September 2, 2004

The Belmont Stakes

The great British statesman, Benjamin Disraeli once said: "My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me." The inaptly-aptly named 'Wretchard' of Belmont Club certainly fills out that notion admirably.

But it is more than just mere agreement that makes The Belmont Club a force for good in the blogsphere as well as the world. The real drawing power of the Belmont Club is the author's almost flawless melding of scholarship with style.

Many in the blogsphere write well, but few write as well and fewer still better. The prose of Wretchard is, on a day to day basis, clean, clear and spare with just a soupcon of poetry thrown in -- not just in his frequent pointed quotations from the masters. It's a prose that illuminates not only the insights but the great range of his mind.

Exhibit A: On the Democrats' Affinity for Tyrants --

But the more fascinating historical question is why the two parties should have evolved so differently. One possible reason is that the Democrats are more a coalition than a consistent point of view, the proverbial "Big Tent" defined by nonmembership in the the other party. At first glance, this would appear refute the conventional wisdom that the Democrats are the party of the Left but on closer examination better explains how the Left came to thrive in this ecology. The characteristic of coalitions, or "national united fronts" as they are known abroad, is that they can be more easily manipulated by a minority cadre of activists. That was historically true of Bolshevik-led movements and may be why the Islamic extremists can dominate the agenda of Islam, which unlike Roman Catholicism has no hierarchical clerical structure. If ideological extremism has a natural home, it will be in the midst of the lost.
Exhibit B: On Republican's, Saddle Orders, and Mainstream Media --
In an earlier, low tech era, this phenomenon was referred to in the German Army as "saddle orders". Because the general principles of the campaign were so well understood by lower-level commanders, Guderian and Rommel could redirect subordinates and trust them to do the "right thing", that is, act consistently within the agreed strategic framework. They could give orders from the "saddle". In contrast, the French High Command had to laboriously consider its reaction to each threat. It was this kind of confidence in the Age of Sail which enabled Nelson to break the French line at Trafalgar. Nelson's captains had served together so long they were like a basketball team that could blind-pass to each other, so that his pre-battle signal consisted simply of "England expects every man to do his duty". Both the German Army of 1940 and Nelson's fleet of 1805 were inferior to the enemy in materiel and numbers. But it did not matter. The surprise of 2004 may be that the Mainstream Media, like the Chars of the French Army or the sailing wonders of  Villeneuve, will not matter at all.
Exhibit C: On Russian and French Foreign Policy:
To a certain extent, the Russian and French policies are identical. They draw a curtain over the putrefaction fermenting in certain societies, dismissing them as a natural state or in terms of cultural relativism, as situations in which civilization -- I use the word consciously -- would be ill advised to interfere. But it has become apparent that terrorism is an externality of rotting societies, an effluent, which if unchecked will poison the whole world. No cologne, not even French perfume, will long prevail against it. Civilization cannot hang back but must step forward, if not for love then for survival.
Exhibit D: On the Greatest Lie of Terrorism --
This tranferrence of guilt is terrorism's greatest lie: that the ultimate responsibility for a hostage's death lies in the failure of his loved ones to capitulate fully to their monstrous demands. It is a lie which the Left never tires of repeating but it is false all the same. Albert Camus once wryly wrote in the Rebel that "on the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence -- through a curious transposition peculiar to our times -- it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself." He was referring to Stalin, but alas, both for the world and for France, the evil the Left worshipped never died.
I know a large sheaf of writers who would be pleased with themselves if those passages were to be found in one month's work. What is really amazing is that they are all found in one day's output.

Since December 26, 2003, The Belmont Club has received over 2 million visits. It easily deserves four times that number in the coming year. Pass it on and help make it happen.

Posted by Vanderleun at September 2, 2004 6:00 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Agree in spades re: Belmont.
The transference of "guilt," however, is not merely a major tactic of terrorists, but of leftists in general.

One tends to forget amid all the name-calling that the standard move for any leftist is scapegoating, which means here both (1) fingerpointing ("he is immoral, the bastard . . ."); (2) transference of guilt (" . . . and therefore I am innocent"). If for one week only all leftists were deprived by divine fiat of the capacity to speak, write, gesture the accusation of someone else's moral evil, you would hear silence, nothing but silence.

As for terrorists, you have the leftist's conviction of his own innocence (and therefore the guilt of those who do not do his bidding) played out to its logical conclusion.

Posted by: Michael McCanles at September 2, 2004 7:41 PM

That guy is truly amazing. He doesn't always post everyday, but my oh my, he is always worth reading.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 3, 2004 4:57 AM

Agreed. I check in every day, top shelf writing.

Posted by: Observer at September 3, 2004 2:58 PM