Absences and Returns
My wife and I have returned from our honeymoon. We went on an Antarctic cruise. If ever you have the chance, gentle reader, you must go. The landscape will overwhelm you. Air so clean, snow so white, ice so blue . . . and the wildlife. Penguins, seabirds, whales, seals, and more. I feel renewed, and more than ever distanced from these petty little matters we concern ourselves with in our everyday lives.
Like the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. The Democrats managed to make themselves look more foolish than usual with their attempted fillibuster. Doomed before it started. The committee vote told the story, and the general vote will confirm it: there is no real objection to Alito's credentials. The vote was strictly party line. The only thing the Democrats have on Alito is that Bush nominated him. That's their real objection, and that was fully exposed by the last several days' shenanigans.
I thought it would be Judge Roberts who would get the full-on Bork treatment from the Left. Turns out they were waiting for Alito. Who knew?
Anyway, as I type this it's looking like a few Democrats have realized how silly their party is acting (election looming this year, don'cha know) and are joining the Republicans to put Alito well over the top in terms of votes. Tomorrow morning will tell the tale, but it looks fairly certain from here.
Like I thought, the final vote for Alito went almost perfectly along party lines. It wasn't about his qualifications or his beliefs, it was about being nominated by an unpopular Republican president. Nothing more.
Already the sad, predictable cries of The End Of The World As We Know It are coming from the Left. What rubbish.
In other news, this item in the Weekly Standard seems to me a good "alternative" view on the current state of things with regards to the War on Terror and US relations with China. Ralph Peters is playing around with long-term thinking here, which is rare for anyone in the press.
Here's a quote from the article that I like - Even in the days before mass media, assassins terrorized civilizations. Today, their deeds are amplified by a toxic, breathtakingly irresponsible communications culture that spans the globe. .
Here's another, somewhat more fiery - Those who feel no vital faith cannot comprehend faith's power. A man or woman who has never been intoxicated by belief will default to mirror-imaging when asked to describe terror's roots. He who has never experienced a soul-shaking glimpse of the divine inevitably explains religion-driven suicide bombers in terms of a lack of economic opportunity or social humiliation. But the enemies we face are burning with belief, on fire with their vision of an immanent, angry god. Our intelligentsia is less equipped to understand such men than our satellites are to find them.
I think Peters may be a bit off-base here . . . both sides of American politics certainly have their share of the blindly faithful. One has only to scan thru the political blogs I have linked to the right of this page to see that. Pay particular attention to Jurassic Pork. There's a man so consumed by his unreasoning hatred that he fills page after page with relentless venom.
And let's not overlook MoltenThought, which recently posted this sadly typical piece attacking "darwinism" (more properly known as the theory of evolution by natural selection) in a manner all too common to the religious right, demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of the scientific method and the wide acceptance by the scientific community of Darwin's essential thesis.
It's always the same, two groups of polarized children screaming at one another to no effect. We here in the middle, gentle reader, we who look askance at both sides and their ever-mounting blasts of vitriol, we are the ones who must balance all the fulcrums. We keep it all working. Even if, sometimes, it hardly seems worth the effort.
Such as is demonstrated by the Palestinian people electing the homicidal thugs of Hamas as their chosen government. Democracy in action, and living up to the old line that "we get the government we deserve" with excruciating perfection. They have dug their pit to a new level, those poor misguided people. Six thousand years and more of ceaseless violence, and still they haven't tired of killing one another in that region.
But I remember glaciers and icebergs, and take comfort from the clean cold air of Antarctica. Sooner or later, the species will either mature beyond these foolish habits or drive itself extinct. And the world will still be here.