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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Drip, Drip, Drip

In your mind’s eye, picture a enormous dam holding back a large reservoir. Built many years earlier, the dam has withstood storms and floods and done a fine job of holding the water at bay. But times have changed. There are those, we’ll call them the "new breed," who now believe that the dam’s builders were eco-destroyers, bent on raping the environment for their own purposes. The benefits of the dam are called into question.

“We need a new way of looking at the dam,” the new breed argues, “not as something beneficial, but as something malevolent.”

“But the truth is,” a few people respond, “the dam has served us well. It provides power and water, recreation and a beautiful lake. If the dam falls, it will be replaced by flooding and chaos.”

“No matter about the truth,” respond the new breed, “we say that the damn is bad and that anyone who works to destroy it, is, well, justified in their actions. Well, maybe not justified, but we understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

One day, a small leak appears at the bottom of the dam. “No worries,” state the new breed with a smile, after all, it’s not a ‘leak,’ it's a water freedom flow and from now on everyone should call it that. It’s good thing."

Over time, many small leaks (oops, sorry, water freedom flows) appear and always, the argument is the same: (1) the water freedom flows really won’t matter and (2) they should be viewed positively because they are freeing the waters.

Time passes and the small leaks (oops, sorry, water freedom flows) grow into major erosion, but still, few seem willing to confront those who are sanguine about the leaks. In time, the erosion grows and the dam itself is threatened.

Mark Steyn , himelf a victim of a different kind of new breed in Canada, writes about an unrelated matter:
My favorite headline of the year so far comes from the Daily Mail in Britain:

"Government Renames Islamic Terrorism As ‘anti-Islamic Activity' To Woo Muslims."

Her Majesty's government is not alone in feeling it's not always helpful to link Islam and the, ah, various unpleasantnesses with suicide bombers and whatnot. Even in his cowboy Crusader heyday, President Bush liked to cool down the crowd with a lot of religion-of-peace stuff. But the British have now decided that kind of mealy-mouthed "respect" is no longer sufficient.

So, henceforth, any terrorism perpetrated by persons of an Islamic persuasion will be designated "anti-Islamic activity." Britain's Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, unveiled the new brand name in a speech a few days ago. "There is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief," she told her audience. "Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic."

Well, yes, one sort of sees what she means. Killing thousands of people in Manhattan skyscrapers in the name of Islam does, among a certain narrow-minded type of person, give Islam a bad name, and thus could be said to be "anti-Islamic" – in the same way that the Luftwaffe raining down death and destruction on Londoners during the Blitz was an "anti-German activity."

But I don't recall even Neville Chamberlain explaining, as if to a 5-year-old, that there is nothing German about the wish to terrorize and invade, and that this is entirely at odds with the core German values of sitting around eating huge sausages in beer gardens while wearing lederhosen.

Mighty dams fall because small leaks grow into larger ones. That only happens when no one cares. And by the way, calling a leak something else won’t change its menace.

Drip, drip, drip.