Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Better Than Them

We are better than them. When all the other arguments for why we can't fight back have been exhausted this is the one that remains in the background presenting our moral exceptionalism as the reason we shouldn't fight to protect ourselves.

"Fight back? But then we'd be no better than them?" If we waterboard then we are no better than the headchoppers and mutilators. If we profile then we are no better than the genocidal jihadists. If we treat our friendly Pakistani and Saudi visitors the way they would have been treated a century ago-- then we would be guilty of being un-American.

But is that really the difference between us, that we treat everyone equally even when they are cutting our throats, and the moment we deviate from the standards of the Trial Lawyers Association then we're no better than the Taliban or Al-Qaeda? Does our exceptionalism derive from our laws, in which case if we compromise our laws then we given up the only worthwhile thing about us and there is nothing more to fight for-- or are our laws the means by which we protect our individual and national exceptionalism?

We are better than they are, is the argument put forward so often by those who do not truly believe that we are, and even when they do they don't understand why we are.  The Bill of Rights did not spring full-grown out of a barbaric culture, nor did any of the same judicial rulings and quotes so often used by advocates of the 10 percent defense plan.

We are not better than they are because we guarantee civil rights to our enemies-- we are better than they are because of Michelangelo, the microchip and universal education. We are better than they are because of Shakespeare, the space shuttle and the World Trade Center. We are better for all the reasons around us, the accomplishments, the achievements, the knowledge we have gained and the society we have built.

Our laws were crafted to protect these achievements, the exceptionalism of the individual from the government, and that of the nation from internal and external enemies. The laws have no individual life apart from the culture of the nation that created them and maintains them. It would be possible to transpose the United States Constitution to Indonesia, Libya or Pakistan and it wouldn’t last a single day there. No mere document can safeguard rights and freedoms that a culture does not value, and no culture that does not value them is deserving of their protection if such protection has the cumulative effect of destroying those same rights and freedoms.

Freedom isn't just defended on the battlefield, by the time things get that bad then the damage will be hard to contain. We defend it every day by defending the culture that makes it possible. Against external enemies there is the war of armed conflict, economic competition and geographic positioning. Against the internal enemy there is the culture war, the war of ideas and institutions.

Who we are is seen in the connections that define our culture and those connections tell us who we are. Rewire the human brain so that its connections are no longer streamlined and identity breaks down into fragments of things that no longer make sense. The same is true of a culture, lose the connections and you end  up celebrating holidays you don't understand and fighting for things that feel intuitively right, but no longer seem to fit into the new order of things. It is the task of the culture warriors to rebuild those connections so that the culture understands itself.

Connections don't just store information, they define priorities by reminding us which thing is dependent on the other. They remind us that governments sre instituted to keep laws and laws are implemented to keep the people. Governments serve the law, but the law serves the people. And the people are not some random mass, they are not defined by passports and identity cards or place of birth-- the people are the keepers of the flame of their culture. This need not be a matter of birth, immigrants can be among the greatest heroes and natives among the greatest traitors. But no one who is committed to the destruction of the culture, in concrete or abstract terms, in the immediate present or the indefinite future, can enjoy the protection of legal codes that exist to protect the freedom of the individual within the integrity of a free culture.

The more sophisticated a culture becomes the less it is concerned with survival. Bubbles grow in its centers of government and learning within which philosophies and ideas seem more real than reality. Opposing philosophies struggle to lobotomize the culture with revisionist histories and social philosophies that place their own ideal at the center of all human striving. But ideas are sterile without a culture to carry them forward. Kill the culture and the ideas become orphans that me adopted in an altered form by some other culture-- if they are lucky.

Tolerance and civil rights are worthless unless the countries and cultures where they are expressed are also defended. Any form of tolerance which leads to its own destruction is not only poisonous to a host culture, but is also literarily self-destructive. All healthy entities whether biological, organizational or intellectual contain the means for their own continuance and self-perpetuation. Any entity which does not is poisonous and must be treated as such, and to defend any idea or code above the survival of the culture that carries it is a homicidal act.

When conflict comes, two questions are asked. Is the threat real and is our culture worth fighting for. The latter question is most often asked by elites against whose bubble ideals no real culture can ever measure up to, and by outsiders who have the least invested in the survival of the culture.

"If we do this how are we any better than they are?" is the question of the bubble elite whose abstract ideals exist apart from flesh and blood people, who do not measure their ideals by the culture, but measure the culture by their ideals, and always find it wanting, who think that the culture with its millions of people and centuries of history exist to shepherd their ideals and die for them-- and ought to be grateful for the privilege of dying so that no Muslim is ever profiled at an airport.

The bubble elites distrust nationalism and patriotism because they center not around ideas, but the people's sense of solidarity. The only exceptionalism that they will accept is the exceptionalism of ideals, and if the nation does not represent its ideals then it does not deserve to live.

In the face of such reasoning it is important to remember that we are not better than our enemies because we represent ideals, but because we create ideals along with skyscrapers, paintings, high powered microscopes, novels, better mousetraps, systems of philosophy, muscle cars, musical styles, theorems, charities and sandwiches. We are makers and shapers, movers and thinkers, seers and doers. We reach for the stars and find ways to keep premature babies alive. We are imperfect, dynamic and changing-- and the world would be a much poorer place without us in it.

Whatever we do to protect ourselves against outside enemies in thrall to a hostile ideology, regardless of where they were born is fully justified by our accomplishments, our past, our present and our future-- and even if all these things were not present by our right to individual, national and cultural survival.

It is not by becoming pacifists that we will be better than them, but by fighting for what we have and who we are. And if we do not stand up for our countries, our peoples and our cultures then we will not inherit the moral high ground, but the low killing pits of the victims of the thousand year spree of terror. There is no moral high ground to be gained in refusing to struggle to your utmost for the things that you hold dear, only through the struggle to protect our individual and national exceptionalism, can we gain the high ground and justify the assertion that we are better than them.


Bosch Fawstin said...

I thought the same thing, Daniel, & drew out the logical conclusion of the self-destructive policies of the West

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

excellent illo, I added it as an illustration linked back, with your permission

Anonymous said...

Right. On.

Bosch Fawstin said...

Thanks, Daniel, I hated making it, but I love the truth, so...

Arithon8 said...

This is one of the best articles I have ever read.
I save the articles I particularly like into a folder so that I can give them to my family to read.
You mentioned that you were considering publishing a book of your articles. Are you still thinking about doing so?

mindRider said...

How do you explain 1933 - 1945 Rule of Absolute Evil in Germany the heart of western enlightenment and culture in this line of thought?

vanhetgoor said...

It is much better to liberate moslems from their mental illness than to fight them for the trouble they cause. It was not that clever to send the army to Afghanistan and Iraq to fight terrorism. It would have been better to fight with the truth. The truth is a mightier weapon, the lies of islam can't stand it.

Here is an example: A moslem has to submit to an all powerful Allah, but if that Allah would have had all the power it would not be possible for a man to submit or not submit. Because the man had a choice, Allah is not all powerful. Therefor submitting to an all powerful Allah is impossible, because Allah is not all powerful. Submitting is silly and useless.

Anonymous said...

We have cultural Marxism to thank for this cowardly attitude. Not only have they brainwashed people into hating their own history and culture, they've feminized the west at the same time.

@mindRider: The same ideology that is tearing apart the west now is the same ideology that created Nazi Germany: Marxism. And the west is now committing the same horrors on a grand scale, in fact I would argue that what is being done by western governments is a much greater evil.

Proud Brit.

jlevyellow said...

mindRider wrote, "How do you explain 1933 - 1945 Rule of Absolute Evil in Germany"

It is a human propensity to reduce rational analysis in response to excitement and its concomitent hormonal changes. Beating drums, cool song lyrics, large groups of people, carefully phrased sentiments shouted with fervor produce belief and mold actions. See Victor Frankl's "From Death Camp to Existentialism." We must understand ourselves as limited creatures capable of great deeds and their opposite, based upon our potentials and limitations. The German people, indeed a good part of Europe, were fooled by Hitler, but they were primed for it by their own petty beliefs that were not open to question.

Anonymous said...

"We are better than them" means, we are weak and have nothing in our future. This is the only idea that props us: we are better. They have a goal, an identity no matter how sick and twisted, they want to take over the world. What identity has the West? Shopping, materialism and self gratification? This has no group identification and its a bottomless pitt. Just look at the mini group revolutions in NY, in Israel, they all want to belong, only this is also related to give/have. The west didn't have an ideological goal since the WWII when they had to defend themselves. Now they are taking the high moral ground all the way to the gallows.

Lemon said...

Germany 1933-1945, or any nation ever in history :

Nations get the leaders that God thinks they deserve.

"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. Just like a stream of water, he can turn it anyway he pleases" Mishlei(proverbs) 21

Keliata said...

This is a fantastic article.

It reminded me of something FBI profiler Robert Ressler wrote in Whoever Fights Monsters. To paraphrase: If you look long enough into the abyss, the abyss looks back into you.


The world has looked into the abyss for far too long. We turned our evil, human enemies into mythical creatures; so powerful and evil that we are almost in awe of them. In awe of their great evil but awe nevertheless.

People do one of three things--hold the monster/human being up as a godlike figure to be feared and respected. Second to submit to it in defeat, roll over and play dead.

Option 3--recognize it as a mere human being and fight it.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I think part of the philosophical problem lies in our current idolization of tolerance. Tolerance is not a virtue. Rather it is a behavior that appropriate in some situations and not others. It is perfectly reasonable for a person to tolerate differences of preference, for example. I tolerate the fact that my husband likes Spaghetti Westerns, and I will sit down and watch one with him on occasion in order to enjoy his company although I much prefer sci-fi films. No one is harmed by this difference between us, and since I have enjoyed his company, (if not the movie), I have gotten something out of the deal as well. However, it is completely irrational to tolerate evil in another. If my husband shared with me that he had swindled people out of their money a la Bernie Madoff, I would be an accessory to his evil if I tolerated it. In such a case I MUST not tolerate it. My hypothetical thief husband would not appreciate what I would have to do in order to satisfy the virtue of justice, but in order to maintain my integrity, I would have to do it.

This issue of integrity is really what you are talking about here Daniel. Of late, we have been encouraged to be nice and not offend our enemies--to tolerate their evil-- rather than to be virtuous and just. Our cultural disintegration follows from our lack of discrimination between good and evil.

What is interesting is that as a religious Jew, I pray every day that G-d will protect me against "bad friends." Now a person who does something directly harmful to me is not a friend at all. Rather, a bad friend is a person who lets me get away with doing wrong in order not to lose the friendship. This is not helpful to either me or my bad friend. So when we tolerate evil in other cultures because of moral relativism, and do not visit the consequences upon our supposed friends, we are not helping them with our milk-toast behavior. Rather we are ensuring that the consequences to them and innocent others are sure to be far worse down the line.

Idolization of tolerance over good judgment and justice is dangerous.

Jesterhead45 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesterhead45 said...

Isn’t that sort of attitude part and parcel of Western culture / thought though?

For example, a simple mistranslation of the 10 Commandments led to “Thou shall not Murder” becoming “Thou shall not kill”, you have Western popular culture embracing heroes that never apply Rule 303 to baddies / criminals that go on to rampage another day, there is a general reluctance to mock / desecrate / destroy everything and anything the West’s enemies hold dear, you have “Liberal missionaries” who see no contradiction in imposing western progressive values / standards on the 3rd world while at the same time accepting moral relativism and multiculturalism, then you have many in the west self-contentedly celebrating how moral and ethical they are to a world that could not care less about such trivial things apart from condemning such virtues as vices and using our own virtues against us (to harm and murder) by holding us to unrealistic standards of morality as if we are Angels and seeking ultimately to imprison us to our own morality prior to our destruction.

There is also the unchallenged incorrect premise of all mankind being essentially good rather than possessing a dual nature that allows for men to forsake their humanity (by becoming their own inner demon / devil as it were) which is either downplayed or omitted entirely, a dual nature where seemingly evil means (through wisdom, logic and understanding) can be used for good such as a man killing a pursuer before the pursuer kills him to preserve his own existence or King Solomon settling a dispute by suggesting the baby should be divided in order to find out who the true mother was, while King Saul demonstrated what happens when one uses good for evil by being kind to the cruel and cruel to the kind.

cornholio said...

Indeed, a great epitaph for Western Civilization Daniel and that's where it's heading.

Ralph Thayer said...

"A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." -- Robert Frost

ruralcounsel said...

Seems to me that the U.S. Constitution doesn't survive in the United States today. It is observed more in the breach than the practice. Government doesn't recognize many limitations on its powers.

Perhaps the title should be "We were better than them."

Anonymous said...

I have been making a similar point that in 1400 years what have they done to promote world peace? Islam has not invented the car, airplane, train, cd, computer, put a man on the moon or done anything for humanity. Except kill. If an Arab/mulism was involved with any of the above, it was because they were working in a free society that let them move forward, not retain them and supress them. They are still mad that Eruope kicked them out in 1492 and want to return to that time.

Greg RN said...

The concept of being morally justified is what brought WW II to an end, the past 50 years represent the betrayal and treason of America by it's Politicians, the 60's Radicals are in power and have become worse than what they hated then. We are seeing the end game being run by the marxists and Communists in our midst, our domestic threat is entrenched in our halls of power, the dumbing down and revision of History have produced the OWS and Unionistas, the tolerance of Muslim is symptomatic, they were partners with nazi Germany. One must be able to read the writing on the wall so to speak. And yes, it is about to be brother against brother right here in America. Whether behind a badge or uniform or just fighting for the Moral High Ground against the Badge or uniform or three letter Agency, G-D will be looking at their hearts and cause.Whether or not you are prepared to be self reliant or just reliant on the GOV will determine your fate, think of it as accepting the Mark of the Beast.

Jay said...

There was an underlying current to your editorial that sounded familiar to me; oh, yes! Now I remember! It was one of the more asinine classes I had to take to earn my teaching credential. It was titled "Equity and Diversity." The professor, a woman who had bounced around to various local colleges -- and who smelled bad and dressed from the rag-bag -- told us that the purpose of the course was to teach us not to be guilty for being a white teacher of minority students. She didn't like me because I called her on this nonsense. Then, when my students said to me, "You're racist. You're picking on me because I'm (choose what you want)." When I started replying, "YOU ARE THE RACIST. The only reason you talk back to me that way is because you're a (choose what you want) kid talking to a white teacher. I'm going to tell your parents!" And I did, and guess what? I don't have that sort of nonsense anymore. Now I'm thinking of drinking my coffee from a mug emblazoned "Proud to be Islamophobe." I want my legislator to introduce a bill to strip non-taxable status from mosques in the US where hate is preached, or where terrorists originate. And what do my (few) Arab friends think of this? They are all apostate moslem so they love the idea. Better than them? Fight back? Damn straight! Smarter than them, too.

Keliata said...

You're right Greg, we were morally justified in ending WW II. Not only justified but I would say required by G-d and human decency to end the evil.

Still, I don't know if that is why the US in particular stepped to fight after FDR sat on the sidelines.


But to go back to the entire we were better than them and so did nothing...IMO it all boils down to a few words and concepts: courage, cowardice, campassion, and righteous outrage.

C "H" Martel said...

My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad," will be available within the month and one may pre-order at For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. Once this comparison, driven by actual names, has been made then it must be attacked. Once the attack has been launched then the attackers will be forced to defend their attack. Since the attack is indefensible then the "religion" Muhammad (if he existed) founded will begin to be viewed as the scam it is. This book has been written under the principle of KISS. And nothing is simpler to understand than Hitler and Stalin…..and now, Muhammad. Thank you for your time.......C"H"Martel

Walking Horse said...

Excellent piece! The only comparable treatment I've read is the transcript of Robert A. Heinlein's James Forrestal Memorial Lecture given 5 Apr 1973 at the Naval Academy.

It is titled "The Pragmatics of Patriotism", and reads in part:

"Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics.
But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it -- as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness.

"But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man's evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual.

"A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic."

Enjoy the whole piece, which can be found at

dashmaus said...

We build, they (the muzzies) destroy. We love our children and are over protective towards them, they blow theirs up. We build our nation over and over again; despite their constant sabotage. They sodomize their leaders. (re:the YouTube video)
Are we all REALLY the same? Does Netanyahu live in fear that if he fails, Yeshiva bochurim will send him to the same fate Quaddafi did?
My guess is he doesn't.
We are NOT all the same and Esavs' holiness is just pretense as well. We must be cautious about what we aspire to evolve to.

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