Monday, May 31, 2010

Agon and Eros: Memorial Day

Today some people died in the never-ending theatre of war. Over all, it's just another day in the world.

Six ships out of Turkey bound for Gaza were intercepted in international waters, and the result, over a dozen dead jihadis and sympathizers aside, is that the world is now indulging in another hate-fest against Israel. We cannot expect anything else from the world as is. Who cares? What matters is how the follow-up turns out, whether the Israelis can maintain their military superiority, not just in physical terms but in terms of the will to win each and every conflict big or small till the enemy is beaten. But, is obvious, Israel is not interested in fighting, certainly not for the sake of concluding this Melian Dialogue. Too damn bad they won't drag the corpse of Hector in the dirt. Seems we can't remember that kind of life.

A dozen or so jihadis and dhimmi lackeys are dead on the Turkish ships. No one but friends and family will really care about them, but the dead themselves make great public relations props for the Jew-haters to fling into the arena as symbols of agony. That's life. We know how it goes. If Israelis were a different people they'd look with some sympathy on Stalin's observation that if one kills a dozen jihadis on the open seas it's a p.r. coup for the jihadis; but if one kills a million of them it's a statistic. Israelis aren't Stalinists; I could be.

Why do people in the West, which includes according to me those in India and Japan and Israel, care about Muslims in a continuing state of active jihad? Why take any side at all in a tiny and otherwise irrelevant local conflict between two minute populations in the world? It's generated by European Jew-hatred. When Jews kill a dozen jihadis, the Muslims go crazy on cue, as always, and the dhimmis fall in automatically, sponging off the hate as if it's their own. Then it becomes their own, more of the same but now second-hand and phony, though the best they can come up with. Nevertheless, it suits them fine. Any excuse will do.

It's got to be pretty tough for the average guy to get upset over Shlomo at the deli as the evil embodiment of The Jooos. How does one get outraged over Puah at the dry-cleaner's as a Christ-killer? It's embarrassing to pour all ones hatred onto a middle-aged fat lady who slips you cherry knishes on Friday afternoon. But that desire to hate EVIL is still there for many, those desperate to find the meaning of life in hating, hating so they can fill up the void of their lives with something really big and important and cosmic. Beating up on Lenny the delivery guy is kind of small when it comes to hating EVIL. What to do? Well, one can hate Jews in the abstract and fulfil ones hatred and need for meaning by hating Israel instead. For some lonely and empty people, hating EVIL in the guise of Israel is pretty hot, it being a popular theme with many significant backers, something almost certainly guaranteed to win one some praise as a moralist in larger realms than ones own little mind and privacy. No, pushing over Avi the computer repair guy and watching him suffer bleeding knees on the sidewalk is not cool. It's not even close to being MORAL. But reading the news and identifying with the OPPRESSED in Palestine, that's got some oomph in the circle of jerks we see here. It's safe, it's generally applauded, and it can satisfy ones need to be cool and full of something other than ones own petty privacy. Hating Jews can provide one with a Meaning of Life. Assuming of course that the Jews can be seen to be, can be made to seem to be EVIL. Punching Ruthie in the stomach because she's Jewish? No, that's not so cool.

Today is Memorial Day. Today is our day to remember and to honour our war dead. Some of us like to think, and this against the prevailing view today, that those war dead are men and women who sacrificed their lives for the purpose of the greater good of Mankind, to preserve freedom and common decency in the world under threat and barrage from tyrants. Some of us think it's an honour to fight to preserve the Good and to further it in the world. Some of us think it's a good thing to kill and die for freedom generally, not just our own but for the world. We call it Just War. Others call it just war. Those latter are all too willing oft times to support war against many who fight for freedom. Those latter seem to delight in being more moral than the moral. They go out of their ways to find some way to hate the good in hopes of being holy. Tbere's so much emptiness in the Hollow Men that they must fill the universe of personal emptiness to make a speck of difference, none that lasts. They can't remember ordinary and dirty war for freedom, the small and personal sufferings of men and women who died in battle and peripheral carnage, because it's too much like slapping Ephrat in the face, calling her a dirty Jew in front of party-going friends. No, those who hate as moralism need to hate on a large and impersonal scale so that no one knows they hate. Most would be shocked and disgusted by the person who actually hurt another physically and personally right there with others watching. That would be memorable, and this is not about being remembered as real, it's about being remembered as making a moralistic impression so one is invited back to the next party. One wishes to be remembered positively, not to remember those who died anonymously somewhere a long time ago somewhere far away. "Remember me." This is Memorial Day.

For the people on the ships in the flotilla today this will be the defining moment of their lives. They will never forget this event in all their days. The dozen or so dead will follow the living throughout their lives. For the living, death would likely have been the crowning event in their petty lives if only they too could have been remembered like those dead. Living with the memory of the dead will be almost as good. It will give them something "important" to fill their lives with. They will remember.

The sad joke of all this is that the jihadis who died on the ship didn't die to preserve the good or to bring common decency to others, they died to be martyrs to The Cause, a pretty forgettable reason for being. Those not involved in the incident today will forget about it, unless they're reminded constantly by the boors who have nothing else to yack about. It's not a memorable event, just one more shoddy deal done in offices and carried out by fools who know no better than to die in a grand gesture. This big event for a few will be forgotten almost immediately by most because it doesn't have any reason in it to be memorable. It was nothing bigger than a day's tactical work. It's just a bullshit ploy, though one that seems likely to work well, for what it is. Tomorrow or sometime soon there wil be another ploy. They're all forgettable because they aren't about people. These ploys are about filling the void with farts.

Who's taken in by this? Empty people are pleased with this kind of stinking gesture of grandness. Dying in a blaze of glory is pretty cool for some, and cool for those who afterwards can talk about having been there. For those who weren't there, this will last for a few days till some other noxious event takes over to fill the void momentarily, and so on. It's an empty gesture, this dying for The Cause. That's because the gesture is not anything to do with Humanity, only to do with some people back at the office who make a life at filling up their time with the meaningless. That meaninglessness looks far better when filled with hatred and murder, seems significant when it's coloured with blood. The ordinary and philistine qualities of making a living and raising children and contributing to maintaining the roadways and sewarage is too petty to fill the void of a meaningless life. Those with completely empty lives have to fill themselves with "meaning" rather than ordinary mediocrities or the stark awareness of their personal emptiness must be unbearable. For the Muslim, what else is there but death to break the monotony of living as a slave? For the Left dhimmi fascist, what else is there to fill up an empty existence but to cheer the biggest and loudest moralistic farts? Uh, nothing. There's nothing to remember in a long life of emptiness unless one can find vivid events of violence to make it memorable. But no one else will remember because it's not important to anyone else. Its not universal. It's just petty personality one day then, long ago, somewhere else. Boring. Forgettable.

We remember our war dead because they died not for their own vanity's sake but to preserve universal goodness and freedom in the world. Muslims and their dhimmi cheerleaders are just playing with themselves. I see this:

Fjordman, "Why I Write About History," Brussels Journal. 25 April 2010

[ I ] have come to realize that Islam is a secondary infection. Are Islamic teachings inherently violent? Yes. Can Islam be reformed? No. Can Islam be reconciled with our way of life? No. Is there such as thing as a moderate Islam? No. Can we continue to allow Muslims to settle in our countries? No. These few sentences contain all the information about Islam that you will ever need to know. It is still useful to know more about the way your enemy thinks and how to exploit his weaknesses, yet there is no point in spending too much time on studying the failed Islamic culture. Whatever you need to know can be found daily on websites such as Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.

Our culture did many things right, but has gone horribly wrong along the way. The interesting question here is not what is wrong with Islam since Islam has always been wrong. The interesting question is what is wrong with us.

Our military people have done and still do great things for our nation and the world. That's why we remember them, happy to do so. No doubt some of our soldiers went to war for their own personal pleasure, for their own desires to do for themselves; but most likely went reluctantly and humbly for the sake of families and communities and the nation itself as a matter of doing some small thing for the Good even if it meant dying in the process. That's unlikely in this time among our own, that sense of communal responsibility among the common man. In large part, that's what's went wrong with our culture. Today there is a deep vanity among the common man, a need to be important, to be meaningful, to be grand. It comes often to looking to the void for fulfilment. The void offers "Art" and publicity; reality offers the dirty and petty realities of roofing tar on ones boots, sawdust in ones shirt, plaster on ones jeans. A problem is that so few want to build anything real. Hauling a truckload of dead mustangs to the dog-food cannery is far less interesting to the many than is making a documentary on the suffering of the Palestinian peoples. One can be morally outraged at the shooting of wild horses trampling a farm field, but to preserve ones livelihood, provide for oneself and family and community and nation is boring, hard, and often dirty and tiring when one is a builder. The moral of our story is polluted with vanity.

It's Memorial Day, and I don't recall any jihadis in particular, they being glory seeking enemies of mine. I'm happier when I find they're dead. They don't bring any feelings of sympathy. I recall our own.

Achilles, secure behind his shield, waited the approach of Hector. When he came within reach of his spear, Achilles, choosing with his eye a vulnerable part where the armour leaves the neck uncovered, aimed his spear at that part, and Hector fell, death-wounded. Feebly he said, "Spare my body! Let my parents ransom it, and let me receive funeral rites from the sons and daughters of Troy." To which Achilles replied, "Dog, name not ransom nor pity to me, on whom you have brought such dire distress. No! trust me, nought shall save thy carcass from the dogs. Though twenty ransoms and thy weight in gold were offered, I should refuse it all."

So saying, the son of Peleus stripped the body of its armor, and, fastening cords to the feet, tied them behind his chariot, leaving the body to trail along the ground. Then mounting the chariot he lashed the steeds and so dragged the body to and fro before the city.
Homer, "The Death of Hector"

That's what I remember: our glorious and our anonymous Achilles. I don't know or care that some savages died for vanity on the high seas at the hands of Israelis. I care about Achilles. In private moments I remember him, now dead.

Everybody dies, and there's some sadness when we know them and care and love those who die, especially those who die for our common good and the good of the world. I let them rest in my mind, giving them some quiet thought when I see the living benefit. I sometimes wave when I see the triumphant, those fortunate men and women who went home again to work at building. Those are the ones I remember this Memorial Day.


truepeers said...

The problem is, you should be thinking in terms of what is required to build a specifically Jewish state. Many "Jews" killed for Stalin, serving disproportionately (given their numbers in the empire) in the high offices and state police of the Soviet regime (in its first decades especially). But these Jews were trying to run away from being (too) Jewish. There was and is an ongoing war between Jerusalem and Athens for leadership of the Western mind.

Many of the founders of Israel rightly and clearly recognized the threat to their existence posed by Islam and many today rue the lack of resolve in dealing decisively with the warrior religion's presence west of the Jordan, at that time. But now this situation cannot be resolved unless and until it really and unavoidably has to be resolved as the only way to end what has become a truly uncontrollable war. The cause of some modernist myth of building a New World won't suffice to serve the specifically Jewish cause.

Jews are what they are and when they are they just won't think like Stalin unless, and maybe not even then, they are really up against the wall. And so the enraged empty people will continue for long to be enraged at the scandal of their myopic view of Jews being what they are.

By the way, Stalin did not coin that phrase about statistics. It came out of World War I. Both Stalin and Hitler saw it as some great modern wisdom. I would tend to see it as exemplary of all that is wrong with modernism, which is not too comparable to classical revenge. The modernist embraces the theatre of violent sacrifice on a big scale as necessary to prepare and steel us for the New World to come. It's not at all personal (except in the movies) except that the point is to remove from the modern man all kinds of personality and affectation. The whole point of the Holocaust, for example, was to overcome the possibility of remembering the lives of the dead - or of their executioners - as significant individuals who ended up being dragged/dragging through the mud. The desire was to forget, on all levels, the "Jewish problem". This depersonalization offends on many levels a truly Jewish understanding of justice and individual responsibility for the covenant with God.

No doubt the death cultists who hate Israel will include among their charges that the Israeli commandos acted like Nazis. But if that were true the ships would simply have been vaporized, in a flash, without unnecessarily putting "Nazis" in the firing line. In comparison, whatever happened, whoever fired first, the deaths of a dozen armed Global Intifadists surely more closely approximates a reasonable rendering of justice. What blinds us to this reality is the "post"modern cult of victimhood which is but the flipside of the Stalinist mind. The more we get of one side the more we'll get of the other.

The proper fear of the (rightful) presence of the armed Jew is not comparable to the fear of Stalin because the fear of Stalin is properly the recognition that Stalin doesn't fully admit himself that he will always require more and more victims in vain attempts to sustain the impossible. When Stalin eventually turned openly antisemitic, the "Jews" in the party lined up to be shot for the cause often, by way of last words, professed undieing faith in the Party and their certainty that someone had mistaken who they were but that if they had to die for the Revolution they were happy to go. They didn't get it on a number of levels because they had forgotten or never learned what it means to be Jewish, to maintain a real covenant that can allow for a productive society to continue without trying, impossibly, to eradicate evil from this earth.

Dag said...

When the question arises how to create and maintain a Jewish Israel, I defer to those Jews who act on it, myself not being Jewish in any sense. But that's not the question I'm concerned with here: I concern myself with, personally, my own debt as a culture inheritor, one saved from my own life as removed by only a few generations from Island Highland tribalism and warrior ethos through the imposition, willing and demanded, of a rigid Puritanism that keeps us, at times, from our too easily embraced blood-lust. Thank God for God, I might say. Because of that, and because I, (and so many of my own,) am still a barely contained barbarian filled with lust for war, I find myself indebted to those who save me and mine from ourselves, i.e. the Jews.

But I can't be Jewish myself. I can be that barbarian with a lust for blood and death who, on the edges of the world, does battle for the Good because it's available, it being done regardless.

Dag said...

The struggle to overcome our love of battle and murder and death was fitted into Puritan religion, which makes our religion a fierce thing, a creative and world-dominating personality on the earth. All that war goes into conquering the earth itself. Machinery and making and hard ideas made real on the land and seas, into the universe. Three men survived the Battle of the Shirts because the sun went down and they couldn't stand up in the darkness to continue killing. Transcending that lust and turning it against Nature makes Modernity.

Turning that eros to the agon of the world and seeing in that the Jews, that turns me, if not others, into a battling man for Good, not good myself but in love with those who are. I could call it the best of both worlds.

truepeers said...

I'll just re-iterate that Stalin and highland warrior culture are not at all the same thing. Surely your Highland ancestors would have been revolted at the totally unmanly approach to kiling of Stalin. Orkney Dag, yes! Dag Stalin, oh no!!

Tribal warriors have a real cause - their own and their own honour and integrity; Stalin did not have a real cause by any realistic measure and no amount of killing would change that except more deeply to destroy his own. At a certain point the destructive means made available by modernity become "ends" in themselves. And that's sign of a failed religion by any standard.

Dag said...

Stalin, it seems to me, was a Persian at heart. There's no Achilles in him. Stalin was no warrior at all, not a hero, not a man who fought, just a murderer. He was passive. We can see his fatalism in the day following the German invasion of Russia, a functionary announcing it to him, Stalin rising from his chair in the expectation that he'd be summarily executed. He had no "battle" in him. He had only murder. Thus, he could exterminate millions or one or two with the same cruel dispassion, even die himself, passively. It would never occur to him to chase Hector around the walls of the city and kill him and drag his carcass around in the dirt as a sign of contempt for his enemy. To do that is to recognise the worth of an enemy, to spoil that worth in front of the world. Stalin had no poetry in him. So it is with the dhimmis who long for meaning where they have none.

Those with poetry, even if it comes as blood-lust and battle or through making in machinery and works, have the eros of life in them. They can work in the mundane world and find in it satisfaction in conquering and making things work, whether the death of neighbours or the raising of coal from the ground. There is a capacity for meaning in such things, but none in murder. So it is that the slave empires have to keep killing: to fill the void with meaningless vapours. Slaves don't have meaning, like a meal of sugar-water. But to kill the Campbells! That is meaningful.

Modernity can be a meaningless slavery in which one has no poetry. It would be a meaninglessness due to the slave needing a master, himself being unworthy of mastering himself. He might look for a meaningless master such as Stalin or Hitler to give him an illusion of meaning, dying to make it purposeful in spite of the emptiness of the hollow master's vapours, i.e the slave's self. So they go, and they die sometimes, and they pretend to be meaningful and they hate those who are truly fulfilled, I'd love to battle them in the flesh, if only there were a Hector among them to degrade afterward.

Dag said...

I don't see the comment Truepeers just left here, so I'm going to post it myself:

Truepeers writes:

I'll just re-iterate that Stalin and highland warrior culture are not at all the same thing. Surely your Highland ancestors would have been revolted at the totally unmanly approach to kiling of Stalin. Orkney Dag, yes! Dag Stalin, oh no!!

Tribal warriors have a real cause - their own and their own honour and integrity; Stalin did not have a real cause by any realistic measure and no amount of killing would change that except more deeply to destroy his own. At a certain point the destructive means made available by modernity become "ends" in themselves. And that's sign of a failed religion by any standard.