Politics, Culture, the Public Square
“. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton
Thursday, September 29, 2005
This remarkable Los Angeles Times article gives the reader a sense of the haphazard process that gave us that unspeakable usurpation Roe v. Wade. A most revealing report — and depressing.posted by Paul Cella | 2:15 PM |
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I have long been disdainful of the fashionable argument that formulates the problem of Islam almost exclusively in the terms of modern Western radicalism: the “Islamofascism” argument, in the shorthand of the day. This not so much because I doubt that Western radicalism has had an impact on the Mohammedan religion — Western radicalism has been so potent and demonic a force that is it difficult to imagine anything untouched by its hideous strength — but because I think it ultimately obscures more than it illuminates. It obscures difficult history by interposing a more familiar ideological narrative. Most perilously it prevents a full appreciation of the antiquity and permanence of jihad in the Islamic mind and civilization. Since the religion was founded, a fierce insistence on not merely the obligation, but also the piety of conquest has distinguished it. War is justly provoked not, as the Western tradition has always in principle maintained, by aggression, or, as the Western tradition has usually practiced, by interest, but by unbelief. To reject the revelation of Mohammed is to make oneself the just object of war, subjugation and even death.
Nevertheless, Western political radicalism has indeed added its own feverish energy to this incendiary doctrine. David G. Dalin’s essay, “Hitler’s Mufti,” in the last number of First Things, is a fine example.
We are not talking here about admiration from afar, a kind of sick intellectual crush. No — far worse than that:
We learn also that al-Husseini was a much beloved hero among the early leadership of the PLO, including the late Yasser Arafat, who described him as recently as 2002 as “our hero al-Husseini.”
Such viciousness — an import of the darkest dreams of Western nihilism into the heart of the Islamic world — should not go unnoticed as we endeavor to look hard upon our enemies and see them for what they are; but neither should we allow it, in its familiarity, to blind us to the older strains of strife and ruin inherent in Islam proper.posted by Paul Cella | 9:05 AM |
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The intrepid Jeff Culbreath delivers a rousing defense of traditionalism. Well said, friend.posted by Paul Cella | 12:24 PM |
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The subsequent reporting on the conditions in the New Orleans convention center after the hurricane has demonstrated that it was worse than we thought. The New York Times reported:
The Washington Post, in an equally heartbreaking story of the predatory depravity inflicted on so many innocents by the brutes of the city, reveals that “250 armed troops from the Louisiana National Guard”
No doubt the general speaks truly when he admits this; but let us have no illusions about what is admitted. The invocation of the ghosts of Kent State here is evidence of a mental subjection to the narratives of political correctness — one such narrative being the one that lectures us about all the horrors of allowing the National Guard to quell revolts of the people, even when the “people” consists of thousands of exhausted, demoralized, vulnerable citizens and a handful of delinquents and madmen.
And that, friends, countrymen, is the truth about America; we will let each other die for political correctness. We all run in fear of offending these strange gods we have erected. Thousands of refugees from a savage hurricane and flood — many of them frail, weak, or small — are subjected to unrelenting brutality at the hands of intoxicated thugs right next door to 250 armed National Guardsmen, and the guardsmen do nothing, because their commanders fear that quelling the anarchy might not look good under media scrutiny. It might become inspiration for a bad song.
It is difficult to pass judgment on leaders operating under conditions such as those which we now know prevailed in the NOLA convention center; difficult not least because the penetration of this sickness — political correctness — into our collective psyche is so deep. One is even tempted to follow the haunting analysis of James Burnham, who argued that this ideology (he called it liberalism), is merely the epiphenomenon, so to speak, of our spiritual enervation. We no longer have the will or courage to act with dispatch and confidence, to do what is right and not count the potential cost, so we must explain to ourselves why that is. Liberalism, in Burnham’s view, is the body of ideas constructed and arranged, oftentimes in an implicit manner, to reconcile us to our own decline as a civilization, to make palatable the “terrible, soul-shattering loses, defeats and withdrawals,” to narcotize our affliction, to make death mild when it comes.
Burnham’s book was called Suicide of the West, and what better word is there for a nation that will let its most vulnerable die rather than cross the taboos of a dying ideology?posted by Paul Cella | 9:55 AM |
Friday, September 16, 2005
This is good news:
Of course, the article is unfortunately tinctured with the predictable prejudice that the critics here can only be the darkest of philistines. One is tempted to reply that there is probably some aesthetic sophistication lacking in the spectacle of accomplished architects insensible of the iconography of a red crescent.
But the architect’s statement concerning the matter is tolerably sensible: “It’s a disappointment there is a misinterpretation and a simplistic distortion of this, but if that is a public concern, then that is something we will look to resolve in a way that keeps the essential qualities.” A grudging concession, yes, but at least a concession to the solid fact that a memorial to war dead is not the exclusive province of fashionable architects, or even (contrary to the assumption of many observers) of the families of those who perished. Rather it is the province of all of us — all of us who, being infidels, are on the precepts jihad deserving only of servitude and death.posted by Paul Cella | 11:55 AM |
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The peoples of Europe have been further subjugated by the EU bureaucracy:
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, delivered a comment of almost comical absurdity: “This is a watershed decision. It paves the way for more democratic and more efficient lawmaking at EU level.” [my emphasis]
In short the ruling demolishes British democracy — and Italian democracy, and Polish democracy, etc., etc. — and subjects all Europeans whose governments have joined the EU to the whims of that splendid bureaucracy. The officialdom of Brussels has expanded its mastership over all of Europe.
Some, including the Blair Government in Britain, are downplaying the whole dirty business, insisting that the ruling “has implications only for areas where the EU has extensive competence — such as with internal market or environment laws — and not for standard criminal offences, such as burglary or murder.” But what but a brassbound utopianism could possibly argue against the expectation that once a national liberty is surrendered, its scope — now in the hands of the supranational elite — will broaden inexorably? Does anyone doubt that the European Court of Justice, having achieved this usurpation, will now sit quietly, satiated?posted by Paul Cella | 9:27 AM |
Monday, September 12, 2005
The proposed memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, has been revealed, and it is, I’m afraid, simply contemptible. The “Crescent of Embrace” they are calling it; and do not think for a moment, dear reader, that the crescent shape is a mere accident.
The first Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the memorial did not even deign to mention the significance of the shape — a fine example of that studied ignorance of the immediately observable, which is the trademark of political correctness.
What an extraordinary comment on the sickness of our civilization this miserable episode is. The men and women of Flight 93 were our first citizen-soldiers in a war long declared and prosecuted by the enemy, but only on that day finally (if inadequately) acknowledged by us. “Let’s roll,” one of them said before they moved against the hijackers. But the memorial’s exhortation is closer to, “Let’s roll over.” It is a monument to surrender: it speaks of weakness when it should convey defiance.
We want to honor the memories of men and women murdered in the name of a religion; so we propose to erect a memorial conspicuous mostly for its resemblance to the haunting shape that has stood for centuries as the symbol of that religion. And when outraged observers call attention to the most conspicuous feature, the reaction from the promoters of this ugly little perfidy is one of indignation. One report concludes with these words of censure against those distraught by the symbolism: “To take this small-minded, bigoted view is disgusting and repellent.”
Good patriotic men may disagree about when is the time for openness to Islam.* But surely this memorial is no place to announce openness. Surely we can agree that openness to an implacable enemy is suicide. Surely we can agree that a war memorial (for that is what this must be) may be many things, but it may not be a capitulation to the enemy.
Four Muslims died on September 11, 2001 on that field in Pennsylvania. They died believing that by massacring innocents they would attain paradise. They died believing that their god commanded them to massacre and subjugate the unbeliever, and that by crashing that plane (preferably into a high-level target) they would strike a great blow in a holy cause. They died believing these things because they were Muslims.
There is no place for Islamic symbolism in this memorial.
* My own answer would be “only after Islam publicly renounces -- in no uncertain terms -- some of its central doctrines, beginning with the doctrine of jihad.”
Monday, September 05, 2005
Let us never forget the courage of the New Orleans police officers who stayed behind to protect a city in chaos. We have heard reports that as many as a third of the police force disserted. We have heard that others joined the looting, thereby contributing to the very anarchy they were struggling against. We have heard many things said against them; we have not heard enough of their brave perseverance in the face of terrifying conditions.
We need to hear more stories like that of Sgt. Joel Silve, as reported by one of CNN's war correspondents brought into a great American city. Sgt. Silve and four other officers protected a desperate landing area on the campus of the Univ. of New Orleans and facilitated, in the teeth of conditions almost unspeakable, the evacuation of some 3,000 people.
His comrade, Detective Patrolman Jimmy Ward:
His voicing breaking, Sgt. Silve concludes: “I got those people out, and that's all I wanted. And we did it. Those babies — I can still see them in my mind. And those old folks.”
The final shot of the CNN piece was the officers leaving in the chopper. Hardened New Orleans cops, weeping in relief and exhaustion. Like a scene out of Black Hawk Down.posted by Paul Cella | 12:14 PM |