One reason I've been out of sorts and not posting much lately is that I get so tired of seeing the same false and discredited arguments repeated over and over by those who haven't been paying attention. You can learn a lot from reading blogs, but you have to be willing to learn, and the most convincing arguments are soon lost in the archives. Of course they can be easily retrieved if they're still there (not a safe assumption for Blogspot sites) and if you can find them, either via Google or by remembering who wrote them, neither of which is a foolproof method.
To take one small example of the kind of verbal kudzu that's been getting me down, consider the comment of one 'ralphy-boy' on this morning's 8:28 post on Daily Kos (no I won't link to it): "you do not see the children of the rich or educated over there" -- he means you do not see them serving in Iraq. In his brief comment, he also calls our soldiers "the bottom of the pile" and says "they would be pawns no matter where they landed- the service or the factory". Of course, hundreds of others have said the same sort of contemptuous and contemptible things on the web, but it is all demonstrably false. I have not forgotten that one of the first men killed in Iraq was Lt. Thomas Adams, a direct descendant (presumably in the male line) of presidents John and John Quincy Adams, whose grandfather founded a bank and a savings and loan and "helped rebuild the Old Globe Theatre and the Aerospace Museum after they were destroyed by arson". I don't think Lt. Adams joined the Navy because it was the only way out of the ghetto or the trailer-park, or because he was tired of working the night shift at the plastic factory. The same goes for Marine Lt. Therrell Childers, who made the dean's list at the Citadel majoring in French. (That's two of the three who share this news story / obituary.) Even someone faced with a choice of service or factory is hardly an utter pawn if he can choose between them. Of course, anyone who has relatives who have servied, or who even bothers to read what military bloggers like the various contributors to Sgt. Stryker say about their families already knows that 'ralphy-boy' is utterly and shamefully wrong.
Given the masses of similar crap floating around the blogosphere, I sometimes wonder whether it would be worth putting together an old-fashioned non-linear non-blog hierarchically-arranged site of FAQs on the war on terror -- sort of a political Snopes. It could theoretically help the ralphy-boys of the world get a clue. Of course, it would be a lot of work, and I'm not offering to do it myself, just tossing out the idea in the hope that it may inspire discussion, if not action.
<Begin obligatory pedantic content>
Such a site could be arranged negatively, like the Syllabus of Errors, subtitled "A Condemnation of Modernist, Liberal Errors", proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1864. Not that many of us are going to agree with Pius' list of errors. Here are some samples:
15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.
55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.
63. It is lawful to refuse obedience to legitimate princes, and even to rebel against them.
Pius saved the best for last:
80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.
It is interesting and in some ways amusing that most of these errors are now considered obviously true by most educated westerners. I bet some of my readers are even know scratching their heads wondering why I bothered to quote them: because they're supposed to be wrong, that's why. They also show what real traditional conservatism is, or rather was: those who think of George W. Bush as some kind of "mediaeval" "theocratic" "reactionary" wouldn't recognize the real thing if it came up and bit them, even with various Wahhabis and Iranian mullahs to give them a strong hint.
<End obligatory pedantic content>