Slouching toward Bethlehem
0 comment Monday, October 13, 2014 |

'The best lack all conviction,
While the worst are full of passionate intensity.'
These words, from W.B. Yeats's poem 'The Second Coming', come to mind more and more frequently these days.
Note the 'passionate intensity' in the faces above: the face of Islam.
What's that you say? Islam is a 'religion of peace', and those rabid expressions above are typical only of 'a minority within a minority'?
Sorry, but those fairytales are getting harder and harder to swallow; I can't suspend disbelief to that extent. The fact that anyone is still selling those tall tales of the 'religion of peace' is incredible, but even more so is the fact that there is still a willing market for those whopping lies. The fact that some people are still repeating such blatant lies is a testament to the gullibility or the willful blindness of many people.
'The best lack all conviction...' We in the West are all too often dithering, halting between two opinions, trying to give our enemy the benefit of the doubt, trying to put ourselves in their shoes and consider their 'feelings' -- we lack conviction, many of us. We lack confidence in ourselves, in the goodness and worthiness and -- (dare I say it?) the superiority of our culture, our civilization. After all, aren't all cultures equal, just as all men are equal? And as we vacillate and waver and question ourselves, our enemies, bothered by no such doubts, go from strength to strength, testing and challenging us at every turn.
The latest occasion for their rioting and chest-beating is the remarks of the Pope. Not for one moment do I believe that his words truly offended them, just as I disbelieve their sensitivity to the silly Mohammed cartoons which provoked orgies of violence, or their feigned outrage over the fictitious desecration of the Koran by infidels. It's all just a pretext, an excuse to run amok, and above all, an occasion to make a show of power: they feign outrage and hurt feelings, and they demand apologies, demand that amends be made, demand that they be placated. And so far, each time, we in the West have caved, have given in, have apologized and supinely offer new olive branches. More 'dialogue' and 'outreach' and special governmental concessions; our media and politicians go into full pander mode, with speeches and editorials preaching 'tolerance' and understanding, and warning against the dread disease of 'Islamophobia.'
G.K. Chesterton once said,
Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.'
Without convictions...while our enemies are 'full of passionate intensity.'
So each time they gain ground; their threatening behavior and words work their intended effect. We retreat, and they advance.
Everywhere we look, it seems that Islam is advancing and we are giving ground.
Goodness without conviction, and without 'passionate intensity' is feeble and useless.
Passionate intensity without goodness is a dire danger; just look at those contorted, enraged faces above.
This reminds me of what Blaise Pascal said long ago: Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.
Thinking of Oriana Fallaci, as we witness these latest confrontations with Islam, I feel her loss most keenly. The very qualities she embodied so well are the precise qualities our country, our civilization is sorely needing at this moment in history. She drew criticism and even hate because she articulated and embodied righteous anger and force and conviction; she embodied truth and courage, all in a world which has come to fear and shun those very things.
Our society has come to avoid truth in favor of 'sensitivity', conviction in favor of 'tolerance', justice in favor of a false 'peace.' Fallaci violated all those modern 'values', and was pilloried for it.
We need others like her to stand in the gap; we can only hope and pray that many of us will find those qualities she exemplified so well; we desperately need them. Now.
My book is also a j'accuse. To accuse us of cowardice, hypocrisy, demagogy, laziness, moral misery, and of all that comes with that. The stupidity of the unbearable fad of political correctness, for instance. The paucity of our schools, our universities, our young people, people who often don't even know the story of their country, the names Jefferson, Franklin, Robespierre, Napoleon, Garibaldi. And no understanding that freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline.I accuse ourselves also of another crime: the loss of passion. Haven't you understood what drives our enemies? What permits them to fight this war against us? The passion! They have passion! They have so much passion that they can die for it!'
...We have lost passion.
Well, I have not. I boil with passion. I, too, am ready to die for passion. But around me, I see no passion. Even those who hate me and attack me and insult me do this without passion. They are mollusks, not men and women. And a civilization, a culture, cannot survive without passion, cannot be saved without passion. If the West does not wake up, if we do not refind passion, we are lost.''