Another random thought: Nation-building works when there is an actual nation to build. Successes: Germany and Japan. Failures: Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Germany and Japan, despite their disturbing laps into savagery, were not tribal societies. They were, in the literal sense, civilized, meaning that cities played an overwhelming role in their culture. So there was a foundation, firm, on which to build. Afghanistan, as Mark Steyn has lamented, will shake off American's billions and lives and efforts in a few short weeks after we bug out, and what we thought was bread upon the waters will prove to have been offal down the commode. Something about leopards and spots. Something about scorpions needing to strike. Something about the nature of things, as opposed to magic. We have to look deeper than the fingernail polish and makeup. Maybe it's a Sea Hag. Maybe it's a drag queen. Maybe it's a culture, a people, a nation, incapable of sustaining the ideals of liberal Western representative democracy. As I wisely say in another context, we can't help our bones, but we can control what hangs off of them. Middle East moslem bones are tribal. The most we can hope is that they act in their own best self-interest. As should we.
Were I moslem, I would be an islamist. I would work to build the Caliphate. The way a Christian should work for Christ. As Prager said this morning -- I heard him in the car -- kindness done in the name of God makes believers; evil done in the name of God makes atheists. In the former instance, of kindness, it is not fanatics who act; in the latter, of course, it is. The Ancients counted history in terms of Ages, Golden and Silver and Bronze and Iron. We ourselves, Modern, have moved from the tangible to states of mind, and have Ages of Faith and Reason and Technology and currently Information, and still more currently, full circle, we return to Faith, and Unfaith.
As as a moslem, islamist, fanatic that I would be, I would see the deaths of woman and children as just a tribute to, a dues, an offering to Allah, a moon god, although I would acknowledge that particular factum of history only as a deceit, as Jehovah is called a volcano god. The momentary splatter of marrow and gray matter that a marketplace bomb produces is but the outworking of Allah's caprice, and all return to their proper place, for nothing exists outside the will of Allah. Easy. Human grief should be a passing thing, and islam is a word meaning "surrender", as moslem means "one who has submitted". Easy. Shut up and obey.
Even adhering, as I profess, to a doctrine of love, I find that a sword, and swiftness amounting to cruelty, seem natural to my sense of justice. So, really, I should have been moslem. Ah well, the happenstances of birth. Maybe God is capricious? Or maybe there are dimensions to election that remain unperceived. The way humanity is such an elusive quality, as recent essays here at FP have suggested ... you know, this abortion thing.
But don't get me started.