A useful illustration
Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times, made the case that the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (today!) should be more noteworthy than it is. He said that "For most of the last century, the West faced real enemies: totalitarian, aggressive, armed to the teeth. Between 1918 and 1989, it was possible to believe that liberal democracy was a parenthesis in history, destined to be undone by revolution, ground under by jackboots, or burned like chaff in the fire of the atom bomb....Twenty years ago today, this threat disappeared."
One commenter, a popular guy (his comment recommended by 252 readers as I write) who likes the word "specious," responded thusly:
That is utter nonsense. More like the chaff of fear that Mr. Douthat's ilk uses to obfuscate the truth. Douthat needs to go back to school and study history. It was Mikail Gorbachov that in 1988 announced that the Soviet Union would abandon the Brezhnev Doctrine and allow the Eastern bloc nations to freely determine their own internal affairs.
It was Gorbachev that ended the cold war. Not Günther Schabowski and not Ronald Reagan. It was the insightful courage of Mikail Gorbachev that ended it.
After a not so veiled dig at President Obama for not attending a 9 November ceremony in Germany, Mr. Douthat delivers this false paean:
"Never has liberation come to so many people all at once — to Eastern Europe’s millions, released from decades of bondage; to the world, freed from the shadow of nuclear Armageddon; and to the democratic West, victorious after a century of ideological struggle."
Balderdash, Mr. Douthat. Why is it that it was Mikail Gorbachev who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and not Günther Schabowski (and never Reagn)? Why does Mr. Douthat ignore the facts of history? Because he cannot make his specious point if he adheres to the truth.
The final nail in the coffin of Mr. Douthat's specious treatise comes in a statement from his last paragraph: "Maybe we miss living with the possibility of real defeat." The problem, Mr. Douthat, is that the rise and fall of a great nation has its lesson even today. Great nations don't fall from forces arrayed against them from without. They fall from the corrupt forces that rot them from within.
Yes, America is in danger of defeat but not from external enemies. We are on the road to defeat because of the naysayers in our Congress and the hatemongers who cannot abide Barack Obama's Presidency.
And that, as Edith Ann was wont to say, is the truth.
I've reproduced virtually the entire comment, because of two things: first, the commenter's contention that Gorbachev's winning of the Nobel Prize for Peace is evidence of some kind (please see my prior post - oh please, if you're one of the few who really do believe that Pres. Obama "earned" that prize! - for how I and many others feel about the anointing of somebody or other by a few Scandihoovians - of whom, two generations removed, I'm one in part). Sheesh.
And second, gosh, I agree with his third-to-last paragraph - the one where he says a grave danger to the United States is rot from within. But in the penultimate paragraph, wherein he says that the rot emanates from "hatemongers cannot abide Barack Obama's Presidency" - that's where I think it's obvious I disagree. I believe, and I believe that I have actual history on my side, that it's the push to increase government control of individuals that is the "rot from within" we should dread. Not the people who are against increased government control; the people actually fighting to bring it about.
The commenter doesn't have history to back him up; he doesn't even have white-sheeted midnight bonfires to back him up. He has his feelings. And he signs himself "Cmdr" - that is, "Commander." Of what?