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Joseph Sobran’s
Washington Watch

Ollie the Revolutionary Feminist

(Reprinted from the issue of May 24, 2007)

Capitol Bldg, Washington Watch logo for Ollie the Revolutionary FeministOne of the perennial problems we face in this world is people who don’t listen to others. An even worse problem is the number of people who don’t listen to themselves.

On May 14, Mother’s Day, The Washington Times featured an amazing column by Oliver North warning that if the United States loses the war in Iraq to Islamic militants, the consequences will be especially dire for all women throughout the Muslim world: loss of the vote, denial of basic education, sexual abuse and mutilation, and various legal disabilities. And North extended this list of horrors with furious indignation, calling the U.S. Armed Forces “the principal protectors of Muslim women in the world today.”

If the U.S loses in Iraq, in other words, things will be about what they have traditionally been under Islam. I call this argument amazing because it assumes it is our duty to bring a feminist revolution to the entire Islamic world. And this infernal hooey appeared in a supposedly conservative newspaper — the one that offers itself as the capital’s alternative to the liberal Post, the one in which the virtues of limited government are routinely affirmed as self-evident truths!

North didn’t explain what part of the U.S. Constitution authorizes or requires the federal government to undertake this ambitious program, but President Bush and Condoleezza Rice would probably agree with him. It would seem, after all, to follow from their own agenda of promoting “global democratic revolution.”

We have gone beyond the mere nation-building Bush deplored during the 2000 campaign; now we are looking at a foreign policy of universal culture-building. A New World Order with a vengeance! North might as well have added the further warning that unless the U.S. wins in Iraq, Muslim women may never get abortion rights.

North also accused Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats of failing the cause of women by refusing to support Bush’s war. Republican partisanship seems to have devoured whatever was left of the genuine conservatism that wants to preserve our culture rather than spoon-feed it to the Third World.

Step back for a moment. Today’s “conservatives” have gone far beyond the wildest dreams of the old one-worlders and utopians of the last generation or two. They make Franklin D. Roosevelt, by comparison, seem like a modest Midwest isolationist.

You can understand how the old liberalism gone hog-wild might eventually reach this level of derangement — but conservatism? Nothing even faintly implicit in the writings of such seminal conservative thinkers as Russell Kirk, Willmoore Kendall, or Michael Oakeshott could possibly be construed to support or foreshadow such lunacy.

If we believe that conservatism can turn into this goofy totalitarianism within a generation, then it becomes much easier to suppose that swarthy gorillas could eventually evolve into porcelain blondes. I suppose it goes to show that when people abandon their principles, they are apt to wind up reversing them.

The Future of Ron Paul

A curious feature of this war is that one of its most controversial original reasons is no longer mentioned: the security of the state of Israel. In the beginning, as you may recall, Bush, Rice, and their supporters kept insisting that Iraq posed a threat to Israel; opponents of the war denied either the fact or its relevance (or both). Now nobody on either side talks about it.

Read Joe Sobran's columns the day he writes them!The neoconservative hawks still defend the war, but they no longer want to claim credit for it; nor do they want to remind the public of Israel’s supposed interest in it.

Today we still hear, even from Bush himself, the puzzling argument that unless we fight the enemy in Iraq we will have to fight him here. I wish Bush would at least offer a plausible scenario explaining how that enemy might solve the logistical problem of getting “here” with enough resources to conquer us.

Long before the 9/11 attacks, by the way, John McCain gave a speech saying the U.S. should go to war to protect Israel even if it weren’t in the American interest to do so. But this is now ancient history.

And in the latest Republican candidates’ debate, the assiduously pandering Rudy Giuliani took full advantage of Ron Paul’s courage and honesty when Paul quite correctly called those attacks “blowback” for U.S. interventionist policy in the Middle East. Giuliani, ever the New York demagogue, sneered that this was “absurd.”

Yet Paul’s radiant integrity and relentless logic continue to win respect and support from thinking people. He won first place in an early post-debate poll. Giuliani gets cheers from the Republican hordes around the country; verily, he has his reward. Paul, the last Robert Taft Republican, is loved and honored.

Paul had good words for Ronald Reagan; but he is, and always has been, much better than Reagan. My dream scenario is not, I think, very far-fetched:

The liberal, pro-war, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, thrice-married “Catholic” Giuliani gets the Republican nomination next year. This drives real conservatives out of the GOP; they turn to the Constitution Party, which nominates Paul, the only principled and anti-abortion candidate in the race. The Democrats win the White House this time, but a major realignment occurs, the Republicans going the way of the old Whigs they once superseded.

My Week

What a week! After working till dawn one morning, I awoke from a diabetic swoon to find myself being carried to an ambulance. Somehow, after medical tests and reciting Shakespeare for my amused nurses, I got home quickly and met my deadlines. My grandson Joe turned 20; my two newest grandsons came to visit as I prepared to move to a small apartment from my home of 14 years. (It was the all-night ardors of writing and packing books that put me back in the hospital.)

I found time for Mass, Confession, a couple of rosaries, a biography of St. Therese, and the first major-league baseball game I’ve attended in many years. While I was in the hospital, my son Mike told me that the county government, ever helpful, had confiscated our poor old dog to protect her from us; we don’t expect to see her again.

I’m leaving out the dull stretches. Have I mentioned Jonathan Yardley’s lovely tribute to James Thurber? A very full week indeed.

Yet I can’t complain; on the contrary, I knew throughout that the good Lord was taking most tender care of me. How blessed I am! No space here to list all the people I suspect of praying for me; but thanks. “The communion of saints.”

“A full century ago, on May 22, 1907, Laurence Kerr Olivier was born.” Regime Change Begins at Home — a new selection of my Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian — is a handy antidote to despair. If you have not seen my monthly newsletter, SOBRANS, yet, give my office a call at 800-513-5053 and request a free sample, or better yet, subscribe for two years for just $85. New subscribers get two gifts with their subscription. More details can be found at the Subscription page of my website.

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Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2007 by The Wanderer,
the National Catholic Weekly founded in 1867
Reprinted with permission

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