G.I. vs. P.C.
Robert M. Price
Maybe you’ve heard of the minor ruckus in Minnesota over the distribution of G.I. Joe action figures to kids attending the Twins game. The idea was to honor our flesh-and-blood G.I.s. Predictably, the local Leftists had nothing better to do than to protest the act. They feel it is improper thus to mix up war, sports and entertainment. I will admit that giving kids war toys is a means of socialization, acclimating them to the idea of fighting for their country. The question is: is that such a bad thing? Not in my opinion.
These protesters belong to what someone has aptly called "the Utopian Left." Conservatives and Liberals mostly share the same goals (for example, the safeguarding of freedom). The difference is that conservatives measure policy against what can realistically be done. This results in numerous "lesser evil" choices—like gunning down fellow human beings on the field of battle. Liberals tend implicitly to measure policy against an absolute ideal. This is why they condemn any policy that is less than perfect in results, whether or not they can suggest any alternative. It would be better if we didn’t have to kill Fedayeen Saddam terrorists. Far better if we could buy them a coke and slap them on the back. But guess what? That is far from happening.
Religious pacifists are at least clear-eyed on their choice, albeit fanatical. Brother, if you want to offer the other cheek to a terrorist, be my guest. But keep your martyr trip to yourself, please. Don’t think, by your vote, you can make the decision for me or for my children. To try to influence a whole country against the use of military force no matter what, even if you are under no illusions about the eventual results—well, my friend, you may think you’re heroically taking up your cross to follow Jesus, but I think that instead you are casting me in the role of Simon of Cyrene.
Remember him? The poor guy yanked out of the crowd and forced to carry Jesus’ cross whether he wanted to or not? Religious pacifists are outrageously arrogant when they try to impose their come-what-may stance on everybody else. But secular Liberals of the Utopian stripe are even less clear-headed about what they are doing. If Michael Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 is being circulated in the Middle East by Hezbollah, were one day to wake up and find that he lives in some Islamic Republic of America under Taliban rule, he wouldn’t much like it, I can assure you. The mullahs wouldn’t let him make lying propaganda movies about them.
Utopian Liberals like Moore will criticize you whatever decision you make. They are the political equivalent of the sniper atop the water tower, taking pot shots indiscriminately at anybody passing on the street below. They are not intellectually serious. They think they live in a world that does not yet exist. Remember Thomas More’s pun: "Utopia" in Greek means both "good place" and "no place."
I personally favor the wisdom of the Jewish Rabbis. They said we all have a good instinct and an evil one. While great saints seem to have extinguished their evil impulse, it is nothing the mass of mankind ought to strive for short of the Messianic Kingdom. Why? Until then, we live in an imperfect world of constraints and lesser evils. Would it be best if moral people managed to banish all their hard heartedness? Sure. But then who would sentence the criminals? Who would kill fascist invaders? We need a dose of cruelty as long as there are cruel enemies out to get us and our innocent loved ones.
The misguided jury that acquitted O.J. Simpson and the judge who let child-murderer Joel Steinberg out of jail are, as Lady Macbeth said, "Too full of the milk of human kindness." There’ll be plenty of opportunity for that in the Millennium. Till then we’ve got some hard choices to make. Let’s hope politicians realize it. Those protestors against G.I. Joe in Minnesota don’t. They would perhaps prefer to hand out "My Little Pony" toys to the boys.
Robert M Price
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