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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reconquista

Well, I thought I'd have to bid Youssef a cordial farewell. Apparently a glitch is involvled with my comments on his site. I thought it might have been my "I am an enemy of Islam" remark. Given a certain mindset, one's blood would run cold... As I said, it's not by my terms, but Islam's. But he's contacted me, via "A Fable" at Bloated Monster. As for The Mystery of the Deadly Link, people more savvy in computer viruses than I, will have an informed opinion. It was an easy fix, but only 'cause I got lucky.

Regarding disagreements in general, there is of course a broader lesson here. Once upon a time, I had some forgotten problem with a neighbor. I cannot for the life of me remember why, but the police were called. That's not my style, and I can't imagine anyone calling the police for anything I would possibly do. Maybe it was the boy I was guardian of, in those days.

In any event, I was feeling sorely put upon, and I remember saying to an officer, in a tone of righteous indignation, "I'm just supposed to put up with that?" -- whatever that was ... some slight or insult, no doubt.

And the officer took a beat, and said, "Yes."

And I took two beats, and laughed. "Yes, I suppose I am."

So here's an idea. Let's not blow up each other's Twin Towers, okay? We took back Spain and defended Vienna, but we let you keep Anatolia and North Africa and the Fertile Crescent. Over all, we came out the losers, in that exchange. But let's call it a draw, okay? And let's convert one another with words, not swords. And if we feel aggrieved, well, yes, we are supposed to just put up with that.

Yeah. That's an idea. Let's all hold hand and give peace a chance. But cynicism is as adolescent as fanaticism, so we can't rest there, either. Well, we can rest there, just not remain there. I mean, we're human, after all.

The real idea is to be as subtle as serpents and as gentle as doves. The real idea is that, if not against us, for us, and if not for us, against us. The real idea is to answer a fool according to his folly, and to not answer a fool according to his folly. In other words, we need to be wise. With one child, a parent is hard, and with another, soft. It's a balancing act, but that's what wisdom is. It's found in-between the rules. It depends on the circumstances.

I think I've cleared that all up, now. I bet nobody ever thought of that, before.

The problem is ... why, it's not in the stars, but in ourselves! It's human nature! Where there is no law, there are brigands. Not every culture, nor every city, nor every civilization, is civilized. And just one step beyond civility? There be monsters, there.

This is why force and power are good. If a child will not obey, he is made to obey. If a citizen will not obey the law, he is coerced. If a dictator will not abide by UN resolutions, he is deposed. If civilizations cannot co-exist, one or both will be destroyed. Given the truism that the big man fights less than the little man, which is it better to be?

Thank God for America. So often we laugh and put up with it. The Laughing Giant. But thank God for American Arrogance. It saves the world.

Some of us have learned, from a wise teacher, to turn the other cheek. But that teacher never ever told us to turn the other cheek of somebody else. Slap me, and I may very well forgive you. Slap my son, and I'll react most unfavorably. We do not sacrifice other people. We sacrifice ourselves. It's like mercy -- it's not for the courts, and it's not for society, to grant mercy. Their business is justice. Mercy is for the aggrieved party, for the sinned against, to grant or withhold. Just so far as the individual is simply not allowed his own justice -- we call it vengeance -- just that far is he the master of mercy. Nobody knows that, it seems, but there it is.

My point? We rise up as a civilization and strike with fearsome power, at what threatens us -- because it threatens our children, and wives and loved ones. Or we reach out and smite with irresistible force, who defies the demands of universal expectation. We do this -- those of us who understand human nature. As for the rest, well, I've been reading another biography of Lincoln...how hated he was. How many war protests there were. How many peaceniks there were.

That's my point. Some will not have peace, because the wisdom it takes to fight for peace is not within them. And some will not have peace because they love death more than we love life. I was quoting, there. Can you guess who?

And if I say any more, I'll just be repeating myself.

J

3 comments:

TRUTH_FINDER said...

Dear Jack,
This is my first visit to this nice site. Yes, it is more serious and I'll add it to my "FRIENDS" folder among my favorites. I have already posted two replies and didn't delete any of your comments but I couldn't publish one of them for unknown reason. Therefore I had to copy and past it before my reply for reference. You can see that in my site.

I'll move my replies here soon.

I am sorry to leave now before reading all your posts for I have an important business appointment. I'll come back very soon.

Best Wishes, and Highest Regards,

Youssef

TRUTH_FINDER said...

Jack,
Sorry for using the pronoun "I" many times in the previous comment. Is it selfishness or poor style? I don't know. Forgive me.
See you later.

Youssef

Jack H said...

Must be some weird glitch in the system -- I clicked on my posted link to your site and got a "Blogger" form for "no comments" -- and when I came back to my site, it was down. I'll amend my references, here. I don't want to risk a virus, though, so I'm being careful. I'n not really a computer guy.

As for using the pronoun "I" -- in EXTREMELY formal writing, like technical papers or scholarly analyses, it's generally avoided. But that's not us, eh? In friendly conversations, it'd sound pretty odd to never refer to oneself. Nothing selfish at all, and style is so often a matter of taste. You'll notice a fair number of my sentences start with "And" or "But" -- not "supposed" to do that. In formal writing, I'd most likely use "however" as a modifying clause within the sentence ... but again, I'm being pretty casual, here.

Let me commend your own mastery of English. Very impressive. Another language is another world.

This site is indeed serious. Because I'm being truthful on it, rather than silly, the ideas can be hard, or challenging, or offensive. Never on purpose, but there it is.

Best,

Jack