Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Duke’s ideals

“Saturday marked what would have been actor John Wayne’s 100th birthday. …

“Wayne was fiercely pro-America — an ideal that is, in Hollywood these days, mocked more often than not.

“John Wayne also backed wars. He didn’t just ‘support the troops’ as so many like to say, but he ‘supported the war’ as well. Wayne seemed to know ‘supporting the troops’ and ‘supporting the war’ aren’t mutually exclusive as today’s Hollywood seems to believe. …

“Will we ever see the likes of John Wayne again? The Duke was once, arguably, the most famous actor in the world. Today’s most famous are, to a great degree, limo-libs who campaign on behalf of the political candidate who is going to raise our taxes the most. Then, right after the election, the celeb heads halfway around the world on a tax-exile sabbatical to his or her vacation home on the French Riviera.”

— Doug Powers, writing on “John Wayne, where are you?” Monday in

Military lessons

“Military history is history with a lowercase ‘h,’ an exhibition of providence. The flip side of this, and the other important reason, is that military history shows just how quickly human beings degenerate into flagitious monsters — deliberately or helplessly, despairingly or remorselessly.

“No matter how ‘civilized’ the time, how ‘advanced’ the civilization, how ‘global’ the advancements, the risk of monstrousness, the true momentary loss of humanity (moments sometimes being years) is always present, always stalking the battlefield. Robert E. Lee knew this as it happened; Abraham Lincoln seemed to internalize it belatedly and from a distance. …

“Violence is always more ‘important’ than peace; war is always more ‘momentous’ than deliberative democracy, and invasion is always more ‘interesting’ than listening to Henry Clay. Power transfixes, and absolute power transfixes absolutely. Tying absolute conquest to absolute justice … creates an unfortunately overwrought and oversimplified version of future history to which only a combination coward, bigot and turncoat could refuse to subscribe: a future history in which all freedom opportunities are duties to be seized.”

— James G. Poulos, writing on “Special Pleading: Fred Thompson, Victor Davis Hanson, and the Study of War,” May 20 in Postmodern Conservative at

Peace poseur

“Cindy Sheehan was always a poseur. Having lost her son to war, her husband to divorce and parts of her family to her shrillness, she was left trotting around the memory of her dead son, using his name as absolute moral authority for liberal cause celebre social ladder climbing — after all, Laurie David, Nancy Pelosi, etc., had not lost a son to war.

“When the media would loosen its fixation, Cindy would trot back down to Crawford to her ‘Peace House’ and bash the president or travel to a foreign country and bash her own country. …

“Cindy Sheehan is … a sad, pathetic little woman who lost her son in a war she does not understand for a cause she detests and is in desperate need of professional help, not the encouraging, enabling cheers and ovations of a group fixated on the hope of a crushed American Empire.

“We and she would all be better off if we just ignored her and let her finally find closure through the silence of our turned backs.”

— Erick Erickson, writing on “A Media Whore No Longer,” Monday at

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