Monday, September 18, 2006

The Limbo Rock

Tigerhawk asks:

"Are you a worshipper of the Cross?" Probably not, even if you are a Christian, insofar as you are not supposed to worship things. But I doubt that matters to al Qaeda.

According to the Reuters article, al-Qaeda doesn't exactly like any "worshippers of the Cross" and say so in terms so howlingly blood-curdling they are almost comical.

"We tell the worshipper of the cross (the Pope) that you and the West will be defeated, as is the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya," said an Internet statement by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group led by Iraq's branch of al Qaeda. "We shall break the cross and spill the wine. ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome. ... God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen," said the statement.

Jonah Goldberg perceptively points out that these statements horrify us, not because of what they actually say -- we are almost impervious to the actual message -- but because they are an affront to our self-esteem. We don't want to love so much as need to be loved.

I don't think the Pope's original comments have elicited nearly as much authentic rage as the images on TV would suggest. But I do think those driving these protests and whipping up anger know what they're doing. The West wants to be loved. It can't stand the idea that somebody — anybody — doesn't like us. This is doubly so in Europe and perhaps triply so at the Vatican. So much of European — and American liberal — foreign policy is based on the idea that being disliked is an enormous indictment, a sign of serious moral failings on our part, rather than resentment, envy or scapegoating on the part of those fomenting anti-Americans.  What have we done wrong to make you hate us so!?  And so we apologize again and again. Anyone remember Bill Clinton's global apology tour? 

Didn't work the first time? Repeat as often as necessary.


Blogger Dymphna said...

Putting on my Wretchard superman cape, I did an analysis of Benedict's inflammatory speech (not hard to be inflammatory when you appear to be able to spontaneously combust on command):

That Was No Blunder. It's Just Another Excuse to Kill Infidels.

Ratzinger can "apologize" till the cows come home, but I think his shot across the bow was deliberate. His detractors would say "with malice aforethought" but Benedict has believed Western Europe a lost cause for at least ten years now (if I remember correctly the year I read that interview...times flies when you're not looking)...

I would agree with Goldberg that the elites in power want to be *perceived* as being loved, but the actual fellow feeling is immaterial to them as long as they get to run things.

Prez Bush has been contentious lately -- nice to see the change --so maybe he's immune to the self-esteem virus? Seems to me if the Arab St is happy with us we're in trouble. The bigger the conflagration, the smaller the offense. Funny, that.

9/18/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

We tell the worshipper of the cross (the Pope) that you and the West will be defeated

We tell the worshippers of the cresent moon that American bootprints all over the Sea of Tranquility are a foreshadow of what the sands of Iran will look like when the West stands up with one voice and says "NO" to allowing yellow dogs who would shoot a nun in the back (because the Pope expressed concerns about Muslim violence) to have nuclear weapons.

9/18/2006 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

The Rat-Meister (being rather decisively not Catholic, I'm cool with giving the Pope a nickname -- I hope people here are down with that) definitely knew what he was doing, and we should be glad of it. When he was elected, or whatever the technical term is, I called on a friend of mine who is a Catholic legal scholar to speculate on Ratzinger's reign. See particularly paragraph 6.

9/18/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Tigerhawk unlocks the mystery: the lyrics of "Spill the wine" by War. "We shall break the cross and spill the wine. ... begat "Spill the wine and take that pearl" (which we all heard as "girl.")

Speaking of girls, Belmont is turning into a chick club? Any of you sell *Tupperware?

What-ever. I'd just like to ask, if Amer-Euro liberals could be more weak and compliant to our declared Islamist global enemy - how would we know, how could they show it?

We're supposed to "feel" and "understand" the terrible outrage of the Muslims who want to kill the Pope for words he spoke, but at the same time it is horrifically offensive to have the Ten Commandments hanging on an old Courthouse in the sticks, where it's been hanging since forever.

Why doesn't anyone ever OVER-ENUNCIATE the word CHRISTIAN in the same sentence as OVER ONE BILLION?

Because none of us threatens the world on behalf of all of us.

And if ever one of dared to threaten the world on behalf of all of us, we'd rise up and quiet him.

Why don't the silent majority of Muslims do that?

Ps. *Just kidding, sisters.

9/18/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The National Review Online had a great article by a professor, Thomas Madden, that said, essentially, "Benedict is calling a crusade, but it is one against a Christianity stripped of reason and a science stripped of transcendent truths."

It questions whether there is possibility of discourse and reason with Muslims.

Unreasonable Response

9/18/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The phenomenon of trivial events (such as the Mohammed Cartoons or the Pope's academic lecture) constantly becoming international, destabilizing incidents is reminiscent of how patients with weakened immune systems fear minor infections as life threatening. It's eloquent testimony to how badly weakened the habits of civilization have become. Multiculturalism and patronizing tolerance has smashed civic culture. Consequently, this incident of the Pope's speech, rather than being the last will be only one of an inevitable sequence of crises. You can't apologize fast enough to keep ahead of the game. We really need a canned recording to play 24x7.

9/18/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Tigerhawk has a good point there about Pope Benedict XVI really seeing the Muslim immigrants to Europe as potential converts to Christianity. But it will all depend on whether we can offer the right mix of Christian meekness and manliness -- yes manliness -- to attract them. The best missionaries in the Third World are incredibly inspirational. You want to emulate such men. Some of milquetoast that passes for Christianity today attracts nobody except afficionados of limp spaghetti. People don't want to be social workers in cassocks. They want people who will be with them through sickness and triumph and literally to the hour of their deaths.

9/18/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

My understanding of the term "turn the other cheek" was of one of defiance, not meekness. It was Christs way of saying, "thank you, may I have another?"

9/18/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The situation we have now is a result of the Left and the Islamists controlling the streets and thus having privileged access to the media.

Anarchists protest. Islamists protest. Yet those who want to protest against al-Qaeda, Islamist idiocy, Iran's genocidal ambitions, or in favor of freedom of expression have little outlet. One of the reasons why the media has a liberal slant is because they report those with the loudest voices.

We cannot honestly expect moderate Muslims to protest against al-Qaeda when most of us won't do it ourselves! The anti-war movement protests in the streets and they get press. And you know what? Irrespective of how well or badly our troops are doing overseas, support for the war plummets when the press consistently reports anti-war demonstrations. And when domestic support falls, our diplomatic and military position abroad becomes more precarious, which precipitates even more opposition to the war.

It sounds harsh to say, but public opinion follows those who gain control over the streets. Most professors aren't truly liberal; they're inert. They are generally weaklings with no backbone whatsoever, who sway with the biggest wind. And the loudest windbags in academe tend to be on the Left, especially those who are sympathetic to the Islamists. She who can organize the biggest demonstrations on campus is the woman who will shape the ideology of that campus for the next generation.

The only "right wing" movement that has come even close to contesting control over the streets is the anti-abortion movement. And I think, for better or worse, anti-abortion protests have succeeded in shifting the press's attention on the subject. As far as I can tell, Planned Parenthood doesn't get privileged access to the media -- it must be shared with their bitter opponents. I'm not recommending the tactics of the anti-abortion crowd, but let's credit them with not ceding the public square to the radical feminists.

Imagine if there were protests against Islamist bigotry, in favor of Denmark, or against genocide. Of course, the media would be hostile, and the television stations may even try to ignore it. Still, it is important to not let Islamists and defeatists monopolize the public square. Where are the counter-demonstrations? Why aren't there Britons with signs like "Bugger Off" and "Let Them Worship In Peace"? In America, we have the Patriot Guard Riders who form a line between protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church and grieving family members at soldiers' funerals. These counterdemonstrations make a difference in media coverage (and local media coverage of the Patriot Guard Riders is extremely positive).

My point is that it's not enough to write letters and forward suggestions to those in power. Sometime, someday, it will be necessary to contest control over the streets and push media attention away from the defeatists and the Islamists. It isn't just about how Islamists feel about us but about how we feel about them.

It would be a strange war where we must fight a war while keeping our mouths shut about why we fight.

9/18/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

So, Alexis, let me get this straight...

You're suggesting we actually ...




9/18/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One more thing. I would suggest that the Islamists may be overplaying their hand much as the pieds noirs overplayed theirs in Algeria.

So long as France existed under a parliamentary system, the Algeria lobby had sufficient power to bend French policy to the will of French settlers in Algeria. Yet, as kingmakers of the Gaullist regime, the Algeria lobby not only lost its parliamentary leverage but created a leviathon with a vested interest in destroying its power.

I don't think for a second that France lost Algeria; Algeria lost France! I think Charles de Gaulle consciously severed Algeria from France in order to destroy the power base of men who had threatened to kill him. Pied Noir murders in Paris also alienated metropolitan French people from the Algerian cause.

Imagine, if you will, that Hawaii were to have a secessionist insurgency. Then, part of our military overthrows our government in Hawaii, invades Alaska, and then threatens to send paratroopers into Washington unless their choice of President assumes office. Then, let's suppose that Congress caves in to that demand, quickly impeaches and convicts the President and Vice President, and then installs the President the coup plotters demand! Then, let's suppose the coup plotters threaten the new President (a war hero) with overthrow (and death) unless he does what they want. Such a military president might, in such a circumstance, see the Hawaiian rebels as less dangerous than kingmakers who feel he ought to be beholden to them. That would be a fairly good analogy to what France was dealing with in Algeria.

I think "Algerian self-determination" is not merely a victory for terrorists (and their methods), but also an admittedly botched attempt by France to declare independence from Algeria. In that context, just as Algerian protests eventually fell on deaf ears in France, Islamist protests may eventually fall on deaf ears in the international press.

Here's a question. Why are Islamist protests regarded as news at all? Why aren't Islamists simply expected to howl at the moon every time they hear someone somewhere might have spoken, written, or drawn something less than flattering toward Islam? When will death fatwas and exaggerated anger become so ho-hum that Islamist rage gets tucked into the backpage in a back section of the newspaper along with the stories about summer fashions, the latest fads in elementary education, autism, two headed frogs, and the latest newly discovered salamander in New Guinea?

9/18/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...

The False God of Islam is revealed by Pope Benedict in the harsh light of Logic and Reason.
The False God of Islam is not a God of Love, rather it is a god of WHIM. This God can be a tyrant and a liar at any instant that it sees fit. This is the message of Pope Benedict.

SPENGLER, thank you so much for the insight. Franz Rosenzweig, thank you also for your depth of philosophical analysis. Hilaire Belloc: thank you for your historical predictions.
Spengler on Jihad, the Holy Sacrament of Islam

9/18/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

Then, Adam the Mad, I apologize.

9/19/2006 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

I don't get the injury to the self esteem thing. Who wants to be loved by them ? Why apologize ? All that talk about the wine and the money is laughable. Let's spill their wine, or whatever they use, and take their money. Lets just make them dead, dead, dead.

9/19/2006 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Wretchard is right. The vitality of modern Christianity lies almost completely in the 3rd world countries, where faith is spreading the fastest.

Conversely, it's in the developed nations of the West where most adherents are the milksops he describes. I wonder why that is...

9/19/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Pfffftt Opening a can of Blogger Beer for all:
Well I want to coin a term here. I have done a little googling and find no one else it quite this way. The Trojan Camel. Europe has accepted a gift from the Arab World a gift I call The Trojan Camel. They get cheap labor as a gift but it is quite apparent hidden in the cheap labor are the soldiers of the jihad. It isn't dad & moms who are inspiring this but the imams and lack of a competeing voice who are.

The Danish cartoons, the Pope's comments, the picture of Piglet, the liquor ad on TV, are all molehills. However, the radical imams are turning those molehills into mountains and those mountains are being beckoned onto Mohammed. Already, the skirmishers of the fight to come are in contact with the European masses and fighting and they are winning too.

What is the answer? Wretchard & Tigerhawk hint at it above in their analysis of Pope Benedict XVI's remarks. Europe needs to convert their Muslim immigrants to Christianity.
Blogger Beer

I read a book by a Spanish Priest written in the '40s. Man, The Saint. Fr. Loidi is spinning in his grave. As Wretchard states the reality from his Spain is Man, The Linguini Spined.

9/19/2006 06:56:00 PM  

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