Monday, November 20, 2006

Mark Steyn & SpongeBob

Who's Your Plankton?

In his America Alone, Mark Steyn notes the following:

Many of us figure the Islamist plan to re-establish the caliphate is the equivalent of that moment in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie when Plankton roars, "I'm going to rule the world!" Towering over him, SpongeBob says, "Good luck with that."

But you never know: it might be that we're the plankton. "Our enemies are small worms," Adolf Hitler told his generals in August 1939. "I saw them at Munich." In Europe today, as in the thirties, the political class prostrates itself before an insatiable force that barely acknowledges the latest surrender before moving on to the next invented grievance. Indeed, a formal enemy is all but superfluous to requirements. Bomb us, and we agonize over the "root causes." Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that "Islam is a religion of peace." Issue blood-curdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush and Blair. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the "vast majority" of Muslims "jihad" is a harmless concept meaning "healthy-lifestyle lo-fat granola bar." Thus the lopsided valse macabre of our times: the more the Islamists step on our toes, the more we waltz them gaily round the room.


Steyn also notes that to the progressive mind, the very concept of "enemy" implied in the words "war on terror" is obsolescent: "there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated."

Like the old Cold War joke in which the American tells the Soviet guy that "in my country we're free to criticize our president" and the Soviet replies, "Same here. We're free to criticize your president," the West is free to mock and belittle our Judeo-Christian inheritance. Likewise, the Muslim world is free to mock and belittle the West's Judeo-Christian inheritance.

Of the two, the latter is surely healthier than the former.

Can't we find a way to stand UP, breathe deeply, and be grateful for what the West was founded upon -- the Revelation vouchsafed by the Church's Magisterium in Scripture and Tradition -- without scapegoating Islam?

Self-flagellation is clearly not working for old Europe. Bullies can only be stopped by those who don't hate themselves; by those who not only don't roll over and play dead, but are actively thankful for and live out the truth (aletheia) of the Gospel.


David Nybakke said...

Let me start with a real basic question, who is Mark Steyn? Why do you feel he is worth quoting here?

A second question or ill feeling I have is what I feel is a "leveling" of Christianity to a parallel plane of Islam, and therefore merging religion with body politic.

I have to admit that I struggle with using Steyn's work as a tool to help awaken us Christians for a role of disabling "the bully" and I don't see it working.

Is "putting the fear of Islam" the appropriate way to awaken Christians for their work or mission in the world, that is to build up the church? Granted, since the average Christian's once-a-week church attendance (if that) does not seem to be setting a blaze the people for Christ, then is this the alternative means to bringing Christ to the world?

Athos said...

Okay, brother Aramis, Mark Steyn is, as Gil Bailie said at an Emmaus Road Initiative session, probably the closest person we have to a G. K. Chesterton today, in terms of assessing and writing keenly, humorously and insightfully about the world scene (ask Gil sometime - see if I'm wrong about this).

Steyn, besides being a syndicated columnist has published a new book (from which I am quoting) entitled America Alone. That sounds all huffy and puffy - like a blowhard conservative radio-head: he's not.

I suggest, my cloistered friend, a visit to Steyn's site @

In terms of how any of my post can have relevance to the evangelization of the Gospel, there is hope (OF COURSE!) at all times and among all peoples. As I said in a comment to Mark Gordon over at Suicide of the West:

And of course you’re right, Mark. As Bailie says somewhere, all one needs to “get it” is to be a card-carrying member of any culture.

If the Centurian who was a hardened and well-trained professional of Rome could see — theoria — then (God willing and Our Lady pray for us) even followers of Muhammad can get it.

As we approach Advent, let us wait, watch, pray and put agape into action. But let's keep our eyes open to the demographic and cultural realities that are actually taking place (today's WaPo has an article that basically supports polygamy ... ).

Mark Steyn is a prophet for all Catholics and fans of Rene Girard to listen to.