Daily Archives: January 19, 2008

The dangers we really face are much worse than radical Islamists.

Most of the people in our nation and even in our government are mostly
nice and reasonable most of the time. But far too many of them elevate
matters of faith- faith that any and all collective-ness is evil,
faith that The Man is ripping them off, faith that the poor are
ripping them off, faith that the Bible tells them what to do, faith
that Ronald Reagan had it all figured out. Faith that a vegan diet or
biodesiel or a bean-based diet or manditory yoga or free access to
psychoactive chemicals or a complete clampdown on psychoactive
chemicals or war with Iran or renunciation of all violence, let the
North Koreans come here and kill us if they wish, etc, etc, etc,
are the answer. The problem with all of these people is that they
believe in exceptions. They are suceptable to rational and reasoned
logic, generally, but they believe in their own expert judgements and
the expert judgements of their friends and idols, and they believe
that their belief has something to do with how things will turn out.
Dick Cheney and his band of buddies, on Iraqi WMD, for example. Any
number of Muslim extremists on the nobility of religion imposed by the
sword and the superiority of their take on Islam. Ditto Christians,
Hindus and Buddists, with adjustment of weapon and belief system.
Christians were killing Christians in Northern Ireland in our
lifetimes, and between the Serbs and the Croations it was the same

All these true believers who want abstinance rather than condoms to
solve the AIDS epidemic, who want third world farmers in Southern
Cupcakia to give up subsistance farming and become cash-crop
businesses that ship product into the world market and import staple
foods, all the people like Mike Huckabee who will tell you that its
possible to get a raise for working hard but “taxes” take it all.

I’m not saying ends justify means, but there’s way too many
unchallenged acts of faith masqueading as reasoned policy or political
consensus. I’d bet the average polician in the USA is well meaning and
do what they believe in whether it works or not, because its what they
believe in. And they pillory anyone who changes their mind about what
they believe in. Far better to be defeated in ignorance than to adjust
your beliefs or your programs, to the reality you find. Don’t
flip-flop. Never change your mind. Never learn a damn thing. Thats the

The people who sell us out do so largely because they believe the
sellout isn’t important, the good done by sticking to whatever cult
belief they favor is is more important AND BETTER FOR US than any
downside that taking money for rolling a few logs could ever be. I
really believe that (!) For example, I think Jack Abramoff knew he was
doing wrong, but wouldn’t give more than 50:50 that Tom DeLay thought
a thing he did was wrong. Or Hillary Clinton.

Terry Gross had a nice former Colonel, the guy Sec. State Powell had
as his Chief of Staff, on the other day. He said that he believes that
both Bush and Cheney know they blew it in Iraq and secretly have
trouble sleeping because of it. He said, if memory serves, that the
only alternative is is that they are monumentally ignorant and obtuse,
and he couldn’t buy that. HA! Like so many bright people, he imagines
everyone is like himself. My money is on ignorant and obtuse.

In the last two elections, the President of the United States was said
to have been chosen because of percieved likability in ritual beer
drinking ceremonies. At least THIS TIME we’re talking about the
President’s job being to make policy, execute the laws Congress pass
and be Commander In Chief. We may still pick based on attraction as a
beer drinking buddy. But if I could waive a wand and dismiss all
corruption, stupidity and veniality, today, now, all the stuff only a
Omnipotent Deity would be aware of, I can’t believe the effect would
last 20 years. It might not last 10. Its like people who win the
lottery. It will always be with us.

On the decline of the dollar, the loss of Uber-power status, and the
danger of radical Islam, it all sounds very bad, but I think we’re in
more danger from ourselves than all the Islamic radicals put together.
Neglecting preventable deaths from smoking, poor food and exercise
choices, infectious deseases, fire, flood, military training and
non-automotive-but-transportation-related deaths, we suffer, every
year, 40,000+ traffic deaths, 10,000+ deaths from firearms (including
bad-guys shot by citizens and the police). 15,000 suicides and some
large number of drug-related fatalities not in the previous headings.

In their best year, the radical Islamists managed to kill less than
4,000 of us, and while I don’t count them out, or minimize the
murderous swine they are, they can’t tap our phones, lock us up in
secret jails in Poland or Thailand, keep us from flying, deny us
healthcare or even make us take our shoes off. They can kill us with
bombs, firearms, infantry weapons, IEDs, explosivly formed penetrators
and commercial airliners, if they can get at us. They can’t force us
to do cash-out refinances with teaser rate ARMs. They can’t force us
to lower our product cost. They can’t force us to employ illegal
aliens off the books, or through contracters. They can’t force us to
smoke tobacco or marijuana or crack, take heroin, cocaine or
methamphetamine. They can’t force us to drive SUVs or tolerate crappy
public tranisit. They can’t force us to subsidise the produciton of
some storable comodities, in particular sugar, corn, soybeans, and
other ingredients for unhealthy fast food. They can’t even force us to
invade Iraq and talk about invading Iran when they’re in Pakistan and

Make no mistake, we have to keep our attention on them and do what it
takes for a generation or more to prevail in what is clearly a war.
But there’s more risk to you within 1000 yards of your pillow than
among the faithful sitting around a fire and fingering their AKMs.