Jewish World Review June 21, 2001/ 30 Sivan, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- STUPIDITY always has been the unfortunate side effect of too much privilege. Nowhere has this been truer than in the United States, where people routinely espouse untenable political positions that only a spoiled child would ever entertain. Sadly, that is, for the most part, what we Americans are. Spoiled. And utterly clueless.
We don't live in the real world because we've never had to. Which is why, right in the middle of a dire energy crisis, you have environmentalists who habitually gorge themselves on electric conveniences bemoaning the construction of new power plants. It's also why you have gangs of coddled, hicktown teenage "anarchists" rioting over globalization and the evils of the World Trade Organization. And finally, it's why you have insular, partisan dodos who've never been invaded by a foreign power, declaiming a missile defense shield as a dumb idea. It's all the result of living too well in our hermetic, green and pleasant little land.
Because, you see, invasion and deprivation have a way of changing a people. I learned this firsthand growing up in Britain, where the legacies of World War II (especially the ingrained memories of rationing and the blitz) were still making themselves felt well into the late 1980s. The entire consciousness of the nation and its people was infected with the bitter knowledge that prosperity and freedom are too fragile. Which is why so many Brits disliked Americans like me who came over; we were loud, rich, well fed, well scrubbed and, most of all, utterly arrogant in the way that only the monstrously ignorant can be.
Among people who have suffered, politics is never a pose adopted for its facile rectitude. But in corn-fed, Disneyfied America, idealism is never touched by the cold fingers of the big bad world. So you have the likes of Barbra Streisand--whose Malibu lifestyle alone could affect California's electricity shortage--castigating Washington for its failure to protect the environment. Yeah, right. When she's living, like the Unabomber, in a 5-by-10 shack in the deep woods, then maybe she can lecture us on fossil fuel.
The same goes for every other environmentalist who switches on a light, composes his whiny squibs on his personal computer, prints them on pulped paper, drives them to the post office in his Volvo, cooks his veggie burger in the microwave or otherwise partakes of pollutant-powered modern life. When you've renounced all the conveniences whose ungreen prerequisites you so abhor, then you can bemoan the plague of greenhouse gases.
As for missile defense, it's a little like jury selection. Everybody wants a fair trial, but it's mostly the unemployed and the artless who are willing to partake in the process that guarantees us all our civil rights. Likewise, we all want freedom. But when it comes to facing the unpleasantries and costs of protecting freedom, it's no go. The liberal special-interest groups that squeal most loudly for their rights are the same ones that decry the military spending that guarantees those rights.
Of course it would be nice if we lived in a world where the price of
technological progress didn't require some environmental sacrifice or a
world in which free societies could coexist peacefully with repressive,
expansionist ones. But we don't. So unless we're willing to live like the
Amish, that is, minus all the appurtenances of capitalism, we'd better grow
up, be thankful for what we have and resign ourselves to what we have to do