[MR Jonah Goldberg would appear to be another new arrival amongst soi-disant conservative commentors in the american press. Alas, he is less erudite than Mr Will; but, if anything, exceeds that gentleman in a veering & and unconstitutional, altogether-adroit, inconsistency. — Ed]
16 August 2007
Mankato Valve & Nipple,
To The Editor:
To Jonah Goldberg on his “uncommon” criminality of terrorism, as an amateur historian and actual conservative I would say that bombs have been going off probably yearly at least since the Civil War in the cities of the Old Atlantic West. Motives run from anarchist- and gangster-outrages through World War II mass bombardments to today’s rash of religious terrorism. The purpose is the same throughout — terrorizing and blackmailing governments with the dead bodies of the people. Terrorism is thus but another result of “democracy.” Targeting citizens could not work except in the late-modern nation-state, which professional historian Philip Bobbitt shows was about “protecting” those citizens. The whole rationale of government as we know it supposedly is civilian well-being, and today’s religious terrorism shows this clearly as we bog in Iraq:
Butcher sheep, inveigle shepherd.
Terrorism is a comparatively old pattern, so we should not be in a hurry to raise the ante because of hysteria. Probably our dim sense as baby-boomers that we are not quite up to our folks in public is what gets us carried away. As we slink off into a repulsive late-middleage, our guilty endgame gimmick is to make some final big splash in the papers, on Tee Vee. We glamorize “final solutions” in all our political culture, for poverty (foodstamps and dribbledown economics) and HIV (abstinence and injections) and environmental panic (regulation of the unknown). And now terrorism. So of course, as conservative and therefore not Republican, I consider Mr Goldberg just wrong to say terrorism is not “merely” a police-problem.
How else more sensibly does anyone sensible think we can deal with it?
In The Hammerhead Road,
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 16 August 2007]