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October 19, 2003
Demosophia: Totalitarianism 3.0

Demosophia has written a series of essays this weekend that put today's struggle against "terrorism" in a historical context, and comes to a conclusion that many of us already understand:

We are not fighting a "War on Terrorism," as some now call it. That's a misnomer, because suicide terrorism is not a movement, but simply a method that has always been one of the favorites of totalitarianism either seeking power, or on the verge of losing it. What we are involved in now is but the most recent stage in a war against Liberalism's ancient enemy. And it is far from won.

Demosophia doesn't stop there. He predicts that the new conflict between traditional Liberalism and Totalitarianism 3.0 will create new political divisions and obscure or eliminate the old. In this there is ample precedent, at least in British politics. Prior to World War I, the Labor movement was a small, third party that existed to tip the balance between the Tories and the Liberals in Parliament. After the destruction of the old world order of ancient monarchies and intermarried heads of state, Labor surpassed and obliterated the Liberals in British politics. Over a longer period of time in the US, the traditional Liberal philosophy of the Democrats has been eclipsed by a more strident Labor philosophy, which leaves people like Bernard Goldberg (as an example), who identify with Liberal thought, bewildered. It's only obscure in the US because both sides of the political divide insist on referring to Labor philosophy as liberalism.

Finally, he discusses the entire controversy over imminence:

But it would seem to me that the real issue isn't "imminence" but the same issue that was at stake in the Florida Recount: uncertainty. And to some people uncertainty means freedom and license, while to others it means constraint and caution. To Saddam, as to the Japanese High Command, the uncertainty of the US and its allies was freedom and license. It represented operating parameters, and opportunities. To Byrd and Kennedy uncertainly meant the possibility that a threat didn't exist. I might even say it meant the probability that the threat would not materialize unexpectedly. So, to them it also meant freedom and license. To the Bush people, on the other hand, uncertainty meant the possibility of a really nasty surprise somewhere down the line. And for an executive, to be on the receiving end of a "day of infamy," is something to be avoided.

Bear in mind that Demosophia supported the Gore position on the Florida recounts, but uses the same arguments to support the Bush position on Iraq. A distinction that, to be sure, will be lost on the Democrats:

The Bush Administration had a reliable estimate for the error potential of an attack on Saddam, but they did not have a reliable estimate for the margin of error of laying off, and Byrd and Kennedy were not about to supply it. We may eventually know what that potential of error was, as a result of the Kay Commission's final findings. But the mere fact that even that is uncertain now suggests a really profound level of uncertainty about laying off that simply could not be narrowed or squeezed, without an effort that was almost certainly beyond the resources the UN was willing to invest. And you can bet your bippy Saddam had made that calculation.

Unbelievably good writing and thought. Make sure you read all three essays.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 19, 2003 10:14 AM

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