Professor Froward's Slough of Despond

Proud purveyor of flawed generalizations and vacuous tautologies.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Back in September, 2001, Michael Moore was shocked and horrified that al Qaeda killed people who "didn't vote for George Bush". Right now, in July, 2005, George Galloway thinks it's odd that al Qaeda just massacred forty-odd non-policy-making Londoners.

They're both very confused. They, and others like them in the West, like to think of themselves and their friends as being somehow apart from the passports they carry: They disagree with their governments, so it's got nothing to do with them. This sort of "post-nationalist" thinking is very nice and all, but it absolutely cripples you when you've got to deal with enemies who still think in nationalist terms. As far as al Qaeda is concerned, Britons are Britons. Al Qaeda is at war with the UK, full stop. That includes you, George. Maybe Galloway will someday achieve his great dream of being the British Vidkun Quisling, but if al Qaeda happens to kill him in some random massacre before then, they won't shed a tear over it. He's still the enemy. They may tolerate him as a collaborationist licking their boots, but that's not the same as a friend.

This guy gets it.

UPDATE: Yes, but: The left generally prefers to think in communal terms. You are your race, your class, your gender, etc. Is it pre-nationalism? Or is post-nationalism relatively trivial, nothing more than a dividing into different groups, groups which happen to make no practical sense in the context of the rest of reality? You could see the left's problem as a sort of "impedance mismatch" between their worldview and that of the rest of the human race. Yes, but: The left is actually very supportive of militaristic nationalism, on the part of Palestinians for example (it helps if it's racialist militaristic nationalism, of course). Is there any coherent view here at all? Maybe the "post-nationalism" I'm describing is simply a specialized gimmick for leftists to exclude their own personal selves from the implications of their moral universe, one in which guilt and virtue are essentially communal (pop quiz: Describe any act of "social justice" which isn't primarily composed of individual injustices). Galloway blithely accepts the notion that all Britons deserve to be punished for anything any Briton does — except for that one little part where he and his friends deserve to die, too. It's a lot like those of us who feel sentimental affection for our pets while cheerfully eating hamburgers, except that we don't pretend it's a great moral principle. And, of course, hamburgers aren't made out of human beings.

UPDATE 7/11/2005: I suspect it's just a waste of time to try to deduce any general principles at all from what the left says and does.