Sunday, December 28, 2008

Looking the World In the Eye

HT to two very atypical Canucks, the irascible Kathy Shaidle and sharp-witted Mark Steyn, for noting the death of Samuel Huntington and also for linking to the terrible images of what the Muslim jihadi terrorists in Mumbai did to their Jewish captives, a young rabbi and his pregnant wife. Savages.

Multiculturalists and frightened/guilty white liberals loathe Huntington's thesis in The Clash of Civilizations, that the age of ideological confict is being surpassed by a return to the ethnic-cultural-racial clashes which have marked most of human history since the first group of homo sapiens split into tribes. Cain and Abel. He coined the apt phrase, "Islam's bloody borders". But the redoubtable Robert Kaplan got Huntington right, and recognized that he "looked the world in the eye". And Fouad Ajami, rethinking Huntington's "Who Are We?", notes the struggle between the now-unfashionable patriots of the American Creed and the ascendant international elites of "Davos Man".

A cultural note, California style. I live among people who value something they call "consciousness". Now I, troglodyte that I be, imagine that consciousness has something to do with accessible awareness of your true and significant situation. For a lot of my neighbors, who are evolving and growing, it seems to mean increasing your level of abstraction from your true and significant situation.

If I am walking through a bad neighborhood --and I note that many of the evolved would find the judgmentalism of such a term intolerant and intolerable-- consciousness means being awake to potential dangers, such as mugging, assault, etc. If the evolved find themselves in such venues, I suspect they would be musing with Deepak Chopra about the unity of all sentient beings and would repress any thoughts that were less than lionizing of their oppressed neighbors. Which of us, I wonder, would be more "conscious"?

Who was it who noted that "I and the lion may well be brothers, but the lion does not know that." A crucial gap in information.

What does it take to "look the world in the eye"?


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