Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dying for Perfection

Major Mike

ShrinkWrapped has perhaps the most coherent analysis of the NYT’s publishing of the electronic surveillance of phone calls (either generated within the US and connecting abroad, or originating abroad and connecting within the US) of suspected al-Queda operatives in the US. He clearly points out that the pursuit of the ultra-perfect application of the Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable search and seizure), is a somewhat altruistic adventure that has potentially harmful (read …deadly) consequences to the opinion holder. (HT: Hugh Hewitt)

ShrinkWrapped real life example…

The breakthrough came when she casually mentioned toward the end of one session that her ankle was bothering her and she was annoyed (she was almost always annoyed about something, I might add) that she wouldn't be able to jog that night. Since I knew that she was living in a marginal area of Manhattan and this was at a time when crime was at high levels and much in the news, I had concerns that her jogging might be putting her at risk. When I asked her where she jogged, she confirmed that she jogged in a relatively dangerous area. Her response to my comment to that effect was that women should be allowed to jog wherever and whenever they wished without fear of men and that nothing and nobody, including me, was going to stop her from doing what she wanted.

I was greatly relieved that it did not take long for her to recognize that her angry feminism (which had roots in long term feelings of disgust with her mother and envy of her brother's exalted position in her family) was inadvertently providing her with a rationalization for dangerous and self destructive behavior.
ShrinkWrapped superb analysis on the “illegal Bush wiretaps” …

The fact that those who cry loudest about the Bush administration abusing civil liberties (in the absence of any real evidence for specific abuses) are doomed to lose no matter what the outcome, is evidence that they are expressing, through often elegant and elaborate rationalizations, a true self-destructive wish which is hidden and unrecognized. The fact that they are willing to risk the lives of others in order to hold onto their ideological position is further evidence of the aggression that contaminates their purity of vision.
Remember this corollary from the original MOOSEMUSS (scroll
to the end)… Perfect can be the enemy of good enough.

Those in pursuit of perfection are usually overwhelmed by myriad of factors before they can achieve their goals. They…run out of time, and are overcome by events. They…are outmaneuvered by a more nimble opponent and their perfect solution in neutralized by someone else’s action. They…become paralyzed when the perfect solution is not achievable.

They also use the pursuit of perfection as a refuge from taking real action. This “pursuit” becomes a harbor from critics, as the purity of their mission supersedes the production of results in importance. The non-productive search for perfection is ticket is enough to criticize those who have long ago put into action a workable, but non-perfect scheme. Finding a workable solution is not nearly as important as perfectly framing the question…in fact, the perfect question requires no answer. Perfectionists forget the objective and become lost in their search for Shangri-la, Nirvana, or Xanadu…whichever you prefer.

The rest of us live in the real world, where non-perfection is the order of the day. Our efforts usually result in passable, but non-perfect, solutions that balance out many competing interests and move us down the road a bit further than we were yesterday. And, OBTW, these non-perfect answers still make our companies profitable, allow us to raise our families, and help us live in the “real” world.

Perfection rarely exists outside of “perfect” environments, and it is rarely sustained for periods that exceed the half-life of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. This being the accepted case, why would we as a nation, risk all to overly protect the rights of those who intend to kill us and ruin our democracy, by trying to present a “perfect” or pure interpretation of the Fourth Amendment at this critical time?

This IS a case of the Left trying to over-protect rights. Omitted in all of the southpaw analysis, is the clear differentiation that at least one end of these calls was taking place outside of the United States. Presidential surveillance powers outside of US boundaries in times of war has not challenged, so why would we slice the hair so fine here as to greatly increase our vulnerability to those who have infiltrated our society (Syracuse, Portland, etc.) and intend to use the protections that we provide our citizens to kill us?

The Left’s refusal to “connect the dots” here, in favor of trying to run down the President’s numbers, via this red-herring of a Fourth Amendment argument, is the shallowest of hypocrisies when compared to the cries for Bush’s head post-9/11. You cannot cry out for the President’s head for failing to stop 9/11, then take away his ability to exploit critical elements in the enemy’s C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) systems in a declared war. At the very time the Left is complaining about nail clippers finding their way back onto airplanes, they are offering the enemy a secure communications link. The e`-pee-tome (as Jim Varney would say) of hypocrisy.

And I would think that the MSM, the vanguards of truth and journalistic values, would be happy to point out these hypocrisies in a fair and balanced way, yet they are neck deep in it in the NSA case, and they are purveyors of it in the Valarie Plame case. At what point do hypocrites lose their audience because of their obvious biases and lack of standards? At what point do responsible editorial boards step in and stop this journalistic death spiral and salvage their papers’ respect and credibility? At what point do their Boards of Directors reset the culture in order to preserve shareholder value and salvage these companies? Apparently …never.

Sorry, got off on a rant there.

As ShrinkWrapped suggests… it is either the Left’s blind pursuit of perfection that is causing them to advocate policies that will increase our vulnerability to harm, or their well-documented, blind hatred of President Bush… in either case, it is demonstrative that they should not be trusted with the well-being of this nation, for their personal ambitions and altruistic goals will never be more important than our lives.

© Michael McBride 2006

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