Sticks, Carrots, and Fascist Bastards

Much virtual ink has been spilled over last night’s Presidential Debate, which I found boring and stale; I will save my ones and zeroes to quote for my nonexistent readership some douchebag from the American Enterprise Institute (here dissing Obama’s stance on diplomacy):

“Unfortunately, the American people’s desire for peace is not shared by many dictators. In such a world, coercion matters as much as engagement. President Theodore Roosevelt sought to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” When candidates seek, a century later, to speak softly and carry a big carrot, it is not diplomacy; it is naivete.”

Let’s start at the beginning, with the American People’s famous desire for peace, from the (say) Mexican War to (say) Iraq. It’s not that I’m dissing the American People — a most excellent people by all accounts — but to deny them their healthy aggressive instinct, so finely demonstrated in the Enterprise gentleman’s tone and content, would be to do the American People a disservice. It is a well-known feature of the most intractable conflicts that each side believes that it itself desires only peace, while its enemy understands only force; this sort of belief is usually strongly encouraged (to put it mildly) by schools and other public institutions. Perhaps Herr Rubin (oh the irony!) is aware of this context, or maybe he is merely responding to his natural instinct; in either case with each such ridiculous, untrue, and, yes, dangerous statement he gives the forces of conflict a small but definite boost. Great Job!

And as for Theodore Roosevelt, Rubin forgets the first part of the aphorism: Speak softly. Don’t run around yelling and breaking things with your stick. People might stop fearing it, and you could even break it. What carrots have to do with it, I don’t know.

I’m sick and tired of many things: I’m sick of unimaginative chatter and political correctness; i’m tired of spineless populism, hedging, and playing it safe; but most of all I’m sick and tired, and afraid, of fascist incitement mixing metaphors to masquerade as something that makes sense.

Published in: on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 5:54 am  Leave a Comment  

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