The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Therapeutic Generation

Over the last month or so, I’ve commented on the way many in the West have stepped through the looking glass, characterizing those who fight evil as evil, those who foster oppression—of women, minorities, other religions, gays—as the oppressed, those who speak out against oppression (of the parties noted) as “islamophobic,” those who support terrorism (think: CAIR) as civil rights groups … a mirror world in which nothing is as it seems.

But an even larger percentage of those in the West seem to have lost the will to confront barbarism, oppression, and tyranny. Bruce Thornton draws a depressing parallel between public support during WWII and our current situation:
But we were a different people sixty-five years ago, more spiritual, more mature, more confident in the rightness of our beliefs, and thus more accepting of the grim truth that sometimes the good must kill some people now so that the evil don’t kill more people later. No more. We are the therapeutic generation that wants to eat its cake and have it, to achieve all goods without risk or cost or hard trade-offs. We loudly profess our love of freedom, rule by law, human rights, and prosperity as goods all people deserve; we weep for the victims of tyranny and oppression and all who lack such goods; and we chastise our leaders for allowing such misery to flourish. But we don’t want actually to pay the nasty, bloody price of acting on those beliefs and destroying those who don’t respect them.

The “therapeutic generation” indeed. At an abstract level, our desire to achieve moral purity when fighting our enemies is commendable— no civilian casualties, no matter what; no US military casualties (“even one death is too many”); never any attempt at preemption – better to take the punch first and then strike back – but only proportionately, never with fury, and on and on. But in the real world, where millions want to kill us and hundreds of millions want Sharia law to be the worldwide standard, our moral purity is a significant liability.

Almost all of us, myself included, have bought into the mime that Iraq is lost, that we have “failed.” The drumbeat of the MSM over the past three years has ensured that “failure” is the only way to look at Iraq. Thornton comments:
But worse is the constant assertion that the U.S. has “failed” in Iraq. No one has “failed” yet, and it is a sign of our collective failure of nerve that we want to quit in the middle of the game. But it is not we who are “failing.” Hussein and his WMD capacity are gone, and a lethal threat has been removed. If worst comes to worst and Iraq doesn’t stabilize, a fractured Iraq that looks like Lebanon will still be preferable to a regime controlled by a psychotic Saddam Hussein flush with oil money and ultimately freed, as he likely would have been, from U.N. sanctions and weapons inspectors.

The fact is, it is the Iraqi people who are failing, the Arabs who are failing, and Muslims who are failing. The same cultural pathologies that keep Palestinian Arabs sullen welfare clients, that keep Lebanon a political basket-case, that keep millions of Middle-Eastern Muslims mired in poverty and oppression and ignorance and gender apartheid, are the same forces that are keeping Iraqis in some Road Warrior dystopia — not our blunders, cultural insensitivity, arrogance, or whatever other excuse concocted by self-loathing Americans.

Stop for just a second and think about all of this. Could Thornton be right?