Everybody's Got One
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Friday, September 20, 2002


I have just read an astonishing article by David Gelernter in the Weekly Standard, The Roots of European Appeasement (link by Cranky Hermit). Thoughts of Europe have begun to fade as the mind focuses on the unavoidable next front in the war ahead and our self-styled allies fade into irrelevance, but it's important to understand what happened to them, and to the Western civilization they were the champions of for so long. For them, it's all about the Great War, the “war to end war” – which actually did, for them, at least in the permissible categories of their worldview. Some tidbits to tempt you:

As the Second World War and its aftermath fade, they reveal a "new world order" that is strangely familiar--amazingly like the Western world of the 1920s, with its love of self- determination and loathing of imperialism and war, its liberal Germany, shrunken Russia, and map of Europe crammed with small states, with America's indifference to Europe and Europe's disdain for America, with Europe's casual, endemic anti-Semitism, her politically, financially, and masochistically rewarding fascination with Muslim states who despise her, and her undertone of self-hatred and guilt.

Looking around today, we find ourselves in a nightmare house where the clocks all stopped on the eve of an unthinkable disaster. It is 1928 all over again.

The contempt for Western ideas, morality, religion, and traditions that is so prominent among European intellectuals is not the sheer malice it sometimes seems. Europe has earned the right to hate herself.

Modern Europe's visceral loathing of war is a consequence of World War I. Self-determination, anti-colonialism, and the rights of small nations are Wilsonian ideals that took hold in the 1920s. The idea of Western civilization's blood-guilt established itself in the aftermath of the peace of Versailles, bore fruit in 1930s appeasement, and still flourishes today.

And this wonderful throw-away:
...well-meaning people who care so deeply about right and wrong, they have no time to distinguish between true and false. (The left often operates on that basis ...)

Read it, either now or after downloading or linking for later, during another lull in the long war ahead. It's important to consider this reality as we begin thinking about what a post bellum Middle East needs to look like (here's one suggestion) and who can help us get it there – and who can't.

posted by Kelly | 11:58 AM link