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Geriatric brats and noble men

By Bruce Walker
web posted June 7, 2004

Geriatric Brats - that best describes the portion of the Left which currently includes such ingenues as Jane Fonda, Marlo Thomas and John Kerry. These senior citizens were spoiled rotten by a generation of fathers whose blood on the beaches of Omaha and Okinawa earned the safe freedom of America during the two decades following the Second World War.

Ms. Fonda, like Ms. Thomas, was the beloved, beautiful daughter of a beloved, rich and famous father. What these old women should have felt in their youth was profound gratitude toward a country which had given them everything and asked almost nothing of them in return, but gratitude is tiresome and unfashionable to brats: pouting and posturing suit them much better.

John Kerry married two millionairesses, his current wife herself married into the Heinz family. After an abbreviated, and probably carefully calculated, tour of duty in Vietnam, Kerry returned to instantly oppose the very war in which he had volunteered to serve. Such fickleness from soldiers turned politicians resembles very bad men.

Adolph Hitler first dodged the draft in Austria, and then he enlisted for combat in Bavaria to fight for Imperial Germany when the Great War began, then he joined the Bavaria Soldier's Soviet in the brief Bavarian experiment with Marxism, then denounced Marxism as well as the Kaiser and the "November Traitors." Hitler never tired of reminding his audiences that he, too, had been a front line soldier. Hitler was a brave and decorated veteran in the Great War. He was also an evil liar.

Mussolini gained his first real notice in Italian politics when he protested the "Imperialist" Italian war against Libya and denounced war in general as a capitalist ploy. The Duce, as his Socialist compatriots called him long before his Fascist compatriots called him Duce, emphatically opposed Italy entering the Great War in 1914, but by 1915 Mussolini emphatically supported entering the war against Austria and Germany.

Duce, as the leader of Fascist Italy, first supported Austria against Germany, then betrayed Austria to Germany, then stayed neutral during the first nine months of the Second World War, then joined the side of Greater Germany (Germany and Austria united in Anschluss.) Mussolini, like Hitler, was a brave front line soldier. He never tired of telling people that he was a brave front line soldier. Like Hitler, Mussolini was also an evil liar.

Bravery in combat, all other things being equal, is a virtue, but bravery itself is not a virtue. Hitler and Mussolini were genuinely physically brave, as was Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun and General Yamashita. Bravery, like intelligence, magnifies the capability of the individual, but the individual must choose whether that magnification of potential makes greater good or greater evil.

Mendacity and betrayal are the best indicators of whether courage and technology, like wealth, beauty, fame, strength and popularity help or hurt the cause of virtue in life. Churchill and Washington were at least as physically courageous as Hitler or Mussolini. These two good men also had the true and better courage: moral courage.

We all know that we will die, and that makes physical courage possible in evil hearts. Some of us, however, do not believe in a good and true God watching and judging us. They lack the courage of conscience. These men, like Napoleon and Caesar and Hitler and Mussolini, parlay their physical courage into turning a savage lust for power into empires of lies, doubt and fear among men. John Kerry seems, sadly, like such a man. I hope not. Venting rage at men tortured by North Vietnamese Communists whose cause Kerry tacitly championed is not a good sign.

Who does President Bush seem like? He seems like quite another man to me. There was a president once who, like President Bush, served his nation in war without going into combat. This president, like President Bush, deeply loved and admired his wife. This president, like President Bush, loved the whole human race as special creatures of a loving God.

One might have thought that this president was not "brave" in the sense of good men like President George H. Bush, President John Kennedy or Senator Bob Dole - it would have been an easy assumption - until one day, before the world, his courage and his faith were put to the test. "Honey, I forgot to duck" this good man, whose courage came from faith and not fierceness, told his wife.

President Reagan had the moral courage to win the Cold War, end the Evil Empire, and endure the ridicule and sneers of mature, but not yet Geriatric, Brats. President Bush has the moral courage to endure the spite and spittle of these Geriatric Brats, who grow more desperate as their appointed days decrease, as their skin wrinkles, as their fans grow older and wiser.

The foul childhood of the Geriatric Brats like Hanoi Jane and Ms. Thomas is ending. Maybe so also the childhood of the Senator from Heinz. The day of the Noble Man is always now.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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