February 9, 2015


Why is good dumb? (Spengler,  June 21, 2005, PJ Media)

The American president is a good man, in that he wants the whole world to have the same good things Americans have. "Religious conversion is the defining experience of his life, and it is in his nature to convert others. Because he is a 21st-century American and not a 12th-century Crusader, he preaches the ballot box rather than the cross," I wrote under the title George W Bush, tragic character (November 25, 2003). A simple punitive expedition against Saddam Hussein, followed by side-deals with the Kurds and Shi'ites to secure oil supplies, would have served Washington's "imperial" requirements, had that been the objective. Bush actually believes he is building democracy in the Muslim world.

By "dumb" I mean that Bush could not have done more to prepare the grounds for Islamist victory had he set out to do so with malice of forethought. Less than a year ago, overwhelming support for the Iraq war forced the Democratic Party to peddle Kerry as a war hero, while gagging its anti-war faction. Only 37% of Americans now approve of the president's handling of the Iraq war, according to last week's CBS-NY Times poll. Among the Sunnis of Iraq, a sufficient number of young men will commit suicide to add two or three a day to the American casualty list until America's loses its will to fight (Why Sunnis blow themselves up, June 14).

Radical Islam, I have maintained since September 11, 2001, may triumph yet, if only for a while, for its fighting advantage is the desperation of a doomed culture. Washington has made concession after humiliating concession to groups it deemed terrorist, such as Hezbollah, the victor in the south of the country in the ongoing Lebanese elections, and the Palestinian Hamas, before whose electoral strength the Palestinian Authority dare not hold a national vote.

Realists on the other hand are very smart and quite evil.  Spengler's willingness to maintain Sunni dictatorships over the Shi'a in particular and the Arab world generally speaks poorly of him as a person.  His fellow believer in Realism can spin all kinds of fancy theories about why it's better to have brutal repression which provides stability (though oddly enough, it's never stable) than messy democracy with the instability it brings (though oddly it always seems to produce peace and prosperity in the longer run).

The good, on the other hand, are dumb, or stupid, because we don't go in for a bunch of intellectual analysis.  We get by on faith.  We know that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights  These rights can be repressed at times--even for long periods of time--but they'll always resurge.  As Spengler accidentally points out here, the routine electoral victories of Islamist political parties merely represent that very human urge.  

Sure, we can connive at delaying democracy in The Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt because our preferred parties (secular ones) can't win.  But that's all we're doing is delaying the inevitable.  Stupidity will prevail.


Posted by at February 9, 2015 4:35 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus