June 13, 2007

Clear thought...

Mike Plaiss e-mailed to tell me of a WSJ article, but only available to subscribers: "There is one today (not on-line) called My Only Son by Leon de Winter that could have simply been lifted off your blog. If you don't regularly get the WSJ make sure to pick one up today. You'll want to read this."

Well, as they say, "Information wants to be free." Several bloggers have reprinted the piece. You can find it here. I'll quote part of it...

Leon de Winter: My Only Son

During the past four years, 170,000 Americans have died in traffic accidents. For young people, traveling in a car is the leading cause of death. Over the same period, 3,500 Americans were killed in Iraq in a war against radical Islam. These statistics haven’t been properly contrasted.

Mobility is a must in Western society. It’s a prerequisite for affluence and it fosters a sense of freedom. No politician could ban cars or severely limit their use. Transportation is the nation’s lifeblood. Its inherent risks are inescapable for an open society.

So Americans manage to deal with the fact that tens of thousands of people will be killed each year on the roadways. But when it comes to the war against Islamic fascism, the nation may soon decide that 3,500 deaths over four years is too much. This for a great nation of 300 million inhabitants.

If that is the case, then the United States will have begun to undermine the moral foundations spelled out in its own Declaration of Independence. If America is unable to carry out a war of its own choosing in defense of liberty because the cost of 3,500 lives is unacceptable, then it will soon be unable to maintain its position and power in the world...
...How did we get to this point?

Western civilization’s pursuit of affluence, secularization and sexual revolution have all sapped its willingness to make sacrifices. Today’s parents often have no more than two children, some may have only one son. His life is so precious that it has come to seem unbearable for him to be killed in battle. In his study “Sons and World Power,” German genocide expert Gunnar Heinsohn investigates family size in various societies in relation to the frequency of violent conflict since 1500 A.D. His conclusion is disturbingly simple: The presence of large numbers of young men in nations that have experienced population explosions—all searching for respect, work, sex and meaning—tend to turn into violent countries and become involved in wars. He cites, as an example, the Palestinian territories, where many families have as many as four sons.

Most countries in which Islamofascism has taken root have experienced population explosions. Huge numbers of young men are searching in vain for a respectable future. They legitimize their frustration with a radical ideology that channels their dissatisfaction and finds roots in the ancient religious traditions of Islam.

Mr. Heinsohn’s explanation shows the extreme pacifism of today’s Europe to be more than a response to the horrific experiences of World War II. He sees Europe’s low birthrate as the basis for the remarkable period of peace Europe has nurtured since 1945. Europe’s sons have become too precious for war.

This same phenomenon is also happening in America. Large families are becoming scarce. As a result, the sacrifice of a second or third son to a violent death, a possibility since the dawn of civilization, is not possible because those sons simply aren’t there....

I'm not sure if de Winter is correct in his reason why we may be unwilling to endure the casualties of the War on Terror. But he's thinking clearly, which sure can't be said for most Americans. One of the ways people are muddled is that they don't even realize that, while we have averaged 620 combat deaths a year since 9/11, the normal number of non-combat deaths in our military is about 700 or 800 per year! (Accidents, disease, suicide, homicide, etc.) That's the price we pay just to have a peace-time military.

Almost everything our nation does costs lives in some way or another. something I've never seen mentioned by the people who shed fake-tears and claim that 3,500 deaths is "unendurable."

Posted by John Weidner at June 13, 2007 5:20 PM
Weblog by John Weidner