Juxtaposition Of The Day

Juxtaposition Of The Day

From National Review’s list of the 25 best conservative movies:

“12. The Dark Knight (2008): This film gives us a portrait of the hero as a man reviled. In his fight against the terrorist Joker, Batman has to devise new means of surveillance, push the limits of the law, and accept the hatred of the press and public. If that sounds reminiscent of a certain former president — whose stubborn integrity kept the nation safe and turned the tide of war — don’t mention it to the mainstream media. Our journalists know that good men are often despised by the mob; it just never seems to occur to them that they might be the mob themselves.

13. Braveheart (1995): Forget the travesty this soaring action film makes of the historical record. Braveheart raised its hero, medieval Scottish warrior William Wallace, to the level of myth and won five Oscars, including best director for Mel Gibson, who played Wallace as he led a spirited revolt against English tyranny. Braveheart taught that freedom is not just worth dying for, but also worth killing for, in defense of hearth and homeland. Six years later, amid the ruins of the Twin Towers, Gibson’s message resonated with a generation of American youth who signed up to fight terrorists, instead of inviting them to join a “constructive dialogue.” Liberals have never forgiven Gibson since.”

I have this quaint belief that freedom involves the rule of law: the idea that no one — not the government, and not private vigilantes — gets to spy on me, imprison me, or kill me without working through normal legal channels, whose content I get to influence by electing the people who write the laws. That the writers at the National Review take a different view has been obvious for a while — see, for instance, Kathryn Lopez on McCain:

“I’m second to none in praising him on his surge leadership. But on a whole host of issues –including water boarding, tax cuts, and the freedom of speech — he’s not one of us.”

I just liked this particular juxtaposition. According to the National Review, conservatives fight for freedom, but what they mean by “freedom” is wholly unclear. It’s certainly nothing I recognize.

And when I read a sentence like “Our journalists know that good men are often despised by the mob; it just never seems to occur to them that they might be the mob themselves”, I think: our National Review writers know that people can fight for tyranny and against freedom without ever admitting to themselves that that’s what they’re doing; it just never seems to occur to them that they might be those people.

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