Pushing Big Rocks Up Hills Is A Good Metaphor

Today Brad Delong takes me over to a post by Sisyphus Shrugged on ‘neocons’ that springs from the ill-thought out Michael Kinsley column on the subject.

Sisyphus concludes, with a “I schooled them” air…

Work with me, Mr. Kinsley.

Ms. Kirkpatrick thought we should prop up the oligarchs (many of whom we hand-picked and foisted on the people to begin with) and let the people fend for themselves.

The current crop, as a response to a wave of democratization, thinks we should foist hand-picked oligarchs on the people (by force of arms, if necessary) and then prop them up.

Where in this you see a switch in actual practice rather than in figleaf rhetoric (swooning over ideas indeed. “Carter sucks” is not an ideology. Nor is “It sucks if Carter does it”) eludes me. It’s all neo realpolitik, and what neo realpolitik meant then and means now is that Republicans make up grand, lofty lies about their goals to get elected so they can do pretty much what they want to do with no reference to all the pretty rhetoric.

Hint: When political leaders in the Middle East refer to the Iraqi elections as a seminal event, you may want to reconsider your partisan rhetoric.

That is if you ever want to see a liberal elected in your lifetime.

I would, just as a hint.

19 thoughts on “Pushing Big Rocks Up Hills Is A Good Metaphor”

  1. The current crop, as a response to a wave of democratization, thinks we should foist hand-picked oligarchs on the people (by force of arms, if necessary) and then prop them up.

    As a response to a wave of democratization? Does time flow backwards when you’re pushing rocks in Hell?

    And Kinsley: The term “neoconservative” started out as an insult and is still used that way.

    What Kinsley means to say is that the left started using “neoconservative” as a codeword for “Zionist Tool” (or just as a codeword for JEW among the less sophisticated types) and still uses it that way.

    But neoconservative did not start out as an insult, as Kinsley would know if he wasn’t trapped in the rectal confines of WaPo. “Paleoconservative” started out as an insult, but now that the paleos are cheering on the antiwar crowd and hanging out with people like Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, they’re considered very cool.

  2. Hint: When political leaders in the Middle East refer to the Iraqi elections as a seminal event, you may want to reconsider your partisan rhetoric.

    Hint: when you judge history based on selective quotes, rather than events as they occur on the ground, you may want to reconsider your qualifications to comment on events as they occur.

  3. Hint: when the leaders who are praising an event are in bed with the people who made it happen, there’s likely to be a certain amount of admiring pillow talk.

    You talk about liberals as if you didn’t call yourself one.

  4. You talk about liberals as if you didn’t call yourself one.

    You can almost see the Democratic Party shrinking.

    Full disclosure: I’m a registered Democrat.

  5. Ms. Kirkpatrick thought that we should prop up the oligarchs because the Communists and tolitarians were worse. It’s not exactly wildly inconsistent for people to believe that during the Cold War, and then later believe that without the threat of Communism we no longer need to support various bastards around the globe.

    Also it’s worth noting that democratization happened in then-unsavory allies South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines in the 80s. (No thanks to Sen. John Kerry in the last case, if various reports can be believed.)

    Neoconservative did start out as a form of insult briefly, before being adopted and having a much richer history until its recent discovery by much of the current Left.

    In any case, Sisyphus’s attacks on current neocons wanting to install oligarchs are without basis. Indeed, such attacks could be made more easily on members of the Democratic Party (such as Sen. Kerry), or on the realist wing of the Republican Party foreign party establishment. The latter, however, primarily consists old guard members like Brent Scowcraft who all have criticized the Iraq War and the current Bush Administration foreign policy. Their realist critiques have been picked up and amplified by parts of the Left in many places. In short, those who favor the installation of oligarchs are primarily those who oppose the current Administration. Not that that means that all who oppose the Administration support such, but on occasion some of them have been willing to mouth any argument which opposes the Administration, including these.

  6. Hey, p. – before you start tossing around assertions about your superior knowledge of ‘facts on the ground’ in the Middle East (as opposed to, say, folks who live there or local political leaders), why not rebuild your credibility by going and supporting your assertions about the text of the Geneva Convention?

    A.L.

  7. bq. rather than events as they occur on the ground

    Those events are quite favorable

    By what measure are the Iraq elections unfavorable ?

    The people of Iraq sure see them favorably.

    Its as if you tossed in that reference to some other quantum reality to make the sentence work.

  8. Considering that the new Iraqi government hasn’t actually been set up yet, it’s probably better to take a “wait and see” approach.

    Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long. Talabani is supposed to announce it tomorrow.

    We have no idea yet what the makeup will be, which parties will control which ministries, and how Sunni participation will be ensured. I think it’s fair to say that the jury is still out on the success of the Iraqi elections. Will it be a wobbly coalition that will slowly firm up as it gains independence from the US? Or will the Sunnis abandon it and the country collapse into civil war?

  9. You can almost see the Democratic Party shrinking.

    its not surprising is it? After all, conservatives have been (accurately) decrying the failures of American public education for decades — and now we see that those failures have resulted in a lack of support for a party whose policies and ideas require intelligence to understand.

    Lets face it, when the vast majority of the people who voted for the winner in a Presidential election are completely clueless about the most pertinent facts (like thinking that WMDs were discovered in Iraq, and that the Duelfer report confirmed this) celebrating the decline of the Democratic party isn’t exactly consistent with the idea that democracy depends upon an informed electorate.

  10. “After all, conservatives have been (accurately) decrying the failures of American public education for decades — and now we see that those failures have resulted in a lack of support for a party whose policies and ideas require intelligence to understand.”

    Americans are too stupid to vote for the system they cant understand but is demonstrably a failure? Thats a strange argument.

  11. The Iraqi election are a seminal point in history. They, like the 1989 Polish election, shows that the old imperial power is powerless to keep the old vasals in power. They soon will fall to be surplanted by more democractic goverments.

  12. its not surprising is it? After all, conservatives have been (accurately) decrying the failures of American public education for decades — and now we see that those failures have resulted in a lack of support for a party whose policies and ideas require intelligence to understand.

    Nothing but flame bait. Sorry, I’ll oblige only to note that the tent just shrunk even smaller.

    celebrating the decline of the Democratic party

    Who’s celebrating the decline of the Democratic Party? Certainly not me. There’s damn little of Bush’s domestic policy that I like. My vote is fair game for the Democrats, if they would only stop calling me stupid for supporting the WoT.

    Like I said, I am a registered Democrat. This last presidential election is the FIRST time I’ve ever, EVER voted for a Republican. Now, I’m stupid and ignorant. I’ve already got one foot out of the tent. Are you going to be the one to push me the rest of the way?

  13. If you are a democrat who supports Bush’s WOT, we don’t want you in the party anymore. Go ahead and get out, be a republican. Who needs you? Not us. What we need are loyal footsoldiers who follow the platform to the letter. Get out.

  14. Hey, lurker, don’t feel bad, I’ve been stupid and ignorant (and dangerously violent–it’s wild turkey season!) since my first presidential election in 1996. So you have a few years on me.

    But so long as we’re talking about the cluelessness of Bush voters, there’s probably a fair number of Kerry voters who think Bush said Iraq was an “imminent” threat, or that we’re building an oil pipeline in Afghanistan, etc. etc.

  15. It’s not that I feel bad exactly, just bemused that my vote and the votes of my fellow travellers mean so little to so many, that, well… could actually use them.

    Maybe it’s time to go independent. Does anyone remember John Anderson’s platform?

  16. oneproudliberal: What we need are loyal footsoldiers who follow the platform to the letter.

    Don’t tell me about it. For years I’ve been advocating that the Democrats adopt the Red Army Commissar system. Every significantly powerful Democrat would have his own Party-appointed political officer, and presidential candidates would be accompanied by DNC Machine Gun Battalions to discourage deserters.

    Nobody listens, because some people don’t want to be helped.

  17. Say,

    In America aren’t the teacher’s unions overwhelminly Democrat?

    I suppose this just points out that the Democrats are responsible for their own failure.

    Wouldn’t you agree p.l.?

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