Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Phantoms of Lost Liberty Tour, 2003

Almost two years after its congressional passage in the wake of 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcrof kicked off a mini-tour to defend the Patriot Act this afternoon. He’s not looking for a dialogue, mind you, and he’s certainly not looking to interact with those who are out there scaring the pants off of “peace loving people with phantoms of lost liberty,” like, say, the 151 cities that have passed resolutions denouncing certain controversial provisions of the Patriot Act. You’re either with him, or you’re against him. Such “tactics only aid terrorists.” And here you thought you might have actually had some valid concerns about freedom, liberty and justice.

And what better place to begin then the good friends of the administration at The American Enterprise Institute", publisher of The American Enterprise magazine, whose current September 2003 issue is, get this, all about men! Not just any kind of man either, because as is made evident in their many features addressing masculinity today, we’re talking about a very special kind of man, one you’d be proud to bring home to meet the parents and Dick Cheney.

The table of contents for this month’s issue includes a piece by Steve Sailer explaining to his readers “why we want masculine leaders.” Another, by Christina Hoff Summers, warns subscribers that there’s a vast left-wing conspiracy afoot to “make our boys more docile and emotional.” (I just got back from tonight’s meeting. We’re finally ready to launch our “Boys ‘n Quilts 2003” campaign!) You can read that one here. It’s interesting to note that in making her case, to really bring it all jaw-droppingly home, Summers turns to the switchblade carrying scholar, Camille Paglia. (And really, all I want to know is where that long promised second half of Sexual Personae is.) Oh my, there’s even a mini-symposium made up of six “spunky” women (and women are, no doubt, innately spunky, right?) who discuss “What Women Think About Modern Manhood.” Some highlights:

“Manliness has experienced a renaissance for two reasons. The Bush/Cheney administration has set the tone for political culture. And 9/11, of course.”

“The post 9/11 love affair with police, firemen and soldiers is a return of normal relations between men and women.”

“I am distressed by the degree to which feminism still carries political weight.”

“Most people today never needed to be carried out of a burning building. But once they see 3,000 people that needed to be rescued, they know it takes men.”

“When men aren’t inculcated with manly virtues they become wimps, they become hoodlums.”

“Pat Moynihan warned us about about predatory males being raised by single moms.”

“There’s also the sex appeal of someone like Dom Rumsfeld. President Bush possesses this intangible something- you really saw it on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.”

All this to belabor the point, I suppose, that Ashcroft’s mini “Phantoms of Lost Liberty Tour,” was launched (and opening day is all that really matters here) in a redundant vessel. The good brothers and sisters at American Enterprise are all about beating back the same irksome flames of secular liberal-left relativism as the administration. I would, however, like to offer one bit of advice to those, no doubt, beef fed and hulking husbands of the “spunky” six quoted above- Clearly the bedroom is ripe for some pre-coital role-playing. These gals are practically screaming for a fireman named Iron John! Please, for god’s sake, rescue your women before the Astroturf completely takes over.

So Ashcroft, deep in the bosom of a fellow traveler, the requisite backdrop in place (it read, “Preserving Life and Liberty,”) let it be known, that these aren’t the droids we’re looking for. But first he capitalized on today’s tragic UN suicide bombing in Iraq by saying the following:

“This morning, terrorists struck the United Nations mission in Baghdad, killing at least 13 people and seriously injuring at least 120 others. The victims were innocent people who traveled to Iraq on a mission of peace and human dignity. Let me express sympathy to the victims and their loved ones.

“This morning’s attack again confirms that the worldwide terrorist threat is real and imminent. Our enemies continue to pursue ways to murder the innocent and the peaceful. They seek to kill us abroad and at home. But we will not be deterred from our responsibility to preserve American life and liberty, nor our duty to build a safer, more secure world.”

Terror, you see, is right there in Iraq, which is our burden now. Of course, those of us who might be challenged to ask just how today’s bombing in Iraq relates at all to the Patriot Act- those of us who might even wonder aloud just how, in fact, the war on Iraq was connected to 9/11 at all, would, no doubt, be told that it simply confirms that terrorist threats to our well-being, to our freedom, are real and present and that, thank god, the Patriot Act is there to stop such things from ever happening here. To even suggest, as John Mearsheimer, the Co-Director of the Program on International Security at the University of Chicago was emboldened to do so tonight on the News Hour, that we might have by invading Iraq created a target rich terrorist environment where once there was none, or that Ashcroft and the rest of the Administration have been ruthlessly exploiting and demeaning the veracity of the very real tragedy of 9/11 to advance a dangerous neo-conservative agenda, is to be labeled, as Ashcroft has already made clear, a traitor to the just cause. They know, as we do, that links between the 9/11 terrorists and Hussein’s Iraq don’t exist, but then, so what, most think otherwise. 9/11 is the great malleable onto which an even greater and deadlier agenda is enjoying, at long last, its moment. There are no shades of gray. There are men and there are women, there is good and there is evil, there is right and there is wrong.

Everyone else is pussy-whipped.

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