Friday, August 18, 2006

Ace of Spades: Get History Right, I Say: Get the Future Right

He says this:

Islamic extremism thrives on a sense of unfair treatment and historical grievance. It nutures this, derives its fanatical power from the legend of a thousand years of Christian crusades, slaughter, and persecution.

The sense of unfairness is one of the most potent engines of political passion. Why does the dextrosphere constantly slam the media? Because we sense in our hearts it's deeply unfair. Why has the left gone bugfuck crazy? Because of the triple shocks of the Clinton Impeachment, Bush Victory in Florida, and 9/11, which, unfairly to their minds, shifted the politics of the country in a direction very favorable to the Republicans. One can see how this endlessly-nutured sense of having been done wrong has deranged many of them. [emphasis added-ed.]

.........

Context. Nuance. Factual accuracy.

Academics, the media, and liberals are supposed to be big on these things, right?

Then why do they greet every claim of Muslim victimhood with the credulous, and very condescending, reaction of "Yes, yes, you poor dear, we've been just awful, just the worst sort of rotters, really, and we can hardly blame you for feeling so terribly put-upon as to resort to support for terrorism" ?

That dishonest, ahistorical, and racially condescending response is not helping anyone.

In fact, it's contributing to people being murdered.

A commenter responding to Ace's column cites this speech given by Alexander Solzhenitsyn at Harvard about this very topic. He says:

I am not examining here the case of a world war disaster and the changes which it would produce in society. As long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we have to lead an everyday life. There is a disaster, however, which has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.

To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging and evaluating everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not been noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests tend to suffocate it. This is the real crisis. The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections.

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President's performance be reduced to the question of how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.

It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times.

There is nothing new under the sun. Islam today, yesterday, and other failed mythologies before it, traded in violence. Islam still uses violence as its chief negotiating tool. In times past and today, there were moral people, as defined by God, who fought back against these beliefs. There were others, and sometimes those who once fought, who despairing and tired gave up and called it "love" and "tolerance". These people, lacking in courage, overcome by fear, faithless, appeased in hopes the violence would go away. It didn't. It won't.

I have friends who read my blog who are concerned for my staunch stand against this threat. They pity me, someone they have admired on a theoretical level but think I'm cracked when it comes to worrying about the Islamic threat and the totalitarians who are exploiting the weaknesses provided by this threat. They find my naivite and single-mindedness and moral unsophistication bemusing and troubling at the same time.

I admit to times of plagued self-doubt. But those times of doubt come when I'm rationalizing the evidence in front of my face. It is still almost incomprehensible that someone would drive a plane into a building holding (hopefully in their minds) 30,000 people with a desire to kill them all. Who would want themselves and that many innocent people dead? What kind of monster? But I still have trouble wrapping my mind around Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot's atrocities. How could Saddam Hussein murder tens of thousands of his own countrymen? How could the Rwandans wipe one another out? How can the Chinese defend destroying the whole Tibeten culture? How can these evil beings still exist after what we learned in WWII?

If we ignored them, would they go away? A big part of parenting is not reinforcing bad behavior by paying attention to it. Ignoring is a powerful tool. In fact, I am a parent who can count on my fingers the times I have punished my children. I just don't have to do it that much. The expectations are set out for them. The reason for the expectations are set out for them once they are old enough to understand. But sometimes my children have exhibited behavior so egregious, so rank in the potential for long-term harm to them and others that I must punish them. They must know that I mean what I say. They must be instilled with respect for others and themselves.

There are rules. They may not harm another to get what they want. It is simply not acceptable. The world does not revolve around them alone. They must be taught this empathy or they will be soulless little miscreants who dehumanize their fellow man and inflict harm to whomever gets in the way of their desires. This is unacceptable behavior. It must be consistently rooted out when the issues are small, so they don't grow big, malformed lives. Sometimes this means punishment.

Most of the time it means instilling love. To the best of my ability, loving, teaching moments fill the day and their hearts. Encouraging them to do the right thing. Explaining, demonstrating and constructing a moral, God-centered, life that results in joy and peace and patience. I'm hoping that they are so filled with love that their is no room for evil to take root.

I do not have to punish often because my children know, without a shadow of a doubt, I mean what I say. For so long now, these amoral children of the world have inflicted their aggression and dreams of domination on a grown-up civilized world and felt no consequences. Bill Clinton employed his social skills, his negotiation skills to no avail. Under his watch, more amoral children became armed and very dangerous. They have been ignored long enough.

These societies are growing into the very dangerous teenagers. They have fantasies of taking over. The fantasy's end is most certain destruction. Now, I know these societies are made up of adults. That is certainly true. But the dogmas they are suckled with keep them trapped in an amoral morass of retribution for, as Ace says, historical grievances. They believe lies to fuel their hatred.

That is why, at the end of the day, I believe that appeasement, denial and ignoring Islamofascism is folly. Just because there were no symptoms of cancer for a while, didn't mean it wasn't growing. And it didn't start growing with George Bush. The War on Terror started after America was attacked on our soil remember?

It is immature to perseverate on the question "Where's Osama?" I want him dead, too. But everyone knows this fight will continue with or without him.

It is immature to ignore the strategic implications of an American presence in Iraq and I'm not just talking oil supply. Iraq is in the belly of the beast. It was weak. George Bush sought this target to rid the world of one scumbag and be in close enough proximity to take on another, more potent beast. Please do not pretend this is not a legitimate strategy.

It is immature to ignore the worldwide implications of a dead American economy. If America dies the world dies. This is no small thing. America needs fuel, but America's fuel energizes the rest of the world. No blood for oil? Why the hell not? The world needs America to stay strong.

It is immature to ignore and rationalize the bombings and burnings in Spain, Britain, France, Chechnya, the U.S., now potentially Germany. Everywhere freedom and democracy stands, Islamists have death waiting at the door.

So as hard as all this is, and it has been five years since 9/11 and I am emotionally tired. Big whup? This war has asked nearly nothing of anyone of us. Our servicemen and women bust it for the "big idea" while those who enjoy the God-given freedoms pretend they fight for nothing, because they fear the implications if the acknowledge the fight is worthy.

Yes, it's scary looking into the face of another world war. It's either admit it or be on the receiving end of an amoral, violent, tantrum thrown by people who have weapons to do devastating harm.

1 comment:

Gina Cobb said...

Right on and well said!