Know Your Enemy

This is Iran.  These are Iran’s stated objectives.  Mind you, these aren’t just fringe-lunatic elements, speaking out of school on matters beyond their competencies.  These are the statements of the individuals occupying the highest positions in that barbarous land and organizations established by that government specifically to act as its proxies beyond its borders.

Hezbollah:  “If all the Jews gathered in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide. . . . It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth.”

Hamas:  “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:  Israel “must be wiped off the map.”  That’s his own website’s translation of the statement.  An alternative reading of his statement could be translated as merely the assertion that it must be “eliminated from the pages of history.”

This is the regime which Dear Leader promised to meet “without preconditions.”  This is the regime which has publicly bragged — without contradiction that I’ve heard of — that Dear Leader has (clandestinely, of course) “acknowledged Iran’s nuclear rights.”  This is the outfit which Human Rights Watch cannot bring itself to condemn.

Human Rights Watch is the outfit funded in large measure by Geo. Soros, whose patronage of Dear Leader is a secret only to those who actively avoid the information.  Soros survived the Holocaust.  He was passed off as a Gentile’s son.  He was a boy at the time, neither adult nor infant.  His exact actions during that time have been the subject of some adverse commentary.  In round numbers, his “cover” was engaged in some peripheral activities in suppression of the local Jewish population — he was in fact part of implementing the Holocaust.  There have been accusations that George was something more than a passive observer of all this.  He has taken the position that he was no more than that, if even that.  In truth I am inclined to believe him; certainly there are no living witnesses other than George himself any more.  But even if he is understating, to a degree, what did and did not happen, I’m not sure I can, from a comfortable distance of 70-plus years, several thousand miles, and in the absence of swarms of uniformed thugs whose entire mission is to slaughter me, my family, and those like us, judge him.  Think about it:  You’re a young boy.  All you know is that your family has been so terrified for your physical survival that they’ve committed you to this person.  You are old enough to have seen the round-ups, seen the dead bodies, seen at least some of the violence and killing.  You know that’s directed at you.  You know that will happen to you if your cover is blown.  What do you do?  I’ll give ol’ George a pass, barring some truly bombshell revelation.  God will judge him, one way or the other, and I don’t need to.

But then again, we see how he behaves now, when he’s secure, filthy rich, and the Nazis are consigned to history’s dungheap.  We see his pet organization, Human Rights Watch, sucking up to and covering for people, organizations, and countries who have expressed, in exactly so many words, an intention to kill every Jew they can lay hands on.  We see his backing of politicians whose unambiguous actions speak a profound loathing for Israel’s existence.  Does anyone truly, actually believe that Human Rights Watch would so consistently denigrate Israel, would so predictably attack every halting step, every half-measure it takes to defend itself, without George Soros blessing it?  Does anyone actually think that HRW would actually and boldly do its stated job in undercutting every tyrannous regime in the world . . . except those bent on Israel’s destruction, without this reflecting a directive from the man who controls the purse strings?

The final paragraphs of the WSJ article point out something helpful, and something that seems to be of a piece with other aspects of lefty hand-wringing.  They’re not so much interested in those actions which will prevent human tragedy as they are in positioning themselves to come in after the fact and demonstrate what compassionate people they are in litigating over the survivors.  The context of international human rights violations is not the only one in which we see the left uninterested in victims stopping the train on their own.  If they do that, then they’re not victims (by hypothesis).  Non-victims don’t need angels.  Non-victims don’t need (or even very frequently want) the intervention of the compassion industry.  Non-victims don’t have much need for lawyers, counsellors, bureaucrats, consciousness-raisers, awareness peddlers, and the like.

Thus, we see the left straining every tissue to prevent individuals from protecting themselves from violent assault by arming themselves.  We see constant support for those measures which diminish individuals’ and families’ ability to house, clothe, or feed themselves without a hand-out from the government.  We see unwavering support for those policies which will prevent immigrants and their children from assimilating into the surrounding society, and forging paths upward and away from the squalid quarters where they have landed.  We see die-in-the-last-ditch support for government policies which provide cash and in-kind rewards for self-destructive life patterns, choices, and behaviors.  And we see vehement opposition to foreign policy positions and measures which diminish the prospect of massively destructive war.

That degree of consistency across so many unrelated sets of policy preferences cannot be a coincidence.  There is something about the leftish understanding of oneself, the world, and one’s place and value within it which must inform those decisions.  Thos. Sowell, in his extremely helpful book A Conflict of Visions traces two over-arching understandings of humanity, which he labels the “constrained” and the “unconstrained” visions.  (A “vision” he defines as a pre-cognitive mental process which disposes each of us to perceive different observable facts in a particular way, and to assign meanings to them which fall into patterns which we may not even notice are there.)

Grossly stated, the “constrained” vision Sowell so labels because it understands that there is a limit to the moral improvement of which human nature is susceptible.  The “unconstrained” vision does not recognize such limitation.  Someone who accepts an unconstrained vision of what human nature is capable of, in the way of improvement, is much more likely to understand his own human worth in terms of how he contributes to that improvement.  If he does not see himself as pulling an oar to get the boat out of the rapids he is less of a human.  And what better avenue towards human moral improvement than boldly stepping into the breach to better the lives of victims (who are, by definition, helpless; no one speaks of the U.S. Army as having been “victims” of the Wehrmacht at Kasserine Pass, after all)?  But there’s a problem:  Without victims, whom is he to improve?  If the boat’s safely at anchor in harbor, who needs the stout back of an oarsman?  Thos. Sowell, as one might be forgiven for anticipating, has a book on exactly that dynamic and how it plays out in the political field:  The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

It’s been a number of years since I read either book, and so I can’t recall exactly how harsh Sowell was on the “Deep Thinkers” (that’s his phrase, by the way, and if I recall correctly it comes from that latter book), but the point is valid at its core:  Leftism, to the extent it is not a cynical power grab, rests at bottom on making the exercisers of power feel good about themselves, much, much more than it concerns itself with permanently removing the conditions which oppress others.  They’d rather hold a protest march in support of the local battered women’s shelter than they would see those women break out the .40-cal. pistol borrowed from a friend and drill a hole in the man who’s beaten the snot out of them for the past five years.  They don’t adopt that preference from perfidy; it’s just that under the former they validate their own existence, while the latter scenario contains a kernel which negates their humanity:  I am not a victim; I do not need you; you cannot improve my moral plane of existence.

And so Israel, which is entirely willing to defend itself, mortally offends the sorts of people who staff and support Human Rights Watch.  Without suffering victims of war and “aggression” there’s nothing for them to do.  They can go home and worry about raking the leaves, like the rest of us rabble.

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