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June 07, 2004

Leftist Idiocy Watch

Sorry to have blogged nothing today, but I've been busy, and also, there's hardly any news to comment upon except for Reagan's death and legacy (and of coruse leftist screeching about said legacy).

I'm a big fan of Reagan's, but I'm afraid I don't have much to offer in the way of additional praise. I can't really improve on the hundreds of Reagan eulogies in print today.

Plus, my general mode is attacking, not praising.

But here's something worth attacking: Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens is of course a strong and articulate defender of the war on terror. But he is also a committed leftist-- less committed, perhaps, than he once was, but still and all, a man of the left.

I'm always amused to see the connection between political passion -- talk of ideals and principles and doctrines and other heady stuff -- and personal vindication in an argument -- which is an extraodinarily trivial concern.

I don't think that those on the left want Iraq to descend into chaos and civil war so much as they just don't want to ever have to admit they were wrong, and thus the strident continuing opposition to a war that was won a year ago.

Christopher Hitchens likewise doesn't ever want to admit he was wrong about Reagan, despite now vigorously embracing a neo-Reaganite American foreign policy waged by Reagan's ideological heir. (The Corner pointed this out, but I think it's sort of obvious.)

Hitchens isn't arguing about principle, because he's passionately defending two utterly-contradictory principles. He's anti-Reaganite foreign policy as practiced by Reagan; he's pro-Reaganite foreign policy as practiced by Bush. His real interest here is not vindicating an abstract principle, but in achieving the very concrete, but very childish, goal of claiming that he's been right all along.

And so it goes.

His piece is the typical sort of idiocy I've come to expect from Hitchens when he reverts to his Angry Young Leftist routine. We see this time and time again when, in between arguing for a vigorous prosecution of the war on terror, he asserts that Palestinians have the right to terrorize Israelis and Israelis really ought to just appease them.

But this proud man of the left would never admit a contradiction there. Let's just hit him where it really hurts-- in his intellectual vanity.

Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles (not that there are any non-ballistic missiles—a corruption of language that isn't his fault)

-- Chris Hitchens, writing in the amateur webzine Slate

Ahem. Actually, Chris, there are lots of non-ballistic missiles. "Ballistic" refers to a missile entering a ballistic phase when it is no longer being actively propelled by burning fuel, but is instead simply following a trajectory established by the previous burning of fuel.

It's a missile, in other words, that has both an active-propulsion and passive-trajectory phase.

Most missiles, like the types fired from aircraft at other aircraft, never go into a passive-trajectory phase, and hence aren't "ballistic" during any point of their effective duration. (Unless, of course, you want to quibble that a missile which misses its target will eventually run out of propellent and then fall to earth in a ballistic path determined by its previous trajectory; but in that case, its ceased being a weapon, and is now simply detritus falling to the earth.)

Note to Chris: You don't know everything there is to know about military hardware just because you can look up the word "ballistic" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Sometimes words have more specific meanings in certain contexts -- sometimes we call this a jargon definition -- than the dictionary will share with you.

That's a petty quibble indeed. But it is actually more elevated that Hitchens' own pettiness.

Update: Hitchens' indictment of Reagan made my eyes glaze over with the repetitive, idiotic litany of evil the left always recites in nearly the same way every time the name Reagan comes up. Thankfully, I didn't see a "Ronnie Ray-gun" reference.

He did conclude his feast of bile with this tasty bon-bon:

Sen. John Kerry waited until the first week of June 2004 to tell us that he met Ahmad Chalabi in London in 1998 and that he didn't care for him then. That makes six intervening years in which the senator could have alerted us to this lurking danger to national security. But something kept him quiet. One must hope that that something wasn't the tendency to pile on. Cheer up, though. At least this shows that Kerry has no pre-emptive capacity.

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posted by Ace at 04:36 PM

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