November 12, 2006

To a Prominent Thug: Screw You, Mark Steyn

I have been over this ground before, in a lengthy essay describing the reaction of many hawks to the 2004 elections in Spain: "The Voice of the Thug, and the Harbinger of Horrors Still to Come."

In analyzing the nature and sources of the hawks' reaction, I wrote:
Please note a few significant aspects of this kind of commentary. The first point is so obvious that it should not need to be stated, but these writers unfortunately make it unavoidable. We are constantly told that we are intent on bringing "democracy" to Iraq, and to the rest of the world once we get around to it .... Yet when the Spanish people freely elect the leader they choose, these hawks offer only insults, derision, and contempt -- because the Spaniards committed the worst and most unforgivable sin of all: they dared to make political judgments that did not follow every detail of the line being peddled by the hawks. So much for "democracy." If you don't vote the way we think you ought to, you're worthless scum, and not worthy of the privilege. And never mind all the factors identified by the Spaniards quoted above, or those issues identified by [Julian] Sanchez.


I suggest you reread the first email message excerpted above, recounting the tremendous heroism displayed by the ordinary people of Madrid in the wake of the tragedy there -- and then consider what kind of human being den Beste thus shows himself to be.

I submit that this kind of commentary, offered by so many writers and in any number of newspapers, ought to be deeply and profoundly unsettling to anyone who is genuinely concerned about the direction in which the world is headed. One would hope that it would be rare to see such undiluted hatred, contempt and vilification heaped upon an entire country -- especially when that country has just undergone a terrible trauma, and a truly awful tragedy. And particularly when the factors that led to a particular election result are complex, and hardly one-dimensional.

But we find barely a word of sympathy for Spain -- and in its place, an absolute demand that all Spaniards completely adopt the hawks' views. And if they don't...well, any destruction which befalls them is their own damned fault, and they shouldn't expect the smallest glimmer of understanding or compassion from these people.

And these are the same people who maintain they, and they alone, are the true guardians and saviors of civilization. In fact, whatever it is they believe they are saving, civilization is not its name.


This is the source of the rage and condemnation you see directed at the people of Spain. The hawks are saying, in effect: "How dare you disobey and disagree with us? How dare you question the wisdom of our course? How dare you suggest that you might have another plan of action which would achieve the end we say we care so much about, and would achieve it more effectively, and create less new dangers in doing so? Don't you understand that we know best, and that we are not to be questioned? How dare you?"

This is the voice of the enraged parent -- who inflicts untold cruelties on his child, all the while proclaiming that he is committing monstrous acts for the child's own good. And, in fact, this is precisely what the hawks tell anyone who disagrees with them, and what they tell the entire rest of the world: we know what is best for you, not your own citizens, and not your own leaders. We do -- and you had better do what we say...or else.
Mark Steyn was one of the hawks I discussed in that piece. I quoted him in part as follows:
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the slain. In the three days between the slaughter and the vote, it was widely reported that the atrocity had been designed to influence the election. In allowing it to do so, the Spanish knowingly made Sunday a victory for appeasement and dishonoured their own dead.
Now, after our midterm election, Steyn discusses what he thinks is the view of Americans held by the "jihad crowd." Steyn writes:
[The "jihad crowd"] employed a craftier strategy. Their view of America is roughly that of the British historian Niall Ferguson -- that the Great Satan is the first superpower with ADHD. They reasoned that if you could subject Americans to the drip-drip-drip of remorseless water torture in the deserts of Mesopotamia -- a couple of deaths here, a market bombing there, cars burning, smoke over the city on the evening news, day after day after day, and ratcheted up a notch or two for the weeks before the election -- you could grind down enough of the electorate and persuade them to vote like Spaniards, without even realizing it. And it worked.


Still, we are all Spaniards now. The incoming speaker says Iraq is not a war to be won but a problem to be solved. The incoming defense secretary belongs to a commission charged with doing just that. A nostalgic boomer columnist in the Boston Globe argues that honor requires the United States to "accept defeat," as it did in Vietnam. Didn't work out so swell for the natives, but to hell with them.
Later in the column, Steyn offers this observation: "For the rest of the world, the Iraq war isn't about Iraq; it's about America, and American will." I dealt with this dangerous and noxious nonsense in two essays: "Bush and the Legions of the Damned," and "They Are the Damned."

The earlier essay about the hawks' reaction to the elections in Spain is admittedly long and complex. Because these issues are so crucial, and because they so obviously continue to be central to this ongoing debate, I urge you to read it when you have the time.

For all the reasons provided in that article, and because of the risible dishonesties, the ignominious lies, the unforgivable contempt for most of humanity that Steyn's perspective represents, and because of the endless death and destruction to which that perspective inevitably leads, I say the following to Mr. Steyn. I say it in this particular form, because no other form captures my reaction accurately:

Fuck you, Mark Steyn.