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Roger’s Rules

More Wisdom from McCarthy on Rand Paul

March 16th, 2013 - 6:39 am

Is there something about the name “Rand” that softens the brains of their more excitable adherents?  I wonder.  Whatever the virtues of Ayn Rand (and, as I have noted,  she does have her virtues) or Rand Paul, some of their acolytes seem to regard anything less than total adulation as a symptom of heresy, something that must be stamped out or at least shouted down without delay. Either you’re a paid-up member of the cheerleading section or you’re consigned to outer darkness: where there is fletus, don’t you know, et stridor dentium (Matthew 13:42).

It’s a phenomenon that is partly alarming, partly amusing, like watching a room full of irritable chihuahuas besetting a vacuum cleaner. I think, for example, of the cataract of abuse that greeted Anthony Daniels when he wrote about Ayn Rand for The New Criterion a couple of years ago: 256 comments, many of them in crazed-chihuahua mode.  Something similar greeted my musings about the response to Tony’s essay (alas, older PJ Media comments are temporarily unavailable, but, believe me, there were many hilarious specimens). And then just a week or so ago, I wrote commending Andy McCarthy’s piece on Rand Paul’s filibuster, which I thought was a balanced and well-informed meditation on the ostensible subject of Rand Paul’s talkathon: the constitutional limits of executive power during wartime (the real subject of the performance, I believe, was to catapult Sen. Paul into the political limelight). The result: scores of frantic chihuahua nibblings.

But I digress.  My real purpose in writing is to commend to your attention “Two Sides of Rand Paul,” Andy McCarthy’s new essay about Rand Paul’s foreign policy. Andy has his reservations.  But he is surely correct that “Senator Paul’s agitations serve conservative ends more consistently than does the erratic adventurism of his opposite numbers in the GOP’s intramural brawl: John McCain and Lindsey Graham,” those “progressive-lite populists who bend with the wind, an occupational hazard of service to a fuzzy global-stability agenda rather than to vital American interests pursued within a constitutional, limited-government framework.”

There’s more:

You won’t ever hear Paul echoing McCain’s assertion that the way to get foreign policy “back on track” would be to put John Kerry and Joe Biden in charge of it. You won’t find Paul, like McCain and Graham, toasting Qaddafi one minute, then in the next calling for his head; or condemning the Muslim Brotherhood’s sharia totalitarianism one minute, then in the next calling for Americans to work with and subsidize the Brothers. You won’t find Paul, in vertiginous McCain fashion, blathering about democracy-promotion and global stability while championing the secession from Serbia of a Muslim state — Kosovo, which now stands as a breakaway inspiration to Islamic-supremacist insurgents the world over. You won’t find Paul lamenting, à la Graham, that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war”; to the contrary, Paul appears to grasp that if you are prepared to subordinate the First Amendment to a desire not to pull the hair-trigger savagery of your enemies, then you have already lost the war.

Andy has other nice things to say about Rand Paul.  But he also introduces various notes of caution, especially regarding Sen. Paul’s caricature of the behavior of the Bush administration, and in particular his muddled comments about the Constitutional scholar and former Justice Department official John Yoo.  We might all applaud Sen. Paul when, in a recent speech, he called for a foreign policy defined by vital American interests rather than utopian democratic evangelism, one that  “would target our enemy, strike with lethal force,” and then leave. “If that is truly where he is coming from,” Andy comments,

he ought to study what former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo actually says instead of using a Yoo caricature as a piñata — the tack he took in the NR interview, regrettably reminiscent of the way McCain and Graham have disserved Paul himself. I doubt my friend Professor Yoo would dare dabble in ophthalmology, but in trying his hand at constitutional law, Dr. Paul predictably commits malpractice. He has confused Yoo’s scholarship on the “unitary executive” with advocacy of the executive lawlessness known as the “imperial presidency.”

The stakes here are high. “Foreign policy” is a phrase that also embraces “national security.” In the malevolent carnival that is business-as-usual in Washington, D.C., that link has often been obscured where it is not outright jettisoned.  But national security is a topic that has a way of coming back vividly to center stage when you least expect it. Everyone (well, everyone except the president, who just assured us that “there is no debt crisis”) is worried about the country’s economic situation, and with good reason.  But our domestic problems do not unfold in a vacuum, a fact we ignore at our peril (how do you spell “nuclear-capable Iran”?). Andy is right: “Any successful conservative foreign policy is going to marry the clarity about the enemy that animated Rand Paul’s Heritage speech with the clear distinction John Yoo draws between fighting war and fighting crime.”

There is an existential side to this issue — the future security of the United States — but the is also a pragmatic, party political side to it. Clarity and forthrightness tend to win elections in a way that politically correct waffling does not. As Andy observes in his closing remarks, “Ronald Reagan made the struggle against Soviet totalitarianism central to his campaigns. Mitt Romney regarded the struggle against Islamic-supremacist totalitarianism as something too politically incorrect to mention amid platitudinous five-point economic plans. There are reasons why eminently winnable elections are lost.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Way to backtrack on your "anti-Paul" attack piece, while still making fun of those of us who defended him. BTW, I must add that I defended him while not being a Paulite. I'm rather have my teeth pulled out through my nose than vote for Rand's father, and I much prefer Ted Cruz to Rand Paul. However, I think that dismissing his filibuster as "theater" is foolish and misses the point. OF COURSE it was theater. It was good theater and sorely needed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is very amiss on Roger Kimbell's and Andrew McCarthy's part to bring up Ronald Reagan without even making a passing mention of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy principles, which were/are the following.

"1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.

2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win. It should not be a halfway or tentative commitment, and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives.

3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress.

4. Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available."
- Ronald Reagan

It is also very amiss on Roger Kimbell's and Andrew McCarthy's part to bring up George Bush without making even a passing mention of what was the ideological basis of George Bush's foreign policy, which was/is the following.

"Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. It's a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It's a faith based upon love, not hate. Mohammad's word has guided billions of believers across the centuries, and those believers built a culture of learning and literature and science. All the world continues to benefit from this faith and its achievements. The Islam that we know is a faith devoted to the worship of one God, as revealed through The Holy Qur'an. It teaches the value and the importance of charity, mercy, and peace."
- George W. Bush
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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In the unlikely event someone performs a post mortem on the PJ Media site, I’d like to note that stirring an ad hominem attack into a poisoned well does not a well-reasoned argument make.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Kimball asks, "Is there something about the name 'Rand' that softens the brains of their more excitable adherents?"

Well, there is definitely something about the name of 'Ayn Rand' which softens the brains of otherwise intelligent gentlemen such as Roger Kimball and Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels), such gentleman who due to their unwillingness to give up their belief in the innate depravity of Man (a result of their religious upbringing?), feel threatened by Ayn Rand's egoistic philosophy.

So threatened that not only can they not finish reading any book or article written by her, ...but that they feel compelled to write articles which grossly distort her views and smear her character.

Mr. Kimball has supplied (above) a link to the Anthony Daniels article at his publication, The New Criterion.

Here is a web address to a thoughtful reply, an article in The Objective Standard, by Alan Germani :

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2010-summer/anthony-daniels-ayn-rand.asp

Decide for yourself if those excitable chihuahuas were on to something.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Published on Aug 15, 2012 Reality Check takes a look at Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s spending record during his seven terms in office.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=74b_1345089585&comments=1


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Defending the World, Bankrupting Ourselves Steve Chapman | December 6, 2012 After decades of American protection, our friends can form their own alliances to confront any adversary.

http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/06/defending-the-world-bankrupting-ourselve



GAO Report: $400 Billion Wasted Annually On 1,500 Duplicative, Fragmented, Inefficient Government Programs This also does not include all of the bureaucrats golden parachute benefits either!

http://budget.senate.gov/republican/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=5b942c34-d1e5-49de-be92-a85dad8aa191&SK=42ED5BBA6767481D74B2057AC359ACD4

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, Roger! Are you vacuuming the Chihuahuas again?!?!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Only in between building straw men.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Way to backtrack on your "anti-Paul" attack piece, while still making fun of those of us who defended him. BTW, I must add that I defended him while not being a Paulite. I'm rather have my teeth pulled out through my nose than vote for Rand's father, and I much prefer Ted Cruz to Rand Paul. However, I think that dismissing his filibuster as "theater" is foolish and misses the point. OF COURSE it was theater. It was good theater and sorely needed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even a total isolationism, which Ron Paul never advocated, would have been preferable to the absolute cluster frack out foreign/ military policy has been for the last decade.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Way to backtrack on your "anti-Paul" attack piece, while still making fun of those of us who defended him."

That pretty well sums it up. They apologize for calling us wacko birds, but still thing we are wacko birds.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Mitt Romney regarded the struggle against Islamic-supremacist totalitarianism as something too politically incorrect to mention "

Well it is apparently "too politically incorrect to mention" as even most on the right, including most of the writers on this very web site, do not seem able to bring themselves to say Islam and Muslims, but instead use deflecting PC terms like "Islamism" and "Islamist", hence largely, if not totally, absolving Islam and most all Muslims.

You just did it yourself by saying "against Islamic-supremacist totalitarianism", rather than "against Islam", as if you think that most Islam is not supremacist and totalitarian.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Excuse me as when I said "as if you think that most Islam is not supremacist and totalitarian", I should have said "as if you think that Islam itself is not supremacist and totalitarian".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"No protracted war [even if it's not much of a war and isn't being fought much like a war - see Afcrapistan] can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country." - Alexis de Tocqueville
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'just like I'd go after Tokyo Rose'

Right, as if _you_ would have said 'NO' to the Kempeitai.

http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/K/e/Kempeitai.htm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What do you mean by that? I'm simply stting that Tokyo Rose, the ones who were US citizens, were legitimate targets in war, subject to being bombed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is very amiss on Roger Kimbell's and Andrew McCarthy's part to bring up Ronald Reagan without even making a passing mention of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy principles, which were/are the following.

"1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.

2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win. It should not be a halfway or tentative commitment, and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives.

3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress.

4. Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available."
- Ronald Reagan

It is also very amiss on Roger Kimbell's and Andrew McCarthy's part to bring up George Bush without making even a passing mention of what was the ideological basis of George Bush's foreign policy, which was/is the following.

"Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. It's a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It's a faith based upon love, not hate. Mohammad's word has guided billions of believers across the centuries, and those believers built a culture of learning and literature and science. All the world continues to benefit from this faith and its achievements. The Islam that we know is a faith devoted to the worship of one God, as revealed through The Holy Qur'an. It teaches the value and the importance of charity, mercy, and peace."
- George W. Bush
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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