Saturday, July 24, 2010

204 / Pundit Hawks

I tend to get my political perspectives from The Nation, not The Washington Post, or The New York Times, and I particularly liked the lead editorial in the most recent edition of The Nation, entitled "Deficits of Mass Destruction."

The editorial takes the view that the current preoccupation with federal budget deficits is largely a reflection of "politics as usual" in the United States, with policy pronouncements designed and intended to facilitate the transfer of wealth upwards to the rich. The argument aside (and I largely concur with what's said in this editorial), what I loved most was a little descriptive phrase tucked within the argument: "Pundit Hawks."

Our impoverished political life is made even poorer when everyone has to take "seriously" the opinions of a bunch of newspaper columnists and television personalities who have very little reason to claim any more knowledge or insight than any ordinary person. It was these "pundit hawks," however, who helped spearhead the clamor for a war in Iraq, a war that

"might have been prevented had more Congressional Democrats stood up to oppose it. Instead, many of those who privately knew the entire enterprise was a colossal disaster in the making buckled to right-wing pressure and pundit hawks and voted for it."
The American Revolution rejected the idea that there is a "nobility" whose interests are entitled to more deference than the interests of the rest of us. This is true in the realm of "opinion," too! We need to fortify ourselves against the feeling that our "opinion leaders" have any special insight, and that when they suggest something that makes no real sense, they may not actually know any more than we do.

Our stampede into the war in Iraq has helped create the deficit that is now leading the very same "pundit hawks" who supported that war to demand that the government cut back help and support for ordinary folks.

1 comment:

  1. I must reject the notion that we "stampeded" into Iraq. The Bush administration used the fear of another terrorist attack and lies to get us into that war. Had it been discovered and revealed that Secretary of State Powell wasn't factual when he claimed the garbage trucks were portable weapons factories in his UN speech, debate would have reopened and it is unlikely that Congress would have allowed the troops to leave Kuwait. We needed more Democrats with backbone i.e. Barbara Lee.


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