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Jewish World Review
Sept. 17, 2007
/ 5 Tishrei 5768
Looking for love in all the wrong places
This year I marked the anniversary of Sept. 11 by driving through Massachusetts. It wasn't exactly planned that way, just the way things panned out. So, heading toward Boston, I tuned to Bay State radio talk-show colossus Howie Carr and heard him reading out portions from the official address to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony by Deval Patrick, who is apparently the governor of Massachusetts: 9/11, said Gov. Patrick, "was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States."
"Mean and nasty"? He sounds like an oversensitive waiter complaining that John Kerry's sent back the aubergine coulisagain. But evidently that's what passes for tough talk in Massachusetts these days the shot heard around the world and so forth. Anyway, Gov. Patrick didn't want to leave the crowd with all that macho cowboy rhetoric ringing in their ears, so he moved on to the nub of his speech: 9/11, he continued, "was also a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other."
I was laughing so much I lost control of the wheel, and the guy in the next lane had to swerve rather dramatically. He flipped me the Universal Symbol of Human Understanding. I certainly understood him, though I'm not sure I could learn to love him. Anyway, I drove on to Boston and pondered the governor's remarks. He had made them, after all, before an audience of 9/11 families: Six years ago, two of the four planes took off from Logan Airport, and so citizens of Massachusetts ranked very high among the toll of victims. Whether any of the family members present Tuesday were offended by Gov. Patrick, no one cried "Shame!" or walked out on the ceremony. Americans are generally respectful of their political eminences, no matter how little they deserve it.
We should beware anyone who seeks to explain 9/11 by using the words "each other": They posit a grubby equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim that the "failure to understand" derives from the culpability of both parties. The 9/11 killers were treated very well in the United States: They were ushered into the country on the high-speed visa express program the State Department felt was appropriate for young Saudi males. They were treated cordially everywhere they went. The lap-dancers at the clubs they frequented in the weeks before the Big Day gave them a good time or good enough, considering what lousy tippers they were. Sept. 11 didn't happen because we were insufficient in our love to Mohamed Atta.
This isn't a theoretical proposition. At some point in the future, some of us will find ourselves on a flight with a chap like Richard Reid, the thwarted shoe-bomber. On that day we'd better hope the guy sitting next to him isn't Gov. Patrick, who sees him bending down to light his sock and responds with a chorus of "All You Need Is Love," but a fellow who "understands" enough to wallop the bejesus out of him before he can strike the match. It was the failure of one group of human beings to understand that the second group of human beings was determined to kill them that led the crew and passengers of those Boston flights to stick with the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures until it was too late.
Unfortunately, the obsolescent 1970s multiculti love-groove inclinations of society at large are harder to dislodge. If you'll forgive such judgmental categorizations, this isn't about "them," it's about "us." The long-term survival of any society depends on what proportion of its citizens thinks as Gov. Patrick does. Islamism is an opportunist enemy but you can't blame them for seeing the opportunity: In that sense, they understand us far more clearly than Gov. Patrick understands them.
The other day, you may recall, some larky lads were arrested in Germany. Another terrorist plot. Would have killed more people than Madrid and London combined but it was nipped in the bud so it's just another yawneroo: Nobody cares. Who were the terrorists? Mohammed? Muhammad? Mahmoud? No. Their names were "Fritz" and "Daniel." "Fritz," huh? That's a pretty unusual way to spell Mohammed.
Indeed. Fritz Gelowicz is as German as lederhosen. He's from Ulm, Einstein's birthplace, on the blue Danube, which, last time I was in Ulm, was actually a murky shade of green. And, in an excellent jest on Western illusions, Fritz was converted to Islam while attending the Multi-Kultur-Haus the Multicultural House. It was, in fact, avowedly unicultural an Islamic center run by a jihadist imam. At least three of its alumni including another native German convert have been killed fighting the Russians in Chechnya. Fritz was hoping to kill Americans. But that's one of the benefits of a multicultural world: There are so many fascinating diverse cultures, and most of them look best reduced to rubble strewn with body parts. Fritz and a pal, Atilla Selek, had been arrested in 2004 with a car full of pro-Osama propaganda praising the 9/11 attacks. Which sounds like a pilot for a wacky jihadist sitcom: "Atilla and the Hun."
Fritz Gelowicz. Richard Reid. The Australian factory worker Jack Roche. The Toronto jihadists plotting to behead the Canadian prime minister. The son of the British Conservative Party official with the splendidly Wodehousian double-barreled name. All over the world there are young men raised in the "Multi-Kultur Haus" of the West who decide their highest ambition is to convert to Islam, become a jihadist and self-detonate.
Why do radical imams seek to convert young Canadian, British and even American men and women in their late teens and twenties? Because they understand that when you raise a generation in the great wobbling blancmange of Deval Patrick-style cultural relativism nothing is any better or any worse than anything else; if people are "mean and nasty" to us, it's only because we didn't sing enough Barney the Dinosaur songs at them in such a world a certain percentage of its youth will have a great gaping hole where their sense of identity should be. And into that hole you can pour something fierce and primal and implacable.
A while back, I had the honor of a meeting with the president, in the course of which someone raised the unpopularity of the war. He shrugged it off, saying that 25 percent of the population is always against the war any war. In other words, there's nothing worth fighting for. And I joked afterward that some of that 25 percent might change their mind if Canadian storm troopers were swarming across the 49th Parallel or Bahamian warships were firing off the coast of Florida. But maybe not. Al-Qaida's ad hoc air force left a huge crater of Massachusetts corpses in the middle of Manhattan, and Gov. Patrick goes looking for love in all the wrong places.
How many people in any society think like Deval Patrick? That's the calculation to make if you want to figure out its long-term survival prospects.
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"America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It"
It's the end of the world as we know itÖ
Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin. Europeans already are.
And liberals will still tell you that "diversity is our strength"while Talibanic enforcers cruise Greenwich Village burning books and barber shops, the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn't violate the "separation of church and state," and the Hollywood Left decides to give up on gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.
If you think this can't happen, you haven't been paying attention, as the hilarious, provocative, and brilliant Mark Steynthe most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking worldshows to devastating effect in this, his first and eagerly awaited new book on American and global politics.
The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the Westwedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivionis looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.
Europe, laments Steyn, is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America alonewith maybe its cousins in brave Australia. But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world's last best hope.
Steyn argues that, contra the liberal cultural relativists, America should proclaim the obvious: we do have a better government, religion, and culture than our enemies, and we should spread America's influence around the worldfor our own sake as well as theirs.
Mark Steyn's America Alone is laugh-out-loud funnybut it will also change the way you look at the world. It is sure to be the most talked-about book of the year.
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