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The West Has Lost Its Nerve (Part II)  
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2199 times:

(The original thread has been archived.)

Continued from:

RE: The West Has Lost Its Nerve (by AerospaceFan Aug 24 2006 in Non Aviation)#ID1346905

Robert Sibley, a senior writer at The Ottawa Citizen, has just published a lengthy article, the third and last in a series, advancing the theory that the West has lost the essential strengths upon which it had drawn in confronting totalitarianism in the past.

(Excerpts)

Quote:
The problem is that after six decades of relative peace and prosperity, too many of the me-first, me-all-the-time generations -- the baby boomers and their offspring -- are under the illusion that we can avoid a confrontation with what threatens us with oblivion, that all it will take to pacify the Islamists, to get them to be reasonable, is to address the "root causes" of their anger.

In our naiveté, we think western exploitation of "others" is the source of terrorism. We believe that if democracy, law and freedom, along with all the consumer good and technological trinkets, could be extended to the whole world, then in the same way that westerners have, by and large, shed their tribalist hatreds, so, too, would everyone else.

But it is exactly those ideas -- freedom, tolerance, equality -- that the Islamists fear. They recognize those ideas as a threat to their culture. As political philosopher Waller Newell writes in The Code of Man: "At bottom, their rage is motivated by the fear that the West has triumphed historically and irrevocably over their own premodern culture." And what they fear, they hate. The question for us, as westerners, is whether we can recover those virtues necessary for confronting hatred.

Political theorist James Burnham addresses this question in his book, Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism, when he describes the "pathology of liberalism" as a failure to understand what is at stake in confronting totalitarianism. Do we really understand, at the deepest existential level, what words like freedom and duty mean, what freedom and duty "feel" like in their lived experience? I suspect the firefighters and the police officers who rushed into the Twin Towers knew, even if they would never articulate that feeling. So, too, do the soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.



Quote:
In order to survive, liberal, pluralist democracy requires not only the existence of certain institutions -- elected legislatures and courts of law, for example -- but a populace that genuinely believes in the value of those institutions and what they represent, and possesses the will to defend them when necessary. "The question is," says cultural critic Roger Kimball, "do we, as a society, still enjoy that belief? Do we possess the requisite will?"

To answer those questions, we must first recognize that "open" liberal societies cannot be open to every viewpoint, every perspective, Mr. Kimball argues in his essay, After the suicide of the West. Liberal society is ultimately not value neutral. That is to say, liberal society cannot tolerate those who would deny the rule of law, respect for individual rights, religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Says Mr. Kimball, "The problem is that large portions of Western society, especially those portions entrusted with perpetuating its political and cultural capital (namely, our political and cultural elites), have lost sight of that vision."

See:

http://www.canada.com/components/pri...f2c-43a1-988f-51ffead2130b&k=90111

I believe he is right.

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2173 times:

Bollocks - it's a different way of looking at the world. If you insist on seeing the world as a scary, threatening place, fine - go ahead and be scared. If you are prepared to accept that differences exist and not be threatened by them, but be prepared to try and overcome them, I personally think that's a better way. It's the difference between knowing that your culture and way of life has advantages, and leading by this example, or trying to impose your way of life on others by force and getting upset and bewildered when the poor disadvantaged folk you're trying to help, resent it.

User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2169 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 1):
Bollocks - it's a different way of looking at the world. If you insist on seeing the world as a scary, threatening place, fine - go ahead and be scared. If you are prepared to accept that differences exist and not be threatened by them, but be prepared to try and overcome them, I personally think that's a better way. It's the difference between knowing that your culture and way of life has advantages, and leading by this example, or trying to impose your way of life on others by force and getting upset and bewildered when the poor disadvantaged folk you're trying to help, resent it.

You have a point, but how convincing is it to those who lost their loved ones on 9/11?

The people who died at the World Trade Center... they are denied even the decency of a burial. They were vaporized, compressed into molecules. What do you say to their memory? For whose cause did they die?

It is well to say that we should respect the cultures of others. But what happens when they do not respect yours, and no manner of cheek-turning can turn away the ghostly and accusatory fingers of those who perished so that our liberal consciences might be massaged so that, in turn, our intellectual constructs might indulge our feelings of egalitarianism?

The horror of it all, I say with respect, is that the deaths of thousands may be only the beginning, if the West does not understand the perils it faces.

There are those who may wish to die, or take their chances, for the equality of all cultures because they believe their thoughts on such equality the absolute truth. But as for the rest of humanity, survival is more important, and such egalitarians cannot speak for them, and prudence is never rightly perceived as paranoia.

[Edited 2006-09-14 12:47:51]

User currently offlineOly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6734 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2160 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
In order to survive, liberal, pluralist democracy requires not only the existence of certain institutions -- elected legislatures and courts of law, for example -- but a populace that genuinely believes in the value of those institutions and what they represent, and possesses the will to defend them when necessary. "The question is," says cultural critic Roger Kimball, "do we, as a society, still enjoy that belief? Do we possess the requisite will?"

The greater threat comes from apathy and ignorance. We see that voting numbers are going down because, well, the choices aren't really up to much, which can leave the door open for more extreme elements to fill certain vacuums.

Further, the problem is that everything is so stage managed and spun, the message is much more important and visible than any actions that are done (or not). People then really have no trust in whatever institutions are bullshitting them. Bad news gets buried because people don't vote for bringers of bad news.

The problem more than anything in (parts of) the west is that we are not a society, but a collection of individuals, each pulling in their own direction, rather than, as in those glorious olden days, being more close knit with a much greater community identity and willingness to defend that identity. The first world war, for example, saw whole villages and communities lose the bulk of their men to go and fight in the trenches, "for king and country" because that's what you did and heaven help you if you didn't sign up. That was the state of mind after a previous century of wars and battles around the globe where the empire was being defended.

Now we have our identity defined by sporting events, tragedies and other major media stories that come and go in days.



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineTexdravid From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1355 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2131 times:

Excellent article and I think it speaks for itself, without question.

Western Liberal thought, ideas, and practices are wonderful things, and what make us the pre-eminent place to live in the world.

However, it is not a suicide pact, where we allow other, more backward, intolerant and frankly, homicidal, cultures to use said freedoms to manipulate, divide and defeat us.

That's exactly what's happening now, more so in Europe, but still at the fringes in America. See Londistan, the suburbs of Paris, Theo Van Gogh's murder, etc. These thugs want to kill us, period. They don't want nor understand words and thoughts like conciliation or moderation.

If much of the middle east or Pakistan had even a fraction of the military power we had, we would been toasted long ago and some "Caliphate" would be ruling the earth as some horrific version of Hades on earth.



Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
User currently offlineKalakaua From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1516 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2124 times:

Which reminds me, has anyone read While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer. It's a great read. I highly recommend it.


Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2111 times:

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 3):
The problem more than anything in (parts of) the west is that we are not a society, but a collection of individuals, each pulling in their own direction, rather than, as in those glorious olden days, being more close knit with a much greater community identity and willingness to defend that identity.

Interesting; the anomie of the West is indeed a factor to consider.

Quoting Texdravid (Reply 4):
Western Liberal thought, ideas, and practices are wonderful things, and what make us the pre-eminent place to live in the world.

However, it is not a suicide pact, where we allow other, more backward, intolerant and frankly, homicidal, cultures to use said freedoms to manipulate, divide and defeat us.

All cultures must protect themselves, and while other cultures are entitled to co-exist, the West shouldn't permit those who hate it to destroy it in the name of co-existence.

Peaceful co-existence should be the goal of every culture. That is still the ideal. There are plenty of groups of all backgrounds -- Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, or of any other characteristic -- that have shown that they can, indeed, live in peace, and this is much to be praised. The only question is whether co-existence is possible in all cases, and what happens when it becomes clear that, with certain large extremist groups, it is not.

Kalakaua, an interesting resource and reference.


User currently offlineTurbo7x7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 266 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2099 times:

Oh God, here we go again with more angst-ridden right-wing navel-gazing. I thought only lefties did this kind of stuff. . .  Yeah sure

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 2):
You have a point, but how convincing is it to those who lost their loved ones on 9/11?

The people who died at the World Trade Center... they are denied even the decency of a burial. They were vaporized, compressed into molecules. What do you say to their memory? For whose cause did they die?

Well, you should ask that question to Bush. We seemed to have had a decent shot of capturing or killing bin Laden a few years back in Tora Bora but that opportunity is blown. A recent article in the WaPo said the hunt on ObL has grown "stone cold."

There's legitimate reasons you know why 84% of us who live in Manhattan and saw and lived 9/11 up close and personal voted for the OTHER guy.

You're damn right 3000 American souls still cry out for justice and for closure. And most of us here in NYC are pretty set in our opinions where the blame for that lies. We will NEVER forgive this Admin. for their misadventures in Iraq and they have zero credibility as far as I'm concerned.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2074 times:

Quoting Turbo7x7 (Reply 7):
Well, you should ask that question to Bush. We seemed to have had a decent shot of capturing or killing bin Laden a few years back in Tora Bora but that opportunity is blown.

It's historical fact that Bin Laden escaped, but that fact is not the only important one to consider.

Quoting Turbo7x7 (Reply 7):
There's legitimate reasons you know why 84% of us who live in Manhattan and saw and lived 9/11 up close and personal voted for the OTHER guy.

It wouldn't be because New Yorkers are more liberal than most, would it?

Besides, I would like to see the source of that figure.

Quoting Turbo7x7 (Reply 7):
You're damn right 3000 American souls still cry out for justice and for closure. And most of us here in NYC are pretty set in our opinions where the blame for that lies. We will NEVER forgive this Admin. for their misadventures in Iraq and they have zero credibility as far as I'm concerned.

You'll never forgive the Administration for destroying most of Al Qaeda and the state (Afghanistan) that harbored it? How about for killing Al Zarqawi, a man described by Al Qaeda as one of its "princes"? How about for killing or capturing dozens of the top leadership of Al Qaeda? How about for preventing Iraq from becoming a full-fledged state sponsor of terrorism by acting before a threat from it became imminent? How about for eliminating Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism?

I said in another message that the stability sought by liberals would have let Saddam stay in power, would have let Libya remain a terrorist sponsor, and would have allowed all manner of other "stability" to be maintained, all in the name of the supposed certainty of capturing Bin Laden. Does it not occur to you that if the left had had its way, it remains quite possible that we wouldn't have gotten rid of Saddam or his sons, or liberated Iraq and Afghanistan, or moved Libya to change its ways -- and failed to capture Bin Laden? What makes you so sure that Bin Laden couldn't have escaped capture even if thousands of more troops had been sent to Afghanistan?

Remember: The Soviets had many more troops in Afghanistan in the 1980's, and they still lost their war there.

The concept that if the Administration had only sent more troops to Afghanistan rather than confront terror on a broader basis, then all would have been a success, as I stated, is a bit of wish-fulfillment, and nothing more. The world is not so simple as that.


User currently offlineLegend500 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 144 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2051 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
You'll never forgive the Administration for destroying most of Al Qaeda and the state (Afghanistan) that harbored it?

Osama is the mastermind, the murderer. Would we accept victory in WWII without the capture/death of Hitler? No.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
How about for killing Al Zarqawi, a man described by Al Qaeda as one of its "princes"?

This man did not exist before Iraq. Again, do not confuse the tragedy of 9/11 with the misadventure in Iraq.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
How about for preventing Iraq from becoming a full-fledged state sponsor of terrorism by acting before a threat from it became imminent?

Iran was already a fully fledged state sponsor of terrorism, and Iraq could barely feed its people and had a deep and personal hatred of Al Qaeda (as one is Sunni and the other Wahabbi in religious affiliation). Surely you would agree then that this administration failed its citizens by not attacking Iran first, as it posed (and thanks to Bush's War, still does pose ) a "clear and present danger" to the US?

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
How about for eliminating Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism?

A rare win, done by listening to our European allies such as France instead of invading that country.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
I said in another message that the stability sought by liberals would have let Saddam stay in power, would have let Libya remain a terrorist sponsor, and would have allowed all manner of other "stability" to be maintained, all in the name of the supposed certainty of capturing Bin Laden. Does it not occur to you that if the left had had its way, it remains quite possible that we wouldn't have gotten rid of Saddam or his sons, or liberated Iraq and Afghanistan, or moved Libya to change its ways -- and failed to capture Bin Laden? What makes you so sure that Bin Laden couldn't have escaped capture even if thousands of more troops had been sent to Afghanistan?

Clealry Saddam was better at running the country and keeping out terrorists that we are. Libya was a win, because we did the Democratic, diplomatic, European thing. Iraq is not liberated, it remains under foreign occupation, and under seige from terrorists.

Bin Laden may still not have been captured, but it would not be due to executive incompetence.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
Remember: The Soviets had many more troops in Afghanistan in the 1980's, and they still lost their war there.

False analogy. The NATO army and intelligence services of the noughts is much different from the sloppy hand of Soviet forces two decades ago.


User currently offlinePadraighaz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2037 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
I said in another message that the stability sought by liberals would have let Saddam stay in power, would have let Libya remain a terrorist sponsor, and would have allowed all manner of other "stability" to be maintained, all in the name of the supposed certainty of capturing Bin Laden.

This is an interesting juxtaposition, Libya and Iraq, since Libya was brought to heel without declaring a war. Also, if stability is the yardstick, Iraq was quite stable until the US invaded and in doing so freed Iran of a major constraint. So, stability was diminished by the Iraq war, not increased, and it really is unfair to blame the debacle on leftists.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2009 times:

Quoting Legend500 (Reply 9):
Osama is the mastermind, the murderer. Would we accept victory in WWII without the capture/death of Hitler? No.

That's rather absurd. Rather than being killed by the Allies, Hitler killed himself, and by the time he did, it was clear that the Allied forces were already victorious. In fact, he killed himself because he knew that Allied victory was inevitable.

The importance of this is that Hitler didn't die at the hands of the Allied forces, and he was never captured. His death was at his own hands.^1 Hitler's suicide deprived the Allies of the satisfaction of either capturing or killing him.

Further, you're disregarding the example of Hirohito. Hirohito was never captured, either, and in fact he signed the formal surrender papers in his capacity as emperor of Japan. He was kept as a figurehead, was never put in prison, was never tried, was always regarded as the emperor of Japan, and died a natural death decades later after living long enough to see the postwar ascendance of his country.^2 Does his noncapture and his continuing existence until a natural death as a free man -- indeed, as an emperor -- mean that the U.S. never achieved victory over Japan?

Still further, the U.S. in fact was able to capture the actual mastermind of the 9/11 attacks: Sheikh Khalid Mohammed.^3 This fact is often overlooked by the left.

Osama inspired and supervised the overall Al Qaeda effort against the West, but 9/11 was planned and operationally executed by Sheikh Khalid Mohammed. We captured the man who thought up the plan that resulted in the attacks of September 11, 2001 on our soil. So much for not having achieved any of our goals against Al Qaeda.

Quoting Legend500 (Reply 9):
This man did not exist before Iraq. Again, do not confuse the tragedy of 9/11 with the misadventure in Iraq.

False. Al Zarqawi had a considerable reputation prior to the liberation of Iraq.

Quoting Legend500 (Reply 9):
ran was already a fully fledged state sponsor of terrorism, and Iraq could barely feed its people and had a deep and personal hatred of Al Qaeda (as one is Sunni and the other Wahabbi in religious affiliation). Surely you would agree then that this administration failed its citizens by not attacking Iran first, as it posed (and thanks to Bush's War, still does pose ) a "clear and present danger" to the US?

Not necessarily. Iraq was an easier target, and, more importantly, was at the time actually defiant of UN resolutions.

Quoting Legend500 (Reply 9):
Bin Laden may still not have been captured, but it would not be due to executive incompetence.

I'm not sure what you mean by this.
___________________________________

1. See, e.g.: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...term/books/chap1/deathofhitler.htm

("On 1 November 1945, Trevor-Roper gave a press conference in Berlin where he outlined the conclusions of his inquiry. His investigations showed, he said, that Hitler had committed suicide at about 3.30 pm on 30 April 1945, and that Eva Braun had died with him. In Hitler's case, the manner of death was by shooting - the Fuhrer had put a pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger. In the case of Eva Braun, she had taken a cyanide capsule: everyone living in the Bunker had been issued with similar capsules.

"Asked by one of the newspapermen if he was aware of the Russian view on Hitler's death, Trevor-Roper indicated that he thought the Soviets were sceptical - that is, inclined to the view that Hitler was not dead. As he said this, a Russian officer present nodded.")

2. See, e.g.: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0429.html

3. See, e.g.: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2811855.stm

[Edited 2006-09-16 10:04:16]

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