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One reader says liberals may need "a checkup from the neck up."

11:00 PM, Nov 17, 2004
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.


REGARDING MATTHEW Continetti's Uncivil War, I'd say that the left is on some serious drugs if they think civil war is imminent. They had better hope it's not; this time, the tables are turned.

The red states are far better armed, and our camouflage jackets are not brand new. The red states have most of the military bases and a high percentage of the active military hails from either red states or red counties in blue states. Speaking of which, the majority of the blue state territory is, itself, red. Look at the county-by-county map, we've got them surrounded. Except for their street gangs, they are all pacifists and we grow virtually all their food, except brie and French wine--and armies don't march well on that.

I think there are some folks on the left who need to get a checkup from the neck up.

--Charles Buntin


MATTHEW CONTINETTI mentions Jane Smiley. Ms. Smiley grew up in Missouri, I grew up in Kansas. Her dishonest account of the time and place known as "Bleeding Kansas" takes my breath away.

The fact is that the pro-slave Missourians organized themselves in blue lodges--the progenitors of that wonderful organization, the KKK. They had secret signs, words and handshakes, and liked to steal chickens. They burned, looted, and raped the defenseless settlers out on the prairie. I'm tempted to declare that they raped the chickens too, but I have no evidence to support this, and unlike Ms. Smiley, I won't twist the story to fit my thesis.

The Kansans weren't perfectly PC. While some Kansans wanted abolition of slavery, others would have been satisfied to merely outlaw slavery in Kansas. And some wanted a territory that was lily white.

The Kansans called the Missourians bushwhackers, border ruffians, and, my particular favorite--and one I've actually heard my Iowa grandmother use a couple of times in polite conversation--Missouri pukes. The Missourians called the Kansans Jayhawkers. Must have been a pejorative then...

The Missourians tried to take guns away from the Kansans and they stuffed ballot boxes as if they were Thanksgiving turkeys. But the Kansans had influence in Massachusetts. Their pals sent them Sharp's Rifles in boxes labeled 'Bibles.'("Beecher's Bibles" after Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.) The Sharp's rifle was a weapon of mass destruction in 1856. It was a breach loader so it could be reloaded and fired three times more rapidly than the muzzle loaders available to most frontiersmen. It propelled a 50 caliber projectile - and that's BIG - accurately enough so that folks said you could shoot the stripes off a skunk at 500 yards.

In one election, only 3,000 people were qualified to vote, but the Missourians invaded the territory, took over the polling places at gunpoint, kept the locals from voting and STILL garnered 6,000 votes. A couple of other favorite tricks of those fun loving Missouri boys was to throw printing presses into the Missouri River, nail up churches, and set tarred and feathered preachers adrift on the river.

To answer these atrocities of the Missourians (which Ms. Smiley seems to say never happened), the Kansans organized a new political party--The Free State party--which later sent delegates to the organizing convention of the Republican party.

--Dennis Maley


REGARDING MATTHEW Continetti's piece, "Uncivil War," I own five more guns than all my liberal friends combined: five for me, zero for them. I imagine that similar ratios exist across the rest of the red state/blue state divide. In the words of Zell Miller, what are they going to fight us with, spitballs?

--Steven Schlein


THE LEFT HAS already demonstrated a complete unwillingness, if not inability, to use force in order to overcome irreconcilable differences. Secession is really not an option for them. Their arsenal is limited to "gripe grenades," "moan guns," and "bitch bombs." The Union will survive.

--Joshua Guthrie


IT HAS COME to this! Jonathan V. Last has been sucked to the dark side with his Saving John Kerry eulogy. Last has a bad case of say-something-nice-about-the-dead syndrome. He is right that the Democratic pundits are unjustly putting all the blame for their stinging defeat at Kerry's feet. But that's because they can't bring themselves to admit that the problems lie in their party's ideology.