Monday, June 02, 2008

Shallow America

Americans, says Lawrence Haas at Family Security Matters, are shallow and "un-serious". Against foes the likes of which brought us 9/11 we are woefully unprepared due ideological blinders, some Democratic, some Republican. (I would add a boat-load of other blinders mainly around progressive "enlightened" multiculturalism.) But Haas states:

Even when we focus on radical Islam, we are woefully ignorant about it. Unlike Communism, which we broadly understood was shaped by Marx and applied by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and others, we don't know from whence radical Islam came. With few exceptions among elites and the public, we don't recognize that terrorist attacks on the United States and the West over the last 30 years are the latest phase of a 1,400-year struggle by radical Islam to defeat the forces of modernity and return society to the time of Mohammed. We don't know the interconnected ideologies and roles of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Whahhabis, and the Khomeinists in reviving this struggle in the 20th Century.

Blissfully ignorant of the beliefs, the outlook, the goals, and the methods of our adversaries, we are profoundly un-serious about the dangers that they represent. We are un-serious about the military commitment, the resources, and the measures required to defeat radical Islam both abroad and at home. Democrat, Republican, and independent - we are all un-serious. But our political affiliation determines just what it is we are un-serious about. To put it another way, Democrats are un-serious about some aspects of the challenge ahead while Republicans are un-serious about others.

Read all of Lawrence Hass' A Shallow State of War: Reflections from an Un-Serious Nation

2 comments:

Aramis said...

You will disagree, however...

I struggle with this presumption that we can "defeat" our enemy without including a deepening and strengthening of our Christian faith as a people. I do not see where Lawrence Haas, in this specific article, points to, nor gives any "billing" to the Christian faith which our founding values were grounded in, and so I guess he didn't feel inclined to express his concern that we may need to deepen our faith in Christianity as a country.

Though I agree with some of his basic points about us in America being shallow, I however hold that we are as much in need of shoring up our Christian faith as we are in need of building up our political and economic base. It seems that Lawrence J. Haas, former communications director for Vice President Al Gore, and vice president of the Committee on the Present Danger and writes for Democratiya would have us believe that we would defeat our enemy and finally be free by becoming focused on the enemy.

What Democratiya is about...

We democrats will fare better if we are guided by a positive animating ethic and seek modes of realization through serious discussion and practical reform efforts. Democratiya will stand for the human rights of victims of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity. We will be, everywhere, pro-democracy, pro-labour rights, pro-women's rights, pro-gay rights, pro-liberty, pro-reason and pro-social justice. Against anti-modernism, irrationalism, fear of freedom, loathing of the woman, and the cult of master-slave human relations we stand for the great rallying calls of the democratic revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Democracy, even for the 'poorest he'. Liberte, egalite, fraternite. The rights of man. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those precious ideas were rendered the inheritance of all by the social democratic, feminist and egalitarian revolutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. No one left behind. No one. We are partisans and artisans of this fighting faith and we pit it against what Paul Berman has called 'the paranoid and apocalyptic nature of the totalitarian mindset'.

Maybe I am so politically naive, but is it un-American or undemocratic to proclaim and fight to re-install the moral values which we inherited from Christianity? Can we not recognize our own history and from where our great strengths as a nation came from? Would this not be a better starting point to shore up our defenses?

Athos said...

No, I don't disagree. I lift up Haas' piece because, for me, it shows elements of clear-sightedness; not that I agree with everything he writes or stands for. Often people like Haas are in a half-way house kind of place.

Or, as our pal and mentor says, "Sometimes it's difficult to know whether (folk) are throwing down the gauntlet or throwing in the towel."

Haas is one of them. What I can agree with is the notion that our presuppositions allow us to see certain things clearly and truly, but can blind us also.

For us, the path from myth to Gospel can take a long, long time with many a twist and wrong turn.

Our battle is largely in this realm of unexamined presuppositions and their ramifications; first principles and their inferences. A HUGE hurdle for people today in the West is the Catholic presupposition that it requires both Faith and Reason, never one without the other, and always the latter in service to the former. Cheers