Because most of us don’t really understand how far the rot has gone.
Take, for instance, ISIS – recent polling shows that the American people are a bit out in front of the President on fighting those savages. By and large, Americans are willing to have “boots on the ground” if it means we’re killing the sort of people who behead Americans and sell women into slavery and that is a good, healthy attitude. It shows that even as late as 2014 after a century of moral degradation, it is possible to get in the range of 47% of the American people wanting to do the right thing. But here’s the kicker – if we were at all in healthy shape, it’d be 90%. If fighting ISIS doesn’t command respect from everyone except avowed pacifists, then what would?
But, actually, it is worse than that. Even among those who are ok with the concept of fighting are not, in my view, fully prepared to understand what it means. It means quite a large number of American soldiers (a million?) there for a very long time (10 years?) completely re-working the entire Middle East (meaning, re-carving it up along genuine ethnic-religious lines so that everyone gets their own sand box with no minorities around for anyone to oppress) and that implies massive population transfers – but before we get to that we’re talking quite a lot of killing of the enemy until the very idea of violent jihad is viewed with horror by everyone in the area. I don’t think that even those who wish to fight have the moral courage to really carry it out. Of course, we could bombs away and just massacre people there…but its a certainty that if we went for massive bombing the overwhelming majority of those killed won’t be those needing killing and such action will just provide fuel for those who are causing the trouble.
But what are we to expect? We’ve got a nation where our ostensible feminists are demanding that college boys get arrested for failure to obtain written permission for sex, while ignoring the massive problem of sexual slavery elsewhere in the world. We’ve got gay rights activists joining anti-Israel groups indifferent to the fact that the only place a gay man is safe in the Middle East is Israel. We’ve got war hawks who propose to use mercenary Islamist “boots on the ground” rather than being willing to call up the required number of American troops. Basically, everyone has gone yellow – and that stems from the lack of any genuine moral foundation for our lives. You’re only as brave, in the end, as the thing you are willing to die for. The Jihadists, say what you will, are prepared to die for what they believe. Are we?
Yesterday I took it upon myself to be the cold water on Twitter regarding the Hong Kong protests. My view: yeah, it’ll go on for a bit, everyone will be #IStandWithHongKong and then the Chinese government will crack down, and we’ll move on to something else. In the end, too many people make too much money off China for our Ruling Class to really stand up to the Chinese oligarchs. None of us are going to be willing to fight the Chinese government – one could get killed doing that, after all.
While I have a great deal of contempt for those westerners who joined the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War (in the end, the niwits were fighting to impose a Stalinist dictatorship in Spain), I still have a great deal of admiration for their sublime courage. Coming from safe, prosperous lives in the United States, Britain, France and elsewhere, they gave up their blood for a cause they believed in. Anyone going to raise an International Brigade to help the people of Hong Kong? Go get our girls back in Nigeria? Assist the Kurds? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And why won’t we? Because we don’t believe in anything enough to really fight for it. Oh, we’ll send our troops in – and they’ll spill their blood a bit and we will, with genuine sincerity, thank them and remember them. But what about you and me, dear reader? What will we actually do?
Not much. Wring our hands. Make a statement. We won’t show real courage, because we don’t really believe in anything. We have neither the kind of courage which had the Crusaders storm Jerusalem, nor the kind which sent St. Francis with a comrade to try and end the Crusades by converting the Muslims. Godfrey of Bouillon and St. Francis had guts – raw courage; the sort of nerve which understands that courage is an intense desire to live carried out with a supreme indifference to death. We just want to live. With our I-Crap. And our scandal-mongering.
If anyone out there has the courage of Godfrey or St. Francis, then it is time to stand forth. We are doomed if we don’t change – if we don’t become a people with a firm moral basis and a willingness to lose everything we have in defense of core principals (that would be “dogmas” for old-fashioned sorts of people). If we don’t become such people, then we will eventually be conquered by people like that.
UPDATE: Yes, I do sound like a nattering nabob of negativism – and I know there are plenty of people, good and true, who wish to do the right thing. But I am worried about whether or not we, on the whole, can muster the courage to do what is right. And for you liberals out there, keep in mind that it covers you, as well. I used the examples of Godfrey and St. Francis on purpose…the former went to drive a sword in as far as it would go; the latter went to convert by love and example. Both took courage – both took an absolute belief in certain, fixed moral principals. We have got to be willing to say to the world, “here is what we absolutely believe in, all of us: and we will brook no opposition from anyone beyond this point”.