Better to burn out than fade away
Posted by aogFriday, 23 January 2004 at 10:53 TrackBack Ping URL

Over at Tim Blair’s weblog one of the commentors asks the question

It continually amazes me that so many people in the “West” want us to fail in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else where we are trying to root out terror groups. Our success, so it seems to me, is critical to our survival as Western societies. Why do so many of our own people hope we fail?

I think this analysis is wrong. It’s not so much that these people want the West to fail, but that it’s an acceptable price. The problem is that these people are, to a great extent, logo-realists, who have come to the belief that language is the primary reality and the physical world merely a reflection of that. Success in the war against the Caliphascists undermines this point of view, as it says that actions are effective1. It means that pontificating intellectuals are not the directoring force of society. It means that deconstructing and negotiation isn’t the only path to success. In other words, success not only threatens their power but also their world view.

This leads to two points on their opposition to the success of the West as it fights against Caliphascism. The first is that the logo-realists don’t see it as in real danger. Secondarily, even if they realize that’s not the case, is the view that it’s better to be captain of a sinking ship than cabin boy on a sea-worthy one.

P.S. I realized as I was writing this that it’s really the same thing for the Caliphascists, only on a more direct level. The success of the West invalidates the Caliphascist point of view as well and so naturally they lash out. No wonder the post-modernists and Caliphascists have made common cause, despite the divergence of their immediate world views.

1 This is why the liberals hated Reagan, because he showed that accomodation of Communism was moral cowardice, not “real-politik”. It wasn’t just a policy difference but a threat to their world view.