June 29, 2004
— Ace David Brooks examines Michael Moore's strange savage "love" of his country.
There's a central -- and dishonest -- trick to what Moore is doing here: He's conflating two questions that have very little to do with each other. The question of whether a war is just (Moore's thesis is that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were not) has no logical connection to the question of whether it is fought by a justly selected military. Vietnam was not an unjust war because elites received draft deferments; it was an unjust war in which the burdens of military service happened to be spread unfairly. Every war the United States has fought since Vietnam has been fought by an unjustly distributed military. But not every war has been unjust. The distribution of sacrifice in a democracy is a moral problem all its own.
Jonah Goldberg makes a similar point. Moore points out the high cost of war -- showing those killed or maimed -- but how is this different from any other war? Iraq is either a just and necessary war or it is not. The fact that young men and women (and their families) suffer due to this war is no evidence that it is unjust or unnecessary:
First, to the extent that Moore's depictions of grieving mothers and remorseful soldiers are accurate, they are true of pretty much every war ever fought. The notion that the Iraq war is somehow unique because some American soldiers did not want to fight it or because some mothers didn't think it was worth losing their sons to it is bunkum. All things being equal, it would be easy easier in fact to show similar grief and remorse about World War II or the Civil War (and I have little doubt that had Moore been given the opportunity, he would have). But that is not a persuasive argument against fighting those wars. It would merely be an indication of the very real costs of those wars.
Newsmax makes the slightly ticky-tack, but still delicious, point that Moore's film may be playing on screens partly owned by the notorious Carlyle Group he hates so much. Perhaps Osama bin Ladin can be said to have funded this film.
The GOP is guilty of political negligence if it does not tie Michael Moore around John Kerry's neck. The entire Democratic Party establishment has embraced this film, and promoted it; the Democrats cannot now say it is unfair to associate them with Moore. They have associated themselves with Moore. They cannot claim they are only to be associated with Moore as to the bits which they find politically helpful, while not associating with him as to the bits which are politically damaging.
The Democratic Party claims to be patriotic, and maybe it is, to some extent. But obviously patriotism is not especially high on their list of values, because they are gleefully promoting a man who called enemies of the US -- killers of American boys -- the "Minutemen," who, he boasted, would win against us because they deserved to.
If there were a conservative filmmaker making a film believed helpful to Republicans, but that filmmaker had some alleged homophobic or antisemitic impulses, the liberals would have no compunctions about using that filmmaker as evidence of the GOP's own homophobia or antisemitism.
And this isn't a hypothetical, of course; it's already happened. The liberal elite has used Mel Gibson to paint the GOP as Jew-hating and gay-baiting.
If patriotism really were one of the most cherished values among the liberals, they would have no difficulty condemning Moore's vicious anti-American schtick. But it's not one of their most cherished values, and they view his overseas anti-American slanders as a misdemeanor at worse. It's an easily-excused lapse in their view, greatly outweighed by the "positives" of Moore's vile "message."
Most of America does not consider that behavior to be a misdemeanor, nor so easily forgiven. And there the GOP should have no compunction about demonstrating this divergence of values between the Democrat Party and the rest of America.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 29, 2004 09:36 AM (yZMsp)
Posted by: Aaron at June 29, 2004 09:53 AM (Zg6J9)
Posted by: zetetic at June 29, 2004 10:02 AM (g6RWU)
Posted by: Golden Boy at June 29, 2004 10:10 AM (i3DXc)
Posted by: Dave Pasquino at June 29, 2004 10:38 AM (OaTVj)
If so, it's a keeper.
Posted by: Nicholas Kronos at June 29, 2004 11:16 AM (d8L+J)
Posted by: Ace at June 29, 2004 11:30 AM (iog7U)
I love it. Marry up to the dude. Make his message your own. That's why I sighed when I read about some on the right who wanted to shut Moore down...no no no dear children. Let him SING.
People aren't stupid and can figure that out. Those who hate Bush will suck it up. Those who don't hate him or love him will say "what a bunch of crap. Why is Kerry hugging this guy"?
Posted by: Dave in Texas at June 29, 2004 03:44 PM (xDNM9)
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Posted by: Stu at November 08, 2010 09:23 PM (MtT9I)
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