Sly totalitarian challengers exploit our liberties that they abhor.
It is a natural inclination to endeavor to assess threats, whether immediate or only discernible to those with a vision. Such calculations are made in terms of the foe’s inclinations, and physical means. These estimates like to concentrate on the physical instruments of might. This can be, as the tabulations of weapons and divisions demonstrate, misleading. Power’s dimensions transcend that of arms. Even Stalin fell into the pit when he asked about the Vatican, “How many divisions does his Holiness have?” Later, Woytila demonstrated the fundamental error of the question.
We keep track of physical weapons. In doing so, we overlook the foe’s objectives even when he states them clearly. An accessory of peril comes from the realm of our own psychology. It explains France’s 1940 collapse and America’s defeat in Viet Nam. Like other reverses, these endings are cast on the “home front”.
The case brought here responds to a recent encounter. The source has been a lady of a normal education, an office career, and adequate but not ample means; an average person, unlikely to savor eccentricities. After a “real life”, common sense rationality is to be expected.
In a conversation she volunteered that “one should not be judgmental”. I tried to point out that beginning with our breakfast cereal, we keep judging. This was judged to be proper, and so the principle was redefined to apply to public affairs. Due to a stench of decadence, the case gained in interest, and so I suggested that this approach might be impractical.
Judgments regulate the community and that has consequences. The surprising response was that, nevertheless, one should not judge. Let each of us trod on his or her own path.
Here the response was one that you might have formulated by now. Let us take a creed. Assume that numerous followers pursue a command that the adherents of other persuasions need to be murdered. Recall the appetite to chop off heads and the inclination to violate our professed values. Is resistance justified? If so, is the precondition of that resistance not an indicting judgment?
Misled by the belief that the value-deprived non-judgmental thesis has been checkmated, the writer had a surprise coming. It was that, yes, actions that stem from conviction, such as in “religious persuasion” might be wrong. Nevertheless, they are not to be judged. This ended the debate as it was stuck in the mud of irrationality.
The purpose to depict a failed attempt at persuasion has not been to demonstrate that normal people can have irrational ideas that resist logical demonstrations. The case presented illustrates a destructive symptom. The Greeks held that, if the gods wish to destroy someone, they take his common sense. This is happening in societies that have prospered thanks to the values summarized in a course the writer loved to teach. It was “Western Civilization.”
The political culture of advanced systems has developed norms that now threaten to mute into instruments of their destruction. The gist: moralizing reasons have emerged that deprive us of our intellectual ability to defend ourselves. This is not for the lack of suitable technologies. The cause springs from the realm of a paralyzing conviction. It holds that, regardless of its success; wealth creation, governance, the achieved system does not deserve to be defended. The more so as, regardless of their lesser accomplishment on the scale of livable lives, traditional cultures are rated to be equivalent because of their moral superiority. In this scheme, underachievement is an expression of high ethics and therefore, success is made to equal moral turpitude.
Regardless of experience and current evidence, the West hopes to pacify the forces that pursue a new world order only possible by its destruction. Meekness and the will to redistribute earned wealth have never bribed challengers to moderation. The willingness to negotiate about one’s own existence does not bring compromise, only contempt. Even discussing “a bit” of Sharia for those that may want it is not about a covenant but about capitulation.
Tolerance is about tolerating the tolerant and not about allowing the intolerant to act unhindered. Minority rights may be about many things. However, the list excludes the right to suppress the majority. If you enter a country that eats pork, you are free to avoid ingesting it. Demanding that it be eliminated for all because it insults you is not a right. If provoked, what you should do is to avoid that bad place and grace a more congenial location with your presence.
Unless one wishes our way of life, values, and Christianity’s tradition to wind up alongside the woolly mammoth in a “Museum of Defunct Creatures”, there are things we must do. First, assess achievements and their relationship to our values. Having found something ethically fit to be defended, we must proceed to appropriate measures. As we formulate these, it is essential to adjust some practices and the legal code to the volleys from the foe’s artillery. The PC approved response has failed and it results in moral suicide. Trying not to notice and if unavoidable, to find a principle to accept improprieties, will not make the problem go away. Some must be told that freedom of religion does not include the right to murder of folks from other faiths even if you can claim that your belief commands it.
Among several items, our policies of immigration need to be adjusted. The moral command to extend refuge to all who claim to be persecuted must be adjusted. Even if the system worked in the past (the writer was a beneficiary) the ethical principle cannot be extended to those that reject their protector’s ways. Claiming to have been a victim elsewhere does not confer immunity “here”. A number of our laws and practices demand adjustments to fit a changed situation. Vegan diets for all and yoga will not suffice. An example: We have regarded the right of citizenship as unalienable. Preventing ourselves from proceeding against returning jihadists is an earlier unforeseeable danger to society. Citizenship should be made revocable if acts committed abroad were directed against the country and intended to damage it. Warring against the land, you invoke as yours when in trouble, means that it is not your country. There is a Swiss precedent. Her democratic qualifications are beyond question. The Swiss revoked the citizenship of those nationals who joined the Waffen SS. Democracy survived it.
Adjustments to our legal code to fit situations changed by elements that violate rules that used to be respected will make a long list. As they stand, our codes are unsuited to meet the present danger. Therefore, appropriate action is called for unless we wish to have, in a generation, our way of life reduced to folklore. What we need to do will limit the freedom of fanatics and, at times, it will demand that we crawl under our own shadow; however, it will secure the survival of our culture.
That selective adjustment will be difficult. Our legal system combining political democracy and the protection of the individual has been singularly successful. Experience proves that for persons, enterprises and societies, it is difficult to depart from patterns that have been successful earlier. This is precisely what the new challenge demands. Will we face up to that test before the cracks we tolerate make disintegration a fact? In coping, the hardest foe to overcome will not be Jihadism. It will be our PC-adjusted crisis management and the culture of moral relativism that believes bending backward unconditionally is a virtue.