12 верасня 2006

Are we all doomed?

Glenn Reynolds has sparked an interesting debate. James Joyner says

It is simply inconceivable that the Islamists will defeat us militarily, let alone impose their culture on us.

My comment:

Militarily - yes, but imposing their culture on us - goodness, they've already done it. Danish cartoons is just the beginning, along with European politicians hugging Hamas, along with Khatami being a guest of honor at Harvard and National Cathedral.

Those who help them destroy our culture have been doing it since the 60s in our universities and media. If (or when, rather) we have more 9/11-type attacks, who will want to live in New York, LA and Chicago? And what then will happen to our economic might?

I understand Glenn being tired of all the bloggers saying we're doomed. I'm tired of that, too. I'm also tired of being afraid that the subway car I'm riding in will blow up. The most natural reaction is to go back to business as usual, as James Lileks put it:

The good news? We returned to our norm: cheerful industrious self-directed Americans who think in terms of fiscal quarters, not ancient grievances, and trust in Coke and Mickey to spread our message of tolerance and prosperity. The bad news? Same as the good. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

To make yourself feel better, you sometimes have to stop thinking about this threat, and politics in general. But in my opinion, to combat this threat, a collective intellectual effort is required - and after all, it's exactly this kind of effort that makes the blogosphere powerful. So the challenge is to be aware of, and honest about the extent of the threat - while keeping your sanity. Which for me was hard enough before 9/11. Nonetheless, despite my fear of subway terrorism that I feel every day, I also celebrate every day - I celebrate being alive, being able to see the sun, and do all kinds of things.

Unlike the Cold War, when there was very little an ordinary citizen could do about it, this jihad war is all about what ordinary citizens do. Will we turn into beasts while fighting beasts? Will we let them enslave us? Will we keep our freedoms and our dignity? Perhaps the answers will vary from person to person, but I'm afraid there is a chance we will lose. Maybe not lose our lives, but lose freedom of speech, and the safety and prosperity that Americans have built for themselves - hell, we've already lost some of that. So the question is, how can we keep and defend all that? There is no easy solution, which is why complacency is not an option, despite all the neurosis that's caused by thinking about this "war" thing.


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