Friday, October 08, 2004
Required reading: Bill Whittle over at ejectejecteject.com has an excellent essay on the way the world is and how President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry see it. The essay is very long, but everyone should read it, because Whittle so clearly describes what's at stake.
And although we can not run an experiment to look into the alternate futures to glean the best result, to determine the relative benefits of being nice or being mean – for those, ultimately, are the choices, believe it or not – we can at least look back to see which seems to have produced the best results in the laboratory of history.
It all comes down to carrots (liberals) or sticks (conservatives). By the way: if you’re in a rush and need to run, here’s the spoiler: You can offer a carrot. Not everybody likes carrots. Some people may hate your carrot. Your carrot may offend people who worship the rutabaga. But no one likes being poked in the eye with a stick. That’s universal.
I’m a stick man. I wish it were different. But part of growing up – in fact, the essential part of growing up – is realizing that wishing does not make it so.
Folks, it’s time to reach down deep and get in touch with our inner adult.
As I was reading this I thought about growing up and coming to the realization that sometimes you've just got to stand up and fight.
When I was growing up, in elementary and junior high, I got in several fights. Fights perhaps isn't the best word for it, because a fight implies that both sides are throwing punches -- I wasn't. Maybe a better term is "beatings." Why was I getting the snot beat out of me on occasion? Because my parents had strongly impressed upon me not to fight, for two reasons: First, I was always bigger than most of the other kids and when I fought, I could do some serious damage; Second, you don't get suspended from school. As the son of a teacher, missing school is a very bad thing.
So, I got the occasional beating -- sometimes from kids bigger than me, and sometimes from kids wouldn't have been anywhere near my weight class.
Part way through my freshman year of high school it all stopped.
We'd just run a mile in gym class and there were a line of guys waiting for a swig from the water fountain before heading to the weight room halfway across campus. Coach had already departed to open the room.
As a friend of mine was getting water, one of the other guys in the class came went up behind him and made a motion like he was going to shove my friend's face into the spigot. This guy was pretty tall, but thin, and my friend and I were of similar size -- think offensive linemen. I told him that if he did that, my friend -- would kick his a**. This caused him to turn on me with: "Oh yeah?" and he punched me in the eye.
Not fully realizing what had just happened, I stepped toward him. He stepped back and punched me in the eye again. After we did this dance twice more (i.e. after the fourth punch), the internal fight-or-flight pointer settled into position on "fight."
I punched him once in the stomach.
He doubled over.
At this point, all of that professional wrestling I'd watched came in handy.
I grabbed him around the waist and raised him into a piledriver position.
And then I bent my knees...
And stopped with his head just a few inches from the ground.
I set him down. Punched him a couple more times in the stomach and walked away.
I got about 20 yards away when he regained his composure, stood up and told me if I ever messed with him again he'd really show me.
Which caused the 20-some remaining guys to bust into laughter and one of my other friends to point out to him that I could've killed him. (Why is professional wrestling fake? Because piledrivers on TV never end with quadrapalegics.)
For the next couple of weeks I walked around campus with a black eye and he didn't have a visible mark on him, but everyone knew who won.
Since then, I've never gotten in another fistfight -- for a couple of reasons. In high school, it became apparent to everyone that I was no longer easy pickings. In college and the rest of life, people have grown up.
Likewise, we've got to be willing to stand up and fight the terrorists. Carrots don't work. Sticks do. We won't be able to earn their fear or respect by demonstrating our military prowess and then giving them carrots. We've got to kill them. Terrorists are learning that we're not easy pickings, but we've got to kill them nonetheless.
The U.N., the "international community" and our (Kerry) "allies" (i.e. France and Germany) aren't going to do anything to really protect us. When I got beat up in elementary school, my parents went to the principal, the perpetrators were suspended and a couple of months later someone else who got the urge would beat me up. I was seen as an easy target. The principal had power, but it wasn't very effective power.
The U.N. has even less and America can't count on them. They don't even have the moral authority that the principal once did.
Diplomacy and dialogue have their places in international relations -- but when it comes to terrorists they are useless. Kerry likes to make the point that he's a better "talker" than President Bush. We don't need talk, we need action.
Go read the rest of Whittle's piece and share it with your friends.