20 June 2004
How deep the rot
Abigail, late last night:
There has been another beheading. I heard the comment that it was inhuman. I disagree. I think that act is very, very human. For humanity, at its core, is dark and evil.
What we call civilization is the process of dealing with that dark and evil core and preventing it from running amok. It's a process because it's ongoing: it never ends. There is no point at which we can declare "Okay, we're civilized enough," and discontinue the process.
And contrary to the delusions of our believers in multiculturalism, those of us whose early development was informed by the writings and the histories of those often-derided Dead White European Males are generally doing a better job of keeping that core under control. I suggest that this is because the DWEMs were raised in a culture which actually acknowledged its existence (cf. Genesis 3) and proposed some semblance of a solution.
The DWEMs believed in the most basic form of egalitarianism: we are all fallen, we are all unworthy. Contemporary society has inverted this notion for the sake of our collective self-esteem, even as it berates us for using more of the world's resources per capita than your average tribesman in Borneo, who through no fault of his own might have to save up for a couple of years to make a trip to Starbucks.
Then there are the beheaders, who subscribe to a simple binary notion: you are one of us, or you are an infidel who shall be slain. It is appalling, but not at all surprising, that the multiculturalists are willing to give them a pass: we hate DWEMs, they hate DWEMs. The fact that most of the world's woes of the past thirty years were engineered by the beheaders and their friends impresses these people not a whit. "If they hate us," comes the mewl, "there must be a good reason for it." And of course there is: we are infidels, therefore we shall be slain, and since it's their culture, we are obliged to honor its provisions, and anyway, it's our fault for being over there in the first place when we should have been here, riding the bus downtown to our mandatory diversity-training sessions.
As belief systems go, present-day Islam is a strong contender for the dubious title of "Worst. Philosophy. Ever." (One can only hope that the Scientologists never obtain weapons of mass destruction.) The American left calls for withdrawal from the entire Middle East, so that lives may be saved.
Because, of course, nothing can ever happen to us over here. Posted at 11:09 AM to Political Science Fiction
"It is appalling, but not at all surprising, that the multiculturalists are willing to give them a pass: we hate DWEMs, they hate DWEMs. The fact that most of the world's woes of the past thirty years were engineered by the beheaders and their friends impresses these people not a whit. "If they hate us," comes the mewl,"
utter crap! Complete straw man and a waste of what appears to be infinite amounts of online space. That says alot!
Next time make your argument about an actual person making a specific argument, not some amorphous group of "them" whose opinions you can shape and mold for the specific purpose of deriding.
Trust me, Bruce, if I could shape and mold anyone's opinions, I wouldn't be blogging. :)
In the meantime, I leave you with the words of John Stuart Mill:
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
I wish I were arrogant enough to go around telling other people what to write in their blogs. I could keep myself busy 24/7. Starting with bruce.
Fortunately for him and everybody else, I still understand what "free country" means.
It's a curious viewpoint he's pushing here: it's okay to fisk individuals, presumably, but tarring and feathering groups is just wrong. Given the left's infatuation with groups and its relative indifference to individuals, this could be a welcome sign "I am so not a lockstep liberal" or it could be just another outcropping of Bruce's growing impatience with this site, especially since I no longer provide 75 percent of his traffic. :)
My better half and I have had many a discussion about how to deal with the middle east. How does one get rid of the cancer that is trying to overtake the body of humanity? John Stuart Mill was very correct. But what price is America willing to pay for the removal of this cancer? We need to decide as a nation once and for all this is what needs to be done and then allow the military as free a reign as possible (including the use of tactical nukes if needed) to do what needs to be done. Or we need to fold up our tent and recede into some sort of fortress America. There will be no middle ground.
Or am I being to black and white on this? I have always thought war was a very serious business and once committed to the waging of same, we do all in our power to achieve victory. Or we do a grave disservice to those we send in to harms way.
Half measures don't do the job, even if you do them twice. I don't particularly want to see that part of the world turned into a sheet of glass, but if that's the only way to insure we don't have any more 9/11-type attacks, then let the ordnance fly.
If I thought these people could be reasoned with but no, never mind, there's no evidence to support such a premise, forget I mentioned it.
1. I'm not telling people what to do.. again! You're a bunch of paranoids. "Criticism", look it up.
2. I could care less about traffic, I write for my own amusement and self awareness, as evidenced by my sporadic and non-thematic ramblings.
3. I think its lazy to fisk some vague group of individuals and it goes a long way to dumbing down the discourse. If you can;t find a single example of a person actually saying what you are attributing to a group of people then maybe that group is an illusion.
At some point in my own writing I found that it was easier to attribute certain attitudes and ideas to a group of "some people" but I was being dishonest. The real debate about issues like terrorism and war are more dynamic than Chaz makes it sound.
Sure there are some people that are against war for any reason. That's not me or many people I know. What I oppose is war in some ill defined state, with no clear objective, no end in site and fueled by political motivations. Is that so "out there".
What I ask is that WE not start falling into the habit of subscribing to the same "simple binary notion" that we are just and right in all we do. But apparently an unwillingness to acknowledge our own failings has become just as much a part of contemporary society as self criticism. We are supposed to "pick a side" and speak that language.
Are we supposed to now accept it as documented fact that our continuing need to meddle and "shape the world" will invariably lead to more security? I think history might shed some light on that subject. We are repeating Cold War errors.
You last two paragraphs are either poorly worded or just plain wrongheaded from how I read it.
We are not at war with Islam, we are at war with fundamentalism and tribal hatreds. We will never win by drawing lines and forming our own tribal allegiances. We cannot tactitly accept the death of innocent people no matter their geography.
We are not civilized and peaceful because of some outside force. It takes centuries of progress to get to a point where tolerance trumps tribal instincts. That we learned by another group of DWEM in the 18th century means we must look to our own selves and past our own prejudices. As much as it may pain some tribalists to hear it, we got to where we are today by destroying those tribes with reason and secularism.
Modern people no longer care about religion, skin color, ethnicity when we know that those attributes no longer constitute the sum of that person's value. It's what that person can do for all of us. We use knowledge and skill as replacement currencies.
We can build a long lasting peace when our actions reflect that reality adn not the one of centuries past.
"Centuries past"? Like the era of the Caliphate, which Islam is intent on restarting whether anyone likes it or not?
"Knowledge and skill"? And these will save us from a suicide bomber how, exactly?
"Cold War errors"? Didn't we win that one?
And so on, and so on, and scooby-dooby-doo....
shorter version: we're better served making them more like us than becoming more like them. With all the fearmongering and jingoism I feel we are going in their direction and I can hear the damn terrorists laughing.