VD Hanson tries Making Sense of Nonsense in his January 20, 2006 NRO column.

It used to be that we went for minimum change. Stability was the goal. And this was the plan since for most of the twentieth century. This was seen as the safe plan even if some of the unfortunate were abused or the bedfellows were rather unpleasant. Order is comfort. It means we can predict what will happen and be safe.

Something happened in 2001 that changed things. It highlighted the fact that that order didn’t really make for comfort and safety. It made it clear that, if we wanted to be safe that comfort and appeasement and ‘we all want to get along’ were not the philosophies to follow. This new perspective stimulated a change. And change we did. And that change means that those who wanted the comfort of the familiar were uncomfortable and that means complaints and other dissonance.

Shiites claim that we are caving in to the terrorist supporters …

Sunnis counter that we are only empowering the surrogates of Iranian crazies …

Iranians show their thanks for our support for their spiritual brethren in Iraq by humiliating European diplomats with promises to wipe out Israel. …

Pakistani Street expects Americans to provide debt relief, send them aid, excuse their support for our enemies—and then goes wild should we ever cross the border to retaliate against al Qaeda terrorists in their midst …

At home, much about Iraq has been turned around in Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass fashion. …

So how do we make sense of what seems so nonsensical? Rather easily—just keep in mind four general talking points about America’s recent role in the world and most things gradually become clearer.

Point One (for Americans): My own flawless three-week removal of Saddam Hussein was ruined by your error-prone postwar peace.

Point Two (for Middle Easterners): We are for democracy—unless you Americans help us obtain it.

Point Three (for Europeans): We are privately for and publicly against what you do.

Point Four (for everyone else): When angry at either the United States (or yourself,) just blame the Jews in America, and Israel abroad.

Sometimes in these crazy times, that is all you need to know.

Think about those four points. They all describe how reality is based on a false premise with an ideological underpinning that is too putrid to air out in effective discussion. VDH hits home on just how vacuous much of the current dialog really is. There is no meaning to expression if there is no intellectual integrity behind it.

Comments are closed.