Tuesday, May 30, 2017

European Ignorance of War

By Eileen F. Toplansky

Poet, novelist, essayist, translator and winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, Czeslaw Milosz died on August 14, 2004. He was born in Lithuania of Polish parents and lived under two totalitarian systems of modern history -- national socialism and communism. In his 1953 work titled The Captive Mind he was asked  
'Are Americans really stupid?' The question reveals the attitude of the average person in the people's democracies toward the West: it is despair mixed with a residue of hope.
During the last few years, the West has given these people a number of reasons to despair politically.
World War II "destroyed not only [Eastern European] economies, but also a great many values which had seemed till then unshakable."
Milosz describes how the average European during wartime was not accustomed "to thinking of his native city as divided into segregated living areas, but a single decree can force him to this new pattern of life and thought." Thus, "Quarter A may suddenly be designated for one race; B, for a second; C, for a third." And "...men, women, and children are loaded into wagons that take them off to specially constructed factories where they are scientifically slaughtered and their bodies burned."
As these conditions worsen and "last for years, everyone gradually comes to look upon the city as a jungle, and upon the fate of twentieth-century man as identical with that of a caveman living in the midst of powerful monsters."
Milosz asserts that the "man of the East cannot take Americans seriously because [Americans] have never undergone the experiences that teach men how relative their judgments and thinking habits are."
Although America suffered losses in the two world wars, mostly she was spared the experiences at home. Thus, according to Milosz, Americans take for granted that the natural order of things as we come to understand them, exists. The war and its attendant horrors were not in our backyard.
Yet, almost 80 years later, I humbly posit a different question: "Are Europeans really stupid?" With Islamic jihadist violence besetting their natural order on a daily basis, how can so many countries across the pond forget that totalitarianism comes in many different forms -- with Islamic jihadism its latest manifestation?
At the site Bare Naked Islam, one learns that in 2017 alone, a terror attack has been attempted in Europe every nine days. In fact, "the UK Government reports that there are approximately 23,000 Islamic jihadists in Britain, not 3,000 as previously reported."
But will the British government act upon the "recommendation of Anthony Glees, the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies director… to double the size of MI5, as [they] did in World War Two, and expand the number of intelligence-led police by thousands?"
In fact, "Colonel Richard Kemp, a former member of the COBRA committee and Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as commander of British forces in Helmand, Afghanistan, has also called for robust action, saying that all foreign nationals on the terror watch list who cannot be prosecuted should be deported or interned." Will this occur?
Instead we hear that this is the "new normal" throughout Europe. In fact, the threat level is "Very Likely" in France, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Austria, and Macedonia. Paul Sperry writes that the "Manchester suicide bomber was on the British radar as a Muslim extremist, but they failed to stop him before he massacred girls at a pop concert. It’s a recurring problem on both sides of the pond."
While Poland, Hungary, and Austria resist the refugee onslaught, the EU has threatened legal action against these nations failing to comply with quotas.
But instead of rooting out the source of these attacks and limiting Muslim immigration until proper vetting can take place, far too many European countries are flooding their respective countries with migrants. Crime and violence are on the upswing and native Europeans no longer feel comfortable in their own countries. No-go zones do exist and lawlessness follows. Any rational objections to the dictates of sharia law are labeled Islamophobia and lucid discussion ends. After all, Manchester lists Islamophobia as a hate crime. How, indeed, has the natural order of things been corrupted.
And, yet, when President Trump advocates extreme vetting, he is excoriated by French and German leaders. While the City of Lights has lost its luster and German girls are afraid to walk the streets, we are privy to the following:
 'The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value, and that includes helping people,' said Germany’s Gabriel, who was on his first trip abroad since his nomination as foreign minister.
I think that is what unites us in the West, and I think that is what we want to make clear to the Americans.
I think Mr. Gabriel needs to be reminded that the Christian tradition should not include inviting those who have vowed to murder Jews and Christians and any other infidel.
Consider the plight of Christians in Muslim countries. In Australia, child sexual abuse charges in relation to Islamic institutions are basically ignored.
And then there is Robert Zaretsky at the New York Times, who also cites Czeslaw Milosz but instead of seeing the failure on the part of Europe to address its burgeoning jihadist problem, Zaretsky asserts that it is Trump who is "not just razing the standards of civil language, but of civility itself." In fact, Zaretsky maintains that
The hateful displays of prejudice and verbal and physical violence at some Trump rallies are a disturbing indication that it has already begun.
Another danger -- one less obvious but more primal -- also exists: our need to live our lives as we have always lived them regardless of changed circumstances. A brutal reminder of this came after the massacre in Orlando, Fla., this month.
A contemporary American version of 'The Captive Mind,' would almost certainly include a passage devoted to the public ritual now common in our corner of the world: the presidential news conference after a mass shooting. As the president confesses his shock and laments his impotence in the face of events, we resign ourselves, not unlike Eastern Europeans living in under a state of organized terror, to life under a state of random terror.
Zaretsky forgets the paid rioters who instigated physical violence at Trump rallies. In addition, Zaretsky has a very short memory considering Obama's uncivil behavior and language that we had to endure for eight years. But most importantly he ignores the fact that Trump wants to clamp down on a "state of random terror" yet is continually thwarted by left-wing judges and leftwing media outlets.
Zaretsky states that . . .
the harrowing experience of living under totalitarian regimes did not destroy Milosz’s conviction in the need to act. The war years, he wrote in the early 1980s, taught him that a 'man should not take a pen in his hands merely to communicate to others his own despair and defeat.' This, he added, 'is too cheap a commodity; it takes too little effort to produce it for a man to pride himself on having done so.' By the same token, he never surrendered his trust in human reason.
Thus, these aspersions against Trump are bewildering until one is reminded of the hatred that liberals have towards anyone who would actually take action against a real and present danger. Trump quite pointedly does not want to resign America to "a state of organized terror, to life under a state of random terror."
When will the left comprehend this?


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