February 21, 2003
been reading The
Soul of Battle by Victor
Davis Hanson. The book examines three wars of liberation fought by nonprofessional
armies of democratic states. Hanson argues that these wars were different from
other wars. The subject is timely.
almost finished it. So, I'm reading about Nazi ideology and actions. You know...the
racial extermination thing, the slave economy thing, the Master Race thing, the
rule the world thing, the contempt for others thing, the restore past glories
thing...Nazism, fascism, totalitarianism.
I find myself thinking about the peace
protesters. They say that America
is the Fourth Reich. They are saying that Zionism
= Nazism. They are saying that Bush
protesters must look at the extermination ovens in Ohio and say, "Ah yes...this
smells familiar". They must look at America's ubiquitous rhetoric about enslaving
our subhuman foe, at our orgasmic evocation of blood and fire and wonder..."Didn't
we say 'never again'?"
maybe they don't know what the Nazis were.
maybe they don't know what America is.
they don't want to know.
They have a way of wrecking elegant theories. The choice between a cherished belief
and an observed fact is often painful. So,we struggle to contort the facts to
fit our ideas That's called being an ideologue. Or, we become selective in our
observations. That is willful blindness.
are inadequate. Every day we must make decisions without command of all the pertinent
facts. The world is uncooperative...but we still decide, even when we are in the
dark. We call that judgment, intuition, instinct, luck. Whatever it is, we need
to be able to act without knowledge.
are necessary too. We struggle with our ignorance because we see that those who
acquire useful knowledge move forward. What
about the people who do not want to move forward? We all find change disconcerting.
Some people value their position and would prefer not to move. And we don't even
agree about which direction is forward.
propel us forward. New circumstances...new discoveries...we are weary from adapting.
feel that the solution is to force the world to adapt to us. So, we banish facts
rather than adapt to them. We create a forbidding nanny state to keep the unwanted
and the offensive out of our sight. Freedom becomes freedom from rather
than freedom to. For
luddites reactionaries these people,
it becomes freedom from change...and that entails freedom from facts.
the jaded postmodernist, solipsism
is liberation...a comforting narcissism.
the beleaguered tribal members of traditional societies, the annihilation of unwanted
facts becomes an urgent imperative.
answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against
war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation
of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so
for one simple reason — because it was, in his words, good for his soul."