The Left in Europe and much of America harbors the illusion that the world is a peaceful place in which we all can get along if we A) all try, B) value unproductive societies as much as productive ones, and those which oppress their peoples by race, religion or gender as much as those free of much of those prejudices, and C) use only the extremely progressive form of jurisprudence and law enforcement that has been developed solely in the culture of the West, and particularly in America, to pursue any “allegations” of a breach of the peace or of the general social fabric.
Others disagree, understand that one can only get along with those wishing to get along in return and preferring more direct action in response to unsociable behavior. What strikes one is the analogy to the Old West.
When the nearest lawman was several days’ ride away, and the nearest judge farther, justice out West had to be carried out locally. When an outlaw robbed your bank of your hard-earned money (long before the FDIC), your employer of his payroll, or when an Indian staked you out on an anthill, sliced open your belly while you were still alive and then built a campfire in it, men ensured to the best of their ability that the miscreants ‘were brought to justice or had justice brought to them.’
This is much what is occurring now on the world stage. Those in safe areas with absolutely no possibility of individual death of loved ones, and no thought whatsoever that the world really is not a nice, safe, place are focusing on policemen and criminal justice responses to outlaws. This particularly is interesting in that it includes many in Northeast America, lately the location of the murder of upwards of 3,000 people by outlaws. The law-enforcement response, however, is ingrained in the American East, parts of the American Far West (notably San Francisco, where voters can’t figure out how to deal with panhandlers; surely terrorists are quite beyond their grasp) and in Europe.
“Back East” and “Out West” represent a continuing state of mind perhaps more than an outdated geographic reference.
This response of falling back onto methodical justice defined for individual depredations in a generally educated and civil society, to be used to deal with the problems of significant numbers of decidedly uneducated and uncivil outlaws is one not of stupidity but of ignorance of the general nature of the environment.
One certainly can argue that willful ignorance is worse than stupidity – the facts are there for all to see.
The “cowboy” response, so demeaned by the Left here and in Europe, is to face the issue more directly: Outlaws exist. In order for our society to be safe for our families, the outlaws must be removed. If one tries to force them to stop their outlawry one-by-one through criminal justice or some form of behavior modification (boycott, blockade, embargo, etc.), the problem is exacerbated with the attendant damage to society over time.
Putting aside the fact that economic embargoes penalize those least able to resist – women, the sick, the elderly and the young – and have little-to-no effect on those making the decisions that have resulted in the embargo – meaning one has declared war only on those unable to fight back (economic embargo is an Act of War), what is that “attendant damage”?
The damage is that as we raise generations of children we prove to them that we care nothing for the human face of those in other countries, cultures and societies as we busy ourselves with ensuring their slow economic and societal strangulation by blockade; we teach our children that others really don’t matter, that we are unwilling to take the steps to punish those hurting, killing or enslaving their fellow man, that the right to “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” is not a dream we are willing to share.
As has been shown (see http://www.casi.org.uk/discuss/1999/msg00123.html, “ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AS A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION”, Excerpts from an essay by Roger Normand, Policy Director, Center for Economic and Social Rights), if you want to help the helpless in a totalitarian state, you attack the state; if you want to hurt them, you place an embargo on their country. To many of us this is common sense, not rocket science. To the Left, however, not only is it neither common sense nor rocket science, it is abhorrent. Rather the deaths of thousands of defenseless elderly, infirm, young and women than a single shot fired at their tormentors.
That many view as correct the law enforcement steps resulting in the attendant damage defined above is indisputable. That it is exactly and historically the wrong way in which to conduct and raise a humane society, to develop empathy for others, to arrive in time at a just world in which none are oppressed, starved, killed for religious or other differences, seems not to occur to those advocating these policies.
How has this come to pass? How did the West come to be a society in which large portions believe that recourse to an “International Law” demonstrably impotent to the current challenges of the oppressed is appropriate in the face of the level of brutality experienced by many in the world today?
Why do these same people demand that the ponderous application of Western standards of criminal justice, costly in both blood and treasure (and certainly not multicultural) to the brutalizers of large portions of the human population?
One certainly can argue that the total victory by the Allies in WWII, and the accompanying period of near-absolute peace for Europe and America as three entire generations were raised is the root cause of this ignorance. The 45-years of uninterrupted peace ushered in from 1945 had not been seen in the history of Europe.
As in Spain in 1940, by 1945 Europe had seen too much bloodshed for too long and was quite content to rest now that finally she could. American Baby Boomers, having been spoiled by the “Greatest Generation,” logically not wanting their children to revisit the horrors with which they recently had dealt both in the Depression and WWII, were very much protected from history and allowed to go unweaned into the real world longer than any generation in history – to this day, for many of them.
Distance in both geography and time from the horrors of being enslaved by a dictator, coupled with the “me” generation’s unwilling to sacrifice anything for anyone regardless of need, is the “root cause” of the Left’s desire to respond to terror with law enforcement and criminal justice rather than with force at the necessary level.
The views of the Left and the majority of Boomers were on vivid display in Kosovo. Europe was unwilling (not unable) to deal with genocide, choosing rather to shirk their duty to their fellow human beings, to keep the danger at bay at the cost of the lives of those other than themselves, awaiting a law enforcement solution initiated by others, or just for the problem to go away.
Providing the targets of the genocide with a better life, or with life at all, required intervention in Europe against local tyrants, yet again, by Americans.
It was interesting to note the lack of unity of the international community, as well as the near-silence of the American and European Left to this action. The Right’s silence seemed to have been broken only by requests to up the ante, ensuring defeat of the outlaw regime, rather than the use of incremental force to achieve the law enforcement solution ultimately implemented at a far higher human cost. The continuing appearance of Milosevic on the world stage at The Hague two years and counting later enforces the position that a more summary action would have indicated more seriousness and a more just response to the tragedies inflicted by this tyrant.
While admirable, the response of the Boomer American President, perhaps did not resolve the issue of a general unwillingness of these people either to be separated by new national boundaries or to accept religious differences as do we in the West (with the notable exception of N. Ireland) rather than killing one another over these and other slights in Centuries-old conflict.
Perhaps wiser people will address this unwillingness in the future generations to whom it has been postponed. Leaving the problems to the outlaws on the ground rather than showing that we truly care about those unable to resist these outlaws shows only our general level of immaturity, as well as contempt for those outside our immediate sphere of influence, to our shame and their tragedy.
A shirker whines and awaits actions of others. A cowboy fires the shot, kills the tormentor and sets the people free. Though the Left is intent on changing this admirable national character, we are not a nation of shirkers.
This is the American story. The American shot first was fired at our tormentors by Washington, Clay, Henry, Hale, Franklin; et al. Lincoln fired it again. Both shots set people free.
This needs to be the world’s story, as well: Freedom and justice for all, including especially the weak among us.