For Lamest Excuse of 2005 I would have to give the nod to NUVO letter writer Joe Smerdel in his response to a book review of Do as I Say, Not as I Do by Peter Schweizer (Mail, “Half-truths,” Nov. 16-23).

The book points out the likes of Michael Moore and Ralph Nader both rail against “criminal” corporations in the oil, defense and pharmaceutical industries while actually holding their stocks in their private portfolios. The reason, we are told by Smerdel, is so they can “receive the information that it sends its stockholders” and thus be advised of the their illegal activities.

Ah! So that’s where Exxon details their evil plan to drive up gas prices — in their annual report to the stockholders. Yes, folks, buy a few shares of Halliburton and within weeks you and Dick Cheney will be eating Jell-O slammers off some call girl’s butt whilst drunken corporate executives spill the beans! I understand a liberal’s need to defend the hypocritical behaviors of their heroes but can’t they come up with something original to throw someone off their trail for at least a minute?

Another grievance of Smerdel concerns Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is an MIT linguist who has a long-running love affair with the left by demonizing the defense industry. The book states he has been on the payroll of the Pentagon for a number of decades as MIT generally gets military contracts. Smerdel explains it is impossible to work at MIT and not receive funds from the Pentagon. This, according to Smerdel, is not hypocrisy, but rather suggests it’s simply a case of “biting the hand that feeds you.”

To accept this one must a) labor under the impression that a world renowned linguist professor has few career options outside of MIT and b) struggle to understand that one can “bite the hand that feeds him” AND be a hypocrite, concurrently. Unless someone holds a gun to Chomsky’s head and forces him to work at MIT and take defense money, then I see Smerdel’s argument as unconvincing.

From the tops of mountains liberals spout their expectations of others yet, when the microscope is pointed at them, they often live by a different set of rules — often rules they impugn. They wail about companies not promoting more blacks, but how many do you think they have employed? They complain of America’s obsession with energy consumption as they are often carted around the globe in fuel-sucking private jets. They swear we need to pay more taxes, but conveniently find off-shore accounts for their money to reside free of those pesky taxes.

These are serious charges and should be subject to open debate. Of the substantial charges leveled in the book, however, Smerdel snatches at low hanging fruit and still fails to offer up reasonable defenses.

Steven Watts

Indianapolis

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