April 24, 2009

Yet another comment on a comment....

I started to comment on a comment by my friend Dave T, at this post, but it grew longer and longer, and I decided to make it a stand-alone post because I don't want to waste electrons on Earth Day:

What Dave's given here won't lead to an honest debate [on so-called torture]. There is something askew, something missing.

Think about the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza. Put aside the question of who was right or wrong, and think about the fact that the whole Western world was riveted by the conflict. Why? It was tiny on a global scale, yet it was treated like the biggest of things. Treated as a much bigger deal than, say, the death of a million people in Rawanda. Why? The Middle East has multitudes of oppressions and attacks, but no one cares if Turks kill a bunch of Kurds, or Iranians oppress the Ghashghai. Why is Israel important? It is weird, yet everyone takes it for granted.

I won't keep you in suspense. The reason is that there are only two countries that are real to the average Western Leftist. The USA, and Israel. To most liberals, this planet is like some vast dark warehouse where the only lights are America and Israel. All the other places are only seen if one of us two comes near. Only exist at that moment.

I could cite hundreds of examples, but I'll just give you two. (Extrapolate! You can do it.)

Example: The French are much rougher on terror suspects than we are. Gitmo is a playpen compared to their jails, but no one cares. (This is not just a matter of us Americans giving priority to our own supposed sins; European Lefties obsess over Guantanamo just as much as we do.) Also the French have made numerous military incursions into Africa in the post-colonial period, but no one asks them to obey "international law," or ask permission of the UN. Why? Why do no "pacifists" protest? No one pays the least attention. The US is real, from a Left perspective, and France is not. Why?

Example: In 1992 30,000 Palestinians were kicked out of their homes and sent into exile. Quick, how many of you reading this can name the country that did the deed? Hmmm? And for bonus points, describe the protests that convulsed the globe as liberals and "pacifists" took to the streets demanding justice, and calling on the UN to take action. Well, you can't describe the protests because there weren't any. All those Libs who say they "care" about the Palestinians? They are liars.

Yet....not exactly liars. To them there is no lie, because only Israel is real. Nothing happened to the Palestinians in 1992 because they were not hurt by Israel. Kuwait does not exist to them! It's not real!

We see this stuff all the time, but we don't notice it. I feel like that obnoxious kid pointing out that the Emperor is naked.

Look at the quote by "IOZ" that Dave posted. It is, to put it bluntly, delusional. Crazy. It paints a world where nothing moves except the United States. No one else acts, or speaks, or has any effect on anything. The entire rest of the human race is just a deer in the headlights.

And Dave's own comments assume that the US is the only moral actor that can be considered. The only one that exists. I've followed Dave's writing for many a year, and he has never subjected other countries to intense moral scrutiny. Oh wait, I'm wrong! Actually, it did happen, just once. The country was......Israel! He once heaped harsh moral censure on Israel for striking back against a terror bomber by bulldozing a house. SO, get this, terrorists turn women and children into shredded meat, Israel responds without killing or injuring any person....and who does our supposed pacifist condemn? I've been shaking my head at the sheer craziness of that one for years.

Trying to reason with such a worldview is a waste of time. It's like telling a paranoiac that nobody's trying to get them. The simple fact is that America, which would really like to stay home and enjoy the good life, has been forced into the position of being the decent cop in a rough neighborhood. Of course we slap some wise-guys around, but it's necessary if hoodlums are to be kept from taking over and making things a million times worse.

We water-boarded a few people (and do so routinely to our own troops such as Navy SEALS in training) in the course of fighting against people who interrogate using electric drills to drill into people's heads and knees. That's the context that somehow goes missing when you try to debate with leftists. If poor brown-skinned fellows get tortured or massacred in distant corners of the globe, they don't care. They posture all the time about how "caring" they are, but they. DO. NOT. CARE. It's not even real to them. Therefore what America is doing in the WoT is not real.

Actually they don't even care about the real living breathing America or Israel! These are only important to them as symbols. Remember your college psych class? Symbols, right? Important, psychologically. And spiritually. (Actually in the Catholic worldview symbols can actually "come alive" and be real! Awesome life-changing stuff, but that's for another day.)

So what's going on, symbolically speaking? Well, you have to understand first that liberals are not liberals any more. (Sorry if you've heard this already.) Once upon a time liberalism was a philosophy that people believed in, would fight for. (Imagine Harry Truman or JFK being asked if it's morally right to fight to topple a fascist dictator, and bring democracy to oppressed people! They would have laughed to think one would even need to ask such a question.) Liberalism was a sort of religion, in the sense that it was bigger than the individual.

But that belief has drained away, and left nothing inside. Nothing but self-worship. Nihilism. NOTHING. Now people like IOZ or Dave are wearing liberalism as a kind of disguise.

But if you put yourself in the center, if you make yourself god, then you will hate and fear rival gods. Countries of course are not normally anything like gods. BUT, there are two countries (guess which) on this planet that are something analogous to gods, in the sense that they are really ideas, ideas that demand our service and belief. They are the only two countries you can easily join by accepting their idea. If you dig it, if you "get" the constitution and the Declaration and the Federalist Papers and similar things, then you are an American. Even if you never set foot on US flag territory! (And here's an interesting piece on becoming an Israeli.)

But the nihilist hates and fears belief. He is always against God (sometimes cloaking this in a religious disguise) because being a Christian or a Jew means being a "servant of the Word," or "bearing the yoke of Torah." If you worship yourself you can't be no servant! And on a much lower, but analogous, plane, being an American or an Israeli means being the servant of an idea. It means putting yourself second.

When Leftists rant interminably about the sins of Israel and America, (ignoring everything else in the world) what they are really saying is, "Don't you dare make a claim on me! Don't you dare suggest that anything could be more important than ME! I'm never going to be a servant!" They scrabble endlessly to find excuses to avoid duty, hence the way they savor any mistakes made by... you know who.

This is, I more and more suspect, a very unhappy state of existence. But the empty soul doesn't realize he's unhappy. Why? Because he's like that paranoid, who also doesn't think he's unhappy. He thinks everything would be FINE if only those people weren't trying to kill him! WE know that he's unhappy. He's obviously deeply unhappy. But he can't see it himself.

And the biggest pity is that it's all so unnecessary. People imagine that being a servant to things greater than the self is a kind of death. That it will be a misery. But it is just the opposite. It's hard to demonstrate this point when you look at the big ideas, but the cosmos works by analogies, and there is a small-scale analog close at hand that most people can understand. That is the family. You could look at me as a wretched slave to my wife and children, and in a way I am. But while I've lost big-time as an autonomous individual, I've gained enormous dignity and respect-worthiness as a member—a servant—of my little family. And gained far more than I've lost in richness of life. (And of course we see a lot of people who look on the family in the way Lefties look at America. And call abortion a "blessing," and being unattached "freedom.")

And all the other analogous things work just the same way, up and down the ladder of importance. They look like death to the self, but they are really where the self can be what it wants to be, and was always intended to be, the servant of greater things. Poor IOZ, he thinks he's declaring truths, but he looks to me like some poor ragged wretch walking down the street screaming paranoid fantasies.

Posted by John Weidner at April 24, 2009 12:49 AM
Weblog by John Weidner