"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

By the Prophet, hasn't anything else happened this week?

I'm not trying to pick on these cartoon protestors, really I'm not. But their violence and extremism has dominated the news this week to the exclusion of almost everything else. I don't have the energy to delve back into the fray with much detail on this subject (what I wanted to say, I said below, and after much editing and re-writing I'm still not sure I covered all I wanted to but the post is now so bloated that I'm just going to leave it be lest it become any more incoherent). I'll just leave you with a few good articles on the subject. The Opinion Journal hangs what I think is the excellent adjective of premodernist on the whole ordeal. Michael Kinsley, a man I rarely agree with, I agree with. Kathleen Parker wonders if the West's cowardly surrender in refusing to reprint the cartoons for fear of offending Muslims who show no fear in offending the West when calling for more 9/11s or a new Holocaust, might not be the beginning of our surrender of other principles to these Islamic Inquisitioners. Victor Davis Hanson sees our civilization running in reverse, going from, say thirty years ago when the thought of another Holocaust was absurd to our own time when Iran is actively pursuing the means to accomplish it. And finally, I have not reprinted the offending cartoons here, but I was emailed a link to this video which I found darkly amusing (though I'm sure I can find someone whom it outrages enough to threaten me with my own personal 9/11 or 7/7 or other example of Islam's tolerance and justice). So enough about these cartoons for now (unless the protestors decide to go from burning flags to burning people).

One of the other stories this week that managed to squeek its way into the headlines behind the protestors was that of Coretta Scott King's funeral. By all accounts it was a reverant, holy, and celebratory occasion worthy of the woman's accomplishments. Though, with today's political climate, not even this event proved too sacred for a little mudslinging.
Rev. Joseph Lowrey and Jimmy Carter decided it was the perfect time to take a few shots at American imperial aggression and its spying on its own citizens. I was a little upset to find an occasion that should have proved the exception would become, instead, the rule, but then Peggy Noonan made a point that even this showed how much we value our free speech (though apparently at the expense of good taste). So I suppose, given the rampant intolerance demonstrated by those Muslims now rampaging throughout Europe and the Middle East, we should cherish a demonstration of the values we stand for back at home. Besides, Jimmy Carter is a source of sad amusement these days, nothing more. He's managed to put himself on the wrong side of history on virtually every issue he becomes gravely concerned about recently. Most presidents have the grace to quietly depart from the public eye once they leave office (or if they don't, like Presidents Clinton and Bush Senior, they at least do something constructive with their time) and assume a dignified silence on whatever the current administration happens to do. Someone needs to send Mr. Carter that memo.

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