It's not only Darfur. Everybody wants to save Darfur but no one will do the obvious thing. Everyone bemoans what's happening to Zimbabwe but no one will touch Mugabe. Everyone knows what Iran is up to, but heaven forfend we should do anything serious about it. Everyone sees that Putin is finlandizing Europe—I mean, he just said "I will nuke you if you try to defend yourselves against Iran"—but he's an honored guest at the big banquets. etcetera, etcetera. You wrote a fine book about the destiny of the West, let's hope that Sarkozy and the next American president shake us out of this deep sleep. And maybe someone could reset Olmert's alarm clock too while we're at it. Cause it's a gloomy spectacle, to be sure.
Ledeen is responding to Mark Steyn who wrote:
Recently I interviewed Don Cheadle, who starred in that marvelous film Hotel Rwanda a year or two back. He's now written a book about Darfur. Very nice fellow. But he doesn't seem to appreciate that the big lesson of Rwanda is that the thugs understand very clearly that whenever the west starts working through the UN it sends the message: We're not serious. Indeed, we're so unserious we're going to "solve" this problem through a process which gives mass murderers the one thing you need if you want to kill hundreds of thousands of people - time.
So Cheadle's book proposes all kinds of things you the citizen can do for Darfur - write your Congressman, send a letter to the local paper, etc. There's a lot of it about. A week or two back, the following caught my eye:On Sunday, April 29, Salt Lake Saves Darfur invites the greater Salt Lake community of compassion to join with us as we honor the fallen and suffering Darfuris in a day of films, discussion and dance with a Sudanese dance troupe.
Very nice. But wouldn't it make more sense to try the Ledeen solution and save the Sudanese dance troupe for the post-victory party? "Salt Lake Saves Darfur" looks like doing wonders for "the greater Salt Lake community of compassion" but rather less for the people of Darfur. There is a grotesque narcissism in the determination of the Save Darfur campaign to embrace every strategy except the one that would actually save Darfur while there's anyone still left to save. The reality seems to be that these groups prefer to go the ineffectual dance-troupe route because it makes them - the "community of compassion" - the focus of things.
Here's what I think of the "community of compassion": they are so wrapped up in their communal mental masturbation--which brings them pleasure, and reinforces in their mind what wonderful, caring people they are--that they lack appreciation for the real world outside their feelings. They mean well. In fact, they care so much, it postively makes me puke.
Steyn is absolutely correct. This is a pure and absolutely grotesque narcissism whose pretentious and sanctimonious presentation attempts to disguise its self-serving origins.
Give me just one man of action; one cowboy; one man who will say, I will do this because it is the right thing to do; one courageous individual who doesn't give a shit what the community of compassion thinks about it (if they think).
Give me just one man who could care less about being compassionate, and just does what needs to be done to save the lives of innocent people.
In, "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" I wrote:
The cowboy hero of my youth was a simple man who minded his own business and valued his freedom. It would take a lot to stir him up, but once aroused, he was unstoppable. His talk might be drawling or lazy, but not his principles; and the violence which was always there under the surface of his placidity could be called on to defend and protect that which he valued. Then he would ride out into the sunset; his job done, his duty fulfilled.
He never turned away from what had to be done; and he never cared much for nuance or appeasement. He always understood and accepted the consequences of his actions, not caring if he was liked or loved; but doing what he thought was right, no matter what the cost.
Today the American cowboy lives on in spirit in many aspects of our society. But if anything, there is even more contempt and anger heaped on him by our modern, cynical, and metrosexual society; who long ago stopped valuing the heroic and sees no need for cowboys in the new age.
Today, any hint of unsophisticated cowboy heroics or clear talk of right and wrong, good and evil are met with scorn by the spoiled elites of the world, who perceive the modern cowboy as an unwanted anachronism and a genuine liability--his mere existence a frightening threat to the fantasy world of love and peace they have created in their minds.
Still, it is lucky for us that our modern cowboys in the law and military continue to do what all real cowboys were born to do.
Zane Gray and many other western authors understood that the only thing standing between civilization and the outlaws who preyed on the innocent were those few cowboys who held to the code of the west. Civilization might hate and despise them for the violence of their methods--but civilization most certainly could not survive without their moral clarity and protection.
At least in the real world; where real people suffer and wait to be rescued, the scorned cowboy--the man of action-- will always put his life on the line and do something; while the spoiled elites safely dance and sing and play their songs of "peace, love and brotherhood" to make themselves feel good and preserve the illusion that they are doing something that matters.
How on earth they can call themselves the "community of compassion", let alone the "reality-based community" is beyond any sane person's ability to understand.
They are fooling only themselves.
In any contest between those sophisticated and morally superior individuals "dancing for Darfur", who prance around in some bizarre fantasy world; and all those frighteningly unsophisticated cowboys slugging away in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, who aren't afraid to get themselves dirty and put themselves in harm's way; I am compelled--by reason, truth, and reality--to vote for the cowboys every time.