They Need a Powell Doctrine

Quite a few years ago the word got out that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell wasn’t quite falling into line with the Bush administration’s decision to go to war, and that among the festering issues was the administration’s failure to fulfill the Powell Doctrine. Victory was not being adequately defined. Our country wasn’t following the “Get In To Get Out” rule. It started out as a legitimate, smoldering concern, and of course in no time at all it erupted into a MoveOnDotOrg talking-point.

The past is prologue. Nowadays it is The Left that is in charge, and every week we’re reminded it is not a moderate Left but something brittle, prickly and uncompromising right out of Haight-Ashbury. It is my humble opinion that they could use a Powell Doctrine. They do not seem to know what victory looks like. Or perhaps, like sharks, they have been designed biologically to always swim forward, incapable of stopping until their existence has come to an end. For all the setbacks they’ve had over the last year and a half, they haven’t encountered any actual defeats. And yet look at all the internal strife, the conflict, all the frustration, the exasperation.

I think the problem is they don’t quite know what it is they’re supposed to do with the rest of us. They’re trying to prove something about themselves, and it seems when they win an election the proving has only just begun. That would be just what’s expected of them, if indeed they were in it for public service. But if they were toiling away for the purpose of serving the public, they wouldn’t have passed the sham of a health care bill they just passed.

I see Frank Rich of the New York Times is still fanning the flames: Whoever doesn’t support ObamaCare must be a racist. Obviously, it’s a cherry-picking exercise — neither side of the political spectrum possesses a monopoly on nasty behavior. But toward what end? They got their Congress, they got their President, they got their health care bill. Still, there is a debate to be “won”; some enemies to be “beaten,” into exactly what level of submission I’m not altogether sure. I don’t think they know, either.

Powell Doctrine time. They seem to have been overrun with dogs-chasing-cars who don’t know what to do when the teeth have wrapped around the chrome of the bumper.

“There still is some racism out there,” I’m told. In any society in which 300 million people retain their God-given right to think whatever thoughts they want to think, I’m sure that is true. I’m not sure how that is relevant — and, again, I’m not sure anyone else knows the answer to that question either. Certainly, it’s one thing to say “there are racists out there” and quite another thing entirely to say that anyone who disagrees with President Obama about anything, must be one.

What makes this cherry-picking, propaganda move ultimately self-defeating is that it dilutes the victories already secured, especially since they were secured in a blatant nose-thumbing against the public’s wishes. If dissenting from the President on the subject of health care is to be stigmatized — automatically — on the same level as classic white-supremacist racism, then the question naturally arises: Out of those few who say they support the democrats’ health care initiatives, how many of them are lacking in any will or any arguments to justify the position, and are simply afraid to take a different, possibly more sensible one?

Stigma does have blowback.

But this is the real damage done to my America in the last few months, and I see it on both sides of the argument. People don’t appear to understand what it is they’re trying to do, when they argue against others and try to “win.” It isn’t uniquely an American problem, either; I see it in those half-wits up at Ottawa University who harangued Ann Coulter out of giving a speech. What is the purpose here? Is the opposition to be muzzled? Or gelded politically? Or neutralized from any ability to recruit others? Stigmatized into oblivion? Vanished in the dark of some terrible night? Put into some re-education camp?

Once you recognize people have the right to think for themselves, you can’t make good on that and then at the same time pursue an agenda of hounding some idea you don’t like into nothingness. These are two mutually-exclusive things.

But perhaps they understand, on some subconscious level, that a complete victory here would ruin them. If one idea is universally recognized as being so stupid that nobody will deign to support it; and its polar opposite is universally recognized as being smart, such that nobody wants to miss out on taking the credit for supporting that; then the eggheads who walk among us have lost yet another method by which they can manifest their smart-ness. It’s not possible for anyone to be a smarty-pants when everybody is one; to have any kind of an elite club, any at all, you’ve got to leave someone out of it.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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