SIDE ARE YOU ON? I wrote this post, understood its toxicity, and so
ran it by the two people I most respect on such issues, my wife and my
friend from Philly, who is Jewish, though that's far from the only
thing he is. Thirty years of friendship does not turn on religion or
race. It has no hinge. It just is. My wife said, no, you can't post
this. No matter how well intended or true it is, you just can't do it.
My friend said, I mostly agree, and I'd like you to post it, but I fear for
you if you do. "Let's sleep on it," he said.
So I slept on it and woke to the following comment from the
perpetual thorn in the side of this site:
IP, you have a world class brain occupying a fifty-something, male,
right-wing, American body.
You're a Christian, so I know you've already contemplated leaving your
body behind after death.
Might you think about leaving it behind while still fully alive?
The internet doesn't need any more news aggregators. The internet
doesn't need any more conservative or liberal sites that exist to
"prove" their original, dyed in sheep's wool, premise .
What the internet DOES need is thoughtful people who are willing to
leave their "bodies" behind in order to discuss philosophical and moral
outcomes for the world at large if we continue down the path we are on.
We have more than enough people out there who are DEAD sure their
assumptions are "right". And if we keep those same assumptions, we will
more likely find ourselves, very literally, DEAD.
We need a site with more questions than answers. We need a place where
we listen, if only for understanding another person's position.
We need a site where we PROTECT the minority view, as if it were our
own, but more importantly, a site where each of us understands that it
is our OBLIGATION to stand up as the voice of ONE.
It is with that last thought in mind that I stand up as ONE who says we can best help the Israelis by not
standing behind them right now. [boldface added]
Really? Who does that help, exactly? Only those people whose idea of
morality is mixed up with their idea of politeness. But politeness
isn't going to save the Jews or anyone else in a world riven by
gutter-ugly hatred. So, having slept on it, here's my post, as I
wrote it in the first place.
Yeah. Everybody knows it. Why do we have to pretend? In this
case, it's not pure political correctness. It's the collision of two
narratives we'd like to keep separate. The first narrative is the Civil
Rights story, which we want to see as pure and beautiful and perfect,
regardless of any infections it might carry like mould in its innerds.
The second narrative is the rescue of the Jews from Nazi genocide,
which is, in some ways, the ultimate immigration success -- smart,
capable, civilized people who came here and immediately contributed to
national prosperity even if they didn't get into all the best country
clubs. We Americans don't like the idea of two success stories clashing
in any ugly way. In much the same way we don't hold black leaders
accountable for promoting illegal alien amnesty despite the fact that
the first victims of such amnesty will be black people.
We also have to pretend because the Jews insist we pretend. Which they do
for two reasons. They're proud of how much they contributed to the
Civil Rights movement, which could never have succeeded without their
activism, legal counsel, and proven martyrdom. And they are ashamed of
the fact (yes, fact) that
they have never regarded black people as
equals. But, then again, they've never regarded any other group as their equals. So
this particular intance is, well, embarrassing. It's the one that makes
them look, uh, illiberal.
Does any of this matter? Well, yeah, it does. Black people hate the
Jews (and, oh yes, they really really
hate the Jews), and Jews pretend they don't notice because mostly they
can live somewhere far away from the "Schwartzes," but it's the rest of
us who have to deal with the consequences without offending anyone's
Here's the thing. The Jews are holding a secret in their way-too-smart
heads. They know that we're not all created equal, because we're not
equal to them. This is true of both the orthodox and the supremely
secular Jews. This is also the rot that leads to self-hating Jews of
the type who defend muslim terrorists and work to destroy Israel. They
suffer from a common delusion: being smarter means you're better.
They're wrong about that, but who's to tell them they're wrong? That's
why it's our job to save them
from themselves. Human value is not about smart. It's not about
degrees, cultural impact, academic breakthroughs, Einsteins. We need
all those things, but they're not the definition of superiority.
Because that would be kind of a Hitlerian idea, wouldn't it?
Which is why blacks hate Jews. They sense the contempt, despite the
courage and sacrifice Jews have shown for the "schwartzes." They sense
that Jews are stooping when
they advocate for black causes.
Which is where America comes in. Most of us are just garden variety
Americans. We don't care who's smart, who's not, who's Ivy League, and
who's high school. We really don't..Which is why we're big enough,
finally, to absorb everyone.
Except we said that it matters. Why? Because now the whole world wants
the Jews dead. If we let any
group get away with wanting the Jews dead without calling them to
account, we are accomplices.
Meaning it's time to call African-Americans to account for hating Jews.
It's not acceptable. Even if the Jews keep on accepting it.
wife is mad, mad, mad at me for posting this. Maybe she's right. But
maybe for once I'm right.
When millions of lives are at stake, maybe it's time to stop
pretending. When does the truth have currency? When does it matter? If
not now, when?
But, it is difficult to imagine that the Church at this time in history
needs another critic. There seems to be a surplus both within and
Thinking about our talk the other day reminded me of Pope Benedict's
discussion in Introduction to Christianity, Chapter 1, §4 where
the difference between defining knowledge in a "make-know" paradigm is
compared and contrasted with knowledge arrived at in a
"stand-understand" framework ( §5). Moving toward a
conclusion (pp. 57 - 74) he writes:
"What is belief really? . . .It is a human way of taking up a stand in
the totality of reality, a way that cannot be reduced to knowledge; it
is the bestowal of meaning without which the totality of man would
remain homeless, on which man's calculations and actions are based, and
without which in the last resort he could not calculate and act,
because he can only do this in the context of a meaning that bears him
up" (p. 72).
"Without the word, without meaning, without love he falls into the
situation of no longer being able to live, even when earthly comfort is
present in abundance . . . But meaning is not derived from
knowledge. To try to manufacture it in this way, that is, out of
the provable knowledge of what can be made . . . No one can pull
himself up out of the bog of uncertainty, of not being able to live, by
his own exertions; nor can we pull ourselves up, as Descartes still
thought we could, by a cogito ergo sum, by a series of intellectual
deductions. Meaning that is self-made is in the last analysis no
meaning. Meaning, that is, the ground on which our existence as a
totality can stand and live, cannot be made but only received"
Now seems to be a time for men to take a stand and work toward
I'm not disposed to understanding. I'm a Scot. I'm pretty much about
UP. The biggest disappointment in my life was when a a Harvard
friend of mine told me Gorecki was "boring." He's anything but.
Everyone who thinks he is is, uh, boring. Here is the second movement.
And the third: Don't look. Just listen. Eyes closed.
. So Glenn Beck has a new book coming out, this time a work
of fiction he wrote during lunch hour (Brizoni take note). I have no
idea what it's about, and the trailer above certainly doesn't help. But
at least I recognized the voice of Rudyard Kipling, although I don't
understand what this
poem is about, either. In general, I'm hugely in favor of Kipling.
At his best (which this isn't), he has a kind of Swinburnian momentum
that just feels good to recite out loud, whether it actually means
anything or not. Is that what Beck is hoping for?
Gods of the Copybook Headings
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all...
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone
out in Rome...
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Apocalypse may be heading our way, but if it resuscitates Rudyard
Kipling, I'm pretty much for it.
[I]t was clear from the first that this
president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a
reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in
certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their
presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the
Americans' leader, a man of them, for them, the nation's voice and
champion. Mr. Obama wasn't lacking in concern about the oil spill. What
he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.
Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about
rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the
campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation
and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance.
These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but
unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.
A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of
identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs.
He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation,
because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his
ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having
nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the
The question of the moment is whether
Barack Obama understands the power of fear, or if, like Gandhi, he
prefers the power of love. If the last month is any indication, he
doesn't seem particularly effective at either.
After outcries from the left and the right that the President hasn't
been an effective leader on the oil spill, he seems to have read those
cries as a push for, well, more profanity, telling aides to "plug the
damn hole" and the "Today" show that he wants to know whose "ass to
While his momentary turn as foulmouthed intimidator (I can't recall a
time when another President had to be bleeped during a televised
interview) may reveal he knows the value of bravado, there is much
evidence to show he hasn't quite mastered the power of fear and
intimidation to actually get what he wants. Obama may be walking
loudly, but he is carrying a very small stick.
50 days in, and we’ve just learned another shocking revelation
concerning the Obama administration’s response to the Gulf oil spill.
In an interview aired this morning, President Obama admitted that he
hasn’t met with or spoken directly to BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. His
reasoning: “Because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP
CEO, he’s gonna say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in
words. I’m interested in actions.”
First, to the “informed and enlightened” mainstream media: in all the
discussions you’ve had with the White House about the spill, did it not
occur to you before today to ask how the CEO-to-CEO level discussions
were progressing to remedy this tragedy? You never cease to amaze.
(Kind of reminds us of the months on end when you never bothered to ask
if the President was meeting with General McChrystal to talk about our
strategy in Afghanistan.)
Second, to fellow baffled Americans: this revelation is further proof
that it bodes well to have some sort of executive experience before
occupying the Oval Office (as if the painfully slow response to the oil
spill, confusion of duties, finger-pointing, lack of preparedness, and
inability to grant local government simple requests weren’t proof
enough). The current administration may be unaware that it’s the
President’s duty, meeting on a CEO-to-CEO level with Hayward, to verify
what BP reports. In an interview a few weeks ago with Greta Van
Susteren, I noted that based on my experience working with oil execs as
an oil regulator and then as a Governor, you must verify what the oil
companies claim – because their perception of circumstances and
situations dealing with public resources and public trust is not
necessarily shared by those who own America’s public resources and
trust. I was about run out of town in Alaska for what critics decried
at the time as my “playing hardball with Big Oil,” and those same
adversaries (both shortsighted Repubs and Dems) continue to this day to
try to discredit my administration’s efforts in holding Big Oil
accountable to operate ethically and responsibly.
Mr. President: with all due respect, you have to get involved, sir.
And one of the truly legendary fast guns in town, Ann Coulter:
Oil is spewing from beneath a British
Petroleum oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of about 1 million
gallons a day. There's no end in sight -- although White House
officials have made it clear their goal is to stop the leak before the
midterm elections in November.
Obama now spends at least half of every day answering pointed,
increasingly aggressive questions about the oil spill, most of them
from his daughter Malia.
The president finally went down to take a look at the oil disaster last
week –- which is weird because I didn't even know there were golf
courses near the Gulf. To show his concern, Obama is thinking about
returning some of the nearly $1 million the oil industry donated to his
Ha, ha -- just kidding. He's not returning any oil money. But the
situation has gotten so urgent that Obama did take time off from his
golf game to praise the Phoenix Suns for protesting Arizona’s new
Which is why it's so critical that like Don Knotts in the clip above,
The One has a woman to do some backshooting for him -- the crazy in
love with all things Obama, Maureen
It’s not a good narrative arc: The man
who walked on water is now ensnared by a crisis under water.
One little hole a mile down on the ocean floor, so deep it seems like
hell spewing up its sulfurous smoke, has turned the thrilling saga of
“The One” into the gurgling horror of “The Abyss.” (Thank goodness
James Cameron, the director of “The Abyss,” came to Washington Tuesday
to help the administration figure out how to cap the BP well. What’s
next? Sending down the Transformers and Megan Fox?)
With as much as 34 million gallons of oil inking the Gulf of Mexico,
“Yes we can” has been downgraded to “Will we ever?”
It’s impossible not to feel sorry for President Obama, pummeled by the
cascading disasters, at home and abroad, unleashed by two war-mongering
oil men — plus scary escalations by Israel, Iran and North Korea...
Obama wanted to be a transformative president and now the presidency is
Instead of buoyant, he seems put upon. Instead of the fairy dust of
hopefulness, there’s the bitter draught of helplessness.
Oops. We'll know it's really over when DoDo finally figures out that
the "scary escalations" she's worried about aren't natural disasters but the kind of man-made disasters you bring on
yourself by a policy of weakness, appeasement, dithering, and apologies
to all the wrong people.
Maybe that won't ever happen. All women may be created equal, but some
women are less equal than others.
As we had hoped, you're fired up, too. Here's what we're getting.
Diogenes has volunteered to rewrite our Mission statement:
We recognize that the world is moving
toward a consensus that the state of Israel be eliminated. We
cannot allow the extermination of Israel to happen: should it happen,
we will all die as civilized men and women; and we will have silently
permitted a dark age to arise that our children and grandchildren won't
see the end of.
Hence the new site “title of site” is dedicated to stopping the
extermination of Israel and a promised second holocaust.
Our mission is to resist the growing tide of anti-Semitism and
anti-Israelism. Hence we speak to Jews who have not realized their
danger, and who hence cannot begin yet to respond to it; we speak to
non-Jewish religious people of good will who understand that the
highest ethical standards of the world arise from Hellenized Judaism,
and that thus its creators must not be destroyed; and we secularists
who abhor the fact that genocide is again coming.
This site will be:
1. A news aggregation site:
a. For news about
b. For news about anti-Semitism
c. For news about violence against Jews
d. For news about violence against Israel
e. For news about responses to sections a - d from
other open sources
2. A site for deep
moral commentary demonstrating that news listed in part 1 has
importance for all western civilization.
3. A site connecting to others who perceive the
danger and wish to resist it.
We include news and analysis that pertains to our mission. We
include topical information as well as historical texts. We
provide links to other sites and media that contribute to or support
We report on or connect with news, commenting on and questioning
it. We provide the historical and cultural context in which that
news has meaning so as to understand and prevent the second holocaust.
We seek out exclusive interviews and essays from the people who are
involved in policy and punditry. We question them in order to draw out
their knowledge, without recourse to any political agenda apart from
the salvation of Israel.
This site will not be political in any partisan or ideological sense to
the extent the editors can avoid such partisanship.
It will not be a commercial site created to make money for participants.
It will not be an exclusive voice, advocate, or outlet for any one
interest group or player in the issues which it addresses.
We measure the success of our mission by the extent to which we come to
be seen as a nonpartisan advocate of civilization, as opposed to
Eduardo has thoughts about how the site should look and feel:
So I've been thinking about the best
way to set up this site and my opinion is that it should be modeled
after the Drudge Report. This is because we want traffic. The beauty of
Drudge is the quick access to copious links on a variety of subjects.
Already know about something? Then keep looking until you see something
that interests you. And it's all concisely organized into an easy to
scan format. The opposite of this would be a site like HuffPo that
looks like someone threw up on a monitor and things fell all over the
place. I think the site contributors should be scouring the net for
Israel-related stories and linking to those.
Hot Air is another high traffic site, but I think our site should be
less like that. At HA, Ed & Allah pretty much link to things and
pontificate a great deal. I think our site should be more about simply
providing access to information. If something requires commentary, it
could be done at InstaPunk (with a link to the IP post on the new site
under the headline, of course, as Drudge often does).
There are already a plethora of pro-Israel sites out there, many of
which link to each other. We have to make sure there is something
unique about our site and we're not just a "me too" blog or there will
be no reason for anyone to visit. News breaks fast on the internet, and
thinking realistically I doubt our site will be breaking a whole lot of
news, so the best we can probably do is to collect the most important
news out there as quickly as we can and try to highlight more obscure
things that people might not have heard about in addition to all of the
major stories. And, as I mentioned, InstaPunk would be where all of the
heavy intellectual hitting is done when the need arises.
Them there's my two cents. A bit unoriginal, perhaps, but it's not
about style points, just traffic.
Then he has additional ideas:
I agree that the site should be non-partisan, but we've still got to be
able to call a spade a spade. Peripheral jabs at Obama and Co. should
not be made (like about the oil spill & teleprompter), but when
he's screwing Israel over and dining with anti-Semites we need to be
able to trash him for that. We definitely need to avoid Allah &
Ed-style "infinity & beyond" evenhandedness.
All of the extras you mention in the mission statement would be nice,
but it feels a little like overreaching. Links, commentary, news,
history...I think we need to go Drudge-style minimalist at first to get
things up and running and get people involved. I think the more people
get involved and see what is happening, the more they will want to get
further involved and start offering up their own commentary. Then we
can build off of that. But I don't like the column idea. That seems
less like a total traffic site and more like a niche site. When I go to
a new site and there is stuff all over the place, my first thought is,
"I don't have time for this." You know, like you said about my emails
and comments (ha-ha).
Maybe we could add all of those bells & whistles eventually, but I
don't think we should try to start out like that. It may be too
overwhelming and become one of those things that doesn't get done.
Let's get a basic framework set up and develop from there.
If you agree, that is.
And btw, what I can bring to the table: I have serviceable photoshop
& video editing skills. I can also look around for news to
link to and write when appropriate.
Comment. Yell. Agree or disagree. What I see is that people care about
this and are prepared to work. So let's hammer out what we have to do
and start doing it. I have no ego on the line here. Nothing anybody
says will offend me. Let's get to work.
I'm in a curious place these days. I'm determined to mount a new
website, even if it kills this one (which I hope it doesn't). My
purpose is to help save the Jews in Israel. My chief ally in this wants
me to write a mission statement. So here it is.
It's not about the Jews. It's about us. the vast population of
civilized ones. My vision is of a website that could never be taken for
a variation of the ADL or the JDL. It's about the rest of humankind. We
cannot allow the extermination of Israel to happen. Because when it
does happen, we all die as civilized men and women, and we're all
headed for a dark age our children and grandchildren won't see the end
If you've ever wondered what you'd have done in the 1930s when Hitler
started passing laws against the Jews, today is the day you can start
finding out what you're really made of.
I know some of you think I'm crazy. I'm not. We are all sitting right
here at the brink. In case you didn't know it already, there's no siren
that goes off when the world reaches a moral precipice. As I heard a
prominent conservative explain in a major address, the day after Obama
was elected, his children still went off to school, his wife went to
the supermarket, and he went to work as usual. That's the problem. No
siren. Except for the one that goes off in our heads.
Do you hear it? You should. Because it's all happening again now. All
of it. The boxcars are
being loaded, the Warsaw Ghetto is being emptied, the canisters of
Zyklon B are being released, and the trains are rolling out and out
while the chamber orchestra at Auschwitz plays on.
So what can a website do? A lot if we're smart about it. We can become
a force to be reckoned with. A voice that can't be stilled or
invalidated by political machinations. But here are the
boundaries we must observe as if they were reinforced by razor wire.
No advertising. No political or group affiliations. We must be
civilization's blog, a venue for all who care, a hybrid of news
aggregation and deep moral commentary. What should it look like? Don't
laugh, but it should look like a page from the Talmud. In the center
column, news of the day followed in each case by an assessment of
impact. My colleague laughingly suggested two such commentary
streams: "The Jew" and "The Gentile." Because there are two
different audiences. "The Jew" can address all audiences but only he
can speak to Jews who are still in denial. "The Gentile" can feel for the
Jews but he cannot lecture them. He must confine himself to reasonable
outreach to everybody else. He must beat the world drum. Every day.
There must be, as with most blogs, a righthand and a lefthand column.
The lefthand column is both topical and eternal. It contains links to
historical holocaust sources and contemporary voices, including
Facebook pages of those who are committed to the same purpose.The
righthand column is for access to the friendly organizations --
Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, secular, and plain news.
But friendly is all such
organizations can be. We accept no money from them, no sponsorship, and
we do no political work on their behalf. Our job is reporting the news,
commenting on and questioning the news, and providing the historical
and cultural context in which that news has meaning.
Beyond this, we must seek out exclusive interviews and essays from the
people who are involved in policy and punditry. We must question them
and draw out their knowledge without recourse to any political agenda
apart from the salvation of Israel. Which means, for example, that if I
should get the opportunity to interview Charles Schumer or Anthony
Weiner, I must not use the opportunity to interrogate them about health
care or congressional spending. That's not what this blog is about.
We will succeed if, and only if, we come to be seen as a nonpartisan
advocate of civilization, as opposed to barbarism. Nothing else. No
party, no ideology, no religion rules us. But history and humanity do rule us.
I am open to challenges, revisions, codicils, ordinary comments,
criticism, etc. Remember, though, that our primary goal as a website
that seeks power on this vital issue is traffic. Our secondary and tertiary
goals are traffic. We want to
be the go-to website when something that threatens Israel occurs. Have
Did I mention that the website will be called "It's Happening Again"?
The kid's up against it. No joke. For some reason (if that's the
right word), he's decided he needs to write a novel in one week. Something about a Nazi in
red shorts. I
helped out to the best of my ability, writing Chapters 1 and 2 for him
last night (uh, not kidding, sad to say), but he still has a long way
to go. And he actually thinks my
contribution needs editing!?
Something about "crap off the top of your head" and "flagrant violation
of my vision" or some such garbage
(the italics are to ensure a French reading of the word). The nerve of
At any rate, we've established a command center somewhere in Alabama
where we're receiving BrizoniAaid: hot towels, cold compresses, cheap
whiskey, unfiltered cigarettes, French coffee (well, boiled sneakers
will do), inspiring blondes with huge breasts and long legs,
anti-carpal tunnel forearm armor, and black plastic lawn bags. Can't
explain what the lawn bags are for, but he insists they're essential.
What we're still trying to arrange is the necessary airlift from
Alabama to the Pacific northwestern state (one of them) Brizoni
actually lives in. Any pilots out there with free time should call the
In the meantime, we're also soliciting donations of a wide variety of
writing tools the poor boy will be needing in his attempt to duplicate
the writing speed of Erle Stanley Gardner with far less, uh,
experience. Check your closets and hard drives, if you please, for all
the superfluous stores you might have of commas, periods,
three-syllable adjectives, prepositions, partially conjugated verbs,
rude interjections, and (sadly) full paragraphs that haven't already
been plagiarized by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Please do NOT send
obscenities. He already has an excess of those. (Lawn bags?)
I'd inspire you with the chapters I've already contributed to this
superhuman effort, but the kid's been mumbling about lawsuits and
machetes since about 10 am. What do lawsuits and machetes have in
common? I don't know. Must be part of the creative thingummy. Or
Where was I? If you want to contribute, please send your Lucky Strikes
and bottom shelf whiskey to this address:
Somewhere in Alabama
Yessir, USA [insert zip code]
That ought to about do it.
Monday, June 07, 2010
66 Years Later
MOREMORIAL. I hope some of you followed our
suggestion to observe "Military
History Week," from Memorial Day last
Monday through the 66th anniversary of D-Day yesterday. We aimed you at
the old TV series Victory at Sea,
which memorably recorded the invasion here, here, and here. Here's the
It's a long long time ago now, isn't it? Maybe that's why the exact
opposite of our suggestion appears to be what has occurred. I looked in
vain through the Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Channel, and
History Channel listings for a repeat of their creditable
performance on Memorial Day. I was unable to find a showing on any channel of Saving Private Ryan, The Longest Day, or a repeat of the
Band of Brothers marathon that
ran a week ago. D-Day has been subsumed into Memorial Day -- with only two
exceptions. The Military Channel devoted the whole day to the Normandy
invasion, and if you rose at 5:00 am like I did yesterday, you got to
see two memorable C-Span telecasts that conformed to the idea behind
"Military History Week."
I hope you'll spare the time to peruse both. First
was a lengthy interview with Sebastian Junger, whose book War (sample text here),
about the months he spent embedded with the most remote and embattled
U.S. units in Afghanistan, represents a timeless narrative of
soldiering that connects us to elemental truths about those who fight
and die for our country. I urge you to take in the whole interview.
Junger is as matter-of-fact as his story is inspiring. The second
C-Span gem was a book-tour talk by Victor Davis Hanson about his recent
work Father of Us All,
challenging modern conventional wisdom about what war is and what it
accomplishes and doesn't -- and why. Buried in the middle is a specific
reference to the outstandingly detailed planning and yet near-fatal
screw-ups of the D-Day invasion that should give pause to all who want
to abandon every military campaign the first time it blunders. (There's
also a terrifying analysis of the current Iran-nuke situation no one
should miss...) See it here.
The value of the larger perspective is twofold. It's about paying our
respects to those who gave everything for our freedom, yes, but it's
also about the critical importance of knowing enough about our own
history to retain perspective on what the role of our politicians and
an engaged citizenry should be.
To use the two examples I've offered, Junger demonstrates that war is always about life and death and
duty and courage and loyalty, regardless of the technology or rules of
engagement adopted. There may be high-tech drones operating via remote
control in Afghanistan, but there are also human troops -- our
brothers, fathers, and sons -- living in the field under conditions as
harsh as any faced by Washington's army at Valley Forge or the 101st
Airborne's in the Battle of the Bulge. Hanson explains that colossal
errors will always occur, and the test of a nation at war is not the
immaculateness of its planning but the ability to respond to the
inevitable unanticipated catastrophes. His exemplary recounting of the
85,000 Allied deaths caused by the failure to foresee the dangers posed
by Normandy's off-beach hedgerows, after an entirely successful
"Mission Accomplished" landing, is directly analogous to the undemolished
fence that crippled Pickett's charge at Gettysburg -- and
indirectly analogous to the "scandal" of unarmored humvees in Iraq.
Throughout history, victors learn from and overcome their mistakes, and
losers fail to understand the costs of quitting because events don't go
their way as predictably as rational critics think they ought.
Vitally, we also need to recognize that "paying our respects" and
"understanding our history" are frequently not complementary but
contradictory needs. Our attempt to honor the personal costs of
military sacrifice tends to focus on grieving older veterans who make
understandable statements in graveyards about the awfulness and
inexcusability of war. All of which are true is some absolutely
reductive human sense. But when we try to empathize with someone who
has been through what we cannot fathom, we are not actually empathizing. We are projecting in the most simplistic
and self-serving of ways. They are lamenting the human condition and
the particular personal costs they have paid. They are not speaking, in
such moments of intense personal emotion, to the equally relevant issue
of why they chose to fight in
the first place. They had their reasons, and we'd best pay as much
attention to those as we do to their grief-stricken platitudes. When we use their grief to claim that all war casualties die in vain, we are the lowest of pimps, whoring heroes for political gain.
FOR EXAMPLE: Watching documentary Discovery Channel footage of
80-year-old Iwo Jima veterans in tears at the memory of the best who
were left behind becomes, in this respect, a kind of voyeurism, almost
lewd in its objectification for political and philosophical purposes, of
their continuing personal agony. Tears about the horrors of war are not
the only important thing about them, not even the most important thing
You see, those Iwo Jima veterans are Marines.
They volunteered. They won despite the appalling physical and
psychological hurts they endured. If, today, they no longer remember or
recite the reasons for their service, it's as much a crime to ignore
the younger selves who won a savage fight to the death as it is to
exploit the piercing sorrows such men feel in their declining years.
What gets overlooked is that they did what they did because first and
foremost -- the initial cause if you will -- is that they loved their
country, families, and way of life enough to (promise in advance
they'd) pay the price they have been paying ever since. Would they
trade it away, even now, at this late date? No. Because that would mean
not having known or been so close to those they continue to mourn and
revere and honor with their tears. They would no longer be themselves,
not coincidentally, we would
no longer be the selves they suffered and
died to give us the freedom to be.
In short, veterans are NOT an argument against war, except for those
who trivialize them and their contributions as waste, misguided fools
who believed some trickery of their betters to a degree the naysayers do not respect but merely pity. These
did not risk so much and lose so much for the purpose of being reduced
to an easy argument
for appeasement and cowardice in the face of nakedly evil threats.
It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who
said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two
opposing ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the
ability to function."
What did he mean by that? This. War is awful and inexcusable. It is
also at times necessary and virtuous. It
was necessary and virtuous in 1860. It was necessary and virtuous in
1941. It's been necessary
(etc) several times since. It may be necessary and critically virtuous again soon. We
can deplore and
condemn the need. But we cannot permit ourselves to shrink from meeting
the need when it occurs, and we cannot use feigned respect for
past sacrificises as an excuse for not fighting the virtuous fights on
which our whole moral tradition depends. Rather, we must use memory to
fundamental humanity, as our surviving veterans have, even as we learn
from the mistakes and incomparable courage and resolve of our forebears.
We can see that the Iwo Jima survivors are men of deep character and
moral sensibility. We can also see that in the hour of their testing,
they did not relent in the terrible task of destroying the enemy so
that he could not survive to strike again at the innocent. Their words
in the cemetery may not make the point clearly. But their deeds did.
That's what we must most
fiercely remember. And what it seems we are rapidly forgetting. What is
66 years? Added to the age of a typical soldier, it's just beyond a
normal human lifespan. Is that really all it takes for us to forget a
miraculous example of unselfish courage, sacrifice, character, and
Pity the day.
If you've ever wondered
you as noble as this? Do you dare to be perfect?
everyone else how to be perfect? Kewl.
. At some level, the study of history is a mob exercise in
narcissism. The good guys and bad guys are determined after the fact
and we all get to share in the glow of righteousness that accompanies
the conviction of what side we'd
have been on in the great moral confrontations -- after the textbooks have pronounced
their judgment. We'd have opposed the
Salem witch trials. We'd have stood up for the American Indian tribes
when all the treaties were being broken. We'd have been die-hard
abolitionists and underground-railroaders in the age of American
slavery. We'd have denounced Hitler in the early 1930s and refused to
participate in his 1936 Olympics. We'd have opposed FDR's internment of
the Japanese in World War II. We'd have stood with Rosa Parks at the
front of the bus and died if necessary for Martin Luther King. We'd
have marched against the Vietnam War. And we always knew Bush was wrong
Or some of those things, anyway. And for many, book learning about such
things brings a sense of regret. IF ONLY. If only I had been there instead of in the here and
the now where nothing is that important or clearcut, I could have made
a difference. I could have
shown everyone the exquisite moral clarity of my soul. As opposed to
now, where everything is only shades of gray, and I'm really too busy
just trying to make a fucking living to get involved.
Welcome to the real world. Everyone is always too busy just trying to
make a fucking living to get involved. Except... if you're
interested... the universe is tossing up one of its endless
opportunities... for those who think
they're moral heroes.
If you're interested. I know the term has been overused, but I'll use
it again because it's so apt. We've reached the point of "perfect
storm" for the final annihilation of the Jews.
I mean, if you were looking for the absolutely absolute symptoms of
moral disaster before proving your own moral superiority -- you know,
the proof that it really is
that important to put your own prosperity and life on the line -- the
final pieces have been put into place. If no one acts, Israel will die
and the Jews will become a hunted race with nowhere to go and no one to
defend them. Interested?
Unless, in your heart of hearts, you really do want the Jews to go away
for good. (What happened? A Jew made you look bad in class? You lost a
lawsuit? A doctor was rude or overcharged you? You don't like the way
his wife was dressed or made up at the country club? A Jew made your
kid look bad in class? Etc.)
Yes, I know you love all the black people you've never met, and all the
Palestinians who haven't lobbed missiles into your child's pre-school,
and all the other causes that have nothing to do with the roots of your
whole moral system and educational tradition, but the seeker after
causes has to make some
I'm giving you a tip about the next moral cause that won't be
identified until it's too late.
The Jews in Israel are about to be exterminated. And the time to do
something about it is right now -- not next week, next month, or next
year. For all you moral heroes, let me put it in terms you do understand.
The Salem witch trials are banging the gavel. John Brown is cornered in
his burning barn. Rosa Parks is being kicked foot by foot to the back
of the bus. And Leni Riefenstahl (see video above) has just released
her latest masterpiece of propaganda:
Meanwhile, an alliance of the U.N., Europe, and middle eastern Islamic
states have agreed that it's criminal for Israel to blockade the import
of arms from Hamas to Israel's existential enemies in Gaza. The President
of the United States can't be bothered to support the right of
self-defense for his nation's closest ally and chooses instead to party
with one of the world's most famously respected anti-semites at the
very moment Israel is most under attack. Then there's the so-called
"dean" of the White House Press Corps, whom nobody in any position of
authority can quite bring himself to denounce as... well... what do you
call them these days? Maybe what this what one out-of-power old-time
liberal calls her. Except nobody in power is listening because they
all basically agree.
And did we mention Iran? On the verge of nuclear weapons capability,
with no meaningful attempt at deterrence from same by anyone. With a
brand new declaration to up the ante of provocation by joining
the international attempt to bully Israel out of defending itself
from Hamas missile supply through the "illegally" blockaded
uh. Israel is going to die soon. With the complicity of the United
States. And every other supposedly civilized nation on earth. After this. And the
consensus of all the peace-loving academics in the western academic
world. And all of you who
don't have the guts to stand up and fight back when a genuine
civilizational crisis of morality announces itself in neon letters.
This is your moment, kiddies. Ultimate, anti-authority,
anti-conventional wisdom, anti-immoral establishment moment. Watcha
gonna do, babies?
I know watcha gonna do. What the smugly superior assholes always do.
But this time at least, you won't get away with pretending you'd have
been on the right side if only you knew what that was. The right side
here is obvious. And when your neglect and propaganda kill a million of
your betters, I will never let you forget it.
What won't I let you forget? You'd have helped lynch the witches. You'd
have written editorials endorsing the Dred Scott decision. You'd have
given Leni Riefenstahl an Oscar. Maybe you still will. She was a
talented filmmaker, after all.
Anybody who wants to join the fight, volunteer now. I'm trying to build
a new website. I just have to convince a Jewish colleague that anyone
My friend is on board. We're starting a new website called, "It's
Happening Again." We need bandwidth, we need contributors, and we need
outreach. And money would be huge help too. It cannot be a Jewish Defense League permutation, although we
also need Jewish contributors. It's a website representing all the defenders of civilization.
It's not conservative, liberal, Democrat, or Republican. It's about
staving off catastrophe. My friend wants to focus on current events,
day by day, and I want to leaven that with the historical context
explaining why the death of Israel would be so catastrophic to all of
civilization. (Was it Billy Oblivion who expressed a devotion to "Mila
18," also one of one of my favorite books of all time? Come forward.We
need you.) Unlike this site, its mission is traffic, traffic, traffic.
We need to become an immediate force on the Internet. Any idea that
will promote that is welcome -- petitiions, challenges, interviews,
polls, etc. We need the attention of Alan Dershowitz, Joseph Lieberman,
Charles Schumer, Diane Feinstein, David Horowitz, Bill Kristol, and any
and all Christian advocates of Israel.
We have no idea what we're doing yet. Just that we must become the
Resistance. Give us your best ideas.