Thursday, March 16, 2006

Illogical Logic

Ignorance, while it baffles me, never surprises. Nor does the sheer stupidity of the logic that is rendered upon us by many right wing writers. A piece written by Ben Shapiro, "Should We Prosecute Sedition?" is one such example. I am not sure if Mr. Shapiro is logically or historically impaired, but in either case, thought was lacking in his column where he contemplated the success of U.S. wars and the suppression of opposition.

At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say "enough." At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition.

To further his point, Shapiro cites cases in history to show how oppression of opposing views won us the war. He notes that opposition news papers were shut down by Lincoln and the writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended. Mr. Shapiro does not note that many of Lincoln's activities were found to be unconstitutional.

Second, he points to the Espionage Act of 1917 where opponents of WWI were to be prosecuted for sedition... Well, first, a correction. It was the Sedition Act of 1918 that was to prosecute sedition, not the Espionage Act. The Sedition Act was repealed in 1921 because it was deemed to be extremely un-American (I guess the congress in 1921 was a big bunch of traitors for repealing the act). And, the law was passed 5 months prior to the end of WWI. So, while Mr. Shapiro gives credit for the wars success to the Sedition Act, he forgets that there were not only others fighting by our sides (France, England, Arabs, etc) but also that by the time the bill was made a law, the war was already winding down. Additionally, the Sedition laws that Mr. Shapiro seems to love so much are now only found in dictotorial regims such as North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, and Lybia. It is good to know that Mr. Shapiro would follow their lead in legislative affairs.

Third, Mr. Shapiro points to the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII by President Roosevelt as a contributing factor in winning WWII. Seriously Ben, there were many great achievements by the U.S. in WWII, but do you really believe that locking up Japs won us the war? So you think that if we had not placed Japanese-Americans in camps we would be goose stepping right now? Please...

Lastly, Mr. Shapiro claims that the loss of the Viet Nam war was related to the Supreme Court upholding the right of Americans to criticize the war and wear "jackets emblazoned with the slogan 'F--- the Draft.'" Apparently, with superior technology, military capability, and half a million American troops in the field, it was the anti-war movement back in the states that lost us the war. It didn't have anything to do with the support of an unpopular Vietnamese president, support of the feudal system that the peasants were rebelling against, or the sheer determination of the VC to fight to the death. No, it was because of hippies.

To put it bluntly, it is exactly the thinking of Mr. Shapiro that leads to blunders and failures at our highest levels. We are not here to serve the government, the government is here to serve us. Does Mr. Shapiro think that we would have had no Iraqi insurgency if there was 100% support from the American people? Does he think that Americans would be any less dissatisfied if Howard Dean and Al Gore were thrown in jail for their criticism of Bush. Suppression of opposition does not win you wars. Public support is achieved through competence of leadership, not silence of opposition. Maybe Mr. Shapiro should concentrate less on the opposition and concentrate more on the incompetence of leadership. Good leadership is how wars are won. Public support is a byproduct.


Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

"Good leadership is how wars are won. Public support is a byproduct."

Excellent end to an excellent post.

Now, I have a question: How do you feel about preeemptive strikes? I see that as a more than relevant issue that needs discussion.

MaxedOutMama said...

Dingo - the man seems to me to be impaired on many levels.

It's difficult even to know where to start! I think you did a good job, though.

Would suppressing people's objections have led to more support for the Vietnam War? I don't think so.

If we have to become a total tyranny to win a war, we need to step back and consider the wisdom of fighting it.

We can't sacrifice people's right to dissent, object and argue about the issues of the day, or we will never have good leadership!

Pedro said...

Ben Shapiro is a great example of the "College Republicans" crowd. These are people that never went through any stage of questioning or intellectual development. I don't consider myself their intellectual or political ally.

Now that they've appropriated the tactics of the 1960s campus Left in their own "activism," I think they've also incorporated some of their worst anti-free speech tendencies as well.

What's sad is that there are lots of really good, thoughtful, and intelligent "conservative" or moderate libertarian student voices out there. Shapiro isn't one of them. He's just gotten overpromoted because, like Ann Coulter, he's the loudest and most contrarian and polemical.

cul said...

Excellent riposte...

It constantly amazes me how the right insists on forgetting the famous Pogo dictum on becoming the monster you set out to kill; "We have met the enemy and he is us."