Do the jihadists now realize that we are their greatest friends and facilitators?
With the U.S. doing more to bring about sharia-based government than decades of jihad ever did [see this and this], the Islamic world must surely be wondering why it ever fought American power in the first place.
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Tip for Islamists: All you have to do is stand on a platform, spout vague words such as “freedom” and “democracy” (don’t worry, you don’t have to believe any of it or have even the slightest intention of achieving these values), and point to your would-be oppressors. The Americans will then expend their blood and treasure to ensure that you, mortal enemies of the West who want to see us all destroyed, ascend to power at minimum cost to yourself. Indeed, even though you want nothing more than to carry out a second Holocaust, your most ardent supporters will be the “right-wing” American Jews we call neocons.
Once in power, you may rule as the Koran compels. That part of the story won’t receive as much coverage as the jubilant scenes that preceded it.
Terry Morris writes:
Subject: Facilitators of jihad
I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Freedom of religion means ALL religions.” I simply resigned the country to its fate.
Mr. Morris’s comment captures the whole issue. Americans will support anything that is advanced in the name of “freedom,” even their own slavery and destruction. They judge the goodness of a thing according to whether it is proferred in the name of freedom, instead of judging whether a thing ought to be free according to whether it is good or at least not unacceptably bad. They lack the intelligence—or, more precisely, they lack the will to think—that would enable them to think their way out of this trap. Their belief in freedom as the highest good is so deeply embedded in them that, in their present state, nothing can reach it or extricate it.
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Does history offer an example of an entire people that lost the ability and desire to think logically and sanely about the basic requirements of their political existence, and then regained it in time to save themselves? I don’t know of one, and I can’t see it happening in our case. The inward deliquescence—the liquefaction of our will to exist, and thus of our desire to think logically about the requirements of our existence—has already occurred. It is systemic. It affects liberals and conservatives. I am not saying that it is impossible that we will recover our sanity as a society before it is too late. But I am stating that there is no reason to believe that we will recover it.
D. Edwards writes:
I cannot share your pessimism about our country. Look what has happened in the last four months: A Tea Party type Murdouch beat the RINO Lugar in Indiana; Scott Walker prevailed in his recall election in Wisconsin; a nation went to the defense of a private company, Chick-Fil-A, for its president’s private opinion about marriage; thousands gathered for Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Love” event; Ted Cruz defeats a RINO in Texas; a former governor of Massachusetts. names a fiscal/social conservative as his VP.
First, as I have said many times, the words “pessimism” and “optimism”—so beloved of today’s conservative intelligentsia—have no place in an intellectual discussion. Either my position is correct, or it is not correct. Some supposed inward emotion of “pessimism” has nothing to do with it.
But today’s conservatives, especially neocons and NRO Generation X squishes, love to conduct discussions along these lines: “On this issue, I am cautiously optimistic,” “I felt pessimistic about this yesterday, but today I’m feeling more optimistic,” “My hunch is that such and such will happen,” “Personally I am indifferent to the gay marriage issue,” etc., as though discourse were all about one’s feelings and moods rather than about articulating one’s understanding of things. And centering discussion on the participants’ moods and feelings and likes and dislikes is part of that loss of desire and ability to engage in logical thought about reality which, as I said in my previous comment, is a key to our rush to national suicide.
Second, I am not going to deny that the events you mention were signs of life. But they are also irrelevant to the issues raised in this entry.
I have said that anything that slows up the destruction of the country is good and that I support it, but that slowing up the destruction is not the same thing as stopping and reversing it. See my January 2012 article, “Small moves away from liberalism are not going to turn around the society as a whole,” where I wrote:
One of the changes [in my thinking] is this. Previously, when an establishment conservative writer or a Republican politician said something that indicated a new and better understanding,—an insight into the destructive nature of liberalism, a deeper grasp of the menace of Islam, a greater readiness to acknowledge the reality of cultural/racial differences and the unresolvable contradictions of “diversity”—I would welcome this development, seeing it as a glimmer of hope that a real conservatism, a conservatism that truly resists liberalism, a conservatism which does not now exist, might some day exist.
I no longer react that way. Now when a politician or a mainstream conservative writer says something relatively good, I see it like this: One individual has had an improvement in his understanding, has awakened to some aspect of the falseness of liberalism or of the truth of traditionalism. Other individuals will from time to time have other improvements in their understanding. This is good. But these individual bits of progress are not going to come together into a change in the society as a whole. The society as a whole is going to continue subscribing madly and blindly to liberalism, until the society crashes, or becomes materially or morally unendurable to a decisive number of people, which may be another way of saying the same thing.
At the same time, the rescue of even one person from the hellish falsity of liberalism, even if it does not affect the society as a whole, is a great thing. I know how much this meant in my own life—the process, extending over many years, by which I gradually recognized the untruth of liberalism and developed a new understanding distinct from liberalism, which stands on a separate ground from liberalism. The more people who undergo that liberation and that intellectual and spiritual growth, the better.
However, most of the “bits of progress” that one sees in mainstream conservatism are not of this deeper nature. They are tiny changes which, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I now believe are going nowhere.
Terry Morris writes:
Great answer to D. Edwards. The events he mentions are minor spasms serving more to irritate than to impede the progress of liberalism.
Also, Mr. Edwards’s remark that “a nation” went to the defense of Chic-Fil-A is not correct. More accurately, it was a “nation-wide” show of support. Big difference.
Jim Kalb writes:
You wrote: “Their belief in freedom as the highest good is so deeply embedded in them that, in their present state, nothing can reach it or extricate it.”
It’s a basic problem. In liberal theory, no goal can be publicly recognized as the true good. Each of us has his own goal, and the point of liberal morality and public order is to put each person in a position where he is equally able to pursue it. If you don’t like that system, and if you say there’s some goal that should be recognized as the true good, then you’re just trying force your goal on everyone else. That means you think you’re essentially better than other people. You claim to be part of a master race or some such, so you’re a Nazi.
The theory soon enough becomes absurd because goals conflict and you can’t get around that. Nonetheless, you can’t break out of it at the day-to-day level without claiming that there is some substantive goal that is better than others, and under the fundamental principles that are now basic to public discussion that claim makes you a Nazi. So nobody ever says that and sticks with it. One way or another, everything has to reduce to freedom.
Terry Morris writes:
What an insight by Mr. Kalb. Since it first dawned on me, I’ve pointed out to others that “Everyone has his issue, which ultimately becomes a national issue,” since others around the nation are not yet free of the tyranny inflicted by state and local laws or customs. In short, all existing laws and customs must be overthrown for freedom’s sake.
James P. writes:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 13, 2012 06:34 PM | Send
“Does history offer an example of an entire people that lost the ability and desire to think logically and sanely about the basic requirements of their political existence, and then regained it in time to save themselves?”
Never mind the “regaining” part—I can’t even think of an example of an entire people that lost the ability and desire to think logically and sanely about the basic requirements of their political existence. The insane, suicidal self-loathing of today’s West is, I think, unique.