Wednesday, September 10, 2008

1776 vs. 9/11

Actions have consequences.

Non-actions also have consequences.

Inspired by Patrick Henry's Stamp Act Resolves in 1765, the American colonies rallied together in a common cause to oppose the British Parliament's authority to impose taxes, and to retain their right of self-governance. The Stamp Act was repealed exactly a year later, triggering a political form of the law of diminishing returns: As the Crown enacted more and more controls and regulations on the colonies, the colonies' opposition stiffened and grew more intransigent in direct proportion to the severity of Crown actions.

The result was the American Revolution, the Crown's loss of all control, and the founding of the freest country in history, a country proud of its origins and of its existence. The epochal event demonstrated the power of ideas. It was the triumph of reason over force.

Fast-forward two hundred and twenty-five years to 9/11. When America was attacked by Islamists, nothing so radical as a retaliatory declaration of war against them ensued. Instead, the U.S. dragged its feet for a year before taking action against the messengers of the states that sponsored the attacks.

Seeing that the U.S. is a paper tiger, a giant reluctant to extinguish its enemies because it was sensitive to "world opinion," the Islamists have only continued their physical assaults. Seeing also that especially the U.S. has little confidence in its own value, they have initiated an accelerated cultural jihad within its borders, resulting in concessions and capitulations to the primitivism of Islamic law and custom in all walks of American life, from Wall Street to the classroom to the editorial offices of newspapers and book publishers.

The Islamists thought: "If the infidels doubt the value of their vaunted institutions of liberty, freedom of speech, and secular government, if they no longer believe in them, then they should and will submit to an all-encompassing Islam, which requires unquestioning belief and permits no doubts."

This agonizing, exhausting, drawn-out state of affairs demonstrates the impotence of abandoning ideas in favor of value-negating pragmatism, which in turn makes possible the triumph of evil and force over reason.

When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute, when loyalty to an unyielding purpose is dropped by the virtuous, it's picked up by scoundrels - and you get the indecent spectacle of a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good and a self-righteously uncompromising evil.
So wrote Ayn Rand in Galt's speech in her novel, Atlas Shrugged. Is this not a precise description of our situation today? Do not the Islamists seem to have the force of an absolute, loyal to an unyielding purpose - which is the conquest, subservience, and dhimmitude of the West - and is not our political leadership cringing, bargaining and traitorous in the face of the unmitigated, murderous evil their cowardice and pragmatism have unleashed on us and exposed us to indefinitely? Our political leadership cannot be said to have any virtues worth mentioning, and it no longer even deals in the fuzzy realm of the approximate.

Some readers of my Sparrowhawk novels have claimed that the heroes in the series are incredible or unbelievable. My answer is that they are more credible and believable than what I have seen pass for political heroes today, which is one reason why I created them. Many, many more readers concur with my estimate of them. The Founders existed, they acted, and blessed us with their ideas, convictions, and the courage to stand by them. To them, nothing less than victory was practical or moral.

In literature they had never been depicted with any kind of justice. That was another reason I wrote the series. So, I repeat here what I wrote in the acknowledgments in Book One: Jack Frake: "I owe a debt of thanks to the Founders for having given me something worth writing about, and a country in which to write it."

3 comments:

Joe said...

Ed,
Another excellent piece, thank you! Keep up the great work.

JK

z said...

You know, I'm almost finished with book 5 and the thing I've had a hard time grasping is the protest of the stamp act, when i live in a time when we won't protest an atrocity like what happened on 9/11. Its hard for me to comprehend the mindset of Hugh and Jack when I'm surrounded by people who say "Move On" about something that is, at least on the perceptual level, much more vicious. I do love the books though.

Anonymous said...

The far left or right say "give us the power and we will solve your problems, create jobs and give you heath insurance whether you want it or not. All we need is a majority in the Senate and House."

We must begin to chip away their power, un-elect deadwood Senators and seek term limits. Why not register as a Nonpartisan voter. It's easy and you will have more choices to elect the most qualified person to represent American interests.