Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Slouching Toward the Slow, Muffled End...

In keeping with the recent reports of the slow, but sure, suppression of free speech in the Netherlands and the UK (see below), Steve Sailer offers a truly depressing long-term forecast for Western Civilization as multiculturalism and political correctness (driven by the absolute need to deny ethnic and cultural differences) slowly strangles the West.

So, I suspect that, outside of the United States and its First Amendment protections, the word "crimethink" will continue to slowly move from metaphor to reality as the police power is brought down upon heretics.

Within the U.S., outspoken dissenters won’t be investigated by the police. But they will be rendered largely unemployable because institutions will worry that they present too much risk of the employer losing job discrimination lawsuits.

In pockets of the Internet, obscure or anonymous individuals will continue to exchange facts and ideas. But, really, how many people like to look for truth for its own sake?

The long-term outcome will be an increasing stultification of intellectual life in the West—rather like in Brezhnev's Soviet Union. Mathematicians and astronomers at the abstract end were relatively free. At the practical end, engineers were, too. But any Soviet scientist or intellectual in the middle, who tried to theorize about human beings, was in danger of losing his career or his liberty.

Sailer's prediction is all the more frightening, because it seems increasingly likely.

The "Mistake"

In a rejoinder to Andy McCarthy's defense of the Iraq invasion - and of one of its proponents, Douglas Feith - at National Review's The Corner, editor Byron York neatly explains why the invasion gained support, in spite of erroneous premises on which is was based, and why it has lost that support, even among conservatives who initially supported it.

The reason that Saddam supposedly posed a threat to us always came back to WMD, and the fact is that the dire scenarios sketched by the Bush administration in the run-up to the war did not turn out to be accurate.

For many of us, the war was supposed to be about U.S. national security and only about U.S. national security. It would be nice if we could make Iraq a better place, just as it would be nice if we could make Afghanistan a better place, but that was never a sufficient reason to go to war. The reason to go to war was to find and kill every last son of a bitch who had anything to do with 9/11. And that job was not the main focus in Iraq, and in any event is unfortunately not finished.

But the administration and the intellectuals behind the way had other plans. Iraq was to be the model for a new American-created, Israel-friendly Middle East. Islam wasn't the problem: dictators getting in the way of human longing for freedom, to paraphrase pretty words fed to the president, was the sole reason the Middle East was a terrorist-brewing swamp of violence and stagnation. All of this was fantasy, which meant, unfortunately for the nation, that all the plans regarding the war and the occupation were built on fantasy as well.

The resulting debacle in Iraqi sand has bleed the army and the treasury and the American people's patience, which has finally run dry. This confuses and upsets the neocons who can't understand why their glorious visions haven't turned into reality, and causes them to resent the voters for doubting them. York, however, sees clearly the perilous trap into which the GOP allowed itself to be led, and the likely consequences in November.

One of the main reasons John McCain is facing such an tough job today is that we are now in the sixth year of a war that the president of his own party started by mistake. That's a major headwind when you're running for president; an error of that magnitude will exact a political price. Would anyone be surprised if voters say that they've had enough?