Sunday, June 25, 2006

The "Progressives"

The current designation of our friends on the left as "progressives" appears to have emerged as a result of the falling out of favor of the terms "liberal" and "Marxist". The evolution of euphemisms never ceases to amaze ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ in these days where political correctness and the neglect of the study of history in the government "schools" has literaly resulted in an Orwellian inversion of definitions. These days the "progressives' " complain of the loss of a mythical former idylic human existance.

Yet this complaint is inspired as well by communist ideology. Throughout the twentieth century, Marxian cultural criticism exploited the sort of Romantic dissatisfactions with modernity expressed as early as 1802 in the Preface to Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads. No matter that the next two centuries saw remarkable improvements in material existence wrought by capitalism and science, and saw individual freedom extended to millions by liberal democracy, these modern cultural critics exaggerated and dramatized the social costs of such benefits. They contrasted life in industrialized capitalist societies with a mythic golden age of pre-capitalist communal life in which the “alienation” fostered by capitalism didn’t exist and the individual was nurtured in a warm collective cocoon. Indeed, according to Marx and his followers, this communal paradise also lies at the end of history: once private property is abolished, capitalism and the state have withered away, and people are once again united into an organic, mutually supportive whole, the needs and desires of the individual will be identical with those of the community.

In their zeal to strain out the gnat of individualism’s flaws, the idealizers of lost community swallow any number of communitarian camels. They forget the deadening conformity and petty tyranny that frequently characterize so-called “organic” communities, typically based on castes and classes that subordinate individuals to the group.

They wish to tame the energies of individual freedom in order to fit people into some larger vision of communal good, some utopia of perfect equality and justice, always to be challenged by the quirky, unique individual.

Hence the ideology of “communitarianism,” which gains traction by obsessing over the trade-offs and costs that necessarily follow when each person possesses his own freedom and autonomy. Yet these costs are more than outweighed by the benefits resulting from freeing the imaginations and minds of millions from the stultifying shackles of group norms and herd mentalities.

And whatever these costs, they are as nothing compared to the mountains of corpses created by the collectivist ideologies that dissolve the individual and personal responsibility in the aims and needs of the community.


Friday, June 23, 2006

It Was Not Always So

In the 21st century, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadists. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of, anyone who would. This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization.
Why not? Because such smugness masks a massive moral paralysis. The morally superior (read: paralyzed) don't really take sides, don't really believe one culture is qualitatively better or worse than the other. They don't even believe one culture is just plain different from the other. Only in this atmosphere of politically correct and perpetually adolescent non-judgmentalism could anyone believe, for example, that compelling, forcing or torturing a jihadist terrorist to get information to save a city undermines our "values" in any way. It undermines nothing — except the jihad.
Do such tactics diminish our inviolate sanctimony? You bet. But so what? The alternative is to follow our precious rules and hope the barbarians will leave us alone, or, perhaps, not deal with us too harshly. Fond hope. Consider the 21st-century return of (I still can't quite believe it) beheadings. The first French Republic aside, who on God's modern green earth ever imagined a head being hacked off the human body before we were confronted with Islamic jihad? Civilization itself is forever dimmed — again.
Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas Tucker, RIP.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Stating the Absurd

The recent arrests of a group of "terrorists" preparing to utilize 3 tons of explosives for an "event" in Canada has elicited the absurd comment that these individuals are representative of "a wide spectrum of Canadian society." thus ignoring the fact that they were all muslims. Mark Steyn nails it perfectly:

The multicultural society posits that each of its citizens can hold a complementary portfolio of identities: one can simultaneously be Canadian and Jamaican and gay and Anglican and all these identities can exist within your corporeal form in perfect harmony. But, for most Western Muslims, Islam is their primary identity, and for a significant number thereof, it's a primary identity that exists in opposition to all others. That's merely stating the obvious. But, of course, to state the obvious is unacceptable these days, so our leaders prefer to state the absurd. I believe the old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between a New York traffic light changing to green and the first honk of a driver behind you. Today, the definition of a nanosecond is the gap between a Western terrorist incident and the press release of a Muslim lobby group warning of an impending outbreak of Islamophobia. After the London tube bombings, Angus Jung sent the Aussie pundit Tim Blair a note-perfect parody of the typical newspaper headline:

"British Muslims fear repercussions over tomorrow's train bombing."

Read the entire article.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What Happened?

Embarrassing Quotation of the Week

"Assuming that the increase in wealth production and population continue at the present compound rates, it seems likely that in the course of two or three decades, the U.S.S.R. will have become the wealthiest country in the world, and at the same time the community enjoying the greatest aggregate of individual freedom."

Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Soviet Communism: A New Civilization (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), quoted in New York Herald Tribune Books 12, March 8, 1936, 2.

Reality intervened.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is "Terrorism" the Enemy?

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ believes that it is a tragic mistake to declare war on a tactic in lieu of the real enemy which simply utilizes the tactic to achieve his political/religious ends. A case in point is the present "war on terror".

Please read this good news with a sense of remorse: our peers and pundits are puppy-dogging the PC MSM into calling the Jihad (this Islamic Holy War) by this fictitious moniker "al-Qaeda" or "terrorism". What a tragedy we live in when we can't call our enemy by its proper name. Folks, our enemy is Islam, its Wahhabi and Salafist sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Muslims worldwide who are praying to Allah that their brethren defeat us "infidels" and establish a "caliphate" here on Earth.
Conservatives are screaming from the rooftops that the "beheader-in-chief" Jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi master of Islamic Wahhabi insanity is dead. So what? The only thing this will do is force the left to deny what it publicized as the failure of the Bush Administration to do and move on to another distortion to impale rational Americans and our present leaders on. Additionally, the PC leftist media mere hours after the announcement of the successfull attack on Zarqawi and his thugs were bemoaning the collateral "civilian" casualties.

It is a great feat to have captured and or killed the real Satan in Iraq. Unfortunately, the military is not PC in this age of the cowardly surrender monkey who lives by the jaw and dies by beheading. The tragedy is in the process. Muslims are building their caliphate. They are 1.3 Billion strong. And they use beheadings and killing innocent women and children as their standard Geneva Convention.

The insanity of the left is so pervasive, rational humans are kneeling down and voluntarily putting their head in the guillotine.

As an example of how the left feels about it, Michael Berg, the father of Nick Berg, who was beheaded by Zarqawi, says that it is George Bush, not Zarqawi who was responsible for his son's death, and he feels no sense of relief at Zarqawi's death, just sadness that another human being had to die. Amazing that he considers Zarqawi a human being.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I'm Baaack!

To all of you Fighting in the Shade enthusiasts (both of you) Leonidas is pleased to report that he has survived 18 days of sailing in the Caribbean Leeward Islands including Antigua, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba, St Barths and St. Maartin and will soon be offering incisive comment on the socio/political scene.