An LRC reader let us call her Madame Defarge sent an email in response to my piece "A Mad Dream of Power" in which she laid out what in her view needs to happen:
"Don’t worry about the Muslims. Their objectives have not changed, i.e, remove Israel and invade and transform the West (Europe/America) into predominantly Islamic countries. Look around mosques are ubiquitous, 5,000,000 Muslims live in France, and many thousands more reside in other European countries. Prior to 9/11 Islam was the fastest growing religion in the world. These objectives will be achieved, as the Christian West was clearly sleeping on the job. Now, we have an opportunity to conquer the Holy Lands, take back the oil fields, subdue the populace, and achieve Pax Americana. I know George Washington argued against foreign intervention, but we are pressed by events and technology that do not allow us to wholly withdraw from the unpleasant parts of the world. Therefore, we must conquer them to ensure our survival. Kipling was right, of course re the ‘White Man’s burden.’ Win, or die." ~ Madame Defarge (not her real name, of course). I thought that was a remarkably clear statement of the simple argument from superior force: one can do it; therefore do it. So although I totally disagreed with the idea in it, I wrote back in what I thought was a polite tone:
"Yours is an extraordinarily straightforward statement of what I expect is the actual sentiment (perhaps unacknowledged) activating our (what do you call them?) rulers. I think I disagree with it utterly, and I do so out of conviction that the Christian ethic is right; and it, in turn, is only a refinement of the universal ethic described under the heading, the ‘Tao,’ by C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man. Lewis’s Tao is the ethic of mankind Golden Rule and all that and it has always had an opposite in the anti-mankind ethic, the ‘barbaric’ ethic, the ethic of conquest, pillage, and cruelty. If to survive we have to do what you suggest, does it make any sense to survive at all, since one’s society survives only as a horror? I think it is then not win or die but win and die. Thanks for writing." ~ TW
I kind of got my hat handed to me for that effort at civility, as follows:
"What a wilted lily! No wonder Islamic men call Western men weak. Thanks for proving de Tocqueville right when he said American women were uniquely strong. Don’t fear, someone will save you so you can continue your refined ruminations. Must have enjoyed an immensely squishy soft life. Fortunately, I didn’t. Hope there aren’t too many men like you around though, or there won’t be much life for anyone left. How could you believe (much less write) that it would be better to die than to prevail through conquest when all of what you currently enjoy is based on the conquests achieved by Western people? The achievements of the Greeks, the Romans, the English, the founders of America, the western pioneers (some of whom were my ancestors) settlers, cowboys, warriors. Were you educated at Harvard or Princeton by any chance?" ~ Madame Defarge
I decided on one more try, but I was beginning to think B. and I were not exactly destined to make gorgeous philosophical harmony:
"I refuse to answer your (final) question on grounds it might incriminate me. I didn’t say it would be better to die than to prevail through conquest, I said that if we engage in world conquest, our society would die. Also of course a lot of people would die too, perhaps thee and me. I am old: I was in WW II. I will not encourage young men to die in any war except a war of (real) self-defense. As to that, we are not defending our borders, as you note with reference to the inflooding of Muslims, etc., so what use is the rest of this crazy show of expansionist hypertestosterone by either ladies or gents?" ~TW
No response. For which I was glad, since I didn’t think we were really going anywhere. I would not convince her, nor she me; that was plain.
I forwarded the correspondence with Madame Defarge as above to a friend who watches the current international playout closely, and I said:
"Have never before seen the thing spelled out so plainly as by this lady. What do you think of it? I believe it is the underlying strategy of many of Bush’s advisors, but I think it is crazy and misguided. But then, am I the one who is crazy and misguided not B.? ~ TW
To which my friend answered: I still don’t believe that Americans as a whole have the ***** for an all-out ground war to eliminate all Muslims. In my opinion such a war can only be won by ground troops, not just high tech gear. ~ MG
My response to M:
I don’t think it is a question of ***** but of sanity. We do have everything needed to wipe out Moslem strength worldwide, IF (big if) we could use just tactical nuclear without fear of retaliation. Our real chance to conquer the world was in 1945, but the reds within the U.S. would have prevented that if Truman & Co had tried it. Then the same homegrown reds leaked the a-bomb to Russia, and the cat was out of the bag. Now I think we are forced to accept that there are really just two choices in the long run: some variety of nuclear whomp that would end everything but the struggle at local levels to survive, or peace among peoples, free trade, capitalist development, and a great return of the concept of minding one’s own business. Oh yes, there is a third choice or alternative: world socialism under a central, totalitarian government; but I don’t believe it would be stable or last it would be faced with internal rebellions all over the place. But maybe I do have to admit there really are those three options. And perhaps sixty more depending on what God’s views are on the present mess. ~ TW
Thus ended my brush up against one of the more warlike ladies of our time. I do not find myself particularly distressed to be dismissed as such a limp sort; it’s virtually a compliment. And my recommendation turn about is fair play for the serious warmongers among our women is to go over to Islam, where the gents would be very understanding of and sympathetic with them. Or they could get a sniper rifle and a couple of pistols and head out there to the Mideast and start shooting for good ol’ Empire. They’ll find it’s great fun.
April 8, 2002