Perhaps the biggest distinction between classic conservativism and its contemporary counterpart is the inability of adherents to the latter to learn anything. Even from their own history, and its transparently obvious failures.
Here is Andrea Peyser, New York Post columnist, lecturing the rest of us about the need to never, ever, ever question the conduct of specific police officers in specific instances of potential misconduct, and to never, ever, ever question the intentions of our government (when it's run by Republicans, natch) because ... well, you know, 9/11.
Peyser and her cronies in the vast right-wing noise machine write about 9/11 as though they somehow have a monopoly on outrage and horror over the events on that unbelieveably tragic day. They seemingly fail to realize all of us lost something on that day, even if we weren't a passenger on the planes, a worker in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, a first responder, a member of the clean-up crews, or a friend or relative of someone in one or more of those groups. Those people suffered the greatest losses.
But all of us shared their personal grief, their deeper understanding of the dangers in our world, and the loss of many of our freedoms in the quasi-police state created in part by the hysterical "unity" that Peyser found to be so moving. And none of this even touches on the further debacle, and the related cost in lives and treasure, than can be summed up in a single word: Iraq.
And nobody should pretend that Peyser's employer, Rupert Murdoch, did not play a major in shaping and directing that "unity." While the city was still in flames and debris, and while bodies were still being retrieved, columnist and nepotism poster-boy John Podhortez was using his column to tell Democrats in New York to "SHUT UP!" His exact words. As though they were somehow to blame for all of this.
And the Post's editorial page was none-to-subtlely blaming the attacks on policies promoted by Bill Clinton. Yes, the former President of the United States. Not the guy who'd been on the job for just under eight months, who received warnings about a potential attack on the United States, and went back to clearing brush on his ranch.
Yes, a potential attack by Osama bin Laden, one of many bad actors, including the Shah of Iran, bought and paid for by your tax dollars and mine in what could charitably be described as part of a misguided effort to keep Communism at bay (the same Communism that collapsed under its own dead weight, with little help from us). Oh, but Ms. Peyser thinks that it's "bullying" to bring any of this up. Well then, Andrea, where the hell were you when our national grief was being used to "bully" us into a war fought almost entirely for the sake of multinational oil companies--again, with your tax dollars and mine? You were writing for the New York Post, published by Mr. Murdoch, America's number one bully when it comes to the need of American conservatives.
Sorry, Andrea. I actually agree with you on topics like abortion and marriage equality. But not on this. After all of the mistakes this country has made in meddling in world affiars, and after all of the harm that has been brought about by pretending that meddling never existed, you should know better. You, and the Republican Party, although this week's debate among its presidential candidates didn't offer any encouragement in that direction.
And one more thing. It's precisely because we hold first-responders to the highest standards, and consistently work to weed out the losers, that we have the kind of heroic excellence that we saw on 9/11, and not only on 9/11. I have the greatest respect for police officers. But, when it comes to worship, there is only One who receives that kind of respect from me. All of the rest of us are flesh and blood. We should all be held accountable for our weaknesses. It is only by doing so that, as individuals and as a nation, that we can be as strong as well need to be.