Vicious Asia Times Article on Guns and Bush + My Response


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The Last Confederate
September 22, 2004, 11:39 PM
The article can be found here.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FI14Aa01.html

Why Americans love George W Bush
By Spengler

George W Bush almost certainly will win another term as president of the United States, as I have predicted all along (Careful what you Bush for, August 3). That surprises outside observers of US politics, who can see that the Democrats are cleverer, better dressed and better looking. It is just the sort of Americans who know they are neither clever nor good-looking who will vote for Bush.

Bush supporters are the sort of American one never meets. Through the media as well as through personal contact, Asians and Europeans meet the United States in the person of its coastal elite: academics, journalists, clerics, entertainers, and the technological avant garde. The sort of American traveler one meets in Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok probably will vote for John Kerry in November. Fewer than one in six Americans owns a passport, and those are found disproportionately on the US coasts, colored Democratic blue on the electoral maps. The elite enjoys the frisson of cultural difference and will travel thousands of miles to patronize quaint foreign cultures. By contrast, provincials from the inland states (colored Republican red on the electoral maps) take their holidays in Las Vegas or Disney World. For them the gambling-casino replicas of the Eiffel Tower or the Venetian canals are just like the real thing but without the inconvenience of strange tongues and customs.

Bush voters really do look worse (obesity is an inland disease in the US), dress worse, and are less likely to have attended a university than Kerry voters. But Bush voters are the sort of people who believe in their heart of hearts that America was founded to protect the likes of them - unlikely the clever and attractive people who can fend quite well for themselves. That is the source of their patriotism.

Outside the United States, Senator John F Kerry reportedly enjoys a 5-1 preference over President Bush (If the world could vote, it's Kerry in a landslide, by Jim Lobe, September 10). That emphasizes how great a gulf separates Americans from the rest of the world.

Political tourists who wish to understand the United States should seek out a medium-sized city somewhere in the country's interior, the sort of place no tourist ever would visit, and attend its Fourth of July festivities. There they will encounter a passion for country unknown on the other side of the Atlantic, and unimaginable in the Southern Hemisphere. Government, in the experience of the peoples of the world, has been an instrument by which the wealthy and powerful oppressed the weak. The passionate patriotism of ordinary Americans springs from their conviction that the American state is the shield of common folk.

To Europeans, patriotism implies a near-racialist nationalism of the sort that sent hordes of soldiers to butcher their fellows during the two World Wars of the last century. American patriotism belongs to a different species. Governments, in the experience of most of the peoples of the world, exist to help the rich and powerful oppress the weak and helpless. Whenever the representatives of the weak have taken power, they turned into oppressors. Europeans never have loved their governments; love of country means love of one's race and culture, the narcissistic self-worship of tribalism.

The United States, by contrast, is populated by the descendants of individuals who decided to cease to be Europeans (or whatever) so that no one would be able to push them around. That is why Americans own guns. By some accounts the number of guns in circulation exceeds the number of Americans. Americans do not use their guns, contrary to popular myth. If the violent behavior of certain minority groups is excluded, Americans commit the same proportion of violent crimes as do Europeans. But an armed population will accept only so much abuse. Gun control, by the same token, is a liberal obsession (the Drudge Report observed that Kerry sponsored legislation that would have banned the make of shotgun that he accepted as a gift from trade-union supporters in Pennsylvania).

Among such people, the president's simple message resonates mightily. Two World Wars taught Europeans that there is no good or evil, only the insidious jealousies of contending peoples. God therefore is on no one's side, and the alternative to mutual butchery is negotiated compromise. Senator Kerry and the US coastal elite believe the same thing, namely that enlightened specialists can interrupt the tragic destiny of peoples and save the world from itself.
That is an alien intrusion upon the American world view, which began, almost biblically, by separating good and evil. The oppressive English monarchy was evil, while the self-governing English colonies were good; slavery was evil, while the system of free labor was good; what immigrants left behind in the old country was evil, and what they found on American shores was good. Nazism was evil, democracy was good; the Soviet Union was evil, while America was good.

Attacking President Bush for his failure to win European support for his Iraq venture may be the stupidest idea ever advanced by a major-party presidential candidate in a US election. Jokes about French cowardice were standard in the American repertoire for half a century before the US invasion of Iraq. "What's the salute of the French army?" (Raise both hands in token of surrender.)

After the end of the Cold War America's strategic interest in Europe withered away. As Muslim immigrants replace the infertile Europeans over time, European and US interests will diverge. It is meaningless to speak of America's "European allies" at this juncture. It is much more likely that the Europeans will become America's enemies a generation from now as Muslims emerge as a new majority.

Once attacked, Americans want to fight back. George W Bush may have attacked the wrong country (which I do not believe), and he may have mistaken the US mission after the initial fighting was over (which I do believe), but Americans are quite willing to forgive him. They understand that it is hard to track down and destroy a shadowy enemy, and do not mind much if the United States has to trounce a few countries before finding the right ones.

The attractive, witty and affluent elite who support John Kerry cannot bear the idea that the overweight, dull and impecunious commoners of Middle America will give Bush a second term. I am reminded of the fictional Franz Liebkind in Mel Brooks' 1968 movie The Producers. Brooks' slapstick Nazi complains, "Hitler was a better dancer than Churchill; Hitler was a better dresser than Churchill; Hitler was a better painter than Churchill: he could paint a whole apartment in one afternoon, two coats."

As for the other countries of the world, it is an inconvenience that George W Bush will pursue the "war on terror" to its bitter end, namely civilization war. It doesn't matter. They don't vote. My advice: suck it up and prepare for the second Bush administration.


MY Response:

Just wanted to reply to that ridiculous Asia Times article.

First, I am from Chicago, Illinois which is where this article calls 'inland' America. It says these 'coastal elite' are
cleverer, better dressed, and better looking than the average american? Where do they get this? No sources at all, just spewing
worthless 'facts' such as these automatically makes me despise this spin doctor. The frisson of of cultural difference?! THE FRISSON?!
I can spot the spin a mile away. Also, is there something wrong with people vacationing in Las Vegas or Disney World? I don't really see the
point the author is trying to make with that.

Back to the comments that Bush supporters are ugly and dress worse. What the hell is this even supposed to mean? Obesity is an
inland disease? First of all, obesity is not even a disease. Second of all, better dressed? Heard of a word called fashion? Yeah, it kind of
differs in different parts of the world. The last thing, about inland people not going to 'university.' The first thing
you have to know is that the people are not very concentrated. The population in the Midwest is very spread out. There are many
benefits to this. One being that the public education is incredible compared to many other places. In my town, a new high school was built
less than 10 years ago for $30 MILLION dollars. Three years ago another one was built for $50 MILLION dollars. The class sizes
are all very small, maybe 18 kids to a class compared to the over 25 in the schools on the coast. In short, the high schools around here
can cost more and better teach kids than many colleges.

Now it says to watch a cities Fourth of July festivities. Again, inland America is VERY VERY large and there are different customs. Where I lived,
the fourth of July was just a time to visit family. That's it; there was no 'passionate patriotism.'

Now, another journalistic blunder. They go into a arbitrary tangent on gun control. This is seriously one of the worst written reports I have ever seen. The author could not have even
gotten a C with this in high school English class.

Wow, Americans making jokes about the French. How evil! How horrid! I'm sure those French people are heart broken! How could Americans be so cruel?!

Hahaha and then it speaks about how America has no European allies. I guess United Kingdom, Poland, and the rest of eastern Europe don't count. This is just Europe and not
counting other close US allies such as Australia,India,South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. And Europe becoming enemies to America...get real. Just imagine this, if you will: America, India, and Israel vs the entire world. I know where I would place my bets.

Well, after this the author goes back to rehashing the same old broken record. Idiots vote for Bush! The liberals are the smart ones! The world is being run by fat, ugly people in inland America!!

And, because I am bored, a short list of people that were born and raised in inland America: B.F. Skinner, Samuel Clemens, Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Malcolm X, Bill Clinton, Noam Chomsky, and Jimmy Carter.
Wow, I would hate to be associated with those ugly, fat, poor dressers.

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RavenVT100
September 22, 2004, 11:47 PM
Why would you even bother to respond to such an incredibly classist, ignorant, and quite frankly bigoted piece of literary trash? It's not like we all haven't heard the old "liberals are the well-traveled, intellectual elite" stereotype time and time again.

A great many of these people aren't enlightened; they're just arrogant. There's a difference.

gigmike
September 23, 2004, 12:00 AM
Talk about an oversimplified view of a huge nation. Boy all of you who live in red states are making us blue staters look bad. Hurry up and wash your trucks and wipe that chewing tobacco off your chins! :D

Atticus
September 23, 2004, 12:02 AM
Overall, I like the article. He's biased, ignorant of the country and people, and exaggerates to the extreme...but he makes some good points.

iapetus
September 23, 2004, 05:50 AM
It didn't seem that negative too me.

It seemed as much a criticism of the "Elite" and their (supposed/apparent) tendancy to assume that because they have a better fasion sense, holiday abroad, etc they are superior. Just look at the comment about Hitler being a better dresser than Churchill.


And there was a lot about "Given European history, Europeans and similar people associate patriotism with racism - but it doesn't follow that people from a different background (Americans) are racist just because they are patriotic).

Norton
September 23, 2004, 06:11 AM
I think you better read the article once again. The author is, while using some un-flattering stereotypes of "fly-over country", is really coming out saying that the coastal elites are not the true voice of America.

To me it seems that the author is saying that in spite of the fact that we don't subscribe to the European model, don't really travel to other countries, etc.......we've got it right.

He makes a big point of saying that when you compare crime rates on a socio-economic level, our violent crimes are committed at the same rate as those allegedly superior countries in Europe.

Overall, I thought that this was a cleverly written article that makes use of tongue in cheek and irony to point out the inadequacies of the coastal elites.

Norton
September 23, 2004, 06:13 AM
I think you better read the article once again. The author is, while using some un-flattering stereotypes of "fly-over country", is really coming out saying that the coastal elites are not the true voice of America.

To me it seems that the author is saying that in spite of the fact that we don't subscribe to the European model, don't really travel to other countries, etc.......we've got it right.

He makes a big point of saying that when you compare crime rates on a socio-economic level, our violent crimes are committed at the same rate as those allegedly superior countries in Europe.

Overall, I thought that this was a cleverly written article that makes use of tongue in cheek and irony to point out the inadequacies of the coastal elites.

Smoke
September 23, 2004, 07:06 AM
I was surprised the slant the article took after reading the first few paragraphs. Not bad.

I'll take being called ugly and poorly dressed. Thats somebodys opinion.
But the rest of the article is pretty good. I hope it's widely read in other countries.

Smoke

ksnecktieman
September 23, 2004, 07:33 AM
I dress the way I like, if someone else does not like it they can shut their eyes. Yes, I like to eat, too much, and too often. Yes, I vote for politicians that promise me more freedom. Yes, I think we had to fight this war on terror, either in the United States, or overseas, I am glad it is over there. Yes, come watch me wave my flag and celebrate July fourth. And while they are here, they can come and watch me shoot my fine rifle. I got a bargain on a french military rifle, that was never fired and only dropped one time:D

I think this article was in good taste, maybe because it was vague enough to take it in any manner you want to.

IRONFIST
September 23, 2004, 08:33 AM
I'm admit to being fat and even my wife says that I dress poorly, so I can't take offence to that reference in the article. I think the author did hit the nail on the head on quite a few points, but again, I don't take offence to them. We are at war and it is about good and evil... no gray area there for me. If the rest of the world sees me as simplistic for seeing our situation as such, the world can stuff it in a pipe and smoke it. I also notice that alot of the same people of the world who are considering the U.S. a "threat" now, are also the same people who come crying to us for aid to feed their starving children. Where would the world be without the presence of the United States? Who would step in and come to the rescue if not us? No one. The goverments of the world would squabble and argue as millions died. How many miserable and impoverished people are eating food RIGHT NOW only because it has been provided by the charitable citizens of this wonderful nation. Ungrateful louts. Oh what the hell, I say screw all this talk and lets begin to conquer the world, starting with Canada first and then Mexico :neener:

Leatherneck
September 23, 2004, 09:56 AM
At least the sniveling, bigoted Euro elitist has the cojones to admit:As Muslim immigrants replace the infertile Europeans over time, European and US interests will diverge. And then where will you be, Pal, if we Americans decide: "No more times" ? :fire:

TC
TFL Survivor

shermacman
September 23, 2004, 10:25 AM
Ditto the "read the article again".
Whoever Spengler is, the article makes brilliant points about how the oh-so-sophisticated Europeans have abandoned all sense of patriotism, trashed any belief in right and wrong, dumped God, all in favor of the right to be arrogant.
That arrogance is born of their ceaseless desire to slaughter themselves every other generation. The snotty Europeans can't understand that we Americans can have guns and not massacre each other, the way they do. It is now about time for their next wave of violence. They are scared of themselves and they project that fear onto us. They can't tolerate the concept of 'right and wrong' because everything is gray, all beliefs are equal.
Hilter was democratically elected because he was a good speaker, not because of the content of his speech. Analyzing the content of his thoughts would require a foundation of Judeo-Christian belief. Therefore the European brings their own destruction onto themselves, they don't trust themselves, so they don't trust the rugged individualism of the American people (well, those of us knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal, gun-toting, Conservatives).
Spengler has written for years about the inevitable decline of Europe. There is no escape from that decline, it will be up to US, once again, to intervene or let Europe die. Spengler is equally pessimistic about Japan.
Read him! Just get past his (or hers) overly-intellectual writing style.

SADshooter
September 23, 2004, 10:33 AM
I'm actually rather flattered my his characterization of me.:cool:

RavenVT100
September 23, 2004, 10:33 AM
Maybe I was a little harsh judging the article. I wasn't able to detect any type of satire or sarcasm, and that's partly why I reacted the way I did. It was also pretty late at night.

One doesn't need to believe in a strictly dogmatic good/evil dichotomy to disagree with Kerry, and I'm not particularly religious. Believe it or not, simple application of critical thinking skills and rational thought is enough to see why gun control is wrongheaded.

Skunkabilly
September 23, 2004, 10:36 AM
Who the hell is Spengler and is 'cleverer' a real word?

Democrat = Likes to travel (to patronize cultures), have passports, dress better.

Republicans = Fat, likes Disney World.

Uh huh.

Stand_Watie
September 23, 2004, 10:48 AM
I'm not sure exactly what literary device the author was using (satire, irony?), but there were far too many back-handed compliments to us country bumpkins in there for him to have really intended us ill-will.

Note the comparison between Churchill and Hitler in the second to last paragraph.

DRZinn
September 23, 2004, 12:25 PM
I'll add my voice to the cacophony of "Read it again!"

Although I don't like his oversimplification of the left vs. right paradigm, I happen to agree, if only in very general terms. But that's neither here nor there. Look at the rest of the article, where he says things like:The United States, by contrast, is populated by the descendants of individuals who decided to cease to be Europeans (or whatever) so that no one would be able to push them around. That is why Americans own guns. and If the violent behavior of certain minority groups is excluded, Americans commit the same proportion of violent crimes as do Europeans. But an armed population will accept only so much abuse. and that there is no good or evil, only the insidious jealousies of contending peoples. God therefore is on no one's side, and the alternative to mutual butchery is negotiated compromise. Senator Kerry and the US coastal elite believe the same thing, and Attacking President Bush for his failure to win European support for his Iraq venture may be the stupidest idea ever advanced by a major-party presidential candidate in a US election. and Americans are quite willing to forgive him. They understand that it is hard to track down and destroy a shadowy enemy, and do not mind much if the United States has to trounce a few countries before finding the right ones. and especially The attractive, witty and affluent elite who support John Kerry cannot bear the idea that the overweight, dull and impecunious commoners of Middle America will give Bush a second term.
I think his ugly-overweight thing is meant to show how the left looks at the right, and at themselves. That last quote seals the deal.

DRZinn
September 23, 2004, 12:27 PM
double post

DRZinn
September 23, 2004, 12:32 PM
triple post

Firethorn
September 23, 2004, 01:01 PM
But Bush voters are the sort of people who believe in their heart of hearts that America was founded to protect the likes of them - unlikely the clever and attractive people who can fend quite well for themselves. That is the source of their patriotism.

Now this part I have objections to. I might not necessarily like the first part about being fat, ugly, and dumd, but you have to admit that's a great hook to keep liberals reading the piece.

I'll admit, I carry a few extra pounds (I'm overweight, not obese), I don't have a great fashion sense, but I don't think that I'm "ugly" or "unclever". We just have a realization that fashion isn't everything, substance is more than appearance, and being too convoluted in our thinking ends up missing reality.

But I have to ask, if the clever and attractive people can take care of themselves, why are they the first to scream for more police, taking away our guns, prosecuting people for defending themselves, additional regulation in all industries?

The people in the heartland are undeniably patriotic. But it's a realistic patriotism. You can count on the heartland for people to volunteer to defend this nation. We understand that this country is "For the people, By the People".

White Horseradish
September 23, 2004, 01:26 PM
Wasn't Spengler one of the Ghostbusters?


This article is far from being vicious. Yes, he attacks the fashion sense of Bush supporters, but that's about it. It's not entirely unjustified, either. Other than that, he makes some really good points.

jsalcedo
September 23, 2004, 01:59 PM
It was a good article. Baiting and spearing liberals leaving them to flop helplessly on the figurative deck.

Andrew Rothman
September 23, 2004, 02:27 PM
Is there an echo in here?

Read it again!

nico
September 23, 2004, 04:25 PM
I think some of you guys missed a few sarcastic/ironic statements. He made some good points against gun control and Kerry and for the war, all while making it absolutely impossible for the "coastal elite" to write him off by saying that he's just some country bumpkin.

MikeK
September 23, 2004, 04:26 PM
Although I didn't agree with all of it, I liked it. It will be on its way to one of my ultra-left-wing skinny liberal friends shortly, as well as some Americans stuck in a blue state.

Spot77
September 23, 2004, 06:27 PM
You know, this guy would be unemployed and blacklisted from the journalism industry had this come from an American big name journalist:

If the violent behavior of certain minority groups is excluded, Americans commit the same proportion of violent crimes as do Europeans

Muzzleflash
September 23, 2004, 07:56 PM
Awesome article.

Michigander
September 23, 2004, 08:18 PM
I thought it was a generally good generalization of general attitudes in the general areas of the world to which he was speaking.

One terrible flaw however; sentiment like:
Two World Wars taught Europeans that there is no good or evil, only the insidious jealousies of contending peoples.
If the author is being facetious, then WHEW!

If not, then those Europeans have some very thick skulls!

Makes me want to be an "isolationist" more than ever!

Jeff
September 23, 2004, 08:40 PM
As soon as I read the word "elite," I knew it was a satirical piece meant to jab the left.

No one uses elite as a positive term.

Standing Wolf
September 23, 2004, 09:18 PM
...Bush voters are the sort of people who believe in their heart of hearts that America was founded to protect the likes of them - unlikely the clever and attractive people who can fend quite well for themselves. That is the source of their patriotism.

I just knew there had to be a reason half of Asia is trying to get into the United States!

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