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Are We Tired of Fighting?

The gradual betrayal of a once-robust conservative consensus.

by
David Solway

Bio

June 4, 2013 - 12:18 am

In a June 9, 2005 speech in New York, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, praising what would turn out to be Israel’s disastrous unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, announced that “we are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies. … We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.” This misguided gesture of reconciliation came back to haunt Israel in the form of thousands of rockets launched from Gaza upon Israeli population centers and a humiliating conflict with Hezbollah in the 2006 “Summer War.” Olmert is further on record as assuring us that “peace is achieved through concessions. We all know that.” Well no, we don’t. What we do know, or should know, is that the concessionary mentality without credible force to ensure reciprocity empowers tyrants and warlords. In such cases, peace now means war later. Or even sooner.

I refer initially to Olmert since he strikes me not simply as a failed and timorous Israeli leader but as a figure representative of our times. It is no secret that the liberal and “progressivist” echelon in the Western media and political circles long ago capitulated to our despotic and theo-totalitarian enemies, going soft on Russia and bending the knee to an aggressive and supremacist Islamic juggernaut. We can expect no better of a pervasive left sociopolitical orientation that envisages the erosion or supersession of the Western cultural heritage, including the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 which established the rule of nations, in order to promote the agenda of transnational governance and the oversight of the United Nations. Also under assault are the core principles of individual liberty (freedom of thought and speech, habeus corpus or freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of assembly, and non-intrusive government), to be eventually replaced by certain precepts and maxims of Islamic law, not the least of which are the so-called “blasphemy laws.” Under the rubric of “hate speech,” it will become an indictable offencs to criticize Islam. Indeed, the media, political, and ecclesiastical effort to scumble and pardon the horror of Islamic ideology as it remorselessly encroaches has an evident purpose: to find a means of living with it, to posit distinctions that enable us to legitimize it, and thus to relieve us of the civilizational duty to confront the greatest menace of our day.

All this is standard fare. But what is profoundly shocking is the strange turn in the Western conservative consensus that has seen it veer into nominal alignment with the sensibility of its opponents on the left. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is also distressed by this unfortunate divagation, lamenting with respect to his party that “we’ve sort of lost our history.” What is one to make, for example, of a Republican senator like John McCain — a former presidential candidate to boot — leading the charge against Michele Bachmann when she called for an investigation into the problematic Muslim Brotherhood ties of Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin? This example serves as a good indicator of the extent to which liberal values — undifferentiated tolerance of the Other and ultra-sensitivity to charges of Islamophobia — have come to trump even national security at the highest levels of political authority.

I have seen this shift, this reversion or deflection, surreptitiously yet starkly — a truly troubling paradox — at work in a number of my own friends: a Red Tory behaving from one day to the next like a Blue Liberal; an intelligent poet (another paradox) suddenly casting aspersions at anyone voting Republican; an exceptionally talented writer and close colleague who, without the slightest warning, began denouncing Israel and celebrating Ramadan and who now appears to have converted to Islam; an apparently staunch conservative, and a friend of many years, at a convivial supper one evening, attacking Pamela Geller as “arrogant” and “a disgrace,” slandering “mosque buster” Gavin Boby as an unreconstructed bigot, tarring the brave and much-defamed Tommy Robinson of the English Defense League as a community-dividing fascist, expressing suspicion of Geert Wilders’ bona fides, and dwelling approvingly on the distinction between Islam and Islamism. What has happened?

It seems as if some sort of microbial agent has subtly infected their minds, manifesting as a falling away from an earlier critical outlook accompanied by a growing tendency to regard Islam as inherently peaceful, beneficent, and innocuous. Terrorist violence is to be understood as the tradecraft of an “extremist fringe,” conveniently known as “Islamists,” as opposed to the sociable and nonbelligerent character of the “moderate majority” and the living marrow of Islamic orthodoxy.

Pointing out that “moderate Muslims” are largely invisible in the public arena as a countering presence to their more enthusiastic brethren cuts no ice with these new proselytes. Suggesting that the “moderate majority” actually provides the religion of violence with the continuity and staying power that it requires, lending it viability and enabling its more extreme practitioners to carry out their scriptural mandate is dismissed out of hand. Showing that violence against the infidel and the apostate is intrinsic to the Koran, Hadith, Sira, and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) — the normative bedrock of the faith — and that jihad constitutes a bounden duty for all believing Muslims is equally ineffective. Limning the 1400 year history of civilizational warfare prosecuted by Islam, detailing the provisions of Sharia law insinuating its way into Europe and America, and alluding to the thousands upon thousands of Islamic-sponsored terrorist acts and attempts, from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to the Boston Marathon atrocity to the plot to blow up a VIA Rail passenger train over Niagara Falls to the beheading of a British soldier on a London street, has no impact on these insulated fantasists. After all, none of them has been singed by Islamic fire. They do not have to worry about mosques being erected in their generally tony neighborhoods and the ensuing thuggery forcing them out of their homes, as in many English working class districts. They have yet to confront bombs exploding at their festivities and communal events. They are not in wheelchairs but in Passats.

The gradual weakening and even betrayal of a once reasonably robust conservative consensus has begun to exert its influence even on those commentators and analysts whose acumen and traditional allegiances we have previously trusted. According to the swelling legion of propitiators and accommodationists, we must under no circumstances offend the community of “moderate Muslims” who presumably represent the last best hope for both Islam and for us — a hope, be it said, projected into a distant and Arcadian future. No matter. It is thus no surprise that a considerable number of our intellectual and social elite have been profoundly impressed by Bassam Tibi’s 2012 book Islamism and Islam, with its intent to bifurcate what is canonically one, and by Daniel Pipes, who insists on the same distinction.

Andy Bostom points out that Pipes in his earlier book, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power, noted that Islam (not Islamism) was a political creed, and that, in Pipes’ words, “mainstream Muslims follow legal tenets so similar to each other that these differences can be ignored” — that is, the Sharia is incumbent on all Muslims. What new evidence has come to light convincing Pipes to change his tune? In a Washington Post article titled “Islam vs. Islamism,” Pipes argues that many Muslims understandably suffer from the trauma of cultural eclipse, that only a tiny percentage of Muslims support jihad (a recent Pew survey of global Muslim attitudes to jihad and Sharia law proves him utterly wrong), that Muslim anti-Semitism scarcely existed before the establishment of the state of Israel, that moderate Islam is the solution to radical Islam, and that “a modern form of Islam can emerge.” All the indices show that Pipes’ apologetic stance is a pure fiction whose only consequence is to give aid and succor to a determined enemy bent on our destruction. In an article titled “Islam vs. Islamism: A Case for Wishful Thinkers,” former Muslim terrorist Wallid Shoebat has effectively demolished Pipes’ warped and carious article, showing how his data are cherry-picked and his claims woefully unsubstantiated and decisively refuted by historical fact. This is no doubt why Pipes has just refused an invitation to debate Bostom on the subject.

Even a strong advocate of conservative causes, a brilliant historian and a loyal friend of Israel like Conrad Black does not seem to understand that the civilizational threat we are facing is not, as he claims in a recent interview with Newsmax, “radical Islam,” but Islam itself — for doctrinal Islam is nothing if not “radical.” (The merest perusal of Sura 9 of the Koran, Al-Tawba or “Repentance,” should be enough to send us to the barricades — or at any rate convince us to monitor the terror-spawning mosques, stop or drastically reduce Muslim immigration, and defang by law groups like CAIR, ISNA, the Muslim Students’ Association, and many others.) Black then ranges further afield, turning his attention to the many scandals that have engulfed the Obama administration, and in so doing reveals the ideological cataract occluding conservative insight. These scandals, he opines, would not be good for the U.S. “I don’t think this is, to be fair, a particularly scandalous administration,” he continues, “I don’t think it’s very successful, but I don’t think they’ve done anything that should cause the president to be under a moral cloud.”

Black’s myopia is both startling and symptomatic, not only with regard to Islam per se but to a demonstrably left-leaning, confiscatory, and pro-Islamic administration. Consider. Obama and his cohorts are not merely under a cloud, they are under a louring sky — the passing of the disastrous Obamacare legislation in the dead of night, the installation of the Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan at the cost of American lives, Fast and Furious, the move toward amnesty for millions of illegals, the Justice Department’s clandestine seizure of the telephone records of the Associated Press and Fox News, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the DHS advising deference to Sharia proponents, the empowering of the Muslim Brotherhood both at home and abroad, the administration’s deliberate decision to allow  undefended Americans to be killed and maimed in Benghazi, to cite only the most opprobrious embarrassments besetting this president.

Black has somehow got it wrong. The Obama bunch is one of the most blatantly scandalous administrations in the history of the American republic. Black concludes by deploring that “you have a prosecutorial glasnost — and it’s out of control.” It is surely passing strange that an historian of Black’s caliber should forget that the Russian word “glasnost” means “transparency,” a positive political quality and a campaign promise Obama solemnly made to the electorate and then reneged upon, creating possibly the most opaque administration we have ever seen. Perhaps Black’s travails at the hands of the American justice system have rendered him particularly sensitive to anything that resembles prosecutorial fury.

After the dispiriting performances of erstwhile luminaries like Pipes and Black, we must be grateful for the warriors among us who refuse to give an inch, stalwarts like Pam Geller, David Hornik, Valerie Price, Geert Wilders, Victor Davis Hanson, Brigitte Gabriel, Robert Spencer, Gavin Boby, Diana West, the two Andys (Bostom and McCarthy), Bruce Bawer, Caroline Glick, Thomas Sowell, the redoubtable David Horowitz, and a few dozen others, including a small contingent of former Muslims such as Nonie Darwish, Ibn Warraq, and Wafa Sultan. They constitute a definite minority among our intellectuals and journalists. As I wrote in an article titled “Saving the Neighborhood,” “Unlike our cultural elect, they refuse to pay Dane geld to a supple and formidable adversary.” But this does not disguise the fact that there has been a grievous maceration of the will among the conservative opposition to the “unholy alliance” between Islam and the left. It appears that, suffering from an advanced case of Olmerta, we are tired, not only of winning but of fighting. The upshot of our weakness was clearly spelled out for us in Jean Raspail’s premonitory novel The Camp of the Saints: the churches transformed into mosques, the fellow-traveling of the political class, the blind approval of the media, the usurpation of democratic institutions, and the final ignominy, namely, the inexorable death of a culture and a civilization.

Olmert and his multifarious ilk signify everything we must struggle resolutely to reject. We cannot allow ourselves to waver in our determination to resist the insidious psychological debilitation of lazy naivety and false comfort. If we want our enemies to become our friends, we had better make sure to defeat them thoroughly or at least intimidate them into compliance. But if we are tired of winning, then we had better get used to losing. And if we are tired of fighting, then it follows that we are tired of living and are merely dead men walking. Let conservatives take note. They are the last line of defense against a confident and insurgent antagonist.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012. Visit his Website at www.davidsolway.com.

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Top Rated Comments   
It's very, very simple. The Western Elitists have a love affair with Islam because Islam carries a very simple message :

"Submit or you will be killed. Obey or you will be killed."

All those in power who desperately wish to hold onto it LOVE the idea of flaunting THAT level of control over the masses.

Islam is all about indulging the powerful in their murderous desires, and giving them the veneer of a divine right to murder whoever they wish, whenever they wish.

They can hear the very words coming out of their mouth : "Submit or die."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't worry, should they gain sufficient strength, their desire to fight with you will more than make up for your lack of interest in fighting them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In the beginning, Communism, too, was seen as benign, even admirable. It, too, was a totalitarian, bloodthirsty movement bent on total world domination. It had its cheerleaders, and its agents in our midst in high places as well as low. Even now, it has its adherents. We are infected by the disease we defeated, and may eventually lose to it.

Do we succumb first to Marxism of some sort, or to Islam? Gonna be a race to the finish of us by those two.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (55)
All Comments   (55)
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I really wish "so called" Conservative (apparently???) sites would stop labeling RINOs as Conservatives. The RNC is anything/everything but Conservative. It does no one any benefit to ignore the actual meaning of words and the misuse of Conservative has been atrocious by both Parties' Pundits and most all Authors.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How can we ever "get along" with an evil entity whose most basic tenet is subjugation?

Anyone who believes this is more than a few bricks short of a load.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When we can begin to clearly understand that "progressive" does not mean only Liberals or Leftists, it also means center right and rightists! McCain is one that does not either understand or could are less. Those of us who know and understand the difference must continue to stand up to them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great to read you again, David.
Your first paragraph encompasses it all.
Your perception is appreciated.

Could you please start your own blog?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
David you are spot on!!
The Islamist front has somehow hijacked the politics of this Nation and we are now being led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
We had better wake up and man the barricades because we are approaching Civilization Jihad and it is going to be right in our face, day and night. If we thought a single beheading in London was a wake up call for England, then we had better take a long look at Boston and decide how we are going to control these Jihadists in our Nation.
There are NO MODERATE MUSLIMS, THERE IS ONLY ISLAM!! AND ISLAM IS JIHAD WITH A NEVER ENDING STRUGGLE FOR WORLD DOMINANCE.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Right;
There is no such thing as "radical Islam" because it is all FUNDAMENTALLY RADICAL.
There may be "moderate Islam participants" separate from the muslims that are not active participatants.
But, when it comes to Islam, they are ALL RADICAL. They profess it every time they pray, which happens to be EVERY DAY!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First site I've been on in a long while that acknowledges the fact that Muslims that are adherents of the Koran are radical. There is no other way to describe people who follow a brutal, militaristic "religion" where women are worthless and children are good for suicide missions..but to be fair, one only has to look at the planet and see that somewhere 85-90% of cultures are "moderate muslims".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Muslims are all conscripts of their religion to be warriors in conquering the "infidels" in either one of two ways. As stated in the Quran.
The 85-90% you cite are in the "reserves", are not active "fundamentalists", and may never be called for active duty; But, they are still there if needed, and will fight with and support the mujahideen when they are activated.
They still support "an expansionary, military-political ideology". (quote from Islam 101 by Gregory M. Davis at Jihad Watch).
They all pray and honor a God that commands this.
It should be clear from U.S. involvement in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, that they will utilize any military assistance to combat incompatible factions of their own religion, but, the consequence remains the same; Proliferation of Islam.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Conrad Black is clearly out to lunch. The Obama administration (whether Conrad wishes to acknowledge it or not) is one of the most corrupt in U.S. history.
Should anyone be surprised at Black's easy dismissal of corruption charges? After all, Black was captured on videotape removing boxes of evidence which probably sealed his "obstruction of justice" conviction. What does he think, that, like Obama he's "privileged" and somehow "above the law" or that the law only applies to "the little people" like some member of the Royal Family? -- well, here's news for Conrad -- the United States of America is not the UK. (Thank G-d)
Next, with respect to Daniel Pipes. I find it rather annoying that many commentators misrepresent Pipes' position. Why are so many so anxious to bifurcate the dilemma into an "either or"? Too frequently one is either boxed into the position of condemning All of Islam (the "Islam is evil" crowd) or becoming an apologist for Islam (the "Islam is wonderful" crowd). Well, from what I understand of Daniel Pipes' arguments, he fits in neither camp. He is opposed to the Islamization of the West; he is opposed to Sharia law; he is opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood. He is not an apologist for Islam. Here is a quote from Pipes (he was writing about beheadings in the West): "This gruesome list (to be updated as needed) is only part of the story: other characteristically Muslim crimes taking place in Western countries include honor killings, female genital mutilation, and slave holding. These, sadly, are among Islam's contributions to the lands of immigration." [End quote] Notice he does not refer to "Islamism." Rather he suggests that these are crimes committed by Muslims living in the West. This is not an apologist for Islam speaking here. The ones Pipes supports are "liberal secular modern" Muslims -- as he has repeatedly reiterated. And they do exist. Instead of wishing to throw a Tarek Fatah under the bus, he wishes to support him. (Oh, the horror!) So, in conclusion, I would agree -- yes, Conrad Black is living in a La La Land of delusional proportions -- but, the same cannot be said of Dr. Pipes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Excellent column.
Thank you for mentioning Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who are fighting hard against the DoJ attempt to give a special, i.e. superior, status, to islam.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Perhaps Black’s travails at the hands of the American justice system have rendered him particularly sensitive to anything that resembles prosecutorial fury."
I admire your writing David, but please don't make excuses for fools. If people are so WILLFULLY blind to obvious evil, then their character is immediately questionable and open to criticism if they won't receive any truth to counter their foolish notions. It's clear that those who are in the right are under fire. Should we be discouraged? No! We've had it too soft for long in this so called "civilization" and now it's time to be tested. Time to separate the men from the boys, the strong from the weak, the brave from the cowardly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't think there isn't a guiding hand behind all of this. Scoff at us Christians all you like (that isn't directed to Mr. Solway in any way personally) but all of our "make-believe" prophesies are coming true right before our eyes.

So then, the question we keep asking ourselves, as Christians, is how much do you fight the enemy until you just accept that this is God's Will and accept that it is happening in the here and now and is no longer just some prophecy that will happen in the hazy and far off future?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How can you fight what you're not even allowed to name?

I think the leftists are happy to use Islam to help defeat Christians while they work on conservatives because they imagine that they can then purge the muslims when they're done. I don't think they take the muslims seriously, and I think they're making an enormous mistake, one we'll all pay for.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
progressives have no clue just how ugly Muslims are required to be until radical bite them in the arse!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most plausible theory I have yet to hear to explain the double standard with which the left treats Islam & how it relates to Christians & Christianity. NTS, we are in one big heap of trouble.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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