Monday, March 05, 2012

The View from a Broken Bridge

Between the modern and the post-modern worlds, peace negotiations took on the fevered air of senseless enthusiasm that was once the sole preserve of wars. Once upon a time it was treasonous to oppose wars, now it is virtually mandatory to do so. Today it is treasonous to oppose peace processes, no matter how ill-founded, how senseless and how pointless they might be. The treason is no longer toward a country, but toward an ideal.

What ideal is it that the peace process represents? The ideal that we are all basically alike, that we might speak different languages, wave different flags and have differently shaped borders, but that we are all basically alike. We all want peace and wars only happen when our jingoistic leaders mislead us into a conflict. Peace happens when ordinary people of goodwill under the leadership of a few enlightened peacemongers get together and realize how much they have in common and that any disputes they have can be settled over some coffee or tea.

No mythical ideal propounded by the postmoderns is quite as dully stupid and thoroughly delusional as this one. It is progressive in its insistence that we are all alike because we are human and that being the same means that there is no reason for conflict. Its irrational insistence that war is irrational perfectly captures the false reason of progressive paradigms which treat their own philosophical constructs as more real than reality.

We do not stand at the end of history, but we are witness to the end of the West, which remains as deeply in love with the peace process, as the members of the League of Nations, shortly before their pacifism destroyed Europe and plunged the world into the most destructive war in human history which left the winners locked in a struggle that nearly culminated in the end of life on earth.

No pacifist who ever shook his fist at the bomb ever considered the simple fact that the bomb and the Cold War would likely never have even been necessary had the much despised European imperialists done their duty after the previous world war and kept the peace with fleets and armies, rather than with empty speechifying about a new age.

Had Western Europe's imperialists actually lived up to their name, Germany would have stayed a failed state and Japan would have remained a Pacific ankle-biter. Instead they passed the buck to the League of Nations which passed the buck to Mussolini, Hitler and Tojo. And then the buck was passed to all the men and women who were promised peace in their time and instead got a rifle, a place at the assembly line and a view of the new atomic age.

The enlightened men who were responsible for this disaster briefly stepped off-stage, harrumphed from behind the scenes at what a lunatic that Churchill was, wrote up their sarcastic little ditties about the war and then reemerged afterward to seize the opportunity to reconstruct Europe into the dull clay image of their ambitions, a continent without war. For the most part, excepting tragic devastating conflicts like the Cod War, they got their wish. But they did not seem to understand that Europe was not the world.

Europeans had acted as if their stretch of land was the only part of the world that mattered because they had the power to make it so. Once the industry was fed into the maw of the nanny state and the military buck was passed on to the Yanks, the parts of the world that began mattering were the ones with the most factories and the most guns. For a while that was Russia and the United States. Today it is also China. Tomorrow it may be Turkey. Whoever it will be, the power will be wielded by men who do not think like reasonable top hatted diplomats. Power is wielded by bastards. Not the kind who put up wind farms that don't work and pocket the profits, but the kind who overrun nations.

Israel has been the bridge of the west to the east, the long curve over the Mediterranean bridging a long history and an ambiguous future. It has also been the constant victim of their peacemongering. No president is satisfied to leave office without a photo of himself smiling down benevolently on a handshake between an Israeli Prime Minister and the smirking leader of a terrorist group. These photo ops have a high cost in blood, not just for Israelis and Arabs, but also Americans.

Clinton's Rose Garden ceremony wedding Rabin to Arafat ended with unprecedented terrorism inside Israel and the transfer of two generations of Arab children to the educational system of a terrorist group whose only lesson was to teach them to be cannon fodder in its wars. Since that handshake, Israel is far worse off than it was before it embraced the lunatic idealism of the peace mantra. And the United States has footed the bill to train and arm terrorists who have passed on their expertise well beyond Israel's borders.

But these photos affirm the faith of the faithless in the universality of peace, the goodness of all men and the transitory nature of all conflicts. Once the photos are printed, it's time for more photos of the conflict which never actually ends, because it cannot end.

To prosperous westerners, whether in New York, Paris or Tel Aviv, war is irrational because it interferes with the things they would rather be doing. People who get their meat from a supermarket and deny the reality of death in the affairs of men think that war is a senseless and squeamish thing. But to the people on the other side, who grow up slitting the throats of goats while knowing that they may one day have to do the same thing to their sisters, war is eminently rational. It isn't a way of getting what you want-- it is a way of getting everything you want.

Postmoderns want to be left in peace to design their perfect utopian state with hot and cold running health care and free bicycles on every block. The premoderns want to take those things, play with them and then set them on fire. The last part is not very rational, but it is very human.

New York City wasn't attacked on September 11. It was sacked. It is still being sacked in small ways today. Paris gets sacked every time there's a major or minor riot. Europe is slowly being sacked in every city with a sizable Muslim population. Conquest is not a pretty thing, but it is what pre-moderns do to moderns who forget that power doesn't come from seminars or iPhones, it comes from the willingness to kill people in order to keep your cities, your seminars and your iPhones.

Modern life requires a wealth of compromises. Pre-modern life requires far fewer of them. The modern must try to be an all-around decent human being, tolerant of everyone and careful not to give offense. The pre-modern only needs to know who is below him and who is above him. Step on those below, lick the boots of those above.

Pre-moderns don't do very well in modern societies because they can never quite figure out who is above and who is below them, so they decide to be above everyone and step on everyone. That's when the integration counselors get called to work out the problem.

Project this up to the family of nations and you have a working assessment of the Clash of Civilizations, which is really just the sort of thing that happens when you tell people who think in terms of slaves and masters that everyone is equal, which they take to mean that no one is in charge, which means that the job is theirs for the taking.

Their behavior is actually quite reasonable. Far more so than that of the postmoderns who insist on pretending that their neighbors downstairs aren't doing exactly what they are doing, and react to every intrusion of reality with some combination of magical terms such as "bigotry", "tolerance", "fearmongering" and "cultural differences", which unlike more useful terms like "abracadabra" and "open sesame" don't actually change the world around them, but only deaden them to the world.

Reason of course does not matter to the rationalizers of peace processes. Their moral conviction that the only way the world will become a better place is if we wave the white flag can never be disarmed by trifles such as facts, history or the bombs going off before their eyes. Escalating violence only affirms their conviction that war is wrong, and if war is wrong, the only answer is peace.

This lunatic ditty is a closed circle that can never be pried open except by the occasional shock, as having defined the solution as the problem and the problem as the solution, they go on creating more problems by solving them. The more they fight against war, the more war becomes inevitable leaving them to eventually accede to wars in order to end all wars.

Like opponents of medicine, they disdain routine medical checkups and treatments, leaving them constantly struggling with epidemics and outbreaks, and ongoing conditions that bring them constant pain. They cripple the military, chant about the insanity of war on every streetcorner and then when things have gotten bad enough, it's a time for a world war or a clash of civilizations.

Israel stands at the center of the clash of civilizations, it is far enough in the east to feel the blows first, it is also far enough in the west to have its reason deadened by postmodern philosophizing. It is at that broken bridge that you can have the best view of the disaster.

"My heart is in the east, but I am on the very edge of the west," wrote the poet and scholar, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. The modern State of Israel is on the very edge of the east, but its beating heart is in the west. And the Western heart is a troubled organ. Its greatest trouble is that it thinks the heart is a brain, that its emotional tugs are reason and that the world as it feels it should be is as it truly is.


mindRider said...

Sultan, yet we managed to stop killing the guy in the next village and stopped abducting and raping his women. We funneled our lust for power and dominance into becoming the CEO of some enterprise and craving to unlimited and sole access to all the bananas has been transformed to obscene bonuses. We have in a manner stopped direct gratification of lust and violence by channeling. Apparently the leaders that led humanity into the two world wars suffered from mental immaturity (A conclusion by the US's ambassador to Berlin from '33 -'37, Dobbs concerning the Nazi regime according to his notes) The continuous troubles stirred up by Muslims around the world derive from the same mental state of puberal like desire, fire and lack of self control. Education should be the solution combined with the threat of bashing them over the head if they don't start learning.

dave s said...

You really need to put articles like this into a book. I hope you are working on it. The West needs clear thinking. You are one of the very few who can provide it.

Anonymous said...

This article should be required reading at the New York Times.

vladtepes2 said...

As well as going into a book,
these articles could go into MOBI format, so I can keep them and read them on a KINDLE.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

what would that involve? Just converting the file?

Anonymous said...

I use the Calibre ebook system to convert stuff to all kinds of mobile formats

Anonymous said...

Freud said that man doesn't want to be civilized. He believed man was "an appalling, sadistic creature". He believed that civilization wasn't a mark of man's unending upward development, but a barrier put in place to stop people going berserk, and to keep some semblance of order. Look at what happenned in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, for example. After 200 or so years of civic society, institutions, the rule of law - civlization, in effect - it collapsed overnight into total and utter anarchy when those barriers were removed, with policemen looting and shooting people, people shooting at medi-vac helicopters with assault rifles, killing each other for water, and women being allegedly raped and murdered where they thought they'd be safest, in the basketball stadium run by the authorities.

Man's natural state is war and killing each other to gain an advantage. The purpose of war is to bring about peace after passing a culminating phase of violence. The strong vanquish the weak, and the victors impose their will on the losers - just like we did with germany and japan in '45. We obliterated them psychologcially, as well as physcially with overwhelming force.

The relative peace we have enjoyed since the end of world war 2 - at least in 'The West', anyway, is a direct result of using overwhelming force against an enemy, killing lots of them and destroying their country.

We're lucky to have lived through it, but it will come to an end.

Anonymous said...

Sultan... it took me about 3 minutes to generate a Microsoft Reader document of this article (including the pictures) which can be read on Kindle, MS Reader, Calibre and so on. It can also easily be converted to any eBook format. I don't know whether this will work but here is the MS Reader doc for you (you will need to have MS Reader or Calibre installed and running - it is free).

Good luck.

Lemon said...

The world has gone insane in an almost literal manner it seems

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you say but need to correct you on some observations:
The "left" in Israel was not and is not postmodern. They were the majority of the voters and proposed then what Netanyaho proposes now. The "Peace" they propose is settlement as it was arranged with Egypt and Jordan. Both arrangements are very cold and their benefits are mostly secret but they are working.
What we know now about the Pal's and about the dangers of various options does not mean that you do not need to keep searching for settlements that can turn this conflict into a more manageable state of disagreements

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

they are working? Really.

How is the Egyptian end of that working out.

Anonymous said...

Yes. You have to judge them by middle east standards. "Peace" means silent collaboration on a case by case without being open about it but without open warfare.

Lord T said...

Excellent post. Needs spreading around a bit.

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