13 September 2011

POST-9/11 Anniversary Reflection

POST . . . because there’s nothing like even a day or two’s dust-settling for helping one see the ground more clearly. Besides helping me to see things in a less jaded (i.e., more wide-eyed and wondrous) fashion.    

For one thing, it never ceases to amaze me how unpredictable, “wildcat,” and unco-operative human political evil can be. Especially when it comes to meshing with our prevailing US political assumptions and agendas.

Take jihadism, for instance. Really, you'd think that what began as a major Godly anti-Communist force of the latter twentieth century (one which - apart from a dash of ideological cement from the Saudis- we and the Pakistani military raised up from practically nothing) would at least have had the  decency not to imitate the barbarism of the godless Soviets they’d just defeated. To say nothing of going those same Russkies one, two or even three better. And then think of the sheer treachery of what eventually followed. I mean, when you consider whom they ultimately proceeded to turn on  (“No, no, Frankie, not me – I’m your CREATOR!”) . . . 

And no, the various al-Qaeda/Taliban/Hizb-ut-Tahrir, etc, franchises may not yet have succeeded in creating their own “god”-anointed Gulag.  But in the event they finally do fail, do you seriously think it will be for want of trying?     

Anyhow, one thing we all do well to bear in mind: Whatever may be the future of al-Qaeda and Sons as a global and organized political force, the peculiar genie called jihadism is now out of the bottle. And it came out of the bottle under our Free World watch (the Communists having by then been well out of the picture), and among our Free World allies. Nor, for once, is this truly monumental wickedness in any way tainted with anything liberal, secular, socialist, atheist, materialist, Eastern European, Russian, Orthodox Christian or even Slavic. Indeed, the sheer absence alone of these characteristics not only seems to have stumped us. It has left us, I would argue, singularly unready to confront the uniquely monstrous evil of this new villain.    

After all, what is jihadism? It is in essence the human preparedness to destroy any human being anywhere without limit. And all in an effort to appease the wrath of one very strange god indeed. A god who – even if he’s not exactly Hate Incarnate – is such, in his blanketing hatred of both sin and sinner, that he seems to like nothing better than the chance to consume them both in one fell swoop. (Then again, isn't it we Yanks who've always said “You are what you do?”) Now for some reason that hatred strikes me as a considerably more hideous menace to decent society than any mere prejudice against non-whites, women or homosexuals. Of course I lack the soaring imagination of more politically correct souls. And so I’ve never understood why we did not, long ago, stigmatize this belief as every bit as reprehensible, shameful and unthinkable as our worst racism, sexism and homophobia. Indeed, as immeasurably worse than any of them. In fact, if we continue NOT to, then I, for one, don’t see how we have any hope of returning our societies to anything like a sane, moderately surveillanced normality.    

Right now, of course, we Westerners prefer to be more or less undiscriminating in the thoroughness of our security procedures (as in airports, tall buildings, etc). That is, we prefer “officially” to treat every man, woman and child, without discrimination, as either a potential jihadist or the potential instrument of a jihadist. Thereby conferring upon one and all the blessings of at least potentially Maximum Public Visibility. Which, I will admit, is very much in the interests of those who market to us all, and sell to us all (i.e., can one ever really know enough about one’s customers?). But meanwhile the jihadist – especially if he’s “only” a sympathizer – is able to escape the one stigma he most richly deserves: that of being a social pariah whose ideas are no more worthy of polite consideration than those of the most hardened neo-Nazi. And we, as states and societies, in our efforts ever more closely to monitor the actions of certain monsters we dare not name, only succeed in becoming more intrusive, more overweeningly arrogant - in a word, more monstrous, ourselves. Not, of course, that our own growing monstrosity should give us Westerners any great cause for alarm. After all, what better way to render even the worst political evils co-operative and pliable than to embrace and enfold them into oneself? 

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