join us. Wrong. The lefties were againstrncompelling America’s youth to go forthrnto fight capitalism’s foreign wars; at arndeeper level, however, they also believedrnthat society had the power to confiscate arncouple of years of the same youths’ livesrnby imposing mandatory national servicernto assist the oppressed, poor, downtrodden,rnand other victims of the capitalist socialrnorder. Fortunately —not muchrnthanks to our efforts—the nation neverrndid get saddled with this particularly virulentrnform of involuntary servitude. Let’srnhope we never do.rn—John McClaughryrnConcord, VTrnOn NATO and EuropernThe British Conservative Party’s defensernpolicy remains frozen in a time warp asrnwe head toward a general election in thernUnited Kingdom this spring. The party isrnopposed to the European Reaction Forcernon the grounds that it undermines NATOrnand the alliance with America. For arnparty that has been in opposition, itrnseems to have done very little fundamentalrnthinking about defense and foreignrnpolicy. It has never queshoned the purposernof NATO in the way that SrdjarnTrifkovic did in “NATO, R.I.P.” {ThernAmerican Interest, January), and the conceptrnof Britain having its own independentrndefense and foreign policy free ofrnsupranational constraints seems alien tornit. When I attended the ConservativernParty conference fringe meeting on defensernlast October, the emphasis was veryrnmuch on the quality of equipment availablernto the Armed Forces and Labour’srnfailures in this area. There was no attemptrnto question what functions thernArmed Forces should perform in thernpost-Cold War world, what our nationalrninterests should be in defense and foreignrnpolicy, what conflicts our nation mightrnencounter —and whether we reallyrnshould be involved in such conflicts, norrnwhether we should continue membershiprnin the United Nations or NATO. Irnwas told by one delegate that NATO wasrnnecessary because we may have to suppressrna neo-Nazi uprising in Germany!rnThe fringe meeting on foreign policyrnwas just as disheartening. The ConservativernParty remains committed to foreignrnaid and maintaining the Department forrnInternational Development. We also stillrnseem to think that the United Nationsrncan be made to work better, despite thernthoroughly subversive role it has exercisedrnin world affairs since 1945.rnI would urge Dr. Trifkovic not to berntoo enthusiastic about any European ReactionrnForce, because its eventual aim isrnto be the nucleus of a European Armyrnunderpinning a country called “Europe.”rnConservatives should strive for thernabolition of NATO and the United Nations,rnand the consequent restoration ofrnindependent national control of defensernand foreign policy for all nations.rn—Allan RobertsonrnLondon, EnglandrnCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnTEDDY KENNEDY, the famed moralrnexemplar, read his former senatorial colleaguernJohn Ashcroft the riot act duringrnconfirmation hearings.rnAshcroft was extreme; his constitutionalrnunderstanding of gun control was “radical.”rnThe senatorial face grew flush —rnpresumably with anger, since it was a bitrnearly in the day for more potent stuff.rnSen. Joe Biden of Delaware was likewisernticked. Why, this man —thisrnAs/jcro/f—had given an interview tornSouthern Partisan, the very existencernof which was offensive to “20 millionrnAfrican-Americans.” He was assumingrn20 million African-Americans so muchrnas knew the interview existed—a questionablernpoint, to say the least.rnAnd there was Sen. Barbara Boxer ofrnCalifornia. She wasn’t going to vote forrn”someone . . . so far out of the mainstreamrnthat it divides the country”—thernmainstream as defined, evidently, byrnSenator Boxer. On to New York Sen.rnCharles Schumer. Ashcroft was “one ofrnthe most outspoken anti-choice crusadersrnin the country.”rnConfirm the guy? You had to wonder,rntoward the end of the hearings, howrnAshcroft’s erstwhile Democratic colleaguesrnhad managed all these years notrnto rend him limb from limb.rnOf course, when you’ve watchedrnWashington politics a while, you knowrnwhat is going on. “Talking for Buncombe”rnhas been a local habit, at leastrnsince 1820, when Rep. Felix Walker ofrnNorth Carolina, during the MissourirnCompromise debate, gave birth to thernterm. Ashcroft’s inquisitors on the JudiciaryrnCommittee were talking to theirrnown private Buncombes, hoping to bernheard, as no doubt they were.rnTheir actions further defaced politicsrn—the process by which men in societyrnseek (theoretically, of course) the good.rnBut another point arises: The right side ofrnthe street always gets defaced, while thernleft side normally escapes damage.rnRepublicans and conservatives hardlyrnever —maybe never—do to Democratsrnand liberals what is done routinely tornthem: eviscerate a president’s nominee —rnjust stand right there and publicly disembowelrnhim, as happened with Ashcroft,rnRobert Bork, and Clarence Thomas. BillrnClinton’s nominees—from the fiercelyrn”pro-choice” Donna Shalala on down —rnreceived dignified treatment. I can thinkrnof no instance in which Republicansrnmade mendacious charges resemblingrnthose leveled at Ashcroft—even in therncase of the really awful and unqualifiedrnJocelyn Elders, whom Clinton ultimatelyrnbounced as surgeon general.rnYou can look at this performance gaprnin two ways: Republicans are wimps, orrnRepublicans are the lonely defenders of arnmostly vanished civility in public life. Inrnmodern politics, wimpery and civility arernsometimes barely distinguishable. Therncivil tend toward what resembles wimpery.rnCivility involves, much of the time,rnthe biting of tongues. You don’t tell a jerkrnwhat a jerk he is, simply because yournweren’t brought up to do so. SenatorrnKennedy is likely the biggest jerk in publicrnlife —an immoralist who loves tornpreach morals; a rich man who exalts hisrncommitment to the poor without divestingrnhimself of his immoral money. Doesrna gentleman, even so, say the obvious—rnthat Ted should be horsewhipped? No,rnhe doesn’t. This is because one doesn’trnwant to climb down to that level—a prettyrnfar drop, in all conscience.rnHowever, failing to climb down for arngood roll in the gutter exacts a certainrncost. You have to hope those watchingrnget the high-minded message: “I’m notrngoing to engage in that sort of thing.”rnThey may get it; they may not—which isrnmore likely in the age of mass democra-rnAPRIL 2001/7rnrnrn