An amplification of my American Thinker article about public school’s failure to teach children to fear true enemies
gpc31 left a comment that so perfectly amplifies the point I was making in my American Thinker article, it deserves to be elevated to post level:
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I’d like to sketch a few conjectures on why we, or at least our intelligentsia, bend over backwards to deny the reality of modern enemies:
1) I think that it is essentially a form of wish fulfillment, i.e., if I don’t hate them, they won’t hate me. Unfortunately, this approach founders on the simple fact that it takes two to make peace but only one to make war. It is a slippery slope from the disappointment of high-minded intentions down to the practice of cowardly appeasement, and all too easy to rationalize ones motives along the way.
2) There is a closely related second psychological mechanism connected to the desire for a rational and humane society. It contains a worthy germ of moral idealism within and depends on the (overvalued) power of good intentions and the idea of reciprocity. Again, if I demonstrate my good intentions and rationality, surely the “other” will do the same in return. But what happens if, instead of a handshake, I get punched in the nose? Clearly, good intentions are not enough, and not everyone is rational (at least not rational on the same scale; otherwise, what good is multi-culturalism? The Left is incoherent and thus self-contradictory here.)
3) The liberal cocoon. Victor Davis Hanson has done a wonderful job of skewering the mentality behind the EU conflict resolution model in a therapeutic world. It’s not bad for Europe, given its bloody history.
4) Kant is the great philosophical progenitor of the twin themes of good intentionality and political rationality. He wrote an influential essay entitled “On Perpetual Peace.” His modern day descendant in social contract theory is the enormously influential John Rawls.
5) Kant was reacting against a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all, which is the natural state of international relations. Hence the desire for a world government to create a kind of peace.
6) This desire for a world government is one reason why the Left denies American exceptionalism and denigrates American sovereignty at every opportunity. Multiculturalism is merely a stalking horse; it is theoretically incoherent, and is therefore really just another form of self-loathing.
7) The liberal impulse for inclusion provides another reason to deny the existence of enemies: If there is no “us vs. them,” then there can be no war. (An obvious fallacy but psychologically appealing.) Historically, liberals have sought to continually expand the franchise–democratic rights, voting rights, economic rights, civil rights, social rights (gay marriage), etc… — so from their perspective, why not give health care to illegal aliens, or rights to animals (I am NOT equating illegal aliens with animals; the idea is to demonstrate a perpetual widening of the political horizon). This impulse also fits in nicely with the Left’s desire for egalitarianism (i.e., leveling).
8) Our elites, and the rest of the world, fear what an enraged America is capable of once at war. Hence the reluctance to even name enemies. Hence the phony moral equivalence. It is a case of Gulliver being strapped down by the Lilliputians, with the twine made up of U.N. resolutions and threats from the Hague. God forbid that we show footage of people jumping from the towers, or other victims of jihad. Instead we play up Gitmo. Why? So as to not enrage the populace.
9) I might add that it is an unrealistic form of moral vanity and condecension to think that we are so mighty and morally pure good that we can win wars with one hand tied behind our back. War is a grave business.
10) Finally, intellectuals tend to value words over deeds and are not noted for their physical courage.
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