Friday, September 21, 2007

Tom Clancy, the Private Person, and Left Fascism

A friend writes to ask how we can defeat the Leftists among us and perhaps do some good in the world by freeing the Muslims world from the bondage of Islam. What about our enemies? What can we do?

"They [Iranians, Russians, Chinese, &c.] are not a serious problem. We are. We are the problem. With the attitude of the West today I couldn't defeat the Iranians with the full U.S. Marine Corp behind me. I couldn't rob a 7-11 convenience store with that lot the way things are now. It's not our men, it's not our materiel, it's our attitude. We are the problem. We are the enemy we have to defeat.

You ask how we can defeat the Left. Let me use Mick as an example."

Mick is not our enemy in any sense, and yet Mick is a problem we face daily in our struggle to surmount and defeat Islam and native fascism in America. My friends, your family, their colleagues, and so on, the normal and decent people we all assume the best of because they are the best of the Good, these are the very people who cause us most harm. Let's look at Tom Clancy as an example of how bad it gets, of how naive and silly the most likely of good guys in the pubic mind can be so harmful to our public interest:

Tom Clancy in his novel The Teeth of the Tiger, writes of U.S. President [ret.] Jack Ryan's son reading and thinking about the Koran: "He noted that there was no place in the fifty pages he'd skimmed through that said anything about shooting innocent people so that you could screw the womenfolk among them in heaven. The penalty for suicide was right on the level with what Sister Frances Mary had explained in second grade.... At the end of ninety minutes, it came to him-- rather an obvious conclusion-- that terrorism had about as much to do with Islamic religion as it did with Catholic or Protestant Irishmen.... So, if he was reading this right, Mohammed would probably have clobbered terrorists. He was a decent, honorable man. Not all of his followers were the same way, though, and those were the ones he and the twins had to deal with. Any religion could be twisted out of shape by the next crop of madmen, he thought, yawning, and Islam was just the next one on the list. 'Gotta read more of this,' he told himself on the way to the bed. 'Gotta'." Tom Clancy, Teeth of the Tiger. New York: Putnam and Sons; 2003, p. 393.

It's not just a terrible pulp novel, Clancy is writing for the general literate American public, using as his mouthpiece a character who has the advantages of a highly prestigious, one suspects valuable university education and a family background that gives him insight from childhood into American values of the highest kind, those of a good man who was president. What could go wrong? Well, this is more than a terrible pulp novel. It's the valid expression of Americana, Clancy being an opinion-maker, a major part of the the current ethos-making of Americans; opinions he makes become Americana supported by one of the heavy-weights of American pop culture because he is authorative in himself. Disaster. The off-hand musings of a pulp novelist, and a trashy one at that, become the opinions of a large number of Americans who get their opinions from an assortment of popular source, Clancy being one, and one important. Disaster.

I'd go trout fishing with this guy. He's OK from where I stand and view. But for ideas about Islam he's one of nearly everyone on Earth I would go out of my way to avoid. He doesn't have a clue. Nor should he. And not knowing, one could only hope and pray that he'd ask someone who knows more than he rather than relying on a 90 minute skim and past mental habit. But that's at least one reason Clancy is a pulp novelist rather than a thinking literary writer. He's a guy one would like to go fishing with. He's not one many critical people would go to for opinions regarding the nature of our conflict with Islam and fascism from the Left. Clancy is recirculating the same nonsense others tell him, and he does so with more authority than those he gets his ideas from in the first place. Disaster. He's popular because he communicates to the popular reader in a popular style popular cliches. Islam in 90 minutes. And then Islam in a couple of paragraphs in a Tom Clancy novel. Then it seeps out of the pages of his books till many repeat what they read in his novel. Currency gains currency because it's popular, regardless of the sense or validity. Disaster. We become our own worst enemies, our naive and trusting natures wrecking our hopes of peace and decency.

If I were to describe my friend Mick I'd bore people to tears. He's just like others in every way except in his person, and it's beyond my ability to describe how a normal man can be so happy and so decent and so good without being anything other than just being a guy like any other. Mick is not excitingly different and spectacular. In a lot of ways he's like Tom Clancy, a guy most people would like to go fishing with, or to the opera with, or what have you. But like Clancy he's not a deep thinker on the subject of Islam. He's one who calmly accepts the ways of society, who is concerned about the world and its people, who is a decent guy all round. He's exceptionally so; but in the ways of society he's a Leftie, a guy who follows the ways of the rest around him, wanting naively the best for all.

And that's the problem we face in defeating the Left. An idea floats across the cloudy popular imagination, and the simpler and easier the idea is to grasp fully without contradicting ones general opinions the better. If, for example, one sees an alien religion like Islam and can place it in context of ones own religion, then good, all critical thinking can cease and life can go on, all people being more or less like the thinker thinking, like Clancy writing, like my friend opining. "I'm a good person, my friends are good people, and most people are like me and my friends. If some people are bad, then it must be due to them being bad, not because their religion is evil." Simple, easy, comprehensive, and it doesn't contradict the view they have of life and the world. Disaster.

Most people are indeed good in at least the sense they're not violent and dangerous to the majority around them. Most people think of most people as being good in that "non-bad" sense. And in projecting the self onto others, most people are more or less correct. Unfortunately not all people are good or at least not actively evil. And the idea that one can come from a psychotic religious culture is too foreign for most outsiders to grasp as real. To witness first-hand the madness of Islam and the death-worship cult it is one must reduce it to the understandable in terms of ones own experience of the world and life: that if I am a good person, so are others, with a few exceptions, a small minority of fanatics." It's Clancy's view of the world as gathered over a long lifetime and reinforced by a good attitude toward Humanity. Disaster.

My best friend is a disaster. His attitude is going to get a lot of people killed. He's going to be partly responsible for the extermination of a billion savages. My friend likes people and wants them to be as happy and healthy in mind and body as is he. He finds the good in most, and the bad he dismisses as aberrant. My friend supports Lefty causes, wishes well for the enemies who will provoke a storm of rage, hatred, and violence against the primitive masses. Like Tom Clancy, he thinks well of most, not knowing that the world is filled with decent men and women who will at the same time explode themselves in a church or a marketplace killing as many as they can. Islam is an evil that creates monsters in normal and decent people, people no different from others. And to suggest that those others, those Muslims, are just like Catholics or Jews or Buddhists is to naively assume the best of people to the point of insanity. Good people can also be insane and violent and dangerous. Missing that point because one assumes the goodness of others is a danger. My friend is a disaster in the world.

Good people projecting their own good onto others is fine-- right up till the others kill at random. Then goodness is a disaster. One must see that in the West most good people are private individuals, that goodness is of a different nature from the collectivist primitive world, and that the two are not common. Both are good but not the same kind of good. The two are conflicting, the latter, the primitive, being murderous. The confusion of "goods" is leading toward the destruction of the latter by the former at the end of tolerance and naivety. The time will come when private individuals stop thinking of others as good at all, and the surge of madness will envelope them and propel them to slaughter. The Left will dig in and convert, perhaps, to Islam outright, and the rest, those who are social by nature will be social still, running in packs, in mobs, in hordes. Being a decent person and caring about social injustice is a disaster. Knowing what others know and confirming it by reading the Koran for 90 minutes will not do. Assuming all good people are alike is a disaster. Islam is not the same good, and to confuse this because of ones innate decency and to project it onto others is a madness that will lead to murder.

But neither my friend nor Tom Clancy are stupid. There comes a point when people begin to feel, not necessarily to think, that they are uncomfortable with the reigning cliches of the 90 minute grasp of the situation. They turn to other sources of information and opinion. My friend leans away from the Left, though ever so slightly. He finds tremors in his thoughts on the nature of the way it has always been. A discomfort. The edges don't match up any longer the way realities did previously. He looks around and wonders why things are so fuzzy. He, like many, comes to a state of dissatisfaction with the usual regime of ideas and cliches of goodness in the world.

Tom Clancy's vision of Islam is not working out anymore. Even Tom Clancy can't maintain the vision in the face of the world as it is. It's a slight movement away from the normal vision of life held in place so long. My friend moves ever so slowly away from the impending disaster of ignorance of the problem of Islam. He begins ever so cautiously to question the 90 minute skim. He's a great guy. He isn't stupid. He wants the best for others as he has for himself. And he's finding his normal decency is not in place with the nature of obvious things. He moves away from his Leftist cliches, slowly.

We'll know well when we read Clancy's next novel in which the Muslim world is not the same as the microcosmic world of a Catholic family from Boston. We'll know things might not be the foretold disaster when my friend says he doesn't think well of Islam any longer. That will signal the beginning of the end of this disaster of a war foretold. So far, a novel idea.

We will defeat the Left by simply talking about the obvious. Our friends will slowly but surely see in time that the cliches of the age are not real. They, being good and decent people will come to their own understandings based on the ideas of those who see more clearly, who studied longer, who are trustworthy and reliable, their friends. The Left will simply fall apart from its internal contradictions, and our friends will rally to the real. It takes time, and it takes our friends time, though that time is running short. It is only Will that can avert the coming disaster, and the question is whether we will come to it in time. Tom Clancy's next novel might tell us.


truepeers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
truepeers said...

He's going to be partly responsible for the extermination of a billion savages. My friend likes people and wants them to be as happy and healthy in mind and body as is he. He finds the good in most, and the bad he dismisses as aberrant. My friend supports Lefty causes, wishes well for the enemies who will provoke a storm of rage, hatred, and violence against the primitive masses.

What justifies your vision, Dag, especially to the reader that comes to this blog for the first time? It seems you mostly imagine a terrible closure to the present series of events. Is it not possible that things could work out better than in your fears? Is our sense of narrative, one that always assumes a closure - disaster - to blame for our disinclination to be both realistic about Jihad and to be more hopeful? What is the vision of less violent change you maybe want us to know about?

I ask these questions because, with all due respect for the study I know you have done, you don't show it here. Do you really think it's appropriate to call a billion people savages? If so, it would seem that you can offer no more for the future than those you suggest will bring about mass death. Can savages or primitives change or must they all be killed, or controlled and separated from their children, hte latter to be raised by others?

If the left's stupidity is setting the stage for a crisis in which only mass killings will bring resolution, how is your utter rejection of Islam/Muslims going to lead to an engagement that will be less violent?

truepeers said...

Well, I jumped on you a bit with my comment there, Dag, written in the rush of the day. I reread this post and edited my comment a little. I now see that the post is more hopeful than perhaps I first recognized. Violent foreboding is a tough emotion to write about. The means for our ongoing deferral of violence is what we need to learn about, which entails thinking neither too long or too short. Peace.

maccusgermanis said...

Both those that think all mankind is inherently flawed and those that believe in innate nobility of humans must come to a similar conclusion upon islam. In one case islam is a subversion of noble savagery and the other a reinforcement of the most base desires. In either way a treatable ideological cancer.

Your friends belief that deviation from innate human nobility has genetic rather than ideological causes does assume the worst. However much a person may identify themselves with a religion, they and the religion are seperate and comparable things. Devout muslims, encouraged in their devotion by such lazy propaganda as you have indentified in Clancy, will be condemened by the very same persons that proudly conspire to mis-educate such muslims.

Apostacy isn't death. Encouraging people to devote themsleves to an ideology that is, whether you are aware of it or not, on a collision course with your own will lead to their, or your own, death.

Anonymous said...

Dag is correct in all of it.

dag said...

I find Anon to be utterly brilliant. If only s/he weren't in such a minority!