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Toadying to your enemies; what’s up with that?

One day when I was a senior in high school I got called into the office of the Dean of Girls (weirdly quaint title). I was being “awarded” an F for the day in all my classes, having gotten caught skipping school to attend a peace march.

Funny thing. I skipped school a lot that year, mostly just to hang out somewhere that wasn’t around my increasingly intolerable family, town, or school. Don’t recall ever getting in trouble for it, except that one time when somehow my parents and the dean discovered that I had gone (gasp!) to an anti-war march.

For this dereliction of my conventional duties, I was sternly castigated. I remember only one sentence of the dean’s rant: “Don’t you want your parents to respect you?”

With the capital-A Attitude of a disaffected teen, I snarled, “I don’t care if they respect me!”

It was a conversation ender.

As soon as I left the dean’s office, I had one of those “wish I’d said” moments. The scared child within my surly teen self wished she’d cried, “They won’t respect me no matter what I do!”

That was true. It was far more true at that point than “I don’t care.” Because of course, I did care, passionately, about what the people in charge of my life thought of me. It was just that I had already learned that I couldn’t be true to myself and earn their respect at the same time.

The “wish I’d said” version also would have been a cry for help, a plea for understanding. My 17-year-old self still hoped — desperately — that some authority figure would realize that something was terribly, terribly wrong in my family and swoop in to do something helpful.

Instead, I slouched out of Miss Moffatt’s office simply having given the impression of being a defiant little jerk.

Only a long, long time later did I realize I’d actually said the right thing when I blurted, “I don’t care if they respect me.”

The idea that uber-authoritarian Miss Moffatt would ever have cared, let alone ever seen anything beyond a need to discipline me, now seems laughable. The idea that a government employee dedicated to enforcing authority might ever have sympathized and taken my part, equally laughable.

The idea that a person in her position might have “helped” is horrifying — in the “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” sense.

Looking back, it simply makes sense that neither Miss Moffatt nor my parents would respect someone like me. And I’m glad they didn’t. Because if I’d have toadied to gain an illusion of grudging “respect” from those people, I’d have ended up losing a very important part of myself.

Not wanting or needing their conditional “respect” was the right and mature thing.


It’s a hard lesson for us social beings to internalize, but earning the scorn of Authoritah can be one of the surest signs that we’re doing something right.

And the next, much bigger, lesson is that when we’re doing something right, Authoritah and its and expectations diminish.


The other day, when I read the strange gun-control rant of Cato’s Robert Levy, the passage that struck me as most strange — most overwhelmingly, neon-bright, screaming-from-the-page strange — was this one:

Gun-rights advocates should use this interval to refine their priorities and support this measure [a revived Manchin-Toomey], with a few modest changes. If they don’t, they will be opening themselves to accusations from President Obama and others that they are merely obstructionists, zealots who will not agree to common-sense gun legislation.

I’ve probably read that passage 10 times and I cannot fathom why Levy wrote it. Can he sincerely believe that any gun-rights advocate on Planet Earth should worry that Obama will think we’re too uncompromising?

Obama is well-known as a intolerant man, an authoritarian who brooks no deviation at all from his party line. Even if for some crazy reason gun-rights advocates wanted to please him, the only way to do so would be to give up our advocacy entirely. Merely leaning in his direction for the sake of “common sense” would achieve nothing except to let him and his allies know we’re suckers who can be manipulated and bent.

But why would we even want to try please a man who is inimical to everything we love and value? Why does Robert Levy think we should want that? That’s just bizarre.

And who are these vague “others” we’re supposed to be trying to please? The high-school quarterback? The head of the Mean Girls clique? The school dean? Carolyn McCarthy? Frank Lautenberg?

Can you picture those folks ever being pleased with us? Can you picture them “respecting” us more if we tried to meet their standards? Ha!

Giving Levy some benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume he simply phrased that badly and that what he really meant was something along the lines of “compromise is needed in politics.”

And it’s true. If you have to have politics (debatable, but a fact of current life), compromise is part of the game. But in that case, why isn’t a “Libertarian” who claims to be in favor of gun rights castigating Obama and those “others” for not moving in our direction? Why hound us on Obama’s behalf?

I’ve just read that passage again. Three more times. I still can’t imagine why any sane, well-balanced, independent person “should” be so desperate to have the approval of “Obama and others” that we’d surrender a fundamental right in a vain attempt to earn it.

Oh, there are certainly ways in which it’s desirable to earn the good opinion of authority figures and other enemies.

If they must think of us at all, it’s certainly a good thing if they think things like:

“He’s a man of his word.”

“She’s a tough opponent.”

“He means what he says.”

“She stands on solid principles.”

“He’s not to be trifled with.”

“She’s one you can count on to be both thoughtful and consistent.”

“He’d die before he’d sell out.”

“She’ll never stab you in the back.”

But trying to be more like people who are the very definition of everything you oppose? I can’t get it no matter how I try.

All I can say is, Mr. Levy — get the hell out of that schoolkid desperation to join the Big Clique and you might have a chance to become a real mensch.


  1. water lily
    water lily April 29, 2013 9:45 am

    I’m bored with LINOS. The term “libertarian” is about as meaningful to me as the term “christian.”

    People can call themselves whatever they like. That doesn’t mean they are the thing they claim to be. A lot of times, they’re clueless.

  2. Shel
    Shel April 29, 2013 10:02 am

    Really? An anti-war demonstration? Actually I missed them all; during the big May Day demonstration I was in Vietnam (as a non-combatant). I don’t know anyone who has been there who has any problem whatsoever with demonstrators in this country. Hanoi Jane, of course, is a different creature; she really will go to her grave with that one Likewise, Bill Clinton’s lesser known antics in helping organize an anti-war demonstration overseas are execrable. Country Joe does help greatly, though, in making the period more enjoyable in retrospect

    All I can think of with Levy’s article is how incredibly sophisticated the propaganda machine is.

  3. Claire
    Claire April 29, 2013 10:45 am

    Shel — I agree on Hanoi Jane. Even though I thought the war was stupid and despicable, so was what she did.

    FWIW, I was a freedomista even then. Never did do the “new left” thing. Thought Marx and Engels were creepy and boring. My left-wing anti-war friends called me a bigot because I argued for property rights. And as I’ve joked before, I was eventually the only hippie carrying a copy of Atlas Shrugged around the Haight-Ashbury.

    But I truly did love Country Joe and the Fish (thank you for the trip down memory lane) and I still have their first two albums tucked away — along with a host of Jefferson Airplane albums, The Doors, Janis Joplin, etc.

    “And it’s one … two … three, what are we fightin’ for? Don’t ask me; I don’t give a damn …”

  4. David
    David April 29, 2013 11:04 am

    Also worth noting that the “hell no we won’t go” Hippie morphed quite comfortably into the “nuke their ass take their gas” yuppies of just a few years later, and voted for the “war on (civil liberties) drugs” a few years after that. Sadly way to many peoples political, or even moral convictions are about as deep as a small puddle, and like a puddle subject to change with the slightest breeze…

  5. tc
    tc April 29, 2013 11:13 am

    Wordsmith adoration for use of both “inimical” and “mensch”. 😉

  6. Claire
    Claire April 29, 2013 12:08 pm

    “Wordsmith adoration for use of both “inimical” and “mensch”. ;-)”

    LOL — Readersmith adoration for appreciating great words.

  7. Claire
    Claire April 29, 2013 12:11 pm

    David — Sadly true. There was always a huge authoritarian streak in the new left (as evidenced by my friends calling me a bigot for not toeing their party line). I think it was always there; it just didn’t show itself in full until many of the self-righteous twits got into power.

    I was a self-righteous twit back then, too. But fortunately never a leftist and never (ever!) interested in political power.

  8. Jackie Juntti
    Jackie Juntti April 29, 2013 12:25 pm

    You got off easy for skipping school – I skipped the first – and only – time when I was 14 and they were in the process of cracking down on such activity in Boise. When they caught me for skipping the three afternoon periods I spent that night in jail and the next day was hauled off to court and from there to the juvenile center for 6 weeks. I was kicked out of the school I was going to – had to get into another – live in a foster home and get a part time job – all at 14 yrs of age. I did it all and after school was out the court allowed me to move back with my parents . I got another job as a car hop – earned enough money to buy a bus ticket back to Seattle and never looked back. Some say I am stubborn – I say I march to my own music and couldn’t care less what others think of me. You know me, Claire, and you know I don’t bend. (smile)

  9. Claire
    Claire April 29, 2013 1:00 pm

    Wow, Jackie, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such drastic upheaval over one episode of school skipping. Egads. You must have been 1,000 times stronger than I was at that age — or even when I was several years older than you.

  10. PrePressVeteran
    PrePressVeteran April 29, 2013 1:19 pm

    I think this toadying… Pleading for a show of compromise and good faith… Is based on a false premise that being “reasonable” will gain the compromiser some standing with the dictator. These folks misbelieve that these extremists are rational, reasonable people. Not so.

    It’s a waste of time.

  11. Kevin 3%
    Kevin 3% April 29, 2013 1:32 pm

    I had skipped so many times that the final ultimatum was, “if you skip one more day we will expel you.” The very next day, the Jefferson Airplane were playing a free concert in Central Park. How could I not oblige them? I skipped and never looked back. Getting a GED in 8 hours of test time was far less mind numbing than two more years of that shit they were cramming down my throat in H.S.

    To the issue that we need to accept “reasonable” and “common sense” legislation to end gun violence, blah, blah, blah… That is how the current discussion (and it is not a discussion at all) has been framed. Meaning that if you don’t agree then, you are not “reasonable” (ie. you must be mentally unbalanced) and you therefore lack “common sense”. This is where we are. It is organizations like the NRA (Negotiating Rights Away) that have brought us here, all in the hope we might be seen as reasonable. We either stand on principle now, or they will continue to push us down the path of incremental erosion of our rights. Cave in now and they will be back next month, next year or after the next heinous act by some loon. They know no limits because we have caved in so many times before.

    Me? I rather accept my unreasonableness and well, common sense? Look at those who propose these things. I say they lack all manner of common sense.

  12. Joel
    Joel April 29, 2013 4:41 pm

    I’m still perplexed by that Levy article. I don’t know anything about his bona fides, but it did leave me wondering how closely Cato vets its officers. And right after a gun control win, he wants to compromise? So Obama will like us? The sun will turn pink and fall into Lake Okeechobee before Obama cares what we think. Or before we care what he thinks.

    And I’m a little ashamed to admit, in this company, that I never did skip school.

  13. Matt, another
    Matt, another April 29, 2013 7:46 pm

    I have never had a need to be respected by people that don’t know me. My major in school was insubordination. I have paid for that on more than one occasion, it doesn’t play well,in hierarchical,organizations. I give respect where ue, and am surprised if someone respects me.

    We have all the common sense and reasonable gun laws we need. Way more than we need actually. Only gun law needed is to hold people responsible for,their misuse.

  14. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 29, 2013 9:14 pm

    I skipped school- or at least class. And, I split my happily purchased free time evenly between wandering the woods by my house and hiding out in the school library (where the librarians were complicit in my skipping… well, they never ratted me out- they knew I learned more from the books I read than from napping in class.)

  15. LarryA
    LarryA April 29, 2013 10:57 pm

    [Even if for some crazy reason gun-rights advocates wanted to please him, the only way to do so would be to give up our advocacy entirely.]

    Still wouldn’t matter. Conquistadors are never pleased with the peons they rule.

    [Also worth noting that the “hell no we won’t go” Hippie morphed quite comfortably into the “nuke their ass take their gas” yuppies of just a few years later, and voted for the “war on (civil liberties) drugs” a few years after that.]

    Not surprising at all. I happened to be the Eagle Scout/nerd type. I can’t count how many times hippies told me I couldn’t possibly be “doing my own thing” because it wasn’t like their thing.

    When my wild daughter was a high school sophomore she got into ditching school. The penalty after so many missed classes was to be held back. We kept warning her it would happen. (Which was all we could do because the school hated for parents to interfere in a child’s upbringing.

    Toward the end of the year a special committee of administrators called in each of the students with excessive ditching records and “forgave” enough cuts so they could advance.

    Our “What the h**l do you think that taught them?” question went whoosh over the principal’s head.

  16. Scott
    Scott April 30, 2013 9:28 am

    In 10th grade, gym was the last class of the day-I routinely skipped it, either to hang out in the library (if it was raining), or to go fishing if it wasn’t (or to the surplus/used book/ junk store if I had money). I got more exercise riding my bike to various destinations than I ever did in gym class. No one seemed to notice I skipped virtually every day. I waited for roll to be called, then just left. I’ve never heard of a response as serious as Jackie’s, especially for the first time skipping. The mental image I have of the principal’s office of that school is looking like a Hollywood portrayal of a World War 2 Nazi officer’s headquarters..

  17. Jim Bovard
    Jim Bovard April 30, 2013 11:42 am

    Claire, thanks for the great vignette from your teenage years. Now I finally understand you.

  18. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 30, 2013 1:08 pm

    Jim – great!

    Now please explain her to the rest of us….. 😉

  19. Jim Bovard
    Jim Bovard April 30, 2013 1:11 pm

    No, actually, I value my hide.

  20. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 30, 2013 1:45 pm

    Oh c’mon, show a little faith in Claire’s adherence to the NonAggression Principle!

  21. Claire
    Claire April 30, 2013 2:05 pm

    Someone understands me? That would be a first! Yes, Jim. I won’t harm your hide if you explain me.

    That is, if you explain me via email to myself. Non-aggression principle or no, I’m not sure I would want my bare psyche exposed to the public. Even the relatively friendly public of Living Freedom blog readers.

  22. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 30, 2013 3:37 pm

    Can we post “uninformed guesses not arising to Actual Explanation” here, though? How about wild speculations? Domesticated-but-not-fully-housebroken-yet speculations?

    Oh, and Jim? Grammar and sentence structure are *very* important when negotiating a contract. Notice the phrase, “won’t harm your hide if you explain me.” Seems relatively benign, no?

    But it may well indicate that in her resume Claire has a line devoted to “expert flaying and tanning skills – no hide ever harmed.”

    Just worth thinking about….

  23. jed
    jed April 30, 2013 5:28 pm

    Joel, don’t feel too badly. I never skipped school either. In HS, though, I did skip evening chapel.

  24. Ray
    Ray April 30, 2013 10:12 pm

    Never skipped school. My parents were paying for a private school education for all of the kids, and I figured I owed them to show up for clases. Got a pricelees gift from them; A first-class education that no one can steal from me.

  25. SemperFido
    SemperFido April 30, 2013 10:34 pm

    I’m one of those “other type of wood stock” people who spent those years not being a hippie wannabe. We did have some problems with the anti war folks because so many of them turned on us. However we did have Veterans against the War so it wasn’t because we believed the propaganda.
    As far as being “reasonable” and willing to “compromise” SCREW THAT. The communist in chief only wants capitulation. There is no compromise with them. I say not one more inch. Nada. Zip. Zero. Fergetaboutit.

  26. markofafreeman
    markofafreeman April 30, 2013 10:44 pm


    I also wrote on my confusion with Cato recently regarding another article by Trevor Burrus. ( Somethin’ fishy is going on there lately. Also, if I remember correctly, Levy came out not long after Chicago vs. McDonald, I think, saying that he believed that magazine capacity limits passed constitutional muster. Well, dude, what about Human Rights muster, eh? Seems to me that many lawyers supposedly “on our side” are hung up on stare decisis, including the power grabbing Marbury vs. Madison that gave us nine black-robed oligarchs.
    At the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Florida last September during the Q&A, I suggested that perhaps there wasn’t enough focus on abolishing the ATF (after eliminating the laws they ‘enforce’, of course, cuz they’ll just go to another agency of Leviathan) and I was brushed off as being “unrealistic” by Alan Gottlieb. (Heck, there was even one lawyer-creature there who suggested that the ATF needs more funding and more staff.) You know, I can think of a bunch of rabble rousing farmers who were quite unrealistic almost 240 years ago, too.
    They ain’t aiming high enough, is what I say.
    The better approach is what Michael Z. Williamson suggested here:
    We’ll give up on legalizing nukes, provided we get full auto rifles and artillery. That’s compromise.

    I’ve never been a registered Democrat. I haven’t been a registered Republican for a number of years. And I’ve never been a registered Libertarian, even though it’s an ‘official’ party in my state.

    I am simply…a Free Man…who votes according to his conscience, but is wondering what good it does anymore.

    We knew this was taking place, but it was surprising to see that we now have at least one US Senator who is willing to expose what these petty tyrants say behind closed doors: (Money quote from Ted Cruz, quoting what establishment party members said to him, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul: “Why did you do this? As a result of what you did, when I go home, my constituents are yelling at me that I gotta stand on principle.”)

    Both major parties are now the parties of what is politically possible rather what is grounded in principle. I fear some who claim to be Libertarian are going down that same path.

  27. Sean
    Sean May 1, 2013 7:02 am

    Interesting. While you were going to peace marches, I was marching for peace in VN, and killing VC and NVA. Glad you got to do your thing, and I’m really glad I got to do mine. While we eventually fled VN, and “peace” came to that tortured land, the Communists marched several million people out to the killing fields and either murdered them or worked them to death. That was the result of your efforts. The result of my efforts was that a few of the murderers in waiting didn’t live long enough to do their thing. You may not agree with that, but that’s my perception of how things went. Hope you’re proud of your record. Me, I’m not proud of anything, but I’m looking forward to the possibility of reprising old times, of killing communists. What is it that old peace marchers look forward to? Backstabbing their countrymen? Whatever. Peace, and may you wear it well. But you are not quite the hot stuff you style yourself to be.

  28. Claire
    Claire May 1, 2013 7:27 am

    I personally stopped the Vietnam war? That’s news to me. I was under the impression it went on for long, long years no matter what I did.

    I style myself as “hot stuff”? That’s news, too.

    Sean, you mistake anti-interventionism with pro-communism. And you miss how much the role of colonial powers (France and U.S.) in Southeast Asia eventually contributed to the horrors perpetrated there.

  29. B Woodman
    B Woodman May 1, 2013 8:05 am

    We, the lawful gun owners of America, have been “compromised” and “common sense’d” near to death already, starting with the 1934 NFA, then continuing with the 1968 GCA, and every other gun control law in between and after. And what have we ever gotten in return as “compromise”? I can’t think of anything, except the crumbs and pittances the libtard masters have allowed to keep us from outright rioting.

    Enough with the “compromise” and “common sense”platitudes! Our backs are to the wall, with one hand held out, trying to fend off any further assaults on our “shall not be infringed”. Our other hand is on our still-holstered weapon, delaying until we are sure we are clearly defending ourselves against the indefensible.

  30. ML27
    ML27 May 1, 2013 8:29 am

    Howdy All,

    It might appear that some here are older than I, however, my Beloved homeschooled our children so there was no skipping school. There was moving as fast or slow as comphrehension allowed and application of common sense.

    OTOH, the Beloved skipped a lot of HS – that was a function of an very poor family situation – and I was a good student. Since I left higher education w/ an enginering degree I’ve been trending into the bitter clinger, gunnie faction.



  31. PT Banum
    PT Banum May 1, 2013 9:06 am

    On the main point, it is clear that what Levy is doing is trolling for rubes. He wants to see how many idiots he can fool into signing up by appealing to their “reasonableness.” It’s not too hard to figure out.

    On the subsidiary point, I tend to agree more with Sean than Claire. In actual practice, anti-interventionism most often means leaving innocent civilians to the tender mercies of Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot and Hitler (we intervened in Germany if you may recall). If I had been a peace protester in the 60’s knowing what I know now I would consider it a black mark on my record – as a willing rube enabling communists to perpetrate genocide. What I can’t understand is why so many former peace protesters are not ashamed of themselves.

  32. Bobbye
    Bobbye May 1, 2013 9:55 am

    Sean: stop being hung up on labels. You were in VN on the orders of the Marxist LBJ. Look at the fruits of presidentcy and point out the increased freedom that resulted. Or Nixon; same thing. Marxism. Remember, war on drugs, end of gold standard, opening up to China, that land of the free. There are only two kinds of people; those who want to run your life (includes all government employees, even the dog catcher), and those who want you to be free to run your own life. Claire is in the latter group.

  33. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal May 1, 2013 12:59 pm

    I never thought I’d see it on here: the “I fought them over there so ‘we’ wouldn’t have to fight them over here” BS. But there it was. The Empire sent a stormtrooper to kill Vietnamese people, so it was a “good” thing to do. Never mind that it was all justified by a lie. And, if you didn’t go kill them you are “not quite the hot stuff you style yourself to be”. Sad that some tools really seem to believe their brainwashing. This corrupt, evil government is “better” than that corrupt, evil government. Three cheers for The Empire! Sigh.

  34. Sean
    Sean May 1, 2013 1:06 pm

    I don’t mistake nothing for nothing. You collaborated with the communists. “Colonial” powers may have had no business there, but they never made the wholesale murder of the middle class their point, and that’s what Hanoi did when they took over. You did not help bring the war to a successful conclusion for the US, but you did for the murderers in Hanoi. Anti-interventionism? I believe I read several articles in those days where Mao of Red China fame decried the US involvement in Viet-Nam in exactly those terms. Some company you keep there. If you’re not busy later, maybe you can hang out near a VA hospital, and trip some VN vets in wheelchairs or on crutches, or with artificial legs, and laugh at them for their “misguided” intentions. Oh, and today is Communist Victim Day, when the victims of communism are remembered. Bon Jour, Collaborator.

  35. PT Banum
    PT Banum May 1, 2013 1:49 pm

    I have to agree with Sean. Kent, you need to get back on your meds.

  36. Claire
    Claire May 1, 2013 2:18 pm

    PT Banum — Stick to issues, please. No personal insults or name calling.

  37. Woody
    Woody May 1, 2013 2:32 pm

    Claire, There are sociopaths who just like to kill people. The military provides the opportunity to indulge that urge and be hailed as a hero to boot. Sean says he is pining for an opportunity to kill some more people. That says alot about who he is.

  38. Pat
    Pat May 1, 2013 2:51 pm

    I really hate to get into it here, and I’ll say no more than this, but… for what this is worth:

    “…,(this [collaboration] is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, *but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective*…” [my emphasis]

    A number of anti-war protesters were NOT collaborators, but simply against getting into the war, against their family and friends going to war, and/or against all wars. Many were naïve, ignorant of the politics they were espousing, and/or they stupidly, blindly believed what they were taught about capitalism and American historical perspective. This did not make them “collaborators”.

    Even Fonda doesn’t truly fit that description, though she certainly was no bloody help to the American position in Viet Nam. Baez, too, went over as an anti-war advocate, but I understand she interacted with American soldiers.

  39. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit May 1, 2013 2:52 pm

    Sean, you have GOT to get your history straight. Vietnam was a single country until colonial meddling tore it in half. If the US hadn’t stabbed its Vietnamese allies in the back after WWII and given France the green light to go back in, there wouldn’t have BEEN any “slaughter of the middle class.”

    Sadly, though, it was exactly the war precipitated by that US betrayal – and the US “doubling down” on that betrayal, that allowed the ugly elements to arise and create the conditions for the killing. Look at VN today – well into capitalism and the free market, a place they could have been half a century (and hundreds of thousands of needless deaths) ago.

    Hubris sucks. And American hubris killing innocents sucks even worse.

  40. leonard
    leonard May 1, 2013 3:24 pm

    And just think now there is a whole new enemy and another generation in wheelchairs, not to mention a million or so dead. More of “them” than “us” , so I guess “we” are winning.

    I wonder who the next enemy will be? Besides freedomistas I mean.

  41. gooch
    gooch May 1, 2013 4:23 pm

    It is instructive to me that after all of these years, and all of the lies that have and the corruption that has been exposed in government [all kinds of government], the indoctrination of the “foot soldier” is still firmly and virulently entrenched and active.

    It took me a few years after I got out [1969] to realize that I had been Lied to, Used and Abused the entire time.
    [I was in the Haight in those first few years after discharge. I actually liked The City back then.]

    Curiously nearly all of my friends who have VN combat experience are not proud of their actions in combat nor are they “looking forward to the possibility of reprising old times, of killing communists.”

    Fact is … those VC back in the Big Green were repulsing the invaders in their homeland. Invaders that had been messing about with the power structure in their homeland for many years.
    (See note above by the Lawhobbit.)

    It is also amazing that people still use the “Us vs Them” labeling system.
    “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” Shrub [#43]

    I have found the real world to be infinitely more complicated than that.


  42. PT Banum
    PT Banum May 1, 2013 4:46 pm

    Yeah, I still agree with Sean. I can acknowledge that a lot of the points other commenters are desperately clinging to in order to defend Claire without losing sight of the final reality that she picked the wrong team. A lot of it smacks of moral preening and ex post facto rationalizing. I don’t know why some people can’t just acknowledge that they made a mistake (youth, inexperience, etc.) instead of doubling down on it. Oh well, human nature.

    Also, I apologize for any perceived name calling. However, Kent called Sean a Nazi, so, whatevs.

  43. Claire
    Claire May 1, 2013 5:53 pm

    “However, Kent called Sean a Nazi, so, whatevs.”

    I missed that. And Sean called me a collaborator. So enough already of getting personal. That’s not what this comment section is about.

    As to picking the wrong team, I expressed an opinion against an illegal and useless war way back when. I’ve expressed similar opinions against other illegal, useless wars since then. No regrets.

  44. Tony Hollick
    Tony Hollick May 1, 2013 7:05 pm

    The Vietnam War was neither illegal nor useless.

    The War was fought primarily in pursuit of George Kennan’s doctrine of Containment. The idea was to confine Communism until it collapsed through internal contradictions. American kids no longer go to bed afraid that nuclear weapons will wipe their world out. Containment necessarily involved partnering with some undavoury regimes.

    For a superb account of America’s war in Vietname, I would like to recommend Neil Sheehan’s fine biography of John Paul Vann, “A Bright Shining Lie.”



  45. leonard
    leonard May 1, 2013 8:56 pm

    I honestly didn’t know anyone could read , “A Bright Shining Lie” and still conclude the Vietnam War was neither illegal nor useless.

  46. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal May 2, 2013 10:30 am

    I missed that.

    So did I. Still can’t find it.

    As to picking the wrong team…

    “May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.” ~ Malcolm Reynolds

    Although… siding against one evil doesn’t mean you “picked” the other evil. Sometimes you just have to address the closer one- you know, the one that’s actually an imminent threat to your personal individual life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness right this minute.

    When I stand against something Fascistic Socialistic US Political Party A does, it doesn’t mean I am supporting Fascistic Socialistic US Political Party B- except to supporters of Fascistic Socialistic US Political Party A. Shortsighted to the point of blindness, those folks are.

  47. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau May 6, 2013 9:19 am

    Clearly, CATO has been in Washington far too long. Just like NRA, wheeling and dealing in the halls of power must be addictive.

    This is a great place for a Kurt Hoffman quote: “I believe that being despised by the despicable is as good as being admired by the admirable.”

    [Also worth noting that the “hell no we won’t go” Hippie morphed quite comfortably into the “nuke their ass take their gas” yuppies of just a few years later, and voted for the “war on (civil liberties) drugs” a few years after that.]

    Nah, I don’t buy it. That is generalizing with no actual knowledge of the personalities involved. Just because some people sell out does not mean everyone sells out.

    [Sean, you mistake anti-interventionism with pro-communism. And you miss how much the role of colonial powers (France and U.S.) in Southeast Asia eventually contributed to the horrors perpetrated there.]

    Quite a measured response, Claire. I look at Sean’s comment as an example of “the psyche must be protected”. Sean, if you are having some doubts it would be better not to bring out the whole business in the first place – certainly not to go on attack. Let sleeping dogs lie.

    [In actual practice, anti-interventionism most often means leaving innocent civilians to the tender mercies of Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot and Hitler]

    You can always detect a believer in the government religion. To me the bad guys are both Ho Chi Minh and Lyndon Johnson, not to mention the French government. It’s no surprise that collaborating Vietnamese are going to be killed. The crime of Johnson was to give encouragement to collaborate with the invader in the first place. Putting the blame on peace protesters rather than on the criminals running governments is a strange example of cognitive dissonance. But again, the psyche must be protected.

    [ What I can’t understand is why so many former peace protesters are not ashamed of themselves.]

    When you have your finger pointing at Claire and others here, there are three pointing back at yourself. Maybe you did things in Viet Nam that would be hard to bear if you thought it was all for nothing. We understand. Again though, it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie.

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