July 19, 2005

Ledeen x 2

Check out two terrific pieces by Michael Ledeen from the last few days. As always, his reporting on events in Iran is invested with his emotional sense of urgency on behalf of Iranian citizens who are suffering and dying at the mullahs' hands.

And now that the London bombers have turned out to be not only homegrown, but mostly educated, middle-class, "regular guys", Ledeen wonders why we're surprised. Excerpting... (ellipses mine)

Why were so many well-educated and well-informed people surprised, even shocked? Why were the facts ignored? Many of them have provided an "explanation": They believed that people raised in cultured, democratic, societies — whatever their ethnic background and whatever their political or religious beliefs — are immune to the emotional poisons that transform normal people into terrorists. No doubt the belief was, and in many cases remains, genuine. But this intellectual conceit — which underlies a vast multicultural enterprise that dominates media and schools and universities throughout the Western world — totally ignores the history of the West. It is as if fascism and Communism — products of the finest European societies — never happened, or that, even if they happened, they were anomalies...

George Orwell got it just right when, in the winter of 1940, he bitterly observed "highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me." He knew what his countrymen, and most of the intellectual elite of the West, have relegated to a quiet intellectual closet: that Hitler and Mussolini had created monstrous mass movements in two of the most civilized, and most cultured countries in Europe...

...Both fascism and Communism inspired mass murder and individual martyrdom for "the cause," just as radical Islam does today. Like Osama bin Laden and his ilk, Hitler and his cohorts raged against the democracies. Both blamed the free peoples for Germany’s and the Muslims’ misery and bragged of the superiority of Aryans and Muslims over decadent, corrupt, and self-indulgent free men and women...

There are many ideologies and many charismatic leaders who can inspire blind loyalty, often accompanied by equally blind hatred, even to the point of self-immolation. The operational model for the suicide terrorists of today comes from Japan’s kamikazes — soldiers from a highly civilized country — in the Second World War. Freedom and democracy do not protect us against such people; Indeed, in the past century, free nations elevated them to power, and kept them there until we dominated them. The evil can't be explained by economic misery, or social alienation, or even by the doctrines adopted by the terrorists. The problem lies within us.

Posted by dan at July 19, 2005 8:32 PM