With a few changes Wells' paragraph could describe the mixture of smug amusement with which the Western intellectual elite watched the growing number of Wahabist mosques, the photography of landmarks, the application for flying lessons and the attendance at courses of nuclear physics by students from older worlds. They laughed, for nothing could threaten the dominion of Western Man, supreme in his socialized state at the End of History. Even after September 11 the only question for many was how soon history would return to normal after a temporary inconvenience. Little did they imagine that the expansion of the European Union, the Kyoto Agreements and Reproductive Rights -- all the preoccupations of their unshakable world -- might be the least of humanity's concerns in the coming years.
It continues to amaze me--as it has done for the last four years--how the intellectual and artistic elite in this country continue to soldier on with their "make love not war" and "Bush=Hitler" platitudes; remaining in complete denial about the threat to the U.S. and the civilized world from Islamofascism.
Intellectual lightweights in the political elite division like Al Gore and Hilary Clinton will use any and all excuses -- even a national holiday -- to score points against the fantasy "enemy", while the real threat continues to hover off their radar. Meanwhile, their European counterparts pat themselves on the back for a job well-done when they have done nothing. As Krauthammer says, "It makes you want to weep."
I imagine this must have been what it was like for Cassandra in Argos, cursed to be able to see the future clearly, but have no one believe her. I imagine this is what it was like for those few people prior to WWII who saw the appeasement of Germany for what it was and warned of the consequences of allowing Hitler to do what he said clearly he would do.
These days, it seems to me, it hardly takes a seer or a rocket scientist--or a psychiatrist--to foretell the misery and death that await the world in the next decade if decisive and proactive steps are not taken right now.
We will never know the moment it became too late to do something until after it has passed. Infinite complacency will gradually become grand disillusionment and eventually hopeless regret.
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
UPDATE: ShrinkWrapped also reflects on Cassanda and the Trojan Horse.