I’ve been reflecting on a lot of things, lately. Foremost, I’m looking more at the positive side of things—which is not to say that any of the evil I have highlighted on this blog over the last year is any less evil. It’s just impotent. It’s unimportant in the overall scheme of things. This “looking on the bright side,” for lack of a better description—call it my new year’s resolution—is going to be one real challenge. We’ll see how that all works out.
I had the opportunity over the holidays to view things from an entirely different perspective. First, from the quiet and unconnected peace that is our newly rebuilt cabin at an ideal elevation of 4,500 ft. on the western side of the Sierras in Arnold, CA. For days, our phone didn’t even work. No cell service, either. No cable or dish; just a growing library of DVDs and books, board games, and of all things, human conversation. We spent both the Christmas and New Year weekends there, with family.
My second perspective was that of history. Of course, I watch the History Channel often, but from time-to-time, it serves to have the benefit of literary devices integrated with the plain historical facts so as to better understand the human side of history.
Herman Wouk is a renowned writer of fiction and historical fiction. He’s most famous for The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance. A year or so ago, I borrowed the DVD collection of War and Remembrance and recall what a far richer perspective it gave me surrounding the events of WWII in Europe and the Pacific. The overall depiction of The Holocaust is horrifying and deeply disturbing, as it should be. My dad, who lent me that, just acquired The Winds of War, recently released on DVD, so we watched it over the Christmas weekend.
I wonder if it is possible to in any meaningful way grasp the full magnitude of that world conflict without in some way experiencing it through the personal experiences of others who were there on the scene, involved—even if the circumstances taking place in front of the backdrop of history were themselves fictional.
My third perspective was that of the horrible human devastation in southeast Asia. Putting all of that together, Greg Swann had an on-point observation.
I feel for those people, and Cathy is sending them money, of course. But at the same time I find it ironic that there is so much news coverage for what is in fact just an especially bad natural disaster. Hundreds of millions of innocent people were slaughtered by Socialism in the last century and the mainstream culture still doesn’t dare to admit it–won’t even take back a Pulitzer prize the New York Times won for covering it up. Natural disasters are inherently predictable, even if we might not yet know how to predict them. Some of them–such as an asteroid strike–and perhaps all of them in due course–are inherently preventable. But the human tragedy that is most easily prevented and at the same time most wantonly destructive is not a natural disaster but the man-made viciousness of humanity itself. Nature’s devastations are necessary but potentially avoidable. Man’s predations are entirely chosen–not only by the predator, but also, ultimately, by the victim.
This brings me to a fourth perspective, that of the general population of America haters. I say “general” because drawing distinctions between an orthodox Muslim who thinks we’re the “great Satan,” a Dutch bureaucrat who thinks us stingy and under-taxed, and a misguided apologist for the “crimes” of America is not so critical. It’s far less critical, for instance, than is drawing the plainly obvious distinction between what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, trying to instill some important degrees of human freedom and dignity, and what Hitler and Stalin had in mind.
The way Americans have responded and are responding to the natural tragedy in Asia is good. It’s benevolence and Godliness all wrapped up in what is part of the essence of humanity. Yet, to many, particularly those from the left, America has not acted quickly enough and has not given enough. But is that true, or is it just another opportunity to malign America and Americans from within and without? When Americans go to the aid of victims of a natural disaster, it’s not enough. When they go to the aid of the politically oppressed, the tortured, and the piled-into-mass-graves, they’re opportunists and criminals. America is an easy target.
Allow me to illustrate, and I’m going to do so by quoting this article in its entirety (hat tip: McQ).
How the Left Betrayed My Country – Iraq
By Naseer Flayih Hasan
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 3, 2005
Before the last war, we Iraqis spent decades cut off from the outside world. Not only did the Baathist regime prevent us from traveling during the Iran-Iraq conflict and the period of the sanctions, but they punished anyone possessing satellite television. And of course, internet access was strictly limited. Because of our isolation, most of us had little idea or sense about life beyond our borders.
We did believe, however, that democracy and human rights were important factors in Western civilization. So it came as a shock to us when millions of people began demonstrating across the world against America’s build-up to the invasion of our country. We supposed the protests were by people who had no idea about the terrible atrocities that the regime had inflicted upon us for decades. We assumed that once they learned what had happened in Iraq, they would change their minds, or modify their opposition to the war.
My first clue that this would not happen was a few weeks after Baghdad fell. I had befriended a French reporter who had begun to realize that the situation in Iraq was not how the international media or the so-called “peace camp” described it. I noticed, however, that whenever he tried to voice his doubts to colleagues, they argued that he was wrong. Soon afterwards, I met a Dutch woman on Mutinabi Street, where booksellers lay out their wares on Friday morning. I asked her how long she’d been in Iraq and, through a translator, she answered, “Three months.”
“So you were here during the war?”
“Yes!” she said. “To see the crimes of the Americans!”
I was stunned. After a moment, I replied, “What about the crimes of the regime? It killed millions of Iraqis. Do you know that if the regime was still in power, the conversation we’re having now would result in our torture or death?”
Her face turned red and she angrily responded, “Soon will come the day that the Americans will do worse.” She then went on to accuse me of not knowing what the true facts were in Iraq—and that she could see the situation better than me!
She was not the only “humanitarian” who expressed such outrageous opinions. One afternoon, I was speaking to some members of the American anti-war group “Voices in the Wilderness.” One of the group’s members declared that the Iraqi Governing Council (then in power at the time) were “traitors.” I was shocked. Most of the Council were people whom we Iraqis knew had suffered and sacrificed in a long struggle against the regime. Some represented opposition parties who had lost ten of thousand of members in that struggle. Others came from families who had lost up to 30 loved ones to the Baathists.
After those, and many other, experiences, we finally comprehended how little we had in common with these “peace activists” who constantly decried American crimes, and hated to listen to us talk about the terrible long nightmare that ended with the collapse of the regime. We came to understand how these “humanitarians” experienced a sort of pleasure when terrorists or former remnants of the regime created destruction in Iraq—just so they could feel that they were right, and the Americans wrong!
Worse, we realized it was hopeless to make them grasp our feelings. We believed—and still believe–that America’s removal of the regime opened a new way for democracy. At the same time, we have no illusions that the U.S. came to Iraq on a white horse to save our people. We understand this war is all about national interests, and that America’s interests are mainly about defeating terrorism. At this moment, though, U.S. interests are doing more to bring about democracy and freedom in Iraq than, say, the policies of France and Russia—countries which also care little for the Iraqi people and, worse, did their best to save Saddam from destruction until the last moment.
It’s worth noting, as well, that the general attitude of peace activists I met was tension and anger. They were impossible to reason with. This was because, on one hand, the sometimes considerable risks they took to oppose the war made them unable to accept the fact that their cause was not as noble as they believed. Then, too, their dogmatic anti-American attitudes naturally drew them to guides, translators, drivers and Iraqi acquaintances who were themselves supporters of the regime. These Iraqis, in turn, affected the peace activists until they came to share almost the same judgments and opinions as the terrorists and defenders of Saddam.
This was very disappointing for someone like me, who thought for decades that the Left was generally the progressive power in the world. You can imagine how aghast I was when my French reporter friend told me that the Communist Party in his country actually considers the “insurgents” to be the equivalent of the French Gaullists! Or how troubling it is to hear Jacques Chirac take satisfaction from the violence wreaked by the terrorists—those bloody monsters that we Iraqis know so well—because they justify France’s original opposition to the war.
And so I have become disillusioned, at least with the Leftists I met in Iraq. So noble in their rhetoric, they looked to the stars, yet ignored what was happening around them, caring only about what was inside their minds. So glorious in their ideals, their thoughts were inflexible and their deeds unnecessary, even harmful. In the end, they proved to me how dogma and fanaticism had transform peace activists into—lifeless peace “statues.”
America is an easy target, as I was saying. Why? Because America—namely, American values and virtues; namely, freedom—is relevant in the world. It’s really the only thing universally relevant in the world and America has always cornered the market on it. Americans don’t need Euro-intelligentsia to tell them what they should do or what is proper, and that drives them nuts. It also drives them to further irrelevance and impotence.
You know, it doesn’t really matter that the most devastating horrors inflicted upon mankind have been machinations of the left intelligentsia. Communism. Nazism. Fascism. Socialism. The left and their allies in labor are responsible for each and every one. If you don’t believe that, you are simply woefully uniformed and need to consult the historical background and roots of each of these movements. While you’re at it, take note that the human slaughter numbers in the hundreds of millions, and all for the sake of social “experimentation.” Some even had the effrontery to call it social “justice.”
None of this matters, because since the beginning of time, the left has been ultimately impotent. It always will be. It’s virtually axiomatic because the philosophy of the left does not recognize human nature for what it truly is, and it is forever premised upon modifying, evolving, or engineering a different sort of human nature that’s the antithesis of what it actually is.
The left has never believed that man is, by nature, a free agent in any respect whatsoever, unless it is to do with his genitals. They have fought against every sort of freedom at every turn. They have sought to enslave mankind to his fellows in one scheme after another—propped up by preaching guilt and shame to the most productive; the most prosperous; the best. Witness now the left’s endless barrage of guilt mongering over the aforementioned disaster in Asia.
And still, it amounts to nothing. They lose time after time, in the long run. They come back for more, and they lose. They’re pathetic. Impotent. Freedom, true freedom, the kind that matters to adults is always on the march. It has always been on the march. It will always be on the march.