September 20, 2006

"Near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void..."

Wretchard, referring to the speech of the Pope, plus statements by Cardinal Pell and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. (And contrasting these with the ludicrous attempt by ABC News to "explain away" the Muslim term "Day of Rage.")...

...How has it happened that the most unlikely persons are speaking on what is apparently the most volatile of subjects? It is doubly surprising because there is a powerful reluctance within the organizational culture of Christian churches to voice any criticism of another religion. The statements by Pope Benedict XVI, Lord Carey and Cardinal Pell are really near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void left by Western cultural and political leaders -- a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently.

This erasure of cultural borders caused by the near total desertion of the frontier by the so-called opinion-leaders has invited the most reckless elements of Islam across and raised the risk of real clash of civilizations. As Lord Carey put it: "We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times". It is a time made perilous not only by the absence of moderate voices within Islam but by the even more conspicuous absence of any leadership among Western politicians.

It is a failure which will sooner or later lead to what military historians call a "meeting engagement" in which two forces, each possessed of its own momentum, blunder into each other with catastrophic results. A false kind of tolerance has abolished the fence between the piggery and mosque, the adult video store and the cathedral, the flaming match and the stick of dynamite and called it progress. It is no such thing. It is called stupidity.

"...the near total desertion of the frontier by the so-called opinion-leaders." Exactly so. There are TWO problems facing us. One is Islamic radicalism, and the other is the vacuum in the soul of the nominally-Christian West. And I think number two is a bigger problem by orders of magnitude. "...a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently."

We are drawing them forth. We are
emboldening and empowering the worst elements of Islam, by rewarding their bad behavior. (Instead of doing what we should have done, which was to squash them a long time ago--that would have been the path of peace. But you can't act unless you believe, and the hollow men do not.)

There's
always going to be crazy evil in the world. If the entirety of Islam vanished tomorrow, there would soon be some new strain of bacterium emerging from some slime bog somewhere. And if, as I would expect, the forces of order and civilization cringe away from it, then there will be a new global threat.

Posted by John Weidner at September 20, 2006 1:45 PM
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