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Put Fuzz on the Kiwis

Posted on December 6 2010 7:30 pm
I'm a recovering Leftist who's now a Goldwater conservative. A lifelong Arizona resident, I'm a freelance writer. I spend my free time reading, power-walking, shooting and antiquing.
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Frank Barone, the gruff but warm-hearted patriarch on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, once noted that military service “puts fuzz on the kiwis.”  Being a veteran, he’d probably understand that a large part of the reason our armed forces turns boys and girls into men and women is that it brings them together to serve with people whose company they would not keep in civilian life.  Only kids think they should be able to limit their contact to those at whose table they would sit in the high school cafeteria.  When they get into the military, and somebody upsets them, any demand that they get their way and the irritant be conveniently removed might be answered with more wise advice by Frank Barone:  “Get off the pity-pot, Nancy!”

My recent post, “Ann Coulter Takes Aim at Butt-Less Chaps,” made clear I was not attacking Coulter, but only taking issue with her latest column.  Somebody, under the delusion that I view homosexuality as the shameful thing he believes it to be, accused me of having “a secret crush” on Coulter.  However, since I am openly gay, if I had a crush on her, I would feel no need to keep it a secret.

In the post, I called those who would beat up or kill gays in uniform – the very people the brass opposed to repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” claim they are afraid of – bullies and thugs.  A commenter twisted this around to insinuate I meant every person who favors continuation of DADT.

Of course the effort to repeal DADT was called – what else – “social engineering.”  This might be an effective epithet, if not for the fact that DADT itself was social engineering in the first place.  Statist on the  Right are not particularly effective in opposing the Leftist PC rhetoric against which they tilt, precisely because they are so slavishly devoted to a variant of PC all its own.  Though the policy’s clear purpose is to order society according to its own preferences (which is exactly what social engineering does), it is not the same thing, they protest, because…well…well, because they say it isn’t.

There are, of course, different types of conservative.  Some – like me – are libertarians, who believe any state powerful enough to work in favor of the political Right is also powerful enough, within the space of a single election cycle, to be turned against it.  Most of the rest are social conservatives, though even these vary between those who believe in using big government to achieve their ends and those whose principles oppose this.

One form of fun of which big-government statists on the social Right never seem to tire is the purity game.  True believers must toe the line and never stray from it, even one jot or tittle.  “You are no conservative,” another commenter harrumphed at me.  Since this person evidently thinks only the big-government, control-freak statists on the social Right are the “real” conservatives, then according to his definition of course I am not.  Nor would I ever want to be.

What I am is a former Leftist progressive who has come to the conclusion that libertarian conservatism is – for a wide variety of reasons – the right direction for America to take.  The relentless and childish tug-of-war of the past few elections has convinced me that the Left and the statist Right are actually as alike as Tweedledee and Tweedledum and that they are, together, pulling the country apart.  Just as Leftists view any liberal who believes in small government and individual initiative a heretic, so do those on the Right who view anyone who does not share their fantasies about Granny Government and her all-powerful magic wand “not a real conservative.”

Every one of these spit-wads, I proudly wear as a badge of honor.  I know some people whose badges of honor have been far more dearly won.

Saturday night I had dinner with two very good friends, both gay, and both decorated combat veterans of Vietnam.  They risked their lives in battle, only to be spat upon and called baby-killers upon their return.  Now the keyboard warriors of cyberspace – most of them anonymous – who fancy their patriotism infinitely superior to that of those who spat on returning Vietnam vets – are attacking them as somehow unfit to have served.

I’m not sure why these people had such a snit.  It may simply be easier for them to ridicule somebody else’s kiwis than to look at the lack of fuzz on their own.

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