Monday, August 08, 2005

WHEN I WANT YOUR OPINION, I'LL TELL IT TO YOU. A while back I commented on the National Review's declaration that the British public was getting more rightwing on terror, immigration, etc., which was based on no better research than a scan of published Tory war cries. (This ripping Mark Steyn piece shows the public is with us!) The height of this madness was reached this weekend, when Stanley Kurtz announced that "The British reconsideration of multiculturalism has reached a new stage, with the Tories now engaged in an internal debate." An internal debate in the British Conservative Party! What'd they get last election, fifteen votes? And they're divided on the issue. Talk about gilding the stinkweed!

The export version of this psychodrama has arrived in America via OpinionJournal's Brendan Miniter:
July 7, 2005: the London bombings. In the four weeks since this happened, I have talked about it, on the West Coast and East Coast, with people one could describe as "non-Bush voters." To a man and woman, they say in so many words that the time has come to "get tough on the terrorists." One event, London, appears to have caused an internal reassessment among some Americans formerly ambivalent about the war on terror.
Oh, and did I mention they were all cab drivers? Now, that's data you just can't fake.

Which is good, because Miniter doesn't show any other kind. The rest of the piece devolves into medical fantasia:
Tony Blair said last week that after September 11 much of the world "turned over and went back to sleep again." So why won't Ambien and Valium induce again the sleep of fatal innocence?... The post-9/11 slumber was both psychological and political. It became a partisan mindset. London was electroshock therapy...
And if the terrorists attack Brussels next week, it'll be a CAT scan followed by hydrotherapy, and then a break for lunch.

The drumbeat of terror -- be afraid be afraid be ver-r-r-y afraid, be afraid be afraid be ver-r-r-y afraid... -- was once a powerful goad. A politician could just rev that up, adding appropriate visuals (a flag, an eagle, a fireman's cap), and the punters would do whatever he wanted. Now, after years of heedless employment, the drumbeat may have become just background noise. People are getting sick of the Iraq mess, and exploding tube stations seem not to have rekindled their ardor.

Unable to convince the public, our opinion leaders have hit upon a brilliant alternative: to simply announce the public's support. Who's gonna call 'em on it? The blogosphere -- that little strip-mall of guerrilla-advertising boutiques that plant message for the big boys? Not likely. Besides, that lot's too busy complaining about how the MSM plants coded anti-smoking messages into the obituaries of famous lung-cancer casualties.

Well, they're outsourcing everything else; about they got around to opinions.

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