March 19, 2005

Republican Ideological Purity

The demand for mindless unthinking, unquestioning ideological purity is not limited to the Left as Peggy Noonan writes:

It appears we've reached the pivotal moment in the Terri Schiavo case, and it also appears our politicians, our senators and congressmen, might benefit from some observations.

In America today all big stories have three dimensions: a legal angle, a public-relations angle and a political angle. In the Schiavo case some of our politicians seem not to be fully appreciating the second and third. This is odd.

Here's both a political and a public-relations reality: The Republican Party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. The Republicans are in charge. They have the power. If they can't save this woman's life, they will face a reckoning from a sizable portion of their own base. And they will of course deserve it.

Sure, Peggy. After all, we all know that Republicans act as a single monolithic bloc and won't tolerate any dissent from the revealed truth. Is that it? Or is it that the Democrats have a much more preferable approach to these life and death issues?

As should be obvious with the hand-wringing over the federal judiciary, the Republican's majority, while existent, is neither broad nor deep, and wielding it like a sword of righteousness will guarantee its demise faster than anything else I can think of. I firmly believe it is wrong to have Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed for a lot of reasons, but, seemingly unlike Peggy Noonan, I don't think it the only issue in front of us.

You have to choose your battles wisely and, most importantly, live to fight another day. This is a battle worth fighting, but once you've lost you have to regroup and keep up the good fight through something other than a frontal assault against an entrenched enemy. If you are going to fall on your sword every time on principle or mindlessly sacrifice every soldier because, damnit, you're right, you may achieve some significant victories, but you also aren't going to last very long.

Maybe Ms. Noonan shouldn't pitch her tent outside if it's going to shrink every time it rains.

Posted by Charles Austin at March 19, 2005 02:58 PM

Hmmm... what is that you're always write about jousting with strawmen and setting up false dichotomies?

Posted by: Jon at 10:20 AM

I'm not sure I follow, is your comment directed at me or Peggy? If it's me, I guess I'm struggling to understand where my strawmen are and what false dichotomy I've set up. But enough of me...

Posted by: charles austin at 12:57 PM