by Emmett R Smith
IN The context of the made-for-TeeVee ‘Terror War’, one hears a good deal lately, about where is the Churchill who might call us together in the West and inspire us? And, as well, just lots in the past month or so, about ‘islamofascism’. It might be helpful in understanding the actual situation to note first of all that Winston Churchill, himself, said that ‘the old words are best, and the the old words when short are best of all’. Churchill habitually mis-pronounced ‘Nazi’, saying something like narzee or nagh-zee — just as he lampooned the feared Gestapo: jest-a-po. Altogether, then, he was plainly no fan of transcendentalist political neologism.
For the rest (Suzanne Fields, please note), this alas is not 1938.
The late-modern age is over, and so is the Renascence civilisation — and, the christian aeon alas, which gave birth to that civilisation.
It is, alas, 2006….
And, thus, the befuddled politicians of the old Atlantic world do not know properly whether they are on foot or horseback, alas. Hence, the floundering after a war to promote, of all things, ‘democracy’ (alas!), when democracy — a fruit of modernism — is over, alas, along with the age that gave it birth; alas, not one real force in the material world of to-day gives legitimation to it; all the forces in play in early post-modernity, alas, are market-forces.
It is against this — non-moral mercantilism and nothing else — that religious fundamentalism is in revolt.
The wholesale materialisation of life at every point of the compass is poison to a certain religious imagination; and, the analogy thus is only good to the extent that we are in a struggle for the mind of — human being.
THE Whole point of analogy in history-making is to understand, first and foremost, that similitude is provisional, merely; and, indeed, if the analogy be any good, first of all it need be accurate. And, as well, the manipulator of terms has to know that any good analogy necessarily is provisional, only; and, it is at best but partial, merely.
IF, Then, we seek an analogy from the previous historical period, it must be with the universalist (NB) metaphor of communism; or, more precisely, bolshevism. And not the fascisms. Certainly, apart from a constant hatred of the state of Israel, these muslims — many of whom are, indeed, ‘arab — are by definition (they are often Arabs, ie), therefore, not ‘anti-semitic’; and, in no case do they promulgate a nationalist and saecular, socialist, vision.
What does this tell us, then?
First of all, these folk are not ‘fascists’.
And, secondly, the more-accurate communism-metaphor, itself, only holds good to the extent that the fundamentalist islamic vision is universalist.
Thirdly, this then all had ought to bring home to us something, some inkling about ourselves; about the crisis in our political narrative; in our discourse-malaise; and, the ennui of western institutions.
That it does not — and, typically, nowhere is anyone in a position of momentary authority asking any of these serious questions — verifies the muslim Sufi hypothesis of the critical role, of human laziness — in human affairs and history.
So, why indeed is there now no Churchill, now to rally us to our necessary stock-taking?
The short answer, of course, is that ‘now’ is not the time.
That, however, is too facile — the fact is that, no doubt, in some parliamentary back-bench or other, here or there, someone surely is asking (alas, in unheard accents!) the real question of the 21st century:
WHAT Of — China?
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 4 September 2006]