I’ll Take Mine with Chutzpah

Dorothea Salo may have set the blogging movement back a year today with her simple pronouncement that “…one shouldn’t blog about politics unless one has either the historical and economic savvy to back up one’s points, or the chutzpah not to care that one doesn’t. I happen to think that this impoverishes political discourse—it makes any kind of cooperative Socratic investigation completely impossible—but there it is.”

While possibly true, this lack of knowledge certainly hasn’t prevented the warbloggers or, for that matter, a great number of reporters and commentators at news stations like Fox News from opining on recent historical events and offering advice.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that semi-informed bloggers might well present a counterweight to the massive number of bloggers, and “news” stations for that matter, who seem to be calling for the immediate invasion of Iraq and the instant destruction of any nation willing to offer refuge to terrorists.

While I would be worried about anyone who blindly accepted my views on virtually any topic, including literature, I do think that offering my opinion, particularly when accompanied by pertinent articles, is one small part of building an informed community.

I wonder if we truly dare let officials dictate “history” to us when they are so obviously willing to lie in order to ensure that their view of history is the one we are allowed to see. Desert Storm was presented to the public as an unmitigated success, a quick, “bloodless” war that emancipated Kuwait from the evil Sadam Hussein with relatively few deaths. After reading a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, though, you have to wonder what the price must really have been, particularly if we happen to consider Iraqis “people.”

When considered in the light of Jonathon’s article on civilian deaths, you have to wonder how many Iraqi civilians really died in those much-publicized, “smart” rocket attacks on Baghdad.

Did you really believe Rumsfeld’s denials that American bombs in Afghanistan had often hit the wrong target? Who could miss that large Red Cross, after all? If so, you didn’t serve in Vietnam as I did and observe first hand how officials were more than willing to spin the truth any way but straight in order to create the impression that we were the “good guys” and they were the “bad guys.”

5 thoughts on “I’ll Take Mine with Chutzpah”

  1. How can one have “either the historical and economic savvy to back up one’s points” when we are so consistently lied to? One only has to consider all the words spoken by pundits early on in the Vietnam War, people who supposedly had “the historical and economic savvy to back up” their points and yet they too fell for the lies Johnson told – the Gulf of Tonkin incident being one of the most egregious. Informed debate can not take place in an atmosphere of lies when the primary source for information is the source of those lies. All we can do is try and ferret out those snippets of truth that we can and hold them up to the light. Hopefully in the process some few will become more educated to the decptive ways of their “leaders”.

  2. One can’t. Therefore one must have a hell of a lot of chutzpah. Which is, I think we will all admit, not something the warbloggers are short of.

    As for setting back blogging a year — I deny it absolutely. As if what I said will deter a single warblogger.

  3. I know, Dorothea, but it at least inspired me on a day when I was having a tough time tying different ideas together.

    I will have to admit that I no longer bother reading “letters to the editor” in the newspaper because it has deteriorated into opinion, and nothing but.

    Personally, though, I still doubt we can entrust democracy to the scholars of the world.

  4. All too true, I’m afraid.

    That’s why I quit reading blogs that lowered the argument to calling the president “shrub” and citing sources that seemed, to be charitable, less than credible.

    But, as a 30 year teacher, I’m just not ready to turn the world over to those who manipulate others through their emotions.

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