Top Ten Lists for 2006

The end of the year continues to bring lists. Slate lists the top 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations. Richard Clarke has an op-ed in the Washington Post listing problems which got out of hand partially due to the Bush administration being bogged down in Iraq, such as global warming, Russia’s move back towards authoritarianism, and Latin America’s move to the far left. Juan Cole, who previously listed the top ten myths on Iraq, now lists the top ten ways the United States enabled Saddam Hussein.

Below the fold I’ll repost  my list from last New Year’s of Five of the Most Absurd Right Wing Arguments.  We sure don’t hear much talk about that Republican mandate coming off the 2004 election any more.

Posting will be reduced for early January, but the good news is that Liberal Values will be reporting from the happiest place on earth. Finally I’ll get to see how Pluto is doing after his big demotion last summer.

Five of The Most Absurd Right Wing Arguments

Posted by Ron Chusid
January 1st, 2006 @ 1:33 pm

To celebrate the New Year in the same spirit as we recently celebrated Festivus, I am looking back at five of the many absurd arguments we’ve heard from the right (listed in no particular order). Most of these were first heard before 2005. Hopefully the changed public perception of Republican rule will lead to the end of some of these arguments, as well as the election of a Congress which will restore reality-based viewpoints to public policy.

We are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so that we don’t have to fight them at home.

Bush’s policies post 9/11 decreased support for the United States in the moderate Arab world, creating a situation which benefited recruitment for al Qaeda. Saudi and Isreali studies found that the war in Iraq resulted in increased radicalization of the Arab population and that those fighting Americans are made up largely of people who were radicalized by the war.

The analogy to World War II in defense of attacking Iraq after 9/11.

Critics of the war protest that the United States attacked the wrong country as Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attacks. Supporters sometimes counter with the analogy of World War II, when the United States attacked countries other than Japan in response to the attacks at Pearl Harbor. The analogy does not hold up very well. After Pearl Harbor, the United States attacked Axis powers allied with Japan. In contrast, overthrow of secular Arab governments was one of bin Laden’s goals, and Iraq and al Qaeda were enemies of each other. By attacking Iraq (which was well contained and no immediate threat to the United States) Bush helped further bin Laden’s goals.

The Pearl Harbor analogy also has another ominous parrallel as the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century had argued prior to 9/11 that they needed a “catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor” to push their agenda.

Intelligent design should be taught in the schools in order to present all points of view.

Intelligent design is just another way to try to allow teaching of creationism in the school after the Supreme Court ruled this to be unconstitutional. Proponents of intelligent design typically use unsound scientific arguments to oppose evolution, despite evolution having been established as a fundamental principle of modern biology.

Creationism and intelligent design are based upon pre-scientific ways to explain what is now explained by science. They use the same mind set as people in the past who would explain earth quakes, the eruption of volcanos, and floods as being acts of angry gods. Over time science has replaced such superstition as science has provided explanations for these phenomenon. Similarly, science has provided explanations for the development of complex species, including humans, eliminating the need for nonscientific explanations.

The President has the right to break the law to order wire taps.

Having even the President being subject to the rule of law is what distinguishes a democracacy from a dictatorship, and is necessary to preserve our liberties. As Benjamin Franklin warned, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Bush’s domestic surveillance goes far beyond the authority granted to the President by the framers of the Constitution. Such authority was rejected by Congress and the courts. Even some at the Justice Department realized this was an abuse of Presidential authority.

The Republicans won a mandate in 2004.

After the 2004 elections, Bush spoke of his political capital and Republican strategists like Grover Norquist spoke of building a permanent Republican majority. We saw the limitations of such “mandate” in 2005 as Republicans failed on many goals such as changes in Social Security and extension of the Patriot Act in its present form. Katrina exposed the incompetency of Republican rule, but even before then it was clear there was no mandate. Bush won reelection based upon appealing to fear and by distorting the positions and record of his opponent. Despite winning reelection, a majority disagreed with Republicans on virtually all issues, with polls over the past year showing a progressive decrease in support for both Republican positions and continued Republican rule.

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