Monday, March 19, 2007

A few cheap shots at conservatism

Neal Stephenson makes a few remarks about conservatism in this defense of the film 300:
Our so-called conservatives, who have cut all ties to their own intellectual moorings, now espouse policies and personalities that would get them laughed out of Periclean Athens. The few conservatives still able to hold up one end of a Socratic dialogue are those in the ostracized libertarian wing — interestingly enough, a group with a disproportionately high representation among fans of speculative fiction.
The charge about conservatives getting "laughed out of Periclean Athens" is the most ridiculous. Consider the mainstream media's case against President Bush's foreign policy. We have
  • a chief executive who is a scion of a leading aristocratic dynasty (the Bushes) ,

  • who is waging a long war in order to spread democracy (for the benefit of the homeland),

  • who is willing to accept relatively large numbers of civilian and military casulties,

  • who is accused of treating the enemy excessively harshly,

  • who is accused of curtailing civil rights in order to silence dissent,

  • and who has apparently alienated all of his democratic allies along the way.
These points wouldn't be laughed at by Periclean Athens; they are largely indistinguishable from the foreign policy of Pericles himself.

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