The Real News of the Month

June 2003
Volume 10, Number 6

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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{{ Material dropped from features or changed solely for 
reasons of space appears in double curly brackets. 
Emphasis is indicated by the presence of asterisks around 
the emphasized words.}}

  -> Free Will and Freedom
  -> The Moving Picture (plus Exclusives to this edition)
  -> Bush and History
  -> Forgotten Prophet
  -> Homosexual Love and Literature
Nuggets (plus Exclusives to this edition)
List of Columns Reprinted


{{ Material dropped from features or changed solely for 
reasons of space appears in double curly brackets. 
Emphasis is indicated by the presence of asterisks around 
the emphasized words.}

Free Will and Freedom

     In one of his typically incisive essays in FREEDOM 
DAILY, Sheldon Richman examines some fashionable 
arguments that human beings can't help what they do. We 
are predisposed to obesity, alcoholism, and other ills by 
our genes, of which we are the helpless playthings. Such 
arguments imply that we have no free will and can't be 
held responsible for our own choices; consciousness and 
rationality are mere illusions, epiphenomena, that don't 
really control our decisions. We are mere products of a 
mechanistic physical universe.

     These arguments are, as Richman notes, "congenial to 
the would-be dictator." They are also self-evidently 
false, though new variations on them constantly occur 
with scientific and technological advances: DNA and the 
computer have bred a new generation of them. As Samuel 
Johnson told Boswell, "Sir, we *know* the will is free, 
and there's an end on't." We are directly conscious of 
consciousness itself, of our reason, and of our freedom 
to choose one course of action or another.

     The fallacy of determinism has been refuted many 
times. If it were true that thought itself is the 
helpless product of irrational forces, how can the 
determinist himself claim truth for his own position? By 
his own logic, he can't help believing in determinism any 
more than his opponents can help believing in free will. 
Why are his epiphenomena preferable to anyone else's? Is 
he an exception to his own universal iron laws of 

     {{ True, people do have habits and temptations, some 
idiosyncratic, many of them shared with other people, 
making them individually and collectively predictable. 
Social scientists, pollsters, and market researchers look 
for these massive patterns of behavior. But the patterns 
don't disprove what we know from immediate experiences: 
the individual person is free. In a moment of crisis, the 
person decides whether to be a saint or a sinner, a 
martyr or a coward. Moral experience would be meaningless 
if all choices were reduced to compulsions. There would 
be no need for reflection, indecision, or guilt. }}

     But why should this style of thought appeal to the 
would-be dictator? Because it reduces his subjects to 
pawns of their environment, which he is all too ready to 
shape for them. But again, the peculiar blindness of the 
determinist-dictator is that he never applies his 
universal laws to himself.

     If all human beings are passive before outside 
forces (including inner compulsions of which they are 
unaware), mustn't this be true of society as a whole, 
including its rulers? Why should we suppose that they are 
any more rational and responsible than the rest of us? 
Metaphysician, heal thyself!

     Abstractly, determinism is a philosophy. But in 
practice, it functions as the ideology of a class of 
people seeking power over others. Its votaries usually 
turn out to have a curiously tenacious faith in the 
State. They imply that the state is somehow endowed with 
all the faculties of free will, rationality, 
responsibility, self-control and self-comprehension, 
impartiality, benevolence, and even immortality that they 
deny to the individual. As man shrinks to nothingness, 
the State rises to superhuman dimensions.

     In the real world, dictators like determinism, and 
determinists like dictatorship. Often this takes the form 
of passionate, almost religious devotion to a single 
charismatic dictator -- a Stalin, a Mao, a Castro, even a 
Franklin Roosevelt; a cult of personality that sits ill 
with the philosophy itself. For are these rulers any more 
rational than those they rule? How can they be?

     {{ The more we learn about our actual rulers, the 
more comical it seems that they should be presumed 
uniquely rational, let alone impartial and benevolent. 
They are driven by their craving for power, which they 
will acquire and augment by any means. And this drive for 
power, far from making society as a whole more rationally 
organized, only complicates the life of society by 
imposing burdens and obstacles on the ruled. Supporting 
the State becomes the chief duty of the subject. 
Promising to pursue the common weal, the State itself 
becomes the common woe. }}

(page 2)

     What was the war on Iraq all about? Oh yes, 
democracy and so forth. But what was the casus belli? 
Weapons of mass destruction? Well, the UN inspectors 
couldn't find them, Saddam Hussein didn't use them when 
he needed them, and now the victors still can't seem to 
locate them. President Bush insists they are out there 
somewhere and will soon show up to prove he was right. A 
grim alternative possibility is that Saddam managed to 
give them away, and they are now in the clutches of 
al-Qaeda. So either Bush is wrong, or the war on 
terrorism has backfired.

*          *          *

     Speaking of terrorism, how about New York City's 
Mayor Michael Bloomberg? He's cracking down on ... life 
in general. He has raised property taxes 18.5 per cent, 
and his fanatical anti-smoking drive is ruining the 
city's bar and restaurant business. (Imagine a smoke-free 
Toots Shor's!) He also pledges to use his administrative 
powers to make abortion "training" mandatory in the 
city's hospitals. Bloomberg is not only evil; he's 
annoying to boot. Regime change can't come soon enough in 
the Big Apple.

*          *          *

     Historian Robert Dallek's new biography of John F. 
Kennedy, AN UNFINISHED LIFE, reveals that JFK had his own 
Monica -- a 19-year-old White House intern who filled 
idle moments in the presidential schedule. But don't 
worry. Mindful of today's stern moral code, Dallek 
assures us that Kennedy never let this amour interfere 
with the duties of his office: "The real question is: Did 
it distract him from his job as president? I think it 
really didn't." Sounds more like the presidency didn't 
distract him from his real interest.

*          *          *

     Lean pickin's for liberals these days. They are 
reduced to finding irony -- and scandal, and hypocrisy -- 
in the revelation that Bill (THE BOOK OF VIRTUES) Bennett 
is a high-rolling gambler who has blown a staggering 
$8 million in Las Vegas over the past decade. Even if we 
concede, arguendo, that gambling is a terrible vice, so 
what? An honest man may define and recommend virtue 
without claiming to embody it. As far as I know, Bennett 
has never pretended to be anything but a sinner in need 
of God's grace. Where does it say that only saints may 
praise sanctity?

*          *          *

     Maybe what Dallek would call "the real question" is 
whether Bennett's gambling habit ever distracted him from 
his (unconstitutional) jobs as drug czar and secretary of 

*          *          *

     Then again, Bennett is said to receive a lot of help 
on his books. Let's at least hold the brickbats until we 
know more about the personal life of his ghostwriter.

*          *          *

     I understand that Florida public schools are now 
required to teach Holocaust studies from kindergarten 
through twelfth grade. Doesn't anyone see where this must 
inevitably lead? Soon Florida's college students will 
have to take *remedial* Holocaust studies.

*          *          *

     Please tell your friends about SOBRAN'S!

Exclusive to the electronic version:

     Nothing so vividly shows the trivialization of 
conservatism as the proposed constitutional amendment to 
outlaw flag-burning. Supposing the gravity of the 
offense, when was the last time you even *heard* of 
anyone burning the American flag? How often would it have 
to happen in order to warrant a change in the fundamental 
law of the land? While we're at it, how about an 
amendment to ban hippies? Or to forbid Bill Clinton to 
commit adultery?

*          *          *

     Reviewing a book about translations of the Bible, 
the atheist Christopher Hitchens jeers that William 
Tyndale, who was burnt at the stake, "had been especially 
hounded by 'Saint' Thomas More, that persecutor for all 
seasons." Funny how broad-minded twentieth-century 
liberals always blame people in other ages for not having 
been broad-minded twentieth-century liberals, a habit 
still going strong in the twenty-first century.

Bush and History
(Page 3)

     Poor Bill Clinton. He spent eight years trying to 
establish a "legacy" -- some achievement that would mark 
his administration as a milestone in American history. He 
even wished that he could have been a "war president," a 
surefire way to take one's place beside such giants of 
the office as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 
and George Herbert Walker Bush.

     But, alas, history didn't oblige Clinton with a real 
war. He was able to use military action only as an 
occasional weapon of mass distraction from the things he 
*will* be remembered for: his cruddy Oval Office amours 
with what's-her-name, now, as we go to press, a rather 
plump television star. Well, at least the public has lost 
interest in how Vincent Foster died.

     Now a new President Bush has emerged to step in 
where his father left off. History (which he majored in 
at Yale) has favored him with a chance to become a sure-
enough war president, and he has grabbed the opportunity 
with both hands. Though far less colorful than Clinton 
(as who isn't?), Bush has, as they say, "restored 
dignity" to the presidency and "moral clarity" to foreign 
policy, replacing Arkansas sleaze with Texan integrity.

     Using the national hysteria provoked by 9/11, Bush 
has resumed his father's war on Iraq. His chief 
justification for the war was that Saddam Hussein 
illegally possessed "weapons of mass destruction" which 
he might use against the United States or "our allies" 
(guess who?), or hand off to terrorist groups. Also, 
Hussein was a cruel tyrant who had committed terrible 
atrocities against "his own people." The WMDs never 
turned up, of course, but Bush, even after an easy 
military victory, still insists they are there somewhere, 
apparently so well hidden that Hussein couldn't find them 
when he needed them to save his own skin. The terrorist 
links were never proved either.

     {{ By the way, a great puzzle remains. Immediately 
after 9/11, the government, the media, and the public 
were obsessed with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The "war 
on terrorism" was focused on them, and it was expected 
that they would show up again before, during, or after 
the war on Iraq. Some of us thought they would even 
welcome the war, which would polarize the Arab-Muslim 
world and bring them countless new recruits. Yet, apart 
from one purported bin Laden audiotaped message, they 
haven't been heard from, in word or deed. Nobody seems to 
have an explanation. }}

     But who cares now? Victory justifies itself. The 
people who wanted this war long before 9/11 -- Dick 
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Zionist cabal -- got 
what they were after. So what if the reasons given for 
the war turned out to be as empty as skeptics had 
suspected all along? So what if the menacing Saddam 
Hussein turned out to be utterly unable to secure his own 
country against invasion? All that matters is that the 
Iraqi people have been "liberated" -- a late afterthought 
among the many justifications for the war.

     So it wasn't about defending America after all. Or 
rather, we are now told that establishing democracy in 
Iraq will make everyone safer. But in the early days of 
the occupation, the victors have already announced that 
any Iraqi democracy must be on American terms -- no 
Islamic theocracy will be permitted, no matter how many 
Iraqis want it. The United States wants democracy, yes, 
but only as long as it controls the results. This is more 
or less like the conception of Polish democracy Joseph 
Stalin brought to Yalta. Bush is determined to avoid the 
mistake the United States made (as we have recently 
learned) with the ungrateful French: Why give these 
people freedom if they are only going to abuse it by 
disobeying us?

     Much of the American press is seriously debating 
whether the Arabs can "handle" freedom and self-
government. So much for the quaint idea that these are 
unalienable rights, rather than imperially granted 
privileges, held on a short leash.

     True, there were some civilian casualties in the 
war, but they were few by modern standards and history 
won't hold them they won't be held against the victor. 
They were far fewer, after all, than the numbers claimed 
by the elder Bush's war and subsequent sanctions; 
besides, they were all Saddam Hussein's fault, like the 
war itself.

     But history may take a dimmer view of the 
destruction and looting of Iraq's ancient cultural 
treasures, which the U.S. forces, though forewarned, did 
nothing to prevent. When all the official pretexts for 
this war have been forgotten, it will be remembered that 
American barbarism allowed the obliteration of some of 
the earliest and most irreplaceable records of human 
civilization, which had survived 7,000 years of 
successive tyrannies but could not withstand 

     That may be Bush's lasting legacy. Quite a feat for 
a history major to boast. But how was he to know? Maybe 
he cut class the day they covered Mesopotamia. And after 
all, his grasp of American history is hardly better.

Forgotten Prophet
(pages 4-5)

     As some readers may recall, I have once or twice 
written about a formative intellectual moment in my life 
that occurred at a gas station in June 1965. I was 
reading an old reprint of Frederic Bastiat's tract THE 
LAW, when a single sentence struck me like a bolt of 
lightning. It eventually changed my whole political 
philosophy, though its full implications took years to 
sink in. In brief, it said that the moral test of a law 
was whether it did for Paul at Peter's expense what it 
would be criminal for Paul to do to Peter himself. 
Robbery is still robbery when the state does it for you. 
Simple, but I was stunned by the self-evident. If Bastiat 
was right, the U.S. Government was already terribly 
corrupt. My patriotism couldn't yet accept such a damning 

     I had a similar experience about 20 years later, 
while staying late at the office of NATIONAL REVIEW. I 
happened to be reading a John Birch Society reprint of 
THE PEOPLE'S POTTAGE by Garet Garrett, a writer I'd never 
heard of. (He'd died in 1954, I learned later.)

     The first of the book's three essays, "The 
Revolution Was," was a withering attack on the New Deal. 
Many conservatives had argued that the New Deal would 
lead logically to revolution; Garrett argued that the New 
Deal was a revolution -- the sort of coup d'etat under 
constitutional formalities that Aristotle had warned 
against millennia ago. Garrett called this "revolution 
within the form."

     I was thrilled by Garrett's insight and logic. It 
was the most incisive and penetrating critique of 
Franklin Roosevelt I had ever read. Even such fierce 
Roosevelt critics as John T. Flynn and H.L. Mencken had 
never said it better, or even nearly as well.

     But this part was easy for me to accept. It was 
consistent with the Bill Buckley conservatism I'd 
espoused. The next two essays were another matter.

     Garrett went on to argue that America's foreign 
policy of military intervention abroad had changed the 
country from a constitutional republic to an empire. The 
Cold War, which I had always supported in principle, was 
only an extension of Roosevelt's overweening intervention 
in World War II. Garrett had been an isolationist, 
opposed to U.S. involvement in that war. But though anti-
Communist (as well as anti-Nazi), he had stuck to his 
principles when Stalin replaced Hitler as the alleged 
threat to America. Interventionism, he insisted, was 
deadly to the very things America must conserve.

     For me this was a wholly new kind of conservatism. 
I'd always been convinced, without the need of argument, 
that conservatism meant, among other things, militant 
anti-Communism. First we had to stop the Soviet threat; 
then we had to get back to the business of repealing the 
New Deal. But (by my Buckley-inspired logic) the 
overriding imperative of national survival required that 
we accept the welfare state until the Soviet threat was 
disposed of. We had a long road ahead of us, and 
conservatives, to make things worse, were already coming 
to terms with the New Deal. Even Ronald Reagan was not 
about to touch Social Security.

     Garrett, like Bastiat before him, struck a nerve and 
shook me out of my dogmatic slumber. But if he was right, 
what was I doing at NATIONAL REVIEW, where the Cold War 
was considered the very essence of American conservatism? 
Again, I needed years to absorb this (to me) shocking new 

     The years passed, and I found that Garrett had been 
right. With the end of the Cold War, conservatives didn't 
pause to enjoy peace, didn't try to restore 
constitutional government, didn't even think about 
rolling back the New Deal. Instead they favored more 
military intervention abroad -- first against the bogus 
"threat" of Manuel Noriega in Panama, then against the 
hardly more plausible "threat" of Iraq. Big Government 
was fine, it seemed, as long as nominal conservatives 
like the elder Bush were running it.

     Garrett had spent some years writing editorials for 
the SATURDAY EVENING POST just before World War II. Bruce 
Ramsey has now gathered many of his editorials into a 
book, DEFEND AMERICA FIRST (Caxton Press). They throw 
brilliant light on how Roosevelt maneuvered the United 
States into war while pretending to be doing the 
opposite. Ramsey supplies helpful comments and notes.

     The old fox never fooled Garrett for a moment. 
Garrett not only saw what he was up to, but instantly 
understood what it meant: an extension of FDR's 
revolutionary coup. Instead of letting Congress perform 
its role of deciding whether to go to war, Roosevelt 
subtly usurped its powers for the executive branch and 
foreclosed the option of peace. Foreign policy came to 
mean his policy. He negotiated, often secretly, with 
Churchill and Stalin, and persuaded Congress to give him 
discretionary power to take what he called "measures 
short of war" to aid the Allies against the Axis.

     These measures culminated in the Lend-Lease Act of 
March 1941, enabling Roosevelt to supply the Allies with 
arms. Ostensibly the purpose was to stop Germany without 
directly involving America in the war. But Garrett saw 
what it really signified: America was now in the war and 
there would be no going back. Only one direction was now 
possible. Garrett was writing this many months before 
Pearl Harbor. Meanwhile, Roosevelt tried to provoke naval 
clashes with Germany on the Atlantic, while choking off 
Japan's access to oil and other resources.

     Until Pearl Harbor, Americans overwhelmingly opposed 
getting into another world war. They were still bitterly 
disillusioned about the first one, with its subsequent 
disasters. But, like Woodrow Wilson in 1916, Roosevelt, 
who had been Wilson's secretary of the Navy, campaigned 
on a promise to avoid war while secretly doing the 
opposite. Wendell Willkie, his Republican opponent in 
1940, was also an interventionist. Garrett noted that the 
voters had no candidate who shared their view that this 
was not America's war. Never had the ruling elite been so 
united against the American people, yet so disingenuous 
about its real intentions.

     Garrett was a keen and relentless critic of 
propaganda and what he called "engineered emotion." 
Roosevelt, he charged, had "systematically violated [the 
Neutrality Act] with acts of intervention that were, in 
fact, acts of war." In foreign as in domestic policy, 
Roosevelt had gained primacy for "the executive will," 
usurping the constitutional powers of the people's 
elected representatives in Congress "by indirection, by 
subterfuge, by cleverness, by beating the law, 
uncontrollably pursuing [his] own will."

     Not only were vast new powers claimed by the Federal 
Government, which was bad enough in itself; these powers 
were concentrated in the executive branch. And Garrett 
was shrewd enough to see that Roosevelt himself was 
saying as much when he said, "In the hands of a people's 
government this power is wholesome and proper [but in the 
wrong hands it] would provide shackles for the liberties 
of people."

     "He is saying," Garrett translated, "that he alone 
is the people's government. He alone can be trusted to 
exercise that power. He is saying that he accepts the 
nomination for a third term because he [has] a duty to 
keep the government from passing to other hands. The 
power is too much to lay down. It may be abused. It may 
be used to provide shackles for the liberties of people." 
Roosevelt didn't realize that anyone would study his 
words so closely; he probably didn't even realize what he 
was saying -- that he was claiming dictatorial power, and 
that he alone was fit to be America's dictator. Congress, 
Garrett said, had cooperated with him by "abdicating."

     As you review the steps by which Roosevelt drew the 
country into war, you are struck by the familiarity of 
the technique: demagogy, faits accomplis, the waging of 
undeclared war, the personalizing of policy, the 
arrogation of unconstitutional powers, even preemptive 
"defense" -- the view that, in Garrett's words, "to 
defend itself democracy dare not wait for the aggressor 
to come," but must strike first. The chief difference 
between Roosevelt and George W. Bush was that Roosevelt 
could not yet wage open war without a declaration of war 
by Congress. There were still some constitutional 

     And of course Bush lacks Roosevelt's cunning and 
eloquence. But then, these are no longer necessary. The 
precedents having been created, any warlike presidential 
action can now be justified by the very fact that 
Roosevelt did it in the war against Hitler. All criticism 
of Roosevelt, however cogent, has been forgotten. After 
all, he won his war. We have inherited his legacy of 
arbitrary executive power.

     Garrett, a great and valiant journalist, has been 
long forgotten. I discovered him by chance. Not long 
after Pearl Harbor, his cause lost, he was forced to 
resign from the SATURDAY EVENING POST, to take such 
employment as he could find. He died in obscurity.

     Fifty years later, Roosevelt is revered for doing 
precisely the things Garrett had accused him of doing.

Homosexual Love and Literature
(page 6)

     Andrew Sullivan, an English emigre, is one of our 
few pundits who manages to pass for a conservative while 
advocating the cause of homosexual "rights," including 
same-sex marriage. He has lately written an essay titled 
"We're All Sodomites Now."

     Briefly, he argues that "sodomy" used to refer to 
many sexual practices that were believed deviant; 
homosexuality was only one among many of these. {{ So far 
he is correct. }} He points out that "sodomy" could also 
refer to many heterosexual practices {{ that are }} now 
common among married couples, notably contraception. 
Maybe not "all" of us are sodomites by this definition, 
but the great majority {{ -- upwards of 95 per cent of us 
-- }} seem to qualify. So why is homosexuality singled 
out for "discrimination"?

     Sullivan has a point. The sexual revolution has 
legitimated the pursuit of sexual pleasure for its own 
sake, even within marriage; procreation is now considered 
an option, not a duty. "Be fruitful and multiply" is old 
hat. If fornication and abortion are acceptable, why not 

     On the other hand, if procreative marriage is no 
longer the paradigm of sexual good behavior, if it is 
neither sacramental nor even special, why should 
homosexuals covet the empty shell of matrimony to give 
their unions respectability? As some wag has quipped, 
only two classes of people want to bother getting married 
anymore: Catholic priests and homosexuals. And, one might 
add, there seems to be considerable overlap between these 
two classes.

     Still, there is undeniably a deep and persistent 
stigma attached to homosexuality. It is considered ugly, 
unsanitary, unmanly, and simply ridiculous. Though "gay 
rights" and "gay pride" marches are familiar as public 
collective events, it remains true that in private life 
and at the individual level, homosexuality is seldom 
asserted with pride.

     Homosexuality is also typically promiscuous; that is 
why it presents so many objective health problems. Since 
by definition it can never be procreative, how can it be 
fulfilled in monogamy? There is a whiff of absurdity 
about the very idea of "gay marriage."

     As we are forever reminded, homosexuality has been 
around for a long time; the ancient Greeks and Romans, 
among many other cultures, have tolerated it. All very 
true, though the specific form of accepted homosexuality 
was usually pederasty, the sexual liaison between man and 
youth rather than between two mature men. Even so, we 
must not suppose that even pagan tolerance meant 
unqualified approval: the satirist Juvenal describes 
Rome's homosexuals with obscene scorn.

     But this in itself raises a question. Why is there 
no great literature or mythology of sodomy (however 
defined)? The great legendary lovers have always been men 
and women. Their stories may be romantic, comic, tragic, 
even grotesque or adulterous or violent {{ -- Jason and 
Medea, Aeneas and Dido, Antony and Cleopatra, Paolo and 
Francesca, Tristan and Isolde, Troilus and Cressida, 
Romeo and Juliet, and so on -- }} but they are always 
heterosexual. The millennia have yet to produce a 
memorable myth of homosexual lovers.

     Consider Shakespeare. His Sonnets record his 
evidently romantic ardor for his "lovely boy," and it is 
now widely accepted that he was either homosexual or 
bisexual. {{ (I pass over the tangled authorship problem 
for the moment.) }} Yet his plays betray little or 
nothing of such inclinations. They are absorbed by the 
love of men and women. Evidently even his genius could 
only conceive of a great love in heterosexual terms.

     Why is this? For the simplest of reasons. Only 
heterosexual love can have a future. Sodomy, on the other 
hand, is fruitless. It offers few possibilities. It can 
make no permanent appeal to the imagination. And in this 
respect the homosexual's imagination is the same as 
everyone else's.

     One telling illustration is Denis de Rougemont's 
panoramic study LOVE IN THE WESTERN WORLD. In its vast 
survey of the varieties of love in Western literature 
since Plato, it makes no mention of homosexuality (or 
lesbianism). It does not treat the subject with contempt 
or "homophobia"; it does not treat it at all. {{ It is 
simply not there. }} It is of no interest. It never 
occurs to the author that it is significant enough to 
warrant a place in his considerations.

     This speaks volumes about the false prominence and 
forced analogies homosexuality has acquired in the 
contemporary world. The West has always regarded it as a 
minor deviation, perhaps sinful or even criminal, perhaps 
not, but in any case not an essential or even important 
category of human experience.

     What is peculiar in our own time is not that 
homosexuality has become important, but that it has 
become so self-important. The "gay" movement produces 
propaganda that is false to history even when it invokes 
history. For the homosexuals of the past have never 
imagined that their proclivities were, or could be, very 
interesting to other people, let alone that they were 
victimized by social disapproval. They took for granted 
that, whatever the legal status of deviations, 
procreative love was -- necessarily -- the model of 
sexual conduct. For this we have the testimony even of 
homosexual artists, poets, and musicians.


SURPRISE: Our victory in the War on Terrorism has already 
been greeted by terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and 
Algeria, claiming dozens of lives. (page 10)

NOTORIOUS: I'm getting a naughty reputation all over the 
place. An article in NATIONAL REVIEW names me among 
"unpatriotic conservatives" who "hate their country." A 
new book about Shakespeare calls my arguments for the 
Earl of Oxford's authorship "unreliable." And my 
favorite: the European newspaper THE INDEPENDENT says 
I've been seen "flirting outrageously" with a gorgeous 
international model. Heck, there are some lies I hardly 
even *want* to correct. (page 11).

Exclusive to the electronic version:

column and announced that it will also carry Charley 
Reese's column less frequently. Why? Well, in my case it 
cites readers' "many, many" complaints that I "insult" 
the people I write about. The only example it offers is 
my reference to the Pope as "dope-smoking" (see "The Big 
Peacenik," column of February 25, 2003;
columns/2003/030225.shtml). I admit it's rude to accuse 
the Pope of smoking dope, and I retract the charge. 
However, only the readers of THE CONSERVATIVE CHRONICLE 
seem to have thought I was serious; I was joking about 
the War Party's habit of portraying opponents of the war 
as dope-smoking Sixties hippies. (Like the Holy Father?) 
But I suspect the real reason for cracking down on Reese 
and me is that we are among the few anti-war conservative 

MIDEAST MIRACLE: Never thought I'd see the day. Not only 
has Ariel Sharon's cabinet accepted the Bush "roadmap" to 
peace, which includes a Palestinian state; Sharon himself 
has, for the first time, acknowledged that the Israeli 
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is an "occupation." 
"We don't like the word," he told his Likud Party, "but 
this is occupation. To keep 3.5 million Palestinians 
under occupation is bad for Israel and the 
Palestinians.... This cannot continue forever." The 
Palestinians will applaud, the Likud may grudgingly 
accept the deal; but will the fundamentalist Protestants 
put up with it?

STILL KICKING: The old conservative movement, it seems, 
has not yet been completely swallowed up by 
neoconservatism. Donald Devine, vice chairman of the 
American Conservative Union, whom I've always liked and 
respected, has challenged the neocons, saying that their 
desire for "empire" is incompatible with the principle of 
limited government. He wants the question debated. Ramesh 
Ponnuru, of the formerly conservative NATIONAL REVIEW, 
says, in the measured language of the juniorcons, that 
Devine's proposal is "cracked." As I observed a couple of 
years ago, Ponnuru's idea of limited government is a 
state confined to two essential functions: paving the 
streets and ruling the world.


* What Young People Don't Know (April 29, 2003)

* War and Dramaturgy (May 6, 2003)

* Conservatism as Exorcism (May 8, 2003)

* The One and Only (May 13, 2003)

* Patriotism, Mom, and the Bums (May 15, 2003)

* Titus and Lucrece (May 20, 2003)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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