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Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

Sometimes, folks ask why we at Wizbang put up with some of the more liberal members of our commenting crowd. My reasoning is entirely selfish: sometimes they catch me when I'm wrong, and I appreciate that. More often, though, they give me insights into the leftist mindset -- and some fun articles in the process.

For example, Steve Crickmore, late of the unlamented "Wizbang Blue." (Well, Steve's stuff was all right; we won't discuss the festering pustule that finally took that site down.) Yesterday, on my article on the sheer idiocy of current airport security, Steve had this to say:

Wizbang never seemed unduly worried about indivudual liberties when weighed against security concerns, including at the airport check-in, in the war on terror when Bush was president? The answer was 9/11 and you are too liberal. What has changed?

This is very reminiscent about the current federal deficit. Those of us who are very troubled about it hitting three trillion dollars are asked where we were when it broke one trillion under Bush. Or, when pushing smaller government, we are told to go to anarchy-wracked Somalia, allegedly the "libertarian dreamland" of no government.

Now, it's a tenet of the left that the right is very rigid, very black and white, and incapable of seeing nuances. But here they are imposing that on us -- saying that we have some kind of obligation to ignore the gray areas between black and white.

Screw that.

There is a huge difference between white and black, and sometimes the best color is not a pure white or pitch black. There are situations that call for a compromise between the extremes, when the best answer is a little from column A and a bit more from column B.

I wasn't happy about the budget deficits under Bush, especially those that kicked in shortly after the Democrats took over Congress (remember, Congress authorizes all spending). But I believed that it was bad, but still manageable. When Obama TRIPLES that in two short years, I start freaking that it's gotten out of control.

When airport security started ratcheting up, I wasn't happy. I recall one particular incident at Baltimore Airport where our boarding was delayed because the TSA agents couldn't be bothered to get to the gate on time. And then, I was "randomly" singled out (randomly my ass -- I was last in line, so I was the low-hanging fruit) and chatted up about my choice in reading material based on the novel in my backpack while my shoes were examined in detail and I got patted down moderately thoroughly. Then, on another flight, I was forced to throw away a couple perfectly good sodas (airlines don't offer caffeine-free diet sodas) and a very useful freezer pack because of the restrictions on such things.

I wasn't happy, but I could live with it. But when every single passenger -- including the old, the disabled, and children -- have to submit to having their bodies patted down -- including accepting having their genitalia fondled -- for no real perceivable benefit, I draw the line. That's just pointlessly invasive.

Note, too, that the gist of the argument from the left isn't defending the practice. No, it's all about attacking the other side. The details of the issue are irrelevant -- just try to get one of them to explain why it's so outrageously outrageous for the government to listen in on phone calls from known terrorists abroad to Americans, but fine for a government employee to feel up children in public. To them, the issue is never the issue; the chance to attack the right is what matters.

Let's flip it around on them. A little while ago, I brought up the case of a Boston woman who gave birth at home -- and then tossed the newborn out the window. What, really, is the difference between that and having an abortion?

Complicate the situation with this: what if the baby was, say, a month premature? What if she was eight months pregnant, gave birth at home, and then tossed the baby out the window? How is that different, really, from an abortion? She's just doing it in a cheaper and more practical (for her) fashion. She's exercising her choice as regards to reproductive freedom. How dare those who say that there should be no restrictions on a woman's right to choose object just because the fetus in question managed to escape the womb of the woman who doesn't want to be punished with the child?

That's a fun little game, but it's a pointless one. It's why I reject blind obedience to any ideology -- I judge each issue on its own merits. On airport security, I balance individual liberty and rights against security, and the efficacy of the security measures is also a factor. There's a broad area of "acceptable compromises" in my mind -- and the "enhanced patdowns" are off the axis.

On the national debt, I'd like to see it go away. But it ain't. I think that a certain amount of it is a necessary evil. But there is a breaking point, where it will have catastrophic effect on our economy. I don't know where that point is, but I'm damned certain that three trillion is a hell of a lot closer to it than one trillion.

On abortion... no, I ain't going there. Been there too many times, and I don't feel like going there right now.

To the liberals like Steve and Tina S.: I know it's comforting to think of all conservatives as narrow-minded, absolutist, inflexible ideologues. But guess what? We ain't. And we won't fit into your narrow little stereotypes, just to help you keep your (unjustified) feelings of intellectual and moral superiority.

Deal with it. And don't whine if, every now and then, we take your little Procrustean bed and stretch you on it.


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Comments (19)

Flying is a voluntary actio... (Below threshold)
Olsoljer:

Flying is a voluntary action. If you CHOOSE to fly, you accept the requirements to do so. Enough whining and crying about the security measures and methods. Yes, some of them are stupid and other methods would be more effective, but it is in no way shape or form an entitlement granted by the government.

I enjoy my stereotype and e... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

I enjoy my stereotype and embrace it. :)

The libs do provide a certain entertainment factor.

God Bless Texas!

TB

There would be no need for ... (Below threshold)
Stan:

There would be no need for airport security, as we know it now, if Slick Willie had just bombed the shit out of Al Queada when they drug our dead servicemen through the streets of Somalia. Instead, Der Sleikmeister decides to bug out and sends a message that the Americans are sissies. What is needed now is a President with a pair to do just that the next time a terrorist strikes.

"Flying is a voluntary acti... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"Flying is a voluntary action. If you CHOOSE to fly, you accept the requirements to do so."

Well, maybe conservatives tend to be inflexible, I don't know but let's look at the above statement. Flying is indeed voluntary, no argument there. Accepting the requirements to do so? There can be no denying that the current requirements sanctioned by government to provide security could be considered a felony if performed against one's wishes in any other setting. It's really a moral issue as well. Why can this not be a concern? Olsoljer is willing to accept the current standard without question - that's pretty rigid. He accepts the agenda from the liberal agenda without question or simply disagrees with anyone who does not share his ideology. Seems like a rigid Pavlovian response to me. The worst scenario for any liberal is to have to explain the reason for his decisions based on facts. What Olsoljer needs to understand is that many of us are asking why a felony is all of a sudden OK if sanctioned by the goivernment. I think Olsoljer probably self-gratifies alot. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Flying is a voluntary ac... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Flying is a voluntary action. If you CHOOSE to fly, you accept the requirements to do so.

Writing and expressing opinions are voluntary actions. If you choose to write or speak, you accept the requirement to do so.

Sorry, this is the US, not China. We don't give up rights to travel unmolested on private transportation just because some bureaucrat thinks it's a good idea.

TSA are enforcement officer... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

TSA are enforcement officers of the federal government. So, unnecessary searches and seizures falls on this amendment. Actually, I think airlines should decide what security they want. The cockpits are secure so we don't need to worry about the plane becoming a weapon.

As to liberals loving to stereotype conservatives, that is what the labelmakers do. The liberals love labeling people that disagree with them. Ultra Conservative, Anti Choice, etc.

JT, telling liberals that congress appropriates the money thus dem's being in charge of said money and oversight and regulation during the bank failures will make their heads explode. So cruel of you to use facts. It HAS to be Bush's fault. ww

"To them, the issue is neve... (Below threshold)
Hank:

"To them, the issue is never the issue; the chance to attack the right is what matters."

Exactly!

Liberal conceit dictates that conservatives can't possibly have a valid argument.

Good thing liberals are the tolerant ones.

Liberals have a point, in t... (Below threshold)
Just a guy:

Liberals have a point, in that many on the right seem to think you can get "a little pregnant". That's certainly the case with regards to several of the items you're defending here.

Flying is a voluntary ac... (Below threshold)
ken:

Flying is a voluntary action. If you CHOOSE to fly, you accept the requirements to do so.

Bull Crap!

In the U.S.A. we are free to move about the country without government sanction or permission! The nanny state and the courts have limited our freedoms under the Constitution and Bill Of Rights; but, that does not make them any more objectionable. In an airport, we now have limited 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights because of government intrusion in our lives. All in the name of protecting us.

Give me the choice then of flying on a plane that profiles behavior and allows me to carry on nail clippers, toothpaste, shampoo, soft drinks; versus, a Totally Senseless Airplane with the groping and 4th Amendment violations. Let the free market decide. You wanna give up liberty for the myth of 100% security? Then strip sucka!

Me? I'll fly free thank you and my fellow passengers will take care of any idiot who is dumb enough to get on the wrong plane.

To the liberals li... (Below threshold)
Tim Shepherd:
To the liberals like Steve and Tina S.: I know it's comforting to think of all conservatives as narrow-minded, absolutist, inflexible ideologues. But guess what? We ain't. And we won't fit into your narrow little stereotypes, just to help you keep your (unjustified) feelings of intellectual and moral superiority.

In that one paragraph you proved Steve and Tina right.

The bonus is that you're not smart enough to realize it, so you'll do it again and again.

This blog has so many liberal commenters because the writers and conservative commenters are so typical and such easy targets.

I think that because pols l... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I think that because pols like Palin or Cheney before his heart operation, were always criticizing Obama for being soft on terrorism, Obama unfortunately had to overcompensate and continued down this rabbit hole of excessive form rather than content, So it has been to good this flap. I agree, the pendulum had swung too far the other way.

A politcian would be committing political suicide if he said I 'm going to make us less safe while allowing more indivudual liberty. So this is the paradigm that Obama is working under! He can't really react until people make a fuss. Bush was judged on not permitting another major terrorist attack after 9/11, Obama is as well.

The solution or proper balance is along the lines on what we do for drug smuggling, intelligent profiling (not strict racial profiling) perhaps some random technological vetting, and cooperation from passengers is the best way of preventing attack. So I guess I`m with conservatives on that. If I return from Jamaica or Venezuela I normally get a thorough going over (for drugs) I expect that, and we have a pretty good profile of the few suicide bombers who have tried (and been unsuccessful) on planes.


This blog has so m... (Below threshold)
This blog has so many liberal commenters because the writers and conservative commenters are so typical and such easy targets.

Yeah, right.

Actually, the reason this blog has so many liberal commenters is because, unlike the lockstep lefty blogs, opposition commenters here are not immediately banned and their comments deleted.

In that one parag... (Below threshold)
Chip:
In that one paragraph you proved Steve and Tina right.

Tim, did you just trot out an internet equivalent to "I know you are but what am I"?
What are you 9 years old?

So let me get this straight, if Jay Tea were to say that we ARE "narrow-minded, absolutist, inflexible ideologues", Steve and Tina would be right, but because he said that "we ain't" and "we won't fit into your narrow little stereotypes, just to help you keep your (unjustified) feelings of intellectual and moral superiority." They are right again????

Yeah, okay, riiight.

jay tea,It ... (Below threshold)
warchild:


jay tea,

It is funny you mention that. I often pop in on this site, to gain a bit of insight into the mindset of the right wing. As I go through this, I'll share why, some of us ask the questions you rail against and explain my confusion about the mindset I see in your post.


Wizbang never seemed unduly worried about indivudual liberties when weighed against security concerns, including at the airport check-in, in the war on terror when Bush was president? The answer was 9/11 and you are too liberal. What has changed?
This is very reminiscent about the current federal deficit. Those of us who are very troubled about it hitting three trillion dollars are asked where we were when it broke one trillion under Bush. Or, when pushing smaller government, we are told to go to anarchy-wracked Somalia, allegedly the "libertarian dreamland" of no government.


I have several responses to this, first, I must say that Steve's question seems rather valid to me given the severity of of government intrusion in each case. For instance, under Bush the NSA was monitoring phone calls, AMERICANS were making overseas without a warrent (the key part.) So the level of government intrusion was in my mind pretty high. The government was spying on the phone calls of Americans. That seems rather intrusive and Orwellian. However being searched while getting on a plane while inconvenient, a pain in the ass even, doesn't seem as dangerous a threat to liberty to me. Perhaps you disagree, but at least in my mind, and I suspect Steve's it seems like you were ignoring the greater government intrusion when it was your guy. (I'll grant you may disagree with what you consider the greater intrusion but I think that was the Genesis of Steve's point.)

In terms of the "Go to Somalia" crowd I'd say lump them in with the "Go to North Korea" crowd I'm always dealing with whenever I ask for a little more government. What does that mean? Both sides are guilty of Hyperbole. I'm not understanding why you are acting like your side doesn't do it as well. Heck I started throwing about the Somalia thing myself only after the 150th instance of being called a commie. I'm guessing you might say you've experienced similar things.


Now, it's a tenet of the left that the right is very rigid, very black and white, and incapable of seeing nuances. But here they are imposing that on us -- saying that we have some kind of obligation to ignore the gray areas between black and white.

Screw that.

It's not a tenet of the left. It's a caricature many on the left (including myself) have used from time to time. No different than the ones the right wing uses about liberals are all spineless or whatever the pejorative view of the day is (and I've seen you use things like that.)

There is a huge difference between white and black, and sometimes the best color is not a pure white or pitch black. There are situations that call for a compromise between the extremes, when the best answer is a little from column A and a bit more from column B.

Agreed, although in reality the debate is often how much of A or B should one give or get. There are where the diffeences lie.

I wasn't happy about the budget deficits under Bush, especially those that kicked in shortly after the Democrats took over Congress (remember, Congress authorizes all spending). But I believed that it was bad, but still manageable. When Obama TRIPLES that in two short years, I start freaking that it's gotten out of control.

I think the reason this is often asked is frankly 90% of the debt has appeared in the last 30 years. it started under Reagan who tripled the deficit (with a mostly Democratic congress under his terms) Grew Rapidly under George Bush, grew more slowly under Clinton and Grew Again under Bush Junior. I also disagree with your assessment regarding the democratic congress (Under Bush II) and would add the explanation that the bush tax cuts caused a major part of the deficit and still do. The tax cuts have been in place for quite some time and when the economy went south and wealth started shrinking that meant less money was available to collect in taxes. However, the fact remains, that Bush spent pretty recklessly and you may have had trouble with it, but I don't remember you sounding the alarm. I don't remember you saying it was irresponsible to cut taxes while starting a war. As though war is free.

And even though it was pretty damn massive at the time. A lot of what you are screaming in rage at Obama for are the result of policies that were in place prior to his taking office.


I wasn't happy, but I could live with it. But when every single passenger -- including the old, the disabled, and children -- have to submit to having their bodies patted down -- including accepting having their genitalia fondled -- for no real perceivable benefit, I draw the line. That's just pointlessly invasive.

This is a fair point. Hell I feel this way. The question I have is do you really think this is more invasive than big brother listening in to our phone calls? If you do I guess it makes sense that now you are speaking out while you were silent then. Just know that when we were speaking out back then, we found the phone calls more invasive. We weren't traitors as we were often called.


Note, too, that the gist of the argument from the left isn't defending the practice. No, it's all about attacking the other side. The details of the issue are irrelevant -- just try to get one of them to explain why it's so outrageously outrageous for the government to listen in on phone calls from known terrorists abroad to Americans, but fine for a government employee to feel up children in public. To them, the issue is never the issue; the chance to attack the right is what matters.

my understanding was all foreign cals were being data mined. you didn't have to be talking to a terrorist You just had to be making calls abroad. Secondly, I'll happily explain the difference. For me when I am on the phone I have an expectation of privacy. I expect if the government is listening in on me. They had evidence I was possibly up to know good and went to a damn judge and got a court to agree to let my calls be monitored for possible wrong doing. Nope they just skipped all that legal nonsense and went straight to the spying. At least if I go to an airport I know I'm going to be checked for a bomb and someone might feel me bum for a bit of plastic. I don't find out about it months after the fact in the washingtonpost. I find both too intrusive in truth but I think it is reasonable to ask you why you find one okay and not the other. If you have your reasons fine, but I fail to see what is wrong with asking you about them. Especially while you remained silent with the one I consider to have the bigger potential for abuse was put in place.


To the liberals like Steve and Tina S.: I know it's comforting to think of all conservatives as narrow-minded, absolutist, inflexible ideologues. But guess what? We ain't. And we won't fit into your narrow little stereotypes, just to help you keep your (unjustified) feelings of intellectual and moral superiority.

I would ask you and your side to not generalize when characterizing us either.

Deal with it. And don't whine if, every now and then, we take your little Procrustean bed and stretch you on it.

Ditto, Because I will certainly stretch you and yours on the Procrustean bed when called for.

Warchild - This... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Warchild -

This is a fair point. Hell I feel this way. The question I have is do you really think this is more invasive than big brother listening in to our phone calls? If you do I guess it makes sense that now you are speaking out while you were silent then. Just know that when we were speaking out back then, we found the phone calls more invasive. We weren't traitors as we were often called.
I think here, at least for me, there's little that's invasive about having my calls possibly listened to. Yes, the possibility of it is annoying - but it's not someone in the room tapping your line recording it right in front of you.

It's certainly not the same as having someone with their hand in your shorts asking you to turn your head and cough.

Annoyance scale at possible wiretaps? 5, maybe 10 on a 100 point scale.

Magnetometer and xray when flying? About 35. I understand the reasons why, so even though it's an inconvenience I'll put up with it.

Magnetometer, shoe check, and xray? About 50 - god knows what the folks walking in front of me have as foot fungi. But again - I understand why.

Magnetometer, shoe check, xray and limited liquids/sprays? You know how HARD it is to find Lotrimin antifungal spray in quantities the TSA will allow? Add another 15 points to 65. This is understandable, but the tolerance is getting strained.

All the above plus the Nude scan and third-base patdown? Pegs the meter, because (1) it wouldn't have caught the Pantybomber in the first place, (2) it's not a system-wide (as in foreign countries) check so you have points of entry) and (3) if, after the Pantybomber attack, it was so damn necessary to check my junk (so to speak) then why did they wait 11 months to roll out the new patdowns?

That's not how you treat a security hole. The security restrictions on liquids I could understand - and they implemented those immediately. The shoe checks? Again, understandable - and implemented immediately. Magnetometers and xrays - they've been around long enough that they're background annoyance, like Muzak in an elevator.

The new enhanced patdowns? A wait of 11 months? At that point, the TSA loses me. Don't try to tell me you take the possibility seriously, because you're sure not acting like it.

You're acting like you want me to BELIEVE you're serious about security - that's about it.

And I'm just not falling for the act at this point. The time to roll out the heavy petting was right after the Pantybomber did his sausage flambe' - not way later. By waiting so long, they strained their credibility severely.

My 2 cents on that, for what it's worth.

crick: "I think that becaus... (Below threshold)
Drago:

crick: "I think that because pols like Palin or Cheney before his heart operation, were always criticizing Obama for being soft on terrorism, Obama unfortunately had to overcompensate and continued down this rabbit hole of excessive form rather than content, So it has been to good this flap. I agree, the pendulum had swung too far the other way."

Wow.

Poor obambi. Obambi got so much criticism he "had" to do it. He had no choice. No free will. Gosh darn it, why didn't those Palin and Cheney meanies just leave our delightful delicate diversity hire alone?

Poor poor poor poor sir obambi.

A greater testimony to obambi's "strength" as a leader has never been penned.

Thank you Steve Crickmore.

Drago unfortuntely, I don't... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Drago unfortuntely, I don't find this so remarkable; Obama is a very pragmatic politician, after all: sometimes too much for my taste and he may be easily intimidated (perhaps threatened- ) not to open up the family jewels or state secrets. Sure he has to bend to public opinion, particularly as the first black President, he must be seen as safe, but there has been little criticism, except from the left, and the Glenn Greenwalds that he has kept the largely secret security apparatus of the previous administration intact.

It's only natural that many people in the country say to themselves: how bad could George Bush and Dick Cheney really have been in these areas if their core policies are being adopted by Obama? Apparently, there must not be anything wrong with indefinite detention, military commissions, renditions, state secrets, etc. because Obama has embraced them as well


Perhaps a meu culpa on my part that there has not been much change after all, is there ever? very little transparency indeed, and I was a strong critic- of Bush- but as long as Obama gets high marks from the public on the war on terrrorism, national security and little criticism except from left-wing, intellectuals the debate is moot.

I am more disppointed than the right should be pleased Obama has hardly rocked the boat, except perhaps with healthcare and individual mandates which was a GOP idea originally. and even there the health insurance and drug companies are doing record business and why shouldn't they, the government programs, like medicare and medicaid, will continue to pick up a high proportion of the most unhealthy patients?

@warchildYour clai... (Below threshold)
Rick Caird:

@warchild

Your claim

"For instance, under Bush the NSA was monitoring phone calls, AMERICANS were making overseas without a warrent (the key part.)"

is incorrect for two reasons. First, there was a FISA warrant. Secondly, the monitoring was on suspected foreign terrorists. Just as wiretaps on suspected Mafia Dons did not require the wiretappers hang up when someone called who was not covered in the warrant, NSA was not required to stop listening when they determined an American was on one end of the call.

This was really just a made up snit by the left. When push came to shove and the whole FISA process was codified via legislation, there were no real objections.

It constantly amazes me to see the left equating the wiretapping of both ends of a conversation with a known or suspected terrorist with the random groping of the genitals of anyone who want to fly. That is quite the strange equivalence. It is hard to believe even the loony left actually believes this so called equivalence.

It's hard to imagine what p... (Below threshold)
Bill Singer:

It's hard to imagine what point you're making with that story of the mother disposing of a 36-week fetus, which is clearly viable...& obvious murder. A better intellectual challenge is considering the frightened eighteen-year-old mother of a liveborn twenty-week fetus who throws it in the trash. She can (and should) be prosecuted, despite the fact that the bottom line differs not at all from abortion.




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