Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Cost of Empire

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review has written a decent piece about Ron Paul's non-interventionism, which he says was "rightly defeated" during the Cold War, but concedes that, "Now that the Cold War is over, it seems not only fair but wise to give it another hearing." While I remain unconvinced that aggressive foreign policy was necessary to protect Americans from the Soviet threat, I am not here to give elaborate alternate-universe theories of history. Instead, I'm going to take Mr. Goldberg at his word: let's re-examine non-interventionism in the context of the post-Cold War world.

First, a note about style and semantics: Mr. Goldberg laments the use of the word "empire" to describe America's dominant global position, saying that "it is slanderous to lump us in with Huns, Nazis, and Communists." This may be true; however, terms such as Mr. Goldberg's preferred "liberal hegemony" whitewash the nature of American global dominance at best, and at worst provide a fig leaf of legitimacy to the ultimate Big Government program. I will use the word "empire" because I think it is the most accurate description of post-WWII American foreign policy. It is worth noting that Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall both used the term "empire" to describe their vision for America. (Though Hamilton and Marshall used the term to support a vigorous federal government presiding over the various states; a "national empire" rather than international.) If my use of the word offends you, feel free to substitute "liberal hegemony" or whatever sterilized, politically-correct, inoffensive description you prefer for the word "empire" when you see it.

The American empire is the product of World War II, and was our primary means of fighting the Cold War. Given that our bases in Europe, Asia and the Middle East were established primarily as a means of "containment" of the Soviet Union, the most obvious question is: Why do we still need these trappings of empire when the USSR is dead and gone? Undoubtedly, many would contend that the threat of radical Islamic terrorism requires the capability for American military might to be projected both rapidly and world-wide. This argument seems compelling at first glance, but it has at least two major flaws: the "fight the last war" syndrome, and the phenomenon of unintended consequences.

"Fighting the last war" is a fairly common problem of some generals and military strategists who seek to apply lessons and consequences of previous wars to modern conflicts. While there are certainly some lessons of war which are basic and fundamental (there is a reason why Sun Tzu is on the Commandant's Reading List for Marines), all of these lessons must be put into proper context; furthermore, the changing nature of warfare--given considerations such as technology, culture, climate and terrain--renders other lessons obsolete altogether.

There is no reason to suppose that a large, worldwide standing army is necessary and proper to curtail the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. In the first place, our overseas military installations, as well as NATO and similar agreements, were intended to counter an invasion by a Soviet Union armed with huge infantry divisions, tanks and aircraft--none of which applies to our current enemies. In the second place, the combined global might of America and our allies was itself a deterrent to Soviet aggression. The policy of Mutually Assured Destruction assumed that the Soviets were basically rational actors and would not pursue a course of action that would lead to national suicide, whether by launching nuclear weapons or invading West Germany. It is all too obvious that the radical Islamic terrorists against whom we are now fighting will not be deterred in such a manner, and in fact there is a good case to be made that opposition to the American empire is the driving force behind the "bin-Ladenism" in the Middle East.

The phenomenon of unintended consequences, in the context of foreign policy, is best summed up by the term "blowback," a word invented by the CIA precisely to describe the unintended consequences of covert operations. The CIA initially warned of this phenomenon when writing their internal history of Operation Ajax, the 1953 Iranian coup which overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh and reinstated the Shah of Iran. There was, of course, blowback which resulted from that coup: the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the overthrow of the Shah by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Operation Ajax is hardly the only example of American interventionism in the Middle East, nor is it the only one with negative consequences for Americans. According to former President Carter's National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter signed a presidential directive on July 3, 1979 to aid the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, Afghanistan. This provoked the USSR into what an unrepentant Brzezinski called the "Afghan trap," which was to be the USSR's version of Vietnam. Once the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan, it was relatively easy for the American CIA, working with the Pakistani ISI, to recruit, arm and train mujahideen from around the Middle East to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union. One of these mujahideen was a young Saudi named Usama bin Laden.

After 9/11, President Bush gave his State of the Union address, in which he claimed that the terrorists "hate us for our freedoms; for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to vote." It is true that some radical Islamists (perhaps most notably Sayyid Qutb, mentor of Ayman al-Zawahri) do hate those things about America, yet it would be both overly-simplistic and just plain wrong to assume that radical Islamic terrorists, and specifically al Qaeda, are motivated to violence by Baywatch, the 19th Amendment and American secularism. Rather, it is our current foreign policy of worldwide intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, combined with our Middle-Eastern military bases--i.e. the American empire--that motivates young Arab men to kill themselves in order to kill Americans.

If the Cold War allowed the rise of Usama bin Laden, it was the Gulf War that turned him against America. According to Time magazine, "The initial target [of al-Qaeda after Afghanistan] was not the U.S. but the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which al-Qaeda claimed were corrupt and too beholden to the U.S. It was only after the Gulf War, by which time bin Laden had moved his operations to Sudan (he would later be forced to shift back to Afghanistan), that he started to target Americans."

In 1998, when Usama bin Laden declared his second fatwa against the United States, he said that, "[F]or over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples."

The nature of al Qaeda's hatred for the United States was put into starkest terms by the federal government's own Defense Science Task Force: "U.S. policies and actions are increasingly seen by the overwhelming majority of Muslims as a threat to the survival of Islam itself [...] Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States."

If we are to weigh the costs of empire, we must realize that the threat of radical Islamic terrorism is the fall-out of the Cold War. Perhaps there are those, like Mr. Brzezinski, who can look at the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the Khobar towers, the U.S.S. Cole, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and say that the defeat of the Soviet Union was worth the cost. I cannot count myself among them. But whatever you think of the worthiness of Cold War foreign policy, let's not fool ourselves, and make no mistake about it: the terrorists do not hate us for our freedoms, they hate us for our foreign policy.

Jonah Goldberg echoes William F. Buckley in saying that hard thinking is required of conservatives. This hard thinking must not fall prey to "fighting the last war," and it absolutely must comprehend the unintended consequences of American empire. We must remember too, that unintended consequences are not the only cost of empire.

Mr. Goldberg argues that, despite numerous warnings to the contrary, empire overseas and civil liberties at home are not incompatible. While it is true that domestic freedoms have seen occasional steps forward despite an aggressive foreign policy, this is by no means the natural trend, and examples more contemporary than the repeal of the Corn Laws paint a different picture.

The Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act are but two examples of our domestic laws infringing on our liberties as a result of foreign policy. The case of Brandon Mayfield, who was erroneously imprisoned without criminal charges and allegedly without access to family or legal counsel, should be chilling to every American. The entirety of the Patriot Act, from the issuance of National Security Letters to provisions allowing the indefinite detention based on secret evidence of any alien believed by the Attorney General to be a national security threat, is a threat not only to our civil liberties, but also to our constitutional system of checks and balances; inordinate amounts of power are vested in the Executive branch with little provision for Judicial oversight. The Military Commissions Act further solidifies Executive power, allowing anyone, including U.S. Citizens, to be detained indefinitely, without habeus corpus rights, on the say-so of the Executive branch.

S.1959, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, has truly turned the war on terrorism's eye inward. While I'm not going to engage in the hysterics and hyperbole of some of my libertarian friends, there is no question that the vague definitions of this bill (what constitutes an "extremist" belief system, exactly? Didn't Goldwater have something to say about that?), the potential for McCarthyism by the bill's committee, and the potential legislative recommendations of the committee ought to at least give us pause, if they aren't quite cause for alarm and panic.

Finally, we must consider the economic costs of empire. Need I remind conservatives that the government has no money of it's own, that every dime spent by the government is a dime taken from the private individuals who produced it, either currently or in a future generation? Given this, how many billions of dollars of our money are spent each year maintaining an American empire?

According to a State department report, American taxpayers spent nearly $24 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq in 2004. In addition, we were taxed $6.2 billion for "bilateral development assistance," $5.4 billion for "economic aid supporting U.S. political and security objectives," $2.55 billion for "humanitarian assistance," $1.7 billion for "multilateral assistance," and $4.8 billion for "military assistance" to foreign governments. That's a total of $44.65 billion dollars spent on foreign aid from just one federal department for just one fiscal year. One would think that, for that kind of money, we'd bought the love and good-will of all people around the world, right? No; instead, we are accused of being "stingy."

More recently, we've proposed a $63 billion arms deal with Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and five Gulf states. We also have a deal with Pakistan to provide $10 billion in military and other assistance to Musharraf's government. Note that support for these exact countries was noted by the Defense Science Task Force as a major grievance of the "overwhelming majority" of Muslim voices.

None of this even begins to touch on the profligate spending by the Department of Defense to maintain over 700 bases in 130 countries around the world. Nor does it account for the billions of dollars spent each day fighting the war in Iraq, much of which is borrowed from China. How much good could be done with our money if it were left in our pockets, rather than drained from us to be sent overseas?

The end of the Cold War has eliminated the conservative movement's rationale for supporting American empire. The fallout of the Cold War has shown us, in no uncertain terms, the enormous cost in lives, liberties and treasure of maintaining a global empire. Honest men may have been honestly mistaken in supporting empire to combat the Soviet Union. Now that the Soviet menace is gone and our imperial chickens have come home to roost, it is obvious that America must abandon her imperial ambitions if the American people are to remain safe, free and prosperous.

Corey Cagle

Friday, September 14, 2007

Intellectual Honesty and Iran

For some time now, members of the Bush administration, from the President and Vice-President to the Secretaries of State and Defense, to the head of the CIA have been saying that Iran is arming the Iraqi insurgents, specifically with "shape-charge IEDs." For those of you who don't know, these are improvised explosive devices fashioned with a conical copper disc which are able to penetrate the armor on American military vehicles, as well as the body armor our servicemen wear. I have seen firsthand the damage these can do, and they are absolutely devastating.

Iran's actions have been characterized by our current administration, Presidential candidates, and conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity as both state-sponsorship of terrorism and an aggressive act against the United States, bordering on an informal declaration of war. Many Americans' initial reaction is to agree that Iran is a threat which must be neutralized. But is there something else to consider here? Are we seeing the whole picture?

Remember that in 1979, Islamic fundamentalists--including a young Usama bin Laden--started gathering in Afghanistan. This group called itself the "mujahideen," (literally strugglers, though "those who wage jihad" may be more accurate) and were gathered together to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. It was the American CIA, working with the Pakistani ISI, who recruited, trained, armed and financed the mujahideen, which would eventually become al Qaeda (in fact, UBL refers to his group as "mujahideen" in his latest video). Seeing that the USSR was making a push toward the oil-rich Arabian peninsula, the CIA used the mujahideen as a proxy to enforce our doctrine of "containment" of the Soviet Union. This action was regarded as necessary and proper in defending our broadly-defined national security interests.

Once again, Iran is castigated and called a state sponsor of terrorism for using proxies and guerrilla tactics against the United States. Yet, when the United States used proxies and guerrilla tactics against the Soviet Union, we were acting in a strategic, defensive capacity. Only blatant intellectual dishonesty could possibly allow such a contradiction. If we are to be honest, then either both the United States and Iran are "state sponsors of terrorism," or we are both acting for our national security interest. Remember, too, that Iraq is Iran's neighbor. It could be argued that we were defending our regional allies by helping Afghanistan resist the Soviets, but there is no real sense in which the United States was acting in national self-defense when we created the mujahideen. Iran, on the other hand, actually has a US presence on it's western border.

Rather than talking to the Iranians and trying to allay their fears that they are our next target in the Global War on Terror, or even condemning their human rights abuses and encouraging democratic change in Iran, we are parking battleships off the Iranian coast, planning three-day strikes against Iranian infrastructure, and even threatening to unleash the incomparable evil of a preemptive nuclear strike against Iran.

This sort of behavior endangers our troops in Iraq, as the Iranians are given more reason to keep us bogged down there, so we are unable to invade them. We are effectively silencing internal voices of dissent as the Iranian people fall under the all-too-familiar spell of unity in the face of a common enemy. Finally, it damages our standing in the eyes of the world, including our friends and allies; no country would countenance a preemptive nuclear strike, and we have to wonder how China, Russia, Europe and the rest of the Middle East will react if they think that the United States is seeking strategic control over the oil fields of Iraq and Iran.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Non-Conformist or Just a Jackass?

As human beings, we must use our minds in order to survive; we don’t have instincts like animals. The use of our mind is volitional; we must choose whether to actively engage in thought, or coast through life on a perpetual acid-trip. Unfortunately, far too many people are content to suspend their rational capacity and rely on others to do their thinking for them. Non-conformists frequently ridicule uncritical conformity; however, many of these self-styled “radicals” are just as guilty of conformity as those whom they mock. These people are neither radical nor non-conformists; they are just plain old jackasses.

The field of politics is an excellent place to find potential jackasses. I will concentrate on three overlapping groups of people who, in attempting to rebel against the status-quo, manage to become dangerously conformist: socialists, environmentalists and the ubiquitous protestors. These people have one thing in common: they reject traditional values, then accept their perceived opposite without bothering to actually think about what is right, wrong, true or false.

Most people perceive capitalism to be the foundation of America’s economy. While this hasn’t been strictly true since FDR’s New Deal, it is still a common misperception; as such, young people looking for a way to be unique will often turn to socialism because it seems radical and shocking. They blindly follow anything Noam Chomsky and other leftist intellectuals spew out of their mouths, burn the American flag, declare corporations to be evil and disparage the American way of life with thousands of their “fellow travelers,” all while depending on the basic freedoms that no socialist country has ever allowed. Survey says: you are jackasses!

Environmentalists, or “greens,” are another good example of mindless rebels. Often aligned with socialists, these geniuses whine about things like global warming, overlooking the fact that their spokesmen, such as Paul Erlich, were screaming about global cooling in the 1960’s, and predicting world-wide famines in the 1970’s. These people are completely impervious to facts, logic and reality. Greens lobby for forced recycling, ignoring the fact that it takes more fossil fuels to recycle plastic than it does to create new plastic. Greens’ favorite pastime is rallying around one pet catastrophe after another. News flash for Henny-Penny environmentalists: the sky isn’t falling, you’re just jackasses.

The third example from the political realm is the protest movement. This movement started in the 1960’s with the masses of unwashed hippies who protested the Vietnam War. Unsurprisingly, many of the members of this group are also socialists and/or greens. Critical thought isn’t important for a protester. As long as you’ve got a catchy slogan, pissed-off demeanor and plenty of cardboard signs, you can be one of them. Do you enjoy protesting things like: the G8 summit, the latest war, fur coats and rich people? Do your hobbies include: breaking windows, throwing Molotov cocktails at cops and tipping SUVs? If so, congratulations! You’re a jackass.

This general jackassery bleeds over into pop culture as well, particularly the so-called “Generation X” phenomenon. You know the type: unshaven, bleary-eyed teenagers who bathe less often than a Frenchman, wear ill-fitting clothes and prefer “slacking off” to getting a job and doing something productive. These are the same people that “X-treme” marketing caters to, and can generally be described as X-treme jackasses.

A good example of the conformity-in-disguise of Gen-X is the number of so-called subcultures that are based purely on aesthetics. Specifically, I’m thinking of the “emo” kids and the punks. Emo “culture” is identified by the wearing of all black, as if to symbolize that life is dreary and pointless which, for most of these kids, is true. Self-mutilation is also essential to the emo kid. Punks also have their own style—too much gunk in their hair, spiked bracelets, worn-out clothing, tattoos and body piercings—which they enforce as strictly as any military uniform. Depending on how “hardcore” a given punk is, he or she may refuse to listen to any music that’s put out by a major record label, not because the music is bad or because the artists club baby seals in their off-time, but because anyone who is successful is automatically a sellout. Both of these groups are trying so hard to be different and unique, just like all their friends. Here’s a tip for all you emos and punks: cutting yourself and spiking your hair doesn’t make you cool. It just might, however, make you a jackass.

What, you might ask, is responsible for turning an entire generation into conformist jackasses? It all goes back to many people’s decision to let other people do their thinking for them. Why bother coming up with your own style when you can turn on MTV, the cultural Mecca of Cool, to find out exactly what you should be wearing, listening to and thinking? MTV claims to be racy, edgy and different, but in reality they’ve just taken the lowest common denominator of cultural phenomena and turned them into a new standard of conformity. Anyone who produces, stars in, or religiously watches anything on MTV is a grade-A, prime example of a jackass. Small coincidence that “Jackass” is the name of one of their more popular, and more mind-numbing, programs.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Just for fun

I was going through my hard drive and came across some old papers I wrote for my Writing 102 class. These got a great reaction from my professor and fellow students, so I thought I'd post them here for everyone to enjoy. Keep in mind that these are all very ascerbic, and could be quite offensive. Before you flame me, keep in mind that, while these are all semi-serious, they were written for humorous effect. I'll be posting one essay per day for the next few days. Without further ado, here is the first of my essays:

Get Away From Me, You Dirty Hippy

On August 15, 1969, the unfortunate residents of upstate New York found their peaceful, quiet community had been invaded. The intruders were not a conquering army bent on pillage and plunder; they were creatures much more vile: hippies. A scant month after NASA had put men on the moon, thereby achieving mankind’s greatest technological triumph, the single largest gathering ever of subhuman bipeds took place. Woodstock, a three-day long “music” festival, was a critical mass of the worst elements of humanity.

Hippies have plagued civilization since the mid-1960s, when experimentation with drugs—especially hallucinogens like lysergic acid diethylamide-25 (LSD), psilocybin, and mescaline—became popular among American youth. Drugs are life’s blood and mother’s milk to the hippy. Places with a large hippy population, like California, are awash with marijuana, LSD, cocaine and various other drugs. Psychedelic drugs have inspired many of the defining characteristics of the hippy. Tie-dyed shirts, folk music and black-light posters are but a few of the common hippy’s psychedelically-inspired accoutrements.

Hippies can generally be found en masse in places like the University of California Berkeley campus, Earth Day rallies, Burning Man festivals and Grateful Dead or Phish concerts. In order to get a better understanding of hippies, it is necessary to observe them in their natural habitat, however unpleasant this may be. While the reasons for UC Berkeley’s great percentage of hippies is not fully known, it is suspected that some Californians who have enough money to send their hippy kids to college are often former hippies themselves, and consider sending their kids to UC Berkeley to be a sort of apprenticeship. Thus, an otherwise prestigious college becomes a kind of guild for the spoiled progeny of hippies who either grew up or got lucky. After a few semesters at UC Berkeley, a budding young drug addict is able to achieve the status of full-fledged hippy, just like his or her parents, thereby completing the cycle.

One of the hippy’s favorite pastimes is whining about the environment. In 1970, Earth Day was created as a way for hippies everywhere to whine together about the importance of pristine nature and the evils of industry and western civilization. While bitching about the environment is important to hippies, it is secondary to the consumption of mind-altering substances. Burning Man festivals and concerts for bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish are gathering places for masses of hippies who come with the intent of destroying the remnants of their brains with drugs and rambling, incoherent folk music.

The common hippy is not hard to detect. From afar, one can observe several common characteristics of a hippy. Volkswagen vans seem to be the hippy’s vehicle of choice, despite the automobile’s inefficiency and pollution output. Hippies tend to wear dirty, ill-fitting clothes, usually emblazoned with peace signs and often tie-dyed. Whether male or female, the hippy will have long, matted hair that looks as if it hasn’t been washed in months, and hippies of neither gender will be clean-shaven, perhaps because it is impossible to shave when you’re stoned out of your mind.

If one is unfortunate enough to come into close contact with a hippy, their distinct odor will be readily apparent. Hippies almost always smell like a combination of dirty clothes, body odor, pot smoke and incense. Female hippies will sometimes perfume themselves with patchouli oil, as though they don’t smell enough like moist dirt naturally. For those ill-fated souls who actually come into physical contact with a hippy, the hippy’s distinct texture will be noticed. Hippies very rarely exercise or shower, since both require effort, so they feel like slimy, gritty bean bags.

Under the laws of evolution, it is reasonable to expect that hippies would be an endangered species. Yet somehow, they have managed to survive and even thrive, like cockroaches in a nuclear winter. In a perfect world, hippies would either not exist at all, or they would be awkward teenagers going through a particularly stupid phase. In the real world, however, there are no easy answers to the hippy problem. Short of carpet-bombing Phish concerts and Earth Day rallies, we may have no choice but to wait until California breaks off of the North American continent and floats out to sea, never to return.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Michael Sheuer: Everyone Except Kucinich and Paul Are Lying!

No doubt by now, you've heard that Usama bin Laden has released a new videotape today. At this time, I am unable to get a copy of the transcript, but it has been reported that UBL says that if we want to know why we're losing the war on terrorism, we need to read Michael Sheuer's book, Imperial Hubris.

Update: Thanks to Danny for sending me a link to the transcript. They were still working on this when I originally posted.

For those who don't know, Michael Sheuer was the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, and has spent many years studying bin Laden and al Qaeda. His book, Imperial Hubris, argues that al Qaeda attacked America, not because of the 1st and 19th Amendments or Baywatch, but because of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Just a few minutes ago, Neil Cavuto interviewed Michael Sheuer, asking him about being mentioned in the new UBL tape. Mr. Sheuer told Mr. Cavuto that the CIA has been telling politicians for 12 years that our foreign policy was causing these problems, and that he wasn't saying the policies were good or evil, but simply trying to understand the motivation of our enemies.

Sheuer then said that, "The nineteen men running for President, with the exception of Mr. Kucinich and Mr. Paul, are lying to the American people about this."

When former CIA analysts are telling us (on Fox News, no less) that our presidential candidates are lying to us, we have a serious problem. The question now is whether the American people, and specifically Fox News viewers, will take this message to heart, or whether they'll continue to stick their collective heads in the sand and chant the catechism, "They hate us for our freedoms."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Liberal bias on campus?

So I've started my Junior year of college this semester, going to a major public university, the University of Louisville, for the first time. (I have previously gone to community college and satellite campuses on military bases.) I was in the book store today, looking for On the Social Contract by Rousseau, which I need for my Modern Political Thought class, when I saw a display of books by or about some of the candidates for president in the 2008 election. Now, I've read commentary for a long time about the alleged liberal bias in American universities, but I've never actually experienced such bias myself. Until today. I was so stricken by the content of this book display that I took some pictures with my cell phone. Have a look at these:

These are a bit hard to make out, so on one side we have: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama; Grand Illusion, which attacks Giuliani's record after 9/11; Living History by Hillary Rodham-Clinton; A Woman in Charge about HRC; Winning the Future by Newt Gingrich, who isn't running, by the way; Four Trials by John Edwards and Character is Destiny, a collection of short stories gathered by John McCain. On the other side, we have: A Mormon in the White House?, which is, admittedly, a slobbering defense of Romney; Between Worlds by Bill Richardson, Her Way, an unauthorized but mostly sympathetic biography of HRC; It Takes a Village by HRC; Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama and finally, Leadership by Rudy Giuliani.

So where does that leave us? Out of thirteen books total, we have six books actually written by Democratic presidential candidates, two books about HRC, and one book attacking a Republican candidate. That's nine out of thirteen, almost 70%, of the campus book store's "On the Candidates" series for the Democrats (including one that's just attacking a Republican). On the other hand, we have two books written by actual Republican presidential candidates (and of course, they couldn't put Leadership on there without having Grand Illusion on the other side. Not that I'm a fan of Giuliani, but still.), one book by a Republican who isn't running for president, and one book defending a Republican presidential candidate.

Now, maybe this isn't evidence of liberal bias on campus. Maybe it just means that the Republicans on campus have better things to do than read books by/about presidential candidates. You know, stuff like studying, working, or maybe doing shots of whiskey out of a stripper's navel. But take this into context with the actual school books required for some of the classes. I recall seeing a book by leftist icon Mumia Abu Jamal, many books on the negative impact of industrial civilization on the environment, and a virtually countless, mind-numbing array of race- and gender-baiting books decrying the evil that is the White Male Power Structure(tm). The only thing missing (and I probably just didn't see it) was the complete works of Noam Chomsky. And I haven't even mentioned the bulletin boards all over campus, which are an eclectic mix of job advertisements (including one for the Democratic Party of Kentucky. None for Republicans.) and seminar fliers for topics like "Black Lesbians" and "Ten Things Men Can Do To Stop Gender Violence." I'm considering whether I need to invest in an armored codpiece to protect against impending emasculation.

I'm still very excited to be back in college, and I'm enjoying the university setting so far, despite the minor annoyances of megaphone-wielding fratboys hawking their juvenile social clubs and the milieu of clueless hipsters who think pink and blue hair, combined with enough piercings to look like they just lost an intense battle with a tackle box, will make them a unique individual, just like all their friends. I am, however, beginning to wonder how Republicans, conservatives, libertarians and other non-lefties manage to make it through four years of college with their sanity intact. But, I figure if I can handle four years of daily ass-chewings, intense physical training and multiple deployments to hostile climates with hostile residents, college will be a walk in the park.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quick post of an idea I had for a Ron Paul T-shirt. Feel free to download, print, distribute or otherwise use this as you see fit. If you do make a shirt out of it, send me pics!