substituting for an analysis, a morality, an ideal, even an idea about what to do. When the hatred of foreign policies sputters into a hatred of an entire people and their civilization, then thinking is dead and demonology lives. When complexity of thought devolves into caricature and all broad-brush hatred of any nation, whatever its occasions, is caricature intellect is on its way to reconciling itself to mass murder.
"Consider the sad case of Gore Vidal, once 'a great wit,' in the words of Norman Mailer (who proceeded to skewer him), now a witless crank.
"Toward the likes of Timothy McVeigh and Osama bin Laden, who would define their mass murders as retaliations against the United States of America and its incidental citizens, Vidal burns with sympathy.
"Not for him so banal an act as moral condemnation, or investigation of what sort of person it is who commits mass murder out of political grievance. Rather, he thinks it is tough-minded to indulge his preoccupation with 'the various preoccupations on our side that drove them to such terrible acts.' Note: 'drove them.' These killers were presumably helpless heaps of machinery."
Todd Gitlin, writing on "America love it or dump on it," Saturday in the Toronto Globe and Mail

Basic issues
"Something that Leftists have had in common from the beginning is the rejection of any idea of 'human nature.' Basically, Leftists seem to believe that 'education' can change almost anything in human behaviour.
"Quite obviously, any idea of human nature says that important things about human beings just cannot be changed and that does not suit the change-loving Leftists at all. So Leftists simply reject what does not suit them regardless of the enormous evidence in favour of inherited characteristics.
"Conservatives, by contrast, not only have the view that there are important and essentially ineradicable inherited human characteristics, but they share with Christians the view that those characteristics are of a 'fallen' kind: characteristics of selfishness, aggressiveness, untrustworthiness, et cetera.
"This conservative (and scientific) rejection of the Leftist idea that human beings are infinitely malleable does, of course, pose a major threat to the Leftist's assumptions, theories and programmes and it is one that the Leftist cannot really rebut, so the usual Leftist response is simply an ad hominem one: To abuse and demonize conservatives for lacking 'compassion.' Abuse takes the place of argument."
John J. Ray, writing on "The Psychology Underlying Liberalism," Thursday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

Gonzo outrage
"I had just awakened, my first morning home from a 120-show concert tour, on [September 11], when my brother Johnny called with an out-of-character, serious tone to his voice, instructing me to turn on the TV.
"My law-enforcement-training condition yellow slammed into full red when I realized my son Toby was in Manhattan for a television-show audition. At once the other line rang and it was Toby. Fortunately, the Nugent Tribe is extremely close, and my older brother Jeff had already contacted Toby from his office in New York City. As CEO of Revlon, Jeff was able to dispatch his security to get Toby to a safe zone, and though my personal concerns for family were temporarily under control, my deep hurt and concern for the obvious victims of this evil atrocity escalated by the second.
"Then the second jet hit and my anger went through the roof. Like all decent people, we monitored the outrage for months to come. Our resolve to fight for and protect the American Dream is fueled by the resilient emotion driven to new heights by this demonic event to stand for all that is good."
Rock guitarist Ted Nugent, in a symposium about September 11, in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com


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