The Pakistani Spectator Interviews Radarsite
Note from Radarsite: Shortly after Radarsite posted The Pakistani Spectator's interview of our friend and fellow blogger Courtney M. aka Great Satan's Girlfriend, during which she kindly mentioned this author, I received the request for this interview. I am cross posting it here in full with comments because I believe that the questions they asked and the ideas brought forth in this dialogue are important. About halfway through the interview -- which, as you will see, consisted of some pretty tough questions, it occurred to me that -- whether I had intended it to be that way or not, in some small way I was speaking to Pakistan as an American, on behalf of America. Suddenly my answers to their very pertinent questions took on a much greater significance. I hope my answers reflect the sincere love I have for this great country of ours and that I did her justice.
Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
I just turned 71 a couple of weeks ago, and I am currently enjoying one of the most interesting and rewarding periods of my life. I started Radarsite this past summer and had my first article published by Political Grind.Com in August. So I am actually pretty new to this whole world of blogging. Radarsite is my attempt to counter as much of the anti-Americanism that seems so pervasive in this world today as possible. I am an unapologetic patriot, and hopefully Radarsite conveys this sentiment through my own writings and those of my worthy contributors.
Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?
A great question. Yes, I do feel I continue to grow, but not just in my writing, but in my views of this complicated world we are all living in. To me, it is extremely important that we continue to grow and if necessary change our opinions about things as we grow. One of the biggest mistakes which I think all of us can make, is to find yourself defending yesterday’s opinions even though they no longer hold water today. Or worse, defending your opinons against all challengers just because they are your opinions. I have a lot of opinions, but if my opinion on a certain subject proves to be wrong I’ll drop it like a hot potato.
I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
Well, this certainly has to be one of them. Actually being able to converse with someone in Pakistan, as we are doing right now, is nothing less than amazing to me. And I am immensely grateful that I have lived long enough to be able to be a part of this miracle in communication. Also, I’d have to say, it’s been thrilling for me to find out how many friends we actually have around this world. As Americans, we are often led to believe by our very own media that almost the whole world is unanimous in their hatred for us lately, whereas I have begun to see a different side to that coin. A very encouraging side. And you, if I may say so, are a part of that encouraging sign
What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?
That is a full time job. But a pleasant one. First you must of course read their blogs. Then, if possible you must participate in the discussion. This of course means commenting on other’s work, or cross-posting articles, perhaps coming to their defense if need be — as they would come to yours. We also keep in touch with one another through our emails. I belong to a small group of conservative fellow bloggers who can communicate with each other in relative privacy, without worrying about the necessity of defending everything you’re saying. We are friends, we belong to a community. We care about each other and try to do our best to promote each other’s work — not for any personal gain, but because we sincerely believe in what we do and in the causes we advocate.
What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
You can probably guess what my answer will be. It is this incredible democratic tool called the Internet, which, as you know, has proven to be such a thorn in the side of autocratic rulers and dictatorial regimes. We are the new frontier, me in my living room here in New England, USA, and you in your office (I presume) in Pakistan. And all the rest of us. The teenagers and the old folks like me. We are all the New Generation.
Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?
Obviously, I hope so. I believe they are becoming more and more effective, and more and more governments are beginning to recognize their inherent power, and the fact that they must deal with them, one way or another, like it or not. I believe that there are a great many of us around the world who, regardless of our differences, essentially want the same things for ourselves and our children. And, to me, democracy is the surest way to a better life. Not everyone feels this way of course, there are unfortunately those who at this very moment are being raised in an environment of hatred and racism and intolerance.You are dealing with some of these people there in Pakistan, and we are dealing with some of them here in America. Freedom, to some people, is a frightening and a threatening concept. These are the people I hope that we can reach.
What do you think sets Your site apart from others?
Another good question, and one that I’ve certainly considered. At the risk of sounding self-serving, I would have to say honesty and passion. That is something you can’t really fake, and I feel it is something that we, myself and my wonderful contributors, all bring to Radarsite. We believe that what we believe in is right, but even more importantly, we believe that we are being truthful, always being as truthful as humanly possible. And if we are proven wrong about something, then so be it. We will have no problems admitting it and moving on. We recently ran a rather scathing analysis of our own State Department, followed up by a second article by the contributing author, Shane Borgess, responding to arguments against his original piece from an ex-State Department employee. After talking it over with Shane, I wrote to the State Department and offered to post any response they might have. I explained to them that the most important thing of all to us was not being right, but getting it right. Especially when it’s about our own government in this time of troubles. In fact, in this particular case, we’d much rather be wrong. Who knows if they’ll respond. But the offer is there.
If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
That’s easy. Learning — still learning — and learning to be scrupulously honest with myself, and accept responsibilities for my own actions and my own mistakes — and also for my own small triumphs.
What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
A tough question. I’ve had many of both. Thankfully, many more happy moments than gloomy ones. But, I would have to say that one of the gloomiest moments of my life was September 11, 2001. That day changed everything.
Do you think [the use of Twitter and other social networking tools by politicians] is bandwagon jumping or what?
I have no idea what that question means. Sorry.
If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?
Well, to be polite I should of course say Pakistan. But, I’ve never been to Rome. I’ve studied the Roman Empire for thirty years now, but I’ve never been to Rome. Yes, it would have to be Rome.
What is your favorite book and why?
Again, for anyone who reads a lot this is an almost impossible question. But I’ll try. For non-fiction, I would say Michael Grant for ancient history. For World War Two and Nazi Germany, Sir John Keegan and Professor Gerhard Weinberg — both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with. And for more current topics, Mark Steyn, Victor Davis Hanson, and Bernard Lewis. Some of my favorite novelists would be Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, and just for fun, John LeCarre, and perhaps, for the thrill of being transported back in time to a rowdy First Century Rome, that fragment of a novel, Petronius’ “Satyricon”.
What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?
Whether or not they are willing to be honest with themselves.
Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?
Ha! Now there’s a question. Just recently, a commenter wrote that I had “never written anything of value since I started posting.” Now that one’s pretty hard to beat.
How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
I have no idea.
Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?
Another great question. And the answer, amazingly, seems to be No. I am fortunate in that I am retired and I live alone, I can spend as much time as is necessary on my blog. But, to my continual amazement, some of those bloggers — a lot of them women, mothers with jobs and families — are more prolific than I could ever hope to be. I’m thinking now of my friends like Susan Duclos aka Spree of Wake Up America, Deb Hamilton of Right Truth, Miss Beth of Miss Beth’s Victory Dance, Amy Proctor, Barb of Faultline — all of these women have families and kids and jobs, yet still manage to put out some of the most successful conservative blogs on the net. And I can’t forget to mention my good friend Courtney M. (Great Satan’s Girlfriend) who is probably indirectly responsible for this interview taking place, and who, among all of the other things she is doing, is attending college full time. And so many others, like my buddy and contributor Shane, who has a family and a demanding full time career. These people put me to shame. I am in constant awe of their capacity for work and their creativity. And, of course, with any list like this, you live in fear of forgetting someone whom you truly respect and admire, as I’m sure I’ve done here. There are just too many to mention.
What are your thoughts on corporate blogs and what do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages are?
I have no thoughts on corporate blogs. Sorry.
What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?
We’re doing it right now, aren’t we? And I thank you for this opportunity.
Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
I think I just mentioned some of them. However, there’s also Snooper and Ben and Dean and Charlie and Hawk and Len and Robert N. and Norman and Helena — should I go on?
Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
Yes. This one is easy to answer. Although I’ve written many pieces critical of many different things, feminists, liberals, jihadists, Mexican-Americans — even the Queen of England, I have never received as much hate mail and personal attacks (like that one I mentioned above about my writing abilities) as I received for an article I wrote in unabashed praise of America, called “A Brief Message to America”. Earlier that week I had written what I thought was a somewhat controversial article about the Jews and anti-semitism, which I was sure would generate a lot of nasty responses — although it actually received none. But that small patriotic piece about America caused a major uproar of reaction. It made some people “sick”, some even found it “disgusting”. I was accused of being either a phony or a fool. In fact, I received such a surprising amount of passionate responses that I ended up writing another article about these reactions.
Surprisingly, the subject of patriotism in America it seems is more contentious and inflammatory than the subject of anti-semitism or Islam. To me, that was an eye-opener. Interestingly, almost all of the really hateful responses came from within the United States itself, and some of the most heartening support for America came from overseas.
This is how conflicted we are as a country. We are conflicted in much the same way as many other countries of the world are conflicted right now. And as Pakistan itself is certainly an example. I believe that we — the entire world — are in the midst of an “axial age” — a time of great decisions and of great consequences. And in some ways, I believe that our internal struggles have much more in common than one might think.
What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?
In a word — scary. Probably the same answer that a lot of Pakistanis would give about their perception of America.
We are both being torn apart by our internal struggles to come to terms with diametrically opposed ideologies, for which there seems to be less and less common ground for compromise. And — what makes this so particularly scary to so many people, is of course that we are both nuclear powers. We, both Pakistan and the United States, have the ability to wreak awesome devastation on mankind. And we are both in political and ideological turmoil right now. Now, that is scary.
Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
Another easy one. Yes, and you just recently interviewed her. Courtney M. (GSG) is absolutely unique and stunning. And good for you for noticing.
What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?
That’s a hard question. And it is a question that is at the very heart of so much of our present global unrest. A ‘developed’ country could arguably be described as a successful country. Therefore it becomes easy for that country to see the proper road to success for all other countries as being that same road which they themselves took, with such fortunate consequences — ‘This worked for me, so therefore it must work for you’. I think we’ve been humbled a bit recently by that good-hearted but somewhat myopic vision. But, I think we are still learning.
People of the world must in the end find their own way, we in America can lead by example, but we cannot dictate. Perhaps I am truly a hopeless patriot, but I honestly believe, in the depths of my soul that we are indeed a good country who tries very hard to do the right thing. Most of the time, I believe we have done the right thing. Even those times in our history for which we have taken the most criticism, from both within and without our own country. I do not believe that we are a selfish, self-centered Imperialist power just out to increase our own magnificence. I believe that we are trying to help the world change for the better. As you well know, these particular beliefs are not very popular in a lot of places both here and abroad these days. But that doesn’t change their inherent truth.
What is the future of blogging?
Again, I have no idea. We all hope that the future is bright and that our efforts will eventually make a difference. But our governments are having a tough time coming to grips with this latest threat to their autonomy. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.
You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
Radarsite and the people whom I have met through this blogosphere have become both my new personal and my new professional life. And I love it. Where else would I be talking with you right now?
What are your future plans?
To live long enough to see the world turn away from intolerance and hatred, and for people to begin taking pride in themselves again. To see people really start becoming honest with themselves, and giving up that all-too-easy and shallow comfort of the Victim’s Role. This world has been torn asunder too many times by the self-righteous destructive rage of “belligerent victims”. We must all start to grow up and accept responsibilty for our circumstances in this life and quit looking for scapegoats. Every one of us has the power to achieve some measure of inner peace and contentment. We just have start using this awesome power. Countries have to start using this power
Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Yes. I want to say hello. I want to get to know you better, and for you to get to know us better. I don’t want us to be ’scary’ to each other anymore. And I want you to somehow find your own way to peace and happiness. Our two countries need each other’s help, now more than ever. I hope that through dialogue such as this — which you so kindly initiated — we can become closer and more trusting of one another. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you.
3 Responses »
Faultline USA on February 15th, 2008 :
This is an excellent interview with my good friend, Roger Gardner, of Radarsite. Roger is truly an amazing blogger who has made an important mark in the conservative blogosphere in a very short time. His eloquence, passion, and intellectual grasp of the issues are evident in all of his posts. There’s no doubt that at the ripe age of 71, Roger is a rising star and proof positive that age is no barrier in this brave new frontier of blogging!
Susan Duclos on February 15th, 2008 :
Wonderful interview with Roger. His passion comes out when he writes as does his love for America. It is real, it is true and it is what every citizen of every country should be able to feel. Pride in their country.
Snooper on February 15th, 2008 :
Roger, Roger, Roger! Roger has the ability to assess the many issues and situations with a keen perspective that very few can ever hope to achieve. He and I are from The Old School where personal and professional responsibility and accountability are The Norm, not The Exception. We are not victims and Roger’s outlook on the Victim Mentality is so true and it is missed by so many. The Victim Mentality is a terrible circumstance…something is always the fault of a something or a someone else…such shallowness is appallingly shocking.
As Roger mentioned, we are members of a tight group of Patriots and we love our country…we don’t always agree on the issues but this is what makes our interrelations so “unique”…something the world’s politicians have seemed to dismiss all together.
Kudos to our friend Roger of Radarsite and thanks goes out to this venue of reaching out.
Excellent interview Roger!
Thanks to The Pakastani Spectator