April 3, 2006

We are all cheek-by-jowl now...we are "juxtaposed"

Glenn Reynolds posted this, from one of his readers, Fred Butzen:

You write, "... you can understand people who would support a full-hearted war being unwilling to support a half-hearted one."

That is half correct. Large numbers of paleo-conservatives (e.g., W. F. Buckley) would be much happier with a Kissingeresque put-in-a-strongman-and-nail-down-the-lid strategy for the Middle East. They want no war at all.

What the paleos don't understand is that since 1989, the world has changed utterly. Societies that are in juxtaposition influence each other and, sooner or later, arrive at an equilibrium; with the advent of globalization and the Internet, all societies now are juxtaposed. Bush grasps what so many of his critics on the right miss: either we will make them more like us, or inevitably they will make us more like them.

Iraq is the first step on a long road to making them more like us. It may be too little, it may be too late; but it's a strategy, which is more than the isolationists of the left or right are offering...

Juxtaposed is the right word. Ignoring what goes on on the other side of the globe doesn't work any more. The world has become too small. We are all cheek-by-jowl now. It would be possible for some Mullah in Iran to read these words and e-mail a fatwah in my direction in a matter of a minute or two. (Sigh. I don't think anyone will ever take me that seriously.)

The world has changed, from what it was when I was young. And while it is obvious that liberals are hapless and clueless about it, the same can be said about a lot of conservatives. "Paleo-conservatives" is a good term. They have a mental picture of what is "normal," and all they want is to go back to that place.

Doesn't work any more. Normal is gone. What conservative principles and writings and traditions should be, is a toolkit for dealing with abnormal situations. Which is all we are going to get from here on out. "We have heard the mermaidens singing, and know that we shall never see dry land any more..."

Posted by John Weidner at April 3, 2006 7:55 AM
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