The Corner

The Poison of Excuse-making

Most of Impromptus today is devoted to a little ramble on socialism — a word that causes many Americans to “get the vapors,” as Colin Powell might say. (In my column, I quote a kindred phrase from Barack Obama.) Socialism is perfectly normal in many, probably most, democratic countries. Hell, it’s more than normal: It’s dominant. In Impromptus, I take note of some of the leaders of the Socialist International: Papandreou, Brown, Zapatero, Barak (as in Ehud) — are they so very different from many of our leading Dems? Does it make us the sons of Tailgunner Joe to point this out?

(Last time I made a remark about Joe McCarthy, I got many e-mails saying, “Don’t bring up his name as though it were something bad!” Duly noted, babes.) (And I realize full well — perhaps as well as you — that there were many Reds under many beds: and at government desks.)

There are other items in my column today, including one on Obama, Kenyanism, colonialism — you get my drift. I cite one of his best moments as president, in my opinion: when he gave a speech in Ghana, about matters African. That was in the summer of 2009. Obviously, I could not endorse every word — I’m a Reagan Republican. But he said something really useful, in my opinion. He said, Colonialism bad, sure — awful, awful, awful. But Africa has problems of its own, having nothing whatsoever to do with the colonial legacy. Cecil Rhodes didn’t tank the Zimbabwean economy. Cecil Rhodes didn’t force any children into armies.

Obviously, I have used my own words, but that was the essence of Obama’s.

And I’m reminded of something I said years ago (which is the main point of this Corner post). Is it obnoxious to be reminded of your own comments and aperçus? Yes, but blogging without obnoxiousness is like cooking without oil, or something. I had been to a million conferences on the Middle East where people said, “The Arab world can’t move forward, because of the condition of the Palestinians. It is an open wound.” I can remember Jim Zogby saying this, with the most mournful expression, and the most mournful tone.

My response: First, Palestinians can do a lot about the Palestinian condition. Second: No Israeli ever made an Arab state have a top-down economy. No Israeli mandated that an Arab society be run on nepotism. No Israeli ever forced Arab women and girls indoors. No Israeli ever made a father kill his daughter, on a rumor that she was seen talking to a boy in a park. Etc., etc.

Ah, excuse-making: poisonous for individuals, and poisonous for societies and regions. Thus ends my homily (you’ll be happy to know).

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