Thursday, August 10, 2006

The West's Malaise

Victor Davis Hanson writes a comparison of the West's indifference to the increasing threat of Islamic terrorism to the apathy of Europe and America of the 1930's towards the rise of fascism in their midst:

" There is no need to mention Europe , an entire continent now returning to the cowardice of the 1930s. Its cartoonists are terrified of offending Muslim sensibilities, so they now portray the Jews as Nazis, secure that no offended Israeli terrorist might chop off their heads. The French foreign minister meets with the Iranians to show solidarity with the terrorists who promise to wipe Israel off the map (“In the region there is of course a country such as Iran — a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region”) — and manages to outdo Chamberlain at Munich. One wonders only whether the prime catalyst for such French debasement is worry over oil, terrorists, nukes, unassimilated Arab minorities at home, or the old Gallic Jew-hatred."

Hanson attributes the West's weakness to a moral vicissitude:

And finally examine here at home reaction to Hezbollah — which has butchered Americans in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia — from a prominent Democratic Congressman, John Dingell: “I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah.” And isn’t that the point, after all: the amoral Westerner cannot exercise moral judgment because he no longer has any?

Well if one shrinks from moral judgment then he cannot be judged, can he? Isn't that the real reason why so many (i.e. the Left) refuse to pass judgment on people's acts, no matter how heinous? Unless it's smoking, wearing furs, and cutting down trees, the Left will not pass judgment on anything - not even against murderers, terrorists and tyranny.

Hanson notes what the real story is:

These past few days the inability of millions of Westerners, both here and in Europe, to condemn fascist terrorists who start wars, spread racial hatred, and despise Western democracies is the real story, not the “quarter-ton” Israeli bombs that inadvertently hit civilians in Lebanon who live among rocket launchers that send missiles into Israeli cities and suburbs.Yes, perhaps Israel should have hit more quickly, harder, and on the ground; yes, it has run an inept public relations campaign; yes, to these criticisms and more.

But what is lost sight of is the central moral issue of our times: a humane democracy mired in an asymmetrical war is trying to protect itself against terrorists from the 7th century, while under the scrutiny of a corrupt world that needs oil, is largely anti-Semitic and deathly afraid of Islamic terrorists, and finds psychic enjoyment in seeing successful Western societies under duress.

It seems the theme of this post touches again what a previous post (See "Trivialization of Western Society" below) did: that the West can no longer distinguish what is truly good and what is truly evil. When you have a society which can ferociously condemn misdemeanors such as eating too much beef and playing with toy guns, yet wink at decapitation and torture, you have a sick and feeble society indeed.