Jonathan’s Point on a Smaller Scale

New Yorkers, finally fed up, voted in Giuliani. The applicability of that pattern to Jonathan’s muted optimism struck me in reading Theodore Dalrymple, who, in his usual pull-no-punches style, reviews A Land Fit for Criminals.

An English parole officer, David Fraser

shows that liberal intellectuals and their bureaucratic allies have left no stone unturned to ensure that the law-abiding should be left as defenseless as possible against the predations of criminals, from the emasculation of the police to the devising of punishments that do not punish and the propagation of sophistry by experts to mislead and confuse the public about what is happening in society, confusion rendering the public helpless in the face of the experimentation perpetrated upon it

In New York, that middle swing vote group Jonathan describes were brought up hard enough to realize their lives (in both the metaphoric & real sense) were worth something.

But we recognize in that sophistry pundits & politicians – on Iraq, on Lebanon.
And, evidently, a threat, no matter how close & large, doesn’t count. Fraser’s book did not find a publisher until it hit the desk of someone who knew how lax, indeed, how failed, the British criminal system is.

The last few weeks have not been remarkable for the seriousness of the discussion of terrorism, Iraq, or even of what is required to ensure Israel’s future. (The exception might be the few conservative critics of Iraqi policy, whose arguments appear analytical rather than political or ideological, who speak with sorrow of their worry we will not succeed.)

Perhaps, it will take the kind of catastrophe Jonathan describes to get more attention, to lead to consideration of reality: only the quite ideological few (surely, we hope, smaller than Jonathan’s 25%) can willfully focus on euphemisms & pop psychology, the silly & the ideological when their eyes are irresistibly drawn to the real train wreck in front of them. Perhaps that middle group needs immediacy – an understanding of the relation of Iraq to Iran geographically, a horrible event, a call close enough for them to feel its breath. But if such realization comes at such a cost, what is the purpose of our experience, our news organizations, our history, even, our minds?

(A&L, that great aggregator, summarized this; Dalyrmple is from City Journal, which, as usual, is full of wit.)

2 thoughts on “Jonathan’s Point on a Smaller Scale”

  1. Don’t underestimate our stupidity or our willingness to deceive ourselves. For years in NYC, everyone said no one could solve the crime problems. People just lived with it. But people just didn’t wake up one day and decide to vote for Rudy: It took the Crown Heights riots.

  2. So throughout the Western world we continue to reap the poison fruits of the 1960s, with only limited respite (such as NYC and Giuliani… but violent crime is starting to go up again in most other big cities in the US). That decade will come to be seen more and more as an unmitigated catastrophe for Western civilization, if not the beginning of the end.

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