Thursday, November 10, 2005

Neocons: All Yelp and No Help

Today, I found the following comment at Eric Alterman's blog on, and I had to respond. The comment is first, then my answer.
Name: Charles Westmoreland
Hometown: Houston
When is liberal groundhog day is going to end?  It's all a repeat of the same things.  You're not really changing policy here or influencing many people.  The diehard leftys are still with you and everyone else thinks you're obsessive and not much help.  So you really haven't changed anything.  But I know you want to change things, because every editor/journalist has a bit of Woodward/Bernstein in them.  I find it strange that you don't have the solution to France's dilemma.  I mean, the creative juices don't even seen to be flowing (as if they ever did with liberalism).  Same with Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Carter, etc.  All you Save the Worlders have suddenly gone quiet when a Bush hating, liberal, socialist country is in a jam.  If you can't find a way to blame it on Bush, then you apparently can't come up with an answer.

Professor A, I have a reply for Mr. Westmoreland of Houston TX (11/10 correspondence corner). If France were a socialist state--a real socialist state, that is--their cities would not be burning today. This leads to the next point, which addresses the complaint about liberals being all yelp and no help (Dr. A--how many times have you heard or read this very lament, this year alone?--it's been about half a dozen times at least in my corner).

Well, maybe one reason why neither libs nor neocons, for that matter are offering France solutions is that—as in Iraq—there is no easy or comfortably violent neocon-style solution. France planted the seeds of these riots about a generation or two ago. What is happening now is merely the bursting of a decades-old festering sore. I have a correspondent to my blog who's stationed in Paris, and he recently wrote me with a quick summary of this history of racism, runaway unemployment, and general disenfranchisement of peoples, here.

In fact, what the French did in Paris is not entirely unlike what we've done in New Orleans—isolating an outcast minority in poverty and disenfranchisement for years, while an elite class of the wealthy take tax breaks and war profits, until the inevitable revolt or breakdown occurs.

So what does fix things like Iraq and Paris and the Gulf Coast? Will cutting social programs for the poor and middle class while throwing a few billion into no-bid reconstruction contracts for Bechtel, Halliburton and the boys do it?


How about a nice war, undeclared by Congress and unauthorized by the U.N., based on skewed and invented intel?


Maybe a revolution...whether it's the guillotine or burning cars, it sure great material for a novel or a documentary.

No, not that either. The fact is, Mr. Westmoreland, it's not about how much we spend or who (or how many) we kill or even who's in office at the time. It's about changing who we are as a people—our values, our way of life, our perspective, one individual at a time (including politicians). I haven't discovered a better way, and that's what we talk about at Daily Revolution. If you have a plan that's faster and doesn't involve a $300B war or further estranging minority groups in a society, I'm listening.

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