Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mahered

Well here it is... at long last... my very first post! You will immediately note that unlike my compatriate, GWhiz, I am technologically challenged to the utmost degree. Nevertheless, because I have views on all things, I won't let my ignorance stand in the way of a good post!

What better way to start than with a review of Bill Maher. Although I missed Bill's recent diatribe (uhh... I mean dialogue) with Ward Churchill, Jeff Jarvis' Buzz Machine does a yeoman's job of producing a transcript of their conversation concerning all things un-American. Leave it to Bill, he is one of few Americans who can deflect attention from a sorry demagogue such as Ward Churchill by one-upping him in the "I hate America" department.

Of course, by this point I should not be surprised by Mr. Maher's virulent hatred of the USA... he has made his views about this country abundently clear throughout his career as a political commentator with a supposed comedic edge.

I certainly don't profess to know what goes on in Bill Maher's mind. Could anyone who has received so much good fortune really be so bitter about the society and culture that allowed him to scale to such heights of success? Does he really wake up in the morning despising the very thought of living in a country that allows him to achieve enormous wealth and fame by denigrating its history and ideals?

Or, is Bill Maher simply the ultimate shock jock-- trading on a series of vicious attacks against his country for the sake of an increase in his television ratings. Who knows....

Regardless, what is certain is that Bill Maher is the ultimate embodiment of the great political abyss which has consumed a large portion of the American polity. Yes... Bill Maher represents this political nothingness even more so than Michael Moore... at least Michael Moore places a jovial smile on his poisonous political darts. Maher, on the other hand, makes no effort to conceal his disdain for America, routinely offering up a witch's brew of nihilism thinly disguised as cynical intellectual sophistication.

According to Buzz Machine, Maher, while presumably referring to Osama Bin Laden's murderous thugs, asked Ward Churchill:

"Don't you think there are reasons why they hate us and they're valid....?"


To which the audience applauded.

Is this what popular liberalism in America has descended to? If so, no wonder the political divisions in America have reached such a fevered pitch. As a conservative growing up in an extremely liberal part of the United States (yes, my hometown of Detroit voted for John Kerry by better than a 9 to 1 margin), I am by now used to spirited political debate.

I naively thought that the differences between conservatives and liberals really took place only at the fringes. Yes, we had significant policy disputes with each other but deep down, we were all pulling for the same outcomes. I had supposed that we all were looking for ways to ensure that the country prospered free from threats from abroad, and that the opportunity to achieve this prosperity would be available to both rich and poor, regardless of their race or religion. In the end, I rashly thought it was not the goals that divided us but the manner in which we achieved those goals that created the obstacles.

Unfortunately, it has became all to clear that my notions of the political playing field were far removed from the truth. While conservatives were busy questioning the logic of a given liberal policy (without questioning the liberal's good faith), the liberals were levelling ad hominem attacks on the conservatives regardless of the liberals' initial thoughts on the policy in question (for example, the Social Security issue or Iraq, both of which were declared to be concerns under the Clinton Administration and presumably espoused by the Clinton Democratic echo chamber; when the same policy objectives were announced by the Bush Administration, they were declared to be anathema and President Bush to be the source of all evil in the world). I can only conclude, therefore, that the divide between liberal and conservatives has grown from a dispute over the appropriate means to an end, to a serious difference as to the ends themselves. The Left has been hijacked by the "Hate America First" crowd and no longer seems to offer any meaningful solution to the big issues of the day.

That is, unfortunately, too bad, because debate is more fruitful with more than one serious point of view presented.
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