The Enemy is Everybody

Every once in a while, I run across some rightwing rant that is truly breathtaking. Yet another article over at The American Thinker fairly qualifies. In “We Could Lose Everything,” Jonathan David Carson, Ph.D. spells out the religious right’s conception of the political struggle. Basically, everybody but them is the enemy.

It seems there are two battles — once again. There is the “enemy without,” and then there is “the enemy within” — who’d a thunk it. Who is the enemy within?

As has been documented scores of times by The American Thinker, the homeland battle of ideas is an attempt by the mainstream media, the academic world, government schools, textbook publishers, establishment churches, wealthy foundations, city governments, Hollywood liberals, State Department bureaucrats, the Ivy League playpen at the CIA, pop stars, rap artists, civil libertarians, and other assorted noisemakers to mislead the public about the nature of the enemy . . .

You get that? The “enemy within” is “the mainstream media, the academic world, government schools, textbook publishers, establishment churches, wealthy foundations, city governments, Hollywood liberals, State Department bureaucrats, the Ivy League playpen at the CIA, pop stars, rap artists, civil libertarians . . . .” Anybody else? Oh wait, he left out homo’s and “radical feminists.” He must have tired himself out listing virtually every other non-fundamentalist christian institution in the United States.

But wait, it gets better. Here is a description of “the enemy without” — the enemy all of us secular heathens are “hiding the truth” about.

The enormous pressure to hide the truth about Islam can be seen from the fact that our most stalwart champion in the shooting war, the President of the United States, who, thank God, is not fully respectable in certain quarters, has repeatedly made the preposterous statement that Islam is a “religion of peace” and the only slightly less preposterous claim that the terrorists have hijacked this religion for their own purposes, as if the deliberate murder of civilians were a rare event in Islamic history. If such a determined opponent of the terrorists is willing to make excuses for a religion that will never cease its attempts at world conquest and has no scruples about the means it employs, how can we expect opponents of the shooting war to condemn it?

Our enemy, according the Dr. Carson — I wonder how many boxtops his Ph.D. set him back — is the ENTIRE RELIGION OF ISLAM. It isn’t “terrorists,” or “muslim extremism,” it’s every swinging dick muslim on the face of the earth. He tells us what that means in terms of the “war” we are in, including specifically, how to fight that war.

Each characterizes Islam in such a way as to justify itself: the President justifies his prudence; respectable society justifies its cowardice. Both mislead the public. Neither has found a way both to tell the truth about Islam and to take the desired action. There must be a way for the President to analyze the threat soberly without provoking war with more than a few Islamic nations at a time; there is no way for respectable society to justify surrender.

While the “enemy” is every Islamic nation, but we should be “prudent.” We should only fight a few of them at a time. He never gets around to explaining what exactly it is that we are supposed to do after defeating each Islamic country, in turn. Will they still be muslim countries — complete with a never ending quest for “world conquest?” Are we going take Ann Coulter’s advice and “convert them all to christianity?” Are we simply going to occupy the entire Islamic world for the next thousand years or so? Or maybe he thinks we should rummage through captured Nazi documents in search of the formula for Zyklon B. Better yet, maybe he thinks we should save time and just lob in a few dozen nukes. One never knows with these jokers.

And make no mistake. this is a war we can lose, according to him. He doesn’t explain exactly how. They never do. But he warns us that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be no more” in these United States. It’s a popular refrain these days on right wing blogs. “We’re at war, why can’t everyone remember that.” Maybe I can help him out a little.

1. Nobody in the US has been asked to make any sort of “wartime” sacrifice — like say rationing, or even increased taxes to pay for the effort.

2. Rightwingers themselves get all bent out of shape if the news media shows any “war footage” — suggesting to me that they don’t really want people to remember that “we’re at war.”

3. We haven’t had an orange terror alert since right before the last election. Coincidence?

4. Dubya appointed “Brownie” to supervise the federal agency that will respond to a terror attack — and we all know what a jam up job he did in New Orleans, responding to a natural disaster that gave us 48 hours notice before it struck.

I’m sorry Dr. Carson, but I have a little trouble taking the “war” seriously, since even the President doesn’t appear to. But now, the President has picked up on the “monolithic Islam” refrain. Here’s what he said in a speech, December 14, at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

These acts are part of a grand strategy by the terrorists. Their stated objective is to drive the United States and coalition forces out of the Middle East so they can gain control of Iraq and use that country as a base from which to launch attacks against America, overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia.

The only difference between Dubya and Dr. Carson’s view is that Dubya says the enemy will stretch from Spain to Indonesia in the future. Dr.Carson says they already do.

Finally, of course, there is the time frame for “saving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The most important of these changes is the recognition that we are in a war that we cannot run away from or win in our lifetimes. No strategy, no combination of policies, no leadership, can change the ugly facts. We will suffer no matter what we do. If we blame our inescapable suffering on President Bush or on any other president, we will suffer much more than we have to.

Human nature being what it is, we are reluctant to undertake the arduous tasks before us, tasks that we did not expect to have to undertake and that no one could wish for. It is this reluctance that respectable society exploits. We have a hard message; they have a soothing one. We tell people that they have work to do; they tell people that they can take it easy.

The good news is that though we will not survive as a people without a thoroughgoing transformation, we would need that transformation even without the threat from Islam, and we will be better off for having made it.

The last sentence is the give away. He’s not really worried about Islam at all. Islam is a prop. The real war is against all of us secular heathens — including virtually all of what he calls “respectable society.” Way down at the end of the article, he gets to the real point. And what is that “radical transformation” we so desparately need?

So what is this powerful interest? What do reporters, academics, artists, intellectuals, mainline Christians, government functionaries, liberal politicians, and the rest of the defenders of the sorry status quo share? Hostility to Christians who seem actually to believe in Christ. And what is the reason for this hostility? A guilty conscience.

It might seem that respectable people have more to fear from Islam than from Christianity. Christians do not stone adulterers, after all, or put blasphemers to death. Islam is remote, however, and Christians frighteningly near.

Do not underestimate this irrational fear, this spiritual rebellion, the utter dismay that those without consolation feel as they become aware of their minute and evanescent place in the universe, the despair that seizes them when they contrast their grandiose dreams and sordid reality, the terror that strikes them when they consider the possibility of divine judgment.

If you guessed “christian theocracy,” you win the kewpie doll. As to whether we should fear fundamentalist Christians — which I assume he is, since “mainline Christians” are part of “the enemy” — let me just pose a simple question. I’ve already asked what he proposes to do with all those muslims, once we’ve conquered them all — a few nations at a time? The next question is what he proposes to do with all of us secular heathens. What will become of those ” reporters, academics, artists, intellectuals, mainline Christians, government functionaries, liberal politicians, and the rest of the defenders of the sorry status quo?” Am I the one only to notice that his “enemy’s list” sounds an awful like Pol Pot’s?

It’s a lot bigger problem than he is letting on. You see, the difference between you and him is that you believe in things like the laws of nature that can be verified — and have been verified — by empirical observation. He believes in “biblical truth,” including such things as a biblical flood that would have quadrupled the present volume of the oceans with just 40 days of rain. Scientific rationalists doubt that such is possible — in fact, we’re pretty sure it isn’t. He doesn’t doubt it.

Let me humbly suggest that he is the one who is afraid of our scientific rationalism. You see, we can live with him, and in fact, pay little attention to him. He can’t live with us, because the simple physics of things like Noah’s flood are continually confound his faith. His faith is challenged by science every single day, every time he views the results of say quantum theory by looking at his computer screen. On the other hand, if it weren’t for his constant “evangelism,” our scientific rationalism would be never be challenged by his simplistic faith. In fact, I suspect that his evangelism is more for his benefit than yours. He needs to keep it up, lest the laws of nature inexorably destroy his faith in global floods, virgin births and a 6000 year old universe. He doesn’t matter to us, but we surely matter to him.

It is interesting to note that we scientific rationalists — a/k/a secular heathens — pose no threat at all to those “mainline christians” who also make his enemy’s list. Indeed, many respectable academics, journalists, and scientists are practicing “mainline christians.” Such religion practitioners simply make the assertion that the laws of nature and principles of logic were created, and that God — if one exists — operates within the framework of those laws of nature. Is that a valid assertion? I don’t know. It is outside of the realm of observable empirical data — where you are free to speculate to your heart’s content.

Meanwhile, fundamentalist know-nothings do matter to us, precisely to the extent that they seeks political power in this country to do interesting things like redefine science from the ground up — well documented in Judge Jones cogent opinion in the recent Dover School District case. If you haven’t read the opinion yet, you should, since it documents — among other things — an admission by the “intelligent design” crowd that they seek nothing short of reversal of the “scientific revolution.”

So no, I don’t make any bones about it. I certainly support his “free exercise of religion” to believe any crock of shit that suits his fancy. But I don’t want this joker anywhere near the levers of power.

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