Thursday, September 22, 2005

We'll teach you to question the government, you...LIBERAL!

Byron York's piece in the National Review summarizes Cindy Sheehan's trip to Washington and the beginning of a series of anti-war events. It's well-written and avoids any polemics or complaints--but there's something...condescending about it, as if the anti-war crowd is somehow cute, slick and pathetic all at the same time. Does anyone else detect this?

14 Comments:

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

I think it is more of a subtle dig at these specific anti-war-ites than the anti-war crowd in general. York appears to have a hobby of chronicling the little seen aspects of Washington mall protests, my favorite one recently was http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200509081740.asp

 
At 2:59 PM, Blogger J. Morgan Caler said...

I think jackscolon has a good point (that it may not be so broad, but rather more localized). At the same time, I think Charles did pick up on something that is really there.

I do think that this treatment of (this) anti-war movement(s) is condescending. From my perspective, though, it is totally justified. In fact, I would have hoped that it were more condescending – or at least more explicit about being condescending.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

j. morgan: you would have hoped that York's condescension would have been more explicit AND you would have hoped that York had been, aggregately, more condescending? What are you driving at, exactly?

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger StandingOutInTheCold said...

I think that the anti-war movement is cute, slick, and pathetic all at the same time.

 
At 5:01 AM, Blogger J. Morgan Caler said...

Not anything important, I guess, other than my belief that anti-war movements in general – and certainly this anti-war movement in particular – ARE pathetic endeavors worthy of ridicule. I mean, I get the sense that this and many protests aren’t the actualization of a well-articulated dissenting critique that resulted from some previous, critical investigation into the object under protest; but a knee-jerk, sensationalist reaction. Moral authority, for me, has nothing to do with the protesters’ experiences or losses; it has everything to do with how articulate and sophisticated the protesters’ moral argument is. To give an analogy, this is like the difference between Pat Robertson and Bruno Latour in the arena of evolution: they just don’t have the same authority because of the methods of their protest and the reasons for their critique. As it turns out, Cindy Sheehan is a lot like Pat Robertson… only on the Left… and with a better jaw line… and with a dead son.

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

I see what you're saying--do you really think that these protesters fit that, though? You said you wanted their protest to be the actualization of a well-articulated dissenting critique that resulted from some previous, critical investigation into the object under protest. Have you conducted a critical investigation into these protesters?

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger RedHurt said...

I thought Time's recent headline, "Is it too late to win the war?", was cute, pathetic, ignorant, sensationalist and stupid all at the same time.

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger J. Morgan Caler said...

No, Charles, and that’s a good point; I might have a wrong impression of the protesters because of my own reactionary tendencies. But I don’t think “No more blood for oil” is a very serious critique. I think it is emblematic of sensationalist language. Certainly the energy crisis in America is (was) a source of motivation – even if indirect – but “blood for oil?” Even the name of the tour – “Bring them home now” – just reeks of this crude language of action over thought (which, if my memory serves, is exactly the sort of program that is behind this war in the first place). If there is a serious and sophisticated critique going on, then it is not at all evident to me in the conduct or content of the protest itself.

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

All right, I'm with you. I'm picking up what you're laying down. The question then becomes, how do we combine sophisticated critiques with action? I grant you that carrying signs around that say "No Blood for Oil" is useless and infuriating, but the war machine will roll on no matter how many eloquent articles we publish in sophisticated lefty magazines. If we could go back to March of 2003, what should we have done?

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

I don't think there is much of anything you could have done. Your opposition depended on some display of principle from those who you elect. You got sold out. Now the question is: do you vote for those who lie about their actions or those who lie about their motives? Democrats will tell you one thing and do another, but Republicans will at least tell you what they are going to do even if they don't give the right reason.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

Granted, jackscolon--I do think today's Republicans are more consistent than today's Democrats.

So, should we ever commit serious civil disobedience in this country, or is there no longer any need?

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

Civil disobedience is still disobedience.

But seriously, I'm all for political disagreement, but just don't ask me to do anything other than vote or rant in my blog.

I can't think of a single realistic example that would motivate me enough to even walk in a protest, let alone get sprayed with a hose or thrown in jail.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

"I can't think of a single realistic example that would motivate me enough to even walk in a protest, let alone get sprayed with a hose or thrown in jail."

Is this because our society is mostly just, or something else?

I'd stand with those folks in New London, CT, whose houses were seized by the feds...you wouldn't do anything about that if you lived in the neighborhood?

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

It's because I'm extremely apathetic, which I am in no way implying is emblematic of the political party I support as a whole.

and touche, that is a good example. I would do something about that, no matter how ultimately futile.

 

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