March 11, 2004

Gut Check


Note the terrorist bombing in Madrid this morning. Check.

(John Chappell of IberianNotes is blogging the breaking news in an excellent fashion. Be sure to check out the comments too.)

Remember that there is no place that is "safe", that freedom isn't free (I won't wince from the bumpersticker), and that the good will prevail. Check.

Posted by Dennis at March 11, 2004 10:58 AM


Hey, Dennis!

I checked your website today because of what I heard on the news about the train terrorist attack. I was hoping you weren't there yet. Any family members or friends in Spain hurt? I hope not.

I like your website!

Nah Deb, we're just peering nervously over the edge of the diving board here in Dallas. We'll be there by April 5th. Thanks for asking.

All our family is out of Madrid at the time. A sad day for the families of all those people.

To Life!


Freedom may not be free (debatable, depending on what kind of freedom.) Question is, how do we "pay" for it? And based on whose rules? The bumper sticker statement assumes we pay for it with the methods and policies of those who use the phrase itself...

Peace and free will!


(And thus the boundary betwixt the surf report and the blog erodes...)

If we fear the police state, then the best route to routing it might be to hasten the demise of terrorism and dissolving the terrorist mindset. The call for symmetry in soulsearching for what might have caused murderers to murder does nothing to help apprehend those who kill for nihilist utopianism.

If we fear the police state, it's best not to enable it's manifestation with appeasement responses and relativistic soulsearching... the only path law enforcement has is to focus *into the population and find the perpetrators who lurk among us (in a worldwide guerilla war, this is where they hide). If we are passive in this effort, we will be the ones who helped create the police state. Whether they live or die, the enemies of freedom seek to curb ours. The more prolonged this battle is, the more freedom we lose... the more they win.

The twist of irony again: the way to save liberalism is with the illiberal response. It is we who are liberals who will lose if we help prolong this struggle.

"Live and let live" won't work on those who won't let you live.

*as opposed to the wide angeled focus of generic precautions, like airport security.

On a second read, Dean... your comment was about the worldview of those who sport the bumpersticker itself. I imagine a pickup truck with a gun rack.

That'll be the kind my dad had. He died as a hyper extended result of the Korean War. And even though in his late days, he rued the war. The freedom of millions of Koreans living happily for generations in the States and South Korea were paid for in the starkest terms.

I think understand your comment, and I know your good intent. The task of remaining intellectually self aware, on guard and uncorrupted by hubris is an endless task... but the bar is higher still than that set by our would-be intellectual betters who live in academia.

Sorry for breaking email / blog boundaries... (maybe we should take it up on email and you can delete this sequence of comments?)

Your comments are reasonable (though some are debatable) and I'll not quibble with them here. My note had to do with catch phrases and propaganda that seems simple but implies much more.

I think the phrase "Freedom is not Free", one of the key phrases used by the Bush administration, implies a host of ideological assumptions. I liken it to the "Support Our Troops" line. The way it is was used last year conflated support for the Bush Iraq policy and the simple sense of supporting the troops. There was assumption these could not be separated, and the phrase was used as a weapon against those who had differing opinions. The press did an awful job of making this clear.

So while your comments are well taken and I have issues with some of them my note here was about doublespeak and propaganda phrases - which are consciously used as intellectual stealth weapons against a public not especially aware of the complexities, and hence victims of those who would devise such strategies.

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