When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

June 09, 2004


Bravo Romeo Delta

Since there's so darned much posting on Reagan, I felt that I wouldn't be trendy and mindless unless I added another 1/50th of a buck to the mix.

Here's my gig in twenty seconds or less. I view Reagan in the same way as (many) Democrats would look upon FDR. Or, in another formulation, I view FDR in the same light that (many) Democrats view Reagan.

Without rehashing the entire litany of memorials, thoughts, slander, opinions and other jabberflabbing blowhardedness about this, let me cut to the chase.

Some good, some bad, but however you parse what they did, it was all certainly large enough to become a feature of the American landscape, even if the addition wasn't uniformly loved by all.

In particular, there are some folks who are quite willing to concede that Reagan (even if he didn't win the Cold War single-handedly) sure gave it a proper shove towards the rubbish bin of history. That said, many of these folks have indicated that they didn't like many of his policies at the time, and feel no better about them a couple of decades down the pike. Moreover, they can't seem to put down their portfolio of dissatisfaction long enough to take note of the presidency as a whole.

For my part, I applaud FDR for his foresight on the Second World War (even if he didn't win it single-handedly) which ended earlier and cleaner than it would have had we had more isolationist presidential leadership.

The one bitch I have about FDR, above and beyond any other, is his Four Freedoms. Just to review, the Four Freedoms are (taken out of order):

  1. The freedom of speech and expression;
  2. The freedom of every person to worship God in his own way;
  3. The freedom from fear;
  4. The freedom from want.

Ok, I don't think there's a whole lot of room to disagree on the first and second freedoms - at least from anyone who wants to keep any bits of the Bill of Rights at all.

The third one, Freedom from Fear, actually reads as "... which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-- anywhere in the world."

Ok, first of all, Hobbes, and just about any other maniacal dictator in the world should cause y'all to give pause and think about what I call, the Butter Knife Problem. In other words, a world so peaceful and calm that I could conquer the planet with a stupid butter knife. A world such as the one implied in this 'Freedom from Fear' is so completely against anything that the last 20 or 30 millennia of human history would lead us to expect, that it is much a barren, hallucinatory utopia as anything conceived by jerkwads from Marx to Kim Jong Il. Moreover, this sort of thinking has, in my opinion, been a seed behind much of the anti-militarism eventually seen decades later on the left, particularly when one considers the double standard imposed by elements of the Left where the standards applied to oneself are axiomatically more rigorous than those used to judge others.

Secondly, this "Freedom from Fear" leads to all manner of bad thinking on domestic gun control issues (which I do promise I'll write about soon). But more on that on another day.

The thing that really sticks in my craw, however, is the 'Freedom from Want' - this is borne out of and is father to all manner of really sloppy, ineffectual wrong-headedness about economics. Moreover, this fundamentally establishes an equivalency between Freedom and how much wallet-padding you have at any moment. There is a direct relationship between the amount of freedom that one has and the amount of money that one can acquire - but to reverse this equation or imply that freedom and wealth are interchangeable is sloppy thinking of the worst degree. If you ever find yourself getting irritated at anti-globalization protestors, you can give a tip of the hat to FDR.

And finally, in all his eloquence about these Four Freedoms, I really wish he had taken a moment to just give a nod to regular old Freedom - Liberty.

So, you may ask, "What, Mr. BRD.Cranky@FDR, is your point?"

Simple - I still regard Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a singular beacon of the US Presidency during the last century. I don't agree with all of his policies, I was less than impressed with some of his management of the war, and I don't like how he dealt with the Russians. I don't like his New Deal policies, and rue the creation of the pay-as-you-go Social Security System.

But, all said and done, he was a Leader during some of the darkest times this nation has ever faced. Moreover, I cannot, simply cannot, imagine anyone else filling his shoes during those fateful years as well as he did, and all else aside, I have true respect for him as both a man and leader.

Similarly, whatever you may or may not think about Reagan, there's no reason to be one-dimensionally in favor or against him. I don't expect all y'all to like the guy or his policies, but give him due where it's earned. Running this ship of state through rocky shoals is no easy task for mortal man, and precious few have run the ship with such grace. These navigators are mortal, and as such are subject to error, but rather than sitting down with a shopping list of woe and ire, take a deep breath, step back, and ask if they managed to keep us off the rocks in very stormy seas, indeed.

Can we ask more?

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at June 9, 2004 12:21 AM
Electronic Countermeasures Retaliates with: Does anyone else remember the Cold War?

Retaliatiory Launches

"In other words, a world so peaceful and calm that I could conquer the planet with a stupid butter knife."

Didn't that happen on the Simpsons? But it was a rock. But then we invented new WMD: an old board with a Rusty nail in it.

Posted by: Kang at June 9, 2004 12:54 AM

I seem to recall it being from a Simpson's Treehouse of Horror...the result of Lisa wishing for world peace with a cursed monkey's paw. Spawned the classic line:

"Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!!"

And if you're thinking that my commenting on the Simpsons rather than BRD's actual point means that I agree with him at least in theme if not particulars, you're right.

Posted by: CVE at June 9, 2004 09:39 PM

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