July 31, 2007
The Real Long War
A faction within America always denigrates our country, seeing our enemies through rose colored lenses and finding only oppression at home. The Long War we face with Radical Islam is matched by the long war against this bloc.
Color me cynical, but I think that the fix is in on Iraq. In September Gen. Petraeus will report on the surge and declare a qualified victory. Then President Bush will start drawing down the troops. Slowly.
Everyone will feel betrayed. The conservative base will feel that our steadfast support for the war was all in vain.
The netroots will continue to demand immediate withdrawal. Expect the Democrats in Congress to keep offering a Resolution of the Week to support the troops and bring them home now.
It would be easy in this situation to get discouraged, but we are conservatives and we are better than that. This is a point worth making because right now the Conservatives in Britain are having a total meltdown over a couple of minor political setbacks.
But if we are not to panic like our formerly stiff-upper-lipped cousins across the Atlantic we must "do something." I recommend we "do" some strategic thinking. As we retreat from Iraq we should think about the big picture.
The great lesson that we should learn from the first six years of the 9/11 era is this. If it weren't for our liberal friends here in the United States and in Europe, the terrorists would be nothing more than a bunch of Saudi rich kids and Iranian regime thugs out for a rumble.
What makes these Saudi rich kids and their pals world-historical is the understanding they get from the left and the publicity they get from the media. Exhibit A is the CNN-YouTube questioner who asked the Democratic presidential candidates:
"Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"
Earth to YouTube: The gap that divides us from the thug dictators is not a lack of negotiations; it is the question of power. For a dictator power isn't everything. It's the only thing.
The left always seems to be swooning over the latest gang of designer thugs. Right now university book stores are featuring dozens of earnest attempts to understand Islam. Back in the 1980s the lefty Sandalistas were flocking to Sandinista Nicaragua. In the 1970s the left was busy understanding the rage of well-born terrorists in the Weathermen, the Italian Red Brigades, and the Baader-Meinhof gang. A decade before that it was Castro and the execrable Che Guevara. All of those thugs would have got nowhere without the fawning of the luvvies on the left.
You might think that these dictator lovers are evil, and you might be right. But conservative philosopher Roger Scruton talks instead, in A Political Philosophy, of a kind of sickness: "oikophobia." It's a fancy Greek neologism for "educated derision at... national loyalty," always siding with "'them' against 'us,' and the felt need to denigrate the customs, cultures, and institutions that are demonstrably 'ours.'" In short, as Scruton writes, it is "the repudiation of inheritance and home."
Modern conservatism was founded by Edmund Burke upon the opposite idea. It regards "our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers, and to be transmitted to our posterity" without repudiation.
The great challenge for us, conservatives and libertarians, people inspired by the spirit of democratic capitalism, is the challenge of the "oikophobes." It means that the war on terror is not finally a war with Islamic terrorism, but an episode in the long war within the west that began in 1789. It is the war between the heirs of Burke and the heirs of Rousseau and Robespierre, between ordered liberty and the "oikophobic" alliance between rational experts, progressive activists, designer revolutionaries and out-and-out thugs.
The "oikophobic" alliance presents a Janus face to the world. It claims to be the very highest and best in human evolution, committed to equality, sharing and caring. In pursuit of this ideal it advocates constantly for inclusiveness and against divisiveness. Yet it conducts its politics according to the crudest techniques of the demagogue, setting worker against boss, renter against owner, woman against man, poor against wealthy, secularist against believer, black against white, gown against town.
And its institutions--the schools, universities, foundations, arts communities, and newsrooms of the world--are the most exclusive and divisive around. Conservatives and Christians need not apply.
But for all their faults you would think that the "oikophobes" would be willing to help conservatives defeat the homophobes, the racists, and the patriarchs of the Middle East.
But they won't. They are "oikophobes" and they believe in taking the side of "them" against "us."
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.