Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Clueless? Hardly

This today over at USS Clueless.
Always good reading there.

"Capitalism is like that. It gives you the opportunity to be wealthy, but you can also be poor, and you actually have to compete and work hard and perform. There's plenty of opportunity, but there are no guarantees. If you're not used to doing that kind of thing, it's a shock. Some people don't really successfully make that transition.

I understand why some people and some groups fear it. I understand them, but I don't sympathize with them or excuse them for it. There's a price for everything; there's no free lunch in life. If they want the benefits, they have to pay the price.

If you want to be free, you have to pay a really big price, one which many think is much too high. If you want to be free, you have to put up with everyone else being free. If you want to be able to do things that your neighbors disapprove of, you have to put up with the fact that they will do things you disapprove of. If you want to be able to say things others despise, you have to put up with it when others say things you despise.

In other words, if you want to be free, you have to be tolerant. For some people, tolerance is very difficult. For others, it's heresy. And that's a problem, especially if their intolerance knows no borders or limits.

That's actually one of the big reasons why we're at war. The Islamic extremists consider tolerance to be heresy. They cannot accept us as we are, even though we're quite willing to accept them as they are. They demand that we conform to their view of how we should behave, and we won't do it.

So either they'll force us to conform, or they'll kill us all, or we'll force them to be tolerant, or we'll kill them all. Or maybe everybody will end up dead.

The first of those won't happen. My nation is not going to surrender, and they are not going to convert this nation into an Islamic Republic without exterminating the vast majority of us first. (If they try, they'll discover the true reason for our Second Amendment.) Each of the others is a distinct possibility, but the third one (us forcing them to be tolerant) is by far the least bloody of those outcomes. That's the basis of the US strategy in the war (though there's much more to it than that).

If it fails, the body count is going to get extremely high. Islamic extremists may eventually gain the means to slaughter large numbers of us, but they won't ever have the ability to wipe us out completely.

On the other hand, we have the ability to wipe them out now, if we're ruthless enough to kill 10,000 innocent civilians for every militant we kill. Burning down the house to kill the roaches is pretty extreme, but there's no doubt it actually would kill almost all the roaches.

If it comes to that, it would be nearly as much of a disaster for us to do that as it would be for them to have that done to them. But if we face the stark choice of surrendering or committing nuclear genocide, then the body count is going to become very large in a very short time.

I'm willing to do almost anything to avoid that. But I am not willing to surrender in order to avoid that."

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