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  • The Identity of the Enemy

    Posted by David Foster on December 4th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Chris Matthews of MSNBC, commenting on Obama’s choice of a West Point venue for his Afghanistan speech:

    “He went to–maybe–the enemy camp tonight)”

    (video clip here)

    Does Matthews himself consider the U.S. Military Academy to be “the enemy camp?” If a commentator with a strong reputation for neutrality had said something like the above, then we might believe he was stating a conclusion about the beliefs of others, rather than an opinion he himself necessarily agreed with. But it would be hard for anyone to argue that Matthews is “a commentator with a strong reputation for neutrality.”

    Whatever Matthews’ personal beliefs may be, I think his comment reflects the belief of a substantial part of the “progressive” movement which represents Obama’s core support. These people are very reluctant to use words like “enemy” in talking about America’s terrorist adversaries. They are primarily concerned with instigating conflict within American society itself, and in achieving victory in such conflict–and the American military, along with many other important parts of American society, does indeed in their view constitute an enemy.

    Here are some relevant thoughts from Neptunus Lex, which I’ve previously quoted because they are so insightful:

    The innate character flaw of the political right, with its thrumming appeals to the logic of blood and soil, is its lamentable tendency to go in search of enemies abroad. The left, on the other hand, with its own appeals to the politics of envy and class warfare, is content to find mortal enemies closer to hand.

     

    12 Responses to “The Identity of the Enemy”

    1. Anonymous Says:

      The left, on the other hand, with its own appeals to the politics of envy and class warfare, is content to find mortal enemies closer to hand.

      They might want to be careful about that coming back to bite them in the @ss. If the government succeeds in enacting a command economy, where the ability to fulfill your basic needs/desires is dependent upon whether you are a member of the government/union/media/university nomenklatura – in Chicago terms, whether you have “clout” or not – they’ll be the ones in the crosshairs of those left on the outside.

      Nicolae Ceausescu could testify as to the outcome of when the peasants finally do revolt.

    2. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      Oops, sorry – that prior comment was mine. New PC, haven’t updated all my logins yet.

    3. david foster Says:

      Some reactions to Obama’s speech on Afghanistan:

      Charles Krauthammer

      Spiegel Online

    4. Seerov Says:

      The Left puts politics before everything, so its easy to see why they perceive military cadets as being enemies. In general, military officers vote for the Right, therefore, they are the enemies of people who place politics above everything. The Right will always loose in the game of politics in the long run for this reason. The Left has its roots in Asiatic Bolshevism and doesn’t play by any rules except “win at any costs.” The Right has its roots in Western Chivalry, which are good rules when your opponents fall under the same system, but not when they’re Asiatic Bolsheviks.

      The only way the Right will achieve long term victory is to rid itself of Conservatism, and turn to revolutionary tribal nationalism. The Right no longer has anything to “Conserve.” The whole culture is designed for the destruction of the traditional form. Everything from blue jean commercials to Hollywood movies are designed to humiliate and destroy the Right’s biggest constituency.

      The current leadership of the Right will not support the move to revolutionary tribal nationalism. Their purpose is to keep conservatism “respectable.” The Left can have a President who attended a black nationalist church, media director who admires Mao, and an FDC chairman who supports Chavez, while the Right is stuck with people who argue that MLK was a “great Conservative leader” (see: Glenn beck).

    5. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I agree that politics, and therefore enemies, are the sole concern of the left. All you have to do is to read leftist blogs to see that. I really do think, however, that America is different. I think we are genetically selected for independence and a longing for freedom. It is in our ancestors genes who were willing to leave everything they knew to travel. They were seeking something. I’m not being romantic here. I think this is a natural selection process. I am definitely a Steven Pinker believer in inherited behavior. The secondary effect is that those our ancestors left behind, are selected for a lack of independence and lust for adventure. A visit to Ireland has reenforced that belief for me. It was before the “Irish Tiger” phase but Irish friends agree with me. It was put to me by friends who are immigrants that the Irish are not that happy to see Americans searching for their roots because, as my friends put it, “They know the cream left 100 years ago.”

      Anyway, I think Obama may find that his theories, while they may be appropriate for Kenya or Indonesia, are not going to find roots among this population. Of course, there are subsets within the population, like blacks whose ancestors did not emigrate voluntarily. Even there, though, we may find some natural selection for things like hypertension. Salt retention may have been a positive selection characteristic on the middle passage. I’ve been looking for years for studies of hypertension in Africa to see if it as common.

      Americans are genetically selected for independence. We’ll see how they take to socialism.

    6. veryretired Says:

      I am not interested in any drawn out argument, so I will simply state that I disagree with the main conclusions asserted by the above commenters Seerov and Kennedy.

      It is not surprizing that the fundamental premises of the American experiment are still under attack from the various collectivist factions both within and without.

      The basic revolutionary element of the American declaration of principles found in its undergirding philosophy, as expressed in its founding documents and commentary, is the primacy of the individual citizen.

      This flies in the face of nearly all historical precedent, in which membership in some sacred group, whether ethnic or racial or religious, is the basic endowment of value. Usually led by some form of priest-king, these tribal designations were the standard identifiers which constituted the majority of any person’s identity, internally and externally.

      One’s heritage, language, religion, social position, ethnic group, etc., were all important and beyond appeal. This form of “absolute identity” has persisted around the world to the present day. The recent massecres in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsi tribal groups, or the current hostility towards anyone not muslim by a significant portion of the muslim world are fresh and deadly examples.

      It is no accident that the areas in which the American theory of individuality failed to be properly applied, as in the treatment of Native Americans, or African slavery, or the disenfranchisement of women, to cite some of the most prominent examples, became the sources of dangerous and usually violent difficulties over the course of time, and great amounts of blood and treasure were required to undertake the correction of the mistakes that had been made.

      What most ordinary people, who are generally non-political, and disinterested in the endless maneuvering and scheming of those obsessed with politicising anything and everything, do not understand is the depth of the enmity toward them and the lives they lead by the various schools of collectivism in the counrty and the world.

      The ordinary man or woman, involved in work and family, possibly having served in the armed forces themselves or had friends and relatives who did, would be stunned if they could somehow eavesdrop on the internal conversations of the so-called “progressive community” while they expressed their utter loathing for the military, the middle class, or the normal commercial transactions that make up much of what people do for a living.

      Only rarely, as with this slip by Matthews, or the crude comments of that Colorado professor who was a big deal for a while after 9/11, do their true feelings pop out in public, leading almost always to various forms of semi-apologetic dissembling about how they really didn’t mean it or they were misunderstood.

      The collective, whether based on religion, or class/race/gender theories, or the feel good communalism that undergirds so much of the socialist nonsense popular in western societies, cannot abide the individual, or the existence of an independent mind which will critique its ideas and policies from the point of view that asks whether any of it actually works in the real world.

      Is West Point enemy territory to the mindset demonstrated by Mathews’ remark? Yes, it is.

      Any element in our society which would defend the Constitution as a safeguard of individual rights and liberties, whether by force of arms, or intellectual argument, or even emotional enthusiasm, is a deadly threat to the collectivist dream of abolishing the troublesome individual, and all that “rights” nonsense, and getting on with telling people what to do.

      After all, its for their own good.

    7. david foster Says:

      Somewhat related: see my post an incident at the movies, which deals with the reaction of an NYC film audience to an Air Force recruiting film.

    8. Jose Angel de Monterrey Says:

      Of all the intoxicating anti-Americanism in the world, the most deceptive and disturbing kind comes from Americans themselves.

      Nobody in deeply anti-American France would have ever come up with the stuff Chris Matthews said about Obama’s visit to West Point.

    9. Seerov Says:

      Veryretired,

      I can appreciate you placing importance on the individual. Without a doubt, America (and the world) would be better off if we judged everyone as individuals. Unfortunately in modern America you have lots of groups that organize in the collective (under what we call the “Left”), while the so called “Right” is still supposed to recognize the individual.

      It’s like two teams playing basketball when one group is expected to dribble the ball, while the other team can just run with it. Obviously the team that can run with the ball (and not dribble) is at an advantage.

      To tell you the truth I’m already starting to see signs of the Right moving towards tribalism. The problem is that the Right doesn’t have any ideology to guide it, nor any vision of the future to fight for. Because of this the Right is getting behind people like Beck and Palin. People feel like Palin and Beck are “part of the family” but this is where it ends, nothing comes after this but talking points. The Left on the other hand has an ideology (Marxist-Liberalism) and a vision for the future (multicultural police state).

    10. veryretired Says:

      I do not use the terms “left” and “right” very purposefully. I find them to be meaningless and even deceptive. I prefer the terms collectivist and statist when speaking of those opposed to the primacy of the individual and the rights inherent to the individual exclusively.

      As demonstrated by the recent DC follies, when the allegedly conservative right is in power, the statism of their confused and contradictory semi-beliefs and near-positions results in nearly as foolish a set of policies and ridiculous spending as when the profligate left reigns supreme.

      Further, if you read the documents I referred to above, it is not my emphasis on the individual that matters, but the specific and repeated assertions that individual rights and liberties are paramount and sacred, that any political power that is granted to the state stems from the consent of the individual, who is the ultimate holder of all powers.

      It is not my formulation, but the founding theorists of our republic who declared that the only legitimate function of the state is the protection and nourishment of the rights and liberties of the individual, and that that purpose is the fundamental justification for the very existence of the state, and the ultimate reason why it should be designed and restrained as carefully as possible.

      These ideas are the only true revolutionary political statements in history, and it is not at all surprising that they have been under relentless attack since the moment they were announced. The guises change, but the purpose of the opposition remains constant—destroy the concept of the individual and the rights that adhere to that concept, and the destruction of all else that stands in the way of absolute power will soon follow.

      We are the keepers of the flame. If it is extinguished here, the world will live in darkness for centuries until it can be relit, and relit it will be.

      The true enemies know the stakes. We must realize them also.

    11. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Just a thought about Mr. Matthews, and his ideological compatriots. He, his ilk, and one can make a reasonable [but not yet determinatively proven] conjecture that would include Obama, his cabinet, and his party; may indeed regard the military and all who have sworn the Oath and meant it as “enemies”. However, one can see that since January the rule of law and the boundaries set on the government by the Constitution have both been weakened, perhaps fatally.

      If to the groups named above, the military are the enemy; would it not be equitable, on the day when the Law and Constitution are finally rendened moot, for the military to regard those groups equally as the enemy? And if the power of each group is put to the test, which is likely to prevail, and at what cost to the other?

      Subotai Bahadur

    12. ThomasD Says:

      Matthews statement reminds me of nothing so much as the statement that killed the career of Jimmy the Greek. In Jimmy’s case he exposed his underlying belief that slavery had left the black man with a egacy that somehow placed him apart from the rest of humanity – a belief in a genetic basis for racism.

      In the case of Matthews it conveyed a thought that simply would not have occurred in the mind of someone who did not have a fundamental mistrust of the American military and who places country over political party.