9/11 Betrayal

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The leftist response to 9/11, expressed in articles, conferences and lectures in the very shadow of the event, beggars belief. It required only one day before a callow drumbeat of smug denunciations and a vociferous schadenfreude began to sound when Ward Churchill published an online essay, entitled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” praising the “gallant sacrifices” of the terrorist “combat teams” and referring to the victims of the attack as cell phone-toting “little Eichmanns” conducting America’s business in the “sterile sanctuary of the Twin Towers.”

From that first day after 9/11 to this very moment of writing, there have been numberless talks, interviews, articles, essays and books following in the same footsteps of ignominy and shame. To list them all would fill what that great Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges called “The Library of Babel.” Suffice it to say that this festival of supercilious disdain, ignorance and malice has by no means abated. Indeed, how is it possible that anyone with even a modest understanding of Islam, its history and literature, could defend the erection of a mosque within the perimeter of Ground Zero as something other than a desecration?

The range of responses to 9/11 runs between outright commiseration with the terrorists at the farther limit and a cloying complacency at the nearer, that is, between palpable madness and ineffable foolishness. But whatever the reaction, the larger consensus is that any terrorist atrocity visited upon America or its allies can be explained by Western corruption and consumerist exploitation and justified as legitimate payback.

One knows by now that the overwhelming majority of public intellectuals and tenured and untenured academics long ago sold out to the enemies of the democratic West—indeed, have themselves become the enemies of the democratic West, ideological termites tunneling away at the very structure and foundations of Western civilization. As far back as 1927, in his The Treason of the Intellectuals (La Trahison des Clercs) Julian Benda warned us about the subversive agenda of an intellectual consistory that could not be expected to think straight, to feel loyalty to their mentoring traditions or to hasten to the defense of the civilization which nurtured them. They came of age in a culture which gave them the freedom to think, speak and write as they wished and furnished them with the opportunity to chart their own freely chosen direction in life. Yet, instead of honoring these nearly unprecedented historical gifts, they sought the reduction and sometimes even the destruction of their alma mater.

We have observed this scandalous moral and intellectual betrayal in action since the publication of Benda’s book: the vigorous support of fascism, the prolonged and intimate love affair with Soviet communism, and today the sordid embrace of Islamic totalitarianism. As Richard Posner suggests in Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline, intellectuals and academics who abuse their privileges “by writing or speaking irresponsibly in the public arena, should be hauled before the bar of academic and public opinion.” But the chances of this happening are approximately nil. The fact that these pundits are wrong or disingenuous on almost every count does not have the slightest inhibitory effect on left-wing marathon thinking.

All this was brought home to me with renewed force on September 11, 2010 as I reflected on the meaning of the day, the ruckus over Pastor Terry Jones’ threat to burn two copies of the Koran and the ongoing controversy over the proposed construction of the Cordoba mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero. I reread Billy Collin’s beautiful and moving poem, “The Names,” a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, originally delivered at a special session of Congress on September 6, 2002. But Collins is an exception to be applauded. The majority of poets, like their intellectual brethren, lean inexorably toward a state of moral and mental cretinism.

One thinks, for example, of Sam Hamill’s cabaret-light and melodrama-heavy Poets Against the War volume, perhaps the most embarrassingly weak and egomaniacal poetry anthology ever brought out by a reputable publisher—“war cries cries war war,” (stutters Phyllis Webb), “war cries CRIES WAR CRIES there are there/are still still still still” is a typical specimen of the mindless maunderings to be found in it. Like lambs being led to the slaughter, our liberal peacelings do everything in their power not to offend the butchers. Their epigones may one day find themselves living in a Press 2 for English world and writing Arabic qasidas, which would be only fitting.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    I happen to believe that FEAR is the essence of Left-wing motivations to appease Islam. Surely anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism play important roles, but fear is the main one…and not just fear of violence, but the fear of being hated, such is the delicate sensibility of the typical Left-winger.

    If the Left were honest, they would say "yes, we're afraid and we'd rather give them what they want so they don't attack us." Such honesty would be politically indefensible, so instead, they contort reality: "Islam is peace" and other platitudes are designed to give intellectual and moral justification for their appeasement.

    • Mike Elmore

      Seeing my first reply got deleated. let me say that you hit the nail on the head and it is exactly what what is wrong with America right now. Fear in what ever form it comes in and running from it instead of facing it. Smart post..elmore

    • lovesjeeves

      Great post ….and I encourage all to read Dr. Jamie Glazov's "United In Hate" for a superb and further analysis of the bewildering and dangerous attitudes of America's political Left. This comment is completely on track. Fear and a sometimes disguised, deep self hatred bolstered and symbolized by a hatred of America, are further symptoms of this doomed mentality..

      • Shaune

        I agree with you about "United in Hate". It's an outstanding book, one that should receive much more recognition. In fact, it should be required reading for anyone who wants truly to understand where the Left has invested its collective soul.

  • Alex Kovnat

    In the years leading up to 9/11/2001, I remember reading accounts of the tyranny of the Taliban in Afghanistan. How people were ordered to paint their windows black if women were living in their homes, so outsiders couldn't see in. How women were not allowed to hold jobs outside the home. How women whose husbands had died, were not even allowed to beg for sustenance for their children. If 9/11/2001 hadn't given us a raison d'etre to finally go in and take down that horrid regime, Afghanistan would today be the Islamic equivalent of North Korea. The way it is today, that may yet happen in Iraq or Afghanistan, or both.

    But there is hope. I read this past week that Fidel Castro has finally admitted that " … Communism doesn't work for us anymore."

    Wow. After 50 years of imprisoning and killing those who posed any threat to his regime, F.C. finally decided to man up and admit what a failure it all was and is. Who knows — maybe Osama Bin Laden will someday admit "Islam isn't working for us anymore".

    • Mike Elmore

      Afraid not Alex. Islam is a political ideology that has a 1400 year history of world domination. 50 years of something that didn't work isn't to much different than most peoples lives.Right now even the short history of America is being threaten by Islam's political mandate…elmore

  • Nancy

    The hypocrisy of the left came into full focus last week. freedom of religion should trump any offense the public feels about the mosque. Then, freedom of religious expression (burning the koran) must be suspended if it offends our enemies.

    BTW, nothing does a better job of burning korans than a Big Green Egg.

  • lovesjeeves

    did you mean to write "perpetual victims care more about life than things"?

    did you mean they care about their own physical survival, more than quality of life and principles?

  • Wesley69

    The Left believes that the US had 9/11 coming. Many, including Obama's father believed the US has taken the place of the former western imperialist empires. We have ruthlessly exploited Africa, Asia and the Mideast for their minerals and other products. If you consider this premises, it would explain Obama's apology tour, his hostility toward western nations, his aid to Brazil. Israel is the creation of the west, hence Obama's hostility toward it and his tilt toward the Palestinians. To punish and transform the US, Obama has been knocking the US down to size militarily but also economically. Why does he hate the rich? He believes they got their wealth due to exploitation of poorer peoples of the world. That is why he believes in a transfer of the wealth. 9/11 means nothing to him. To him, the Trade Towers were the symbol of imperialist American capitalism. That mosque will be built before the Freedom Tower. That will be a betrayal to its victims, but to Obama, it shows the world, his priorities are with them rather than his own country which to him is the root of all the world problems.

  • Bugs

    I disagree about the fear. I think most leftists and liberals are, in fact, standing up for their principles. They *think* they're willing to sacrifice anything rather than sacrifice their version of freedom. They're defending us from what they believe is the biggest threat: the American political right. To them, the odds of home-grown fascists taking over the government is much more immediate and terrifying than the threat of foreign terrorists attacking us or Islamists injecting Sharia into our government and culture. To them, unity and patriotism are a dangerous combination that lead inevitably to Nazi-like conformity.

    So when something like 9/11 happens, their instant reaction is not to unite with the rest of the country but to "dissent." If the rest of the country is angry, they'll tell us to calm down. If the rest of the country is calm, they'll ask "Where's the outrage?" If the rest of the country feels victimized, they'll tell us we deserved it. If the entire country is celebrating a victory, they'll remind us of all the reasons we shouldn't celebrate. Anything to keep us fragmented, arguing, disputing each other. Unity, for a leftist, is only for the left. If us "regular folks" ever get together, it'll be wars abroad and secret police & pogroms at home.

    That's my theory, anyway.

  • Wesley69

    The Left fears fascism on the Right? The true danger comes from the anti-democratic elements in the Left. Anti-democratic ????? Explain to me how democracy is illustrated by CARD CHECK. The Right looks at Leftists as Socialists, trying to increase the size of government. This comes at the people's expense, THE LOSS OF THEIR LIBERTIES. They reject Globalism. The Right does not try to silence dissent. Look at the Left during the Bush administration. The Left would love to impose the Fairness Doctrine on talk radio and Fox. They believe they are the elites and know better. Look at how they passed the Stimulus and ObamaCare. As for principles, a number are followers of Saul Alinsky. (Rules for Radicals – any means justify the end, which is power) The old Democrats, that party no longer exists. The Leftists and the radicals from the anti-war SDS and other organizations are in charge. They have no use for the "regular people."

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • Bob

    "Ideological termites tunneling away at the very structure and foundations of Western civilization” that is one of the greatest analogies I have heard,. I hope you forgive me if I plagiarize the hell out of the phrase!

  • PAthena

    The so-called "Left" seek tyrannical power, heirs of Maximillian Robespierre who sat on the left in the semicircular seating arrangement of the National Convention. Like him, they are convinced of their own virtue and the evil of any who disagree with them.

  • don wilson

    Well if you point out a terrorist on the battlefield unambiguously to the marines, maybe they'll shoot him, but lots of times you don't know who is a terrorist, or just a terrorist sympathizer, or someone who is just cowed by the terrorists. And on top of that, you have civilians who have been indoctrinated with terrorist ideals – if you look at the PA and Hamas, for example, you see that they put a priority on teaching their children to hate. And its no accident that so many of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, a country that teaches some radically anti-infidel ideas. So what, Robert, are you advocating?