Monday, June 20, 2011

Sen. Lindsay Graham to his employers: shut up.

Mark Steyn, the best essayist anywhere, takes note of Sen. Lindsey Graham's habit of telling American citizens to... well, to shut up.


re Lindsey Graham’s suggestion that everyone should just “shut up” about the Libyan Non-War, you’ll recall that the last time the Senator attracted any attention in these parts he was also telling everyone to shut up – this time about Islam. Maybe it would be easier if he just issued the rest of us with an approved list of conversational topics.

Steyn has a suggestion for the good senator:

a) reflect whether this apparently reflexive response of yours is really appropriate for a citizen-legislator in a self-governing republic;

b) articulate a rationale for the Libyan mission that would be so persuasive it would save you the trouble of making a fool of yourself by insisting that those who have the temerity to disagree with you are beyond the bounds of public discourse

Graham has an annoying-- infuriating really-- habit of suggesting to Americans that a particular issue (Libya, Muslim violence,...) is not open for debate, and that Americans would, because Graham and his colleagues have decided on the proper course for our ship of state, do best to, well, zip it.

Angelo Codevilla, in his masterful essay (and later book) America's Ruling Class-- And the Perils of Revolution, provided the best explanation for this political tic I've come across. There is a coterie of Americans (ten percent perhaps) who believe that they are just better than the rest of us-- smarter, braver, more fit to lead-- and they honestly believe that our country would be better off is most Americans just shut up and let their self-appointed betters do the job that destiny confers to betters.

These professional elites have a party that represents their interests-- the Democratic Party--, although the Republican Party has plenty of amateurs jostling for position on the stage. This elitism is prominent as well today in scientific circles: various scientific experts presume to tell you how to educate your children about evolution and how to rearrange your life in accordance with 'the debate is over' global warming alarmism. 'Shut up, idiot' is a common explanation in science as well as in politics.

Steyn notes the irony in Graham's egotism. He suggests that Graham:

...spend ten minutes in a darkened room with a nice cup of herbal tea and ponder, re your assertion that those who won’t “shut up” are “empowering Qaddafi”, whether that line has any credibility coming from a member of the Congressional jet set who only two years ago was “empowering Qaddafi” by taking tea in the pock-marked transvestite’s tent as part of some greasy little Senatorial outreach mission.

What irony: Graham tells Americans to clam up about Obama's lawless war-making in Libya because speaking out about the law provides aid and comfort to Qaddafi, two years after Graham 'reached out' (or perhaps 'reached up', which is the only direction you can reach when groveling) to the "pock-marked transvestite".

The political climate is changing, particularly in the Republican party. Nancy Pelosi chastized Americans that 'you'll have to wait to see what's in health care legislation until we pass it' and "you're're kidding" in reply to a perfectly reasonable question about the constitutionality of demanding that every American purchase a product. Speaker Leader Pelosi contributed little to the Democratic majority's electoral longevity by suggesting that the People hold their tongues while their betters make law.

Graham may find that in 2014 he has plenty of time to tell voters to shut up, unencumbered as he will be by the responsibilities of senatorial office-- relieved of that office by voters fed up with being told to shut up by their betters employees.

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