With the Israelis still sifting through the rubble looking for victims of Hamas’s savage attack, the global left has responded by backing the Hamas killers. In so doing they have stepped out from behind the mask to show their true colors. In some cases they have backtracked under withering criticism, but that just represented a tactical retreat. It doesn’t change the underlying dynamic.
Across the globe, but especially in the United States, the justifications of the violence often take the form of “putting the violence in context” (which invariably means placing at least some if not all of the blame on Israel). Incredibly enough, a not inconsiderable number of people are actually cheering on the wholesale murder of civilians, including children, by Hamas.
The proffered justifications include the usual rhetoric, adjusted for the current situation. Hamas, we are told, has justifiably responded to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian homeland; it is all part of the decolonization effort, which seeks to overthrow the remaining vestiges of Western neoliberalism. What we really need is an immediate cease fire (by Israel of course) and a return to peace negotiations to secure a Palestinian state.
And who, exactly, are the people who are either naive enough or cynical enough to believe, or pretend to believe, all that? Who, for example, seriously believes that, among other things, murdering 4-year olds is a justifiable element of a so-called decolonization effort?
Well, let’s see. Historically speaking, King Herod nicely fits the bill. And speaking of mass murderers we have Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Benito Mussolini, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Pol Pot among others. On a more contemporary note, there is Vladimir Putin; Xi Jinping; Kim Jong Un; Ali Khamenie and Bashar-Al-Assad to name but a few.
So we might ask what these figures have in common, other than the admiration of quite a few American students at elite universities. Actually there is a very important trait that they share with American radicals. Without exception, they know (or knew) what’s best for you. To a man they were collectivist social engineers looking to create the “New Man” of the future. And naturally enough, they all wanted their utopian plans directed by a central administration that they controlled.
This is the basis of the ideology that elite universities, the main stream press, left wing think tanks and NGOs are selling in their naiveté. One would hope that the savagery of the Hamas attacks, to say nothing of the implicit backing for them by the likes of Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria and China among others would give them pause for thought.
But thought has little to do with it. President Biden has already declared that while Hamas must be eliminated, “there must be a path to a Palestinian state.” As if the lack of a Palestinian state is why Hamas decided to slaughter innocents. As if Hezbollah wasn’t at the ready in the north. As if Iran wasn’t the puppet master behind all this. And as if the ultimate target of the fanatics wasn’t the United States, AKA “The Great Satan”.
There should be no doubt that antisemitism is a driving force in this, but antisemitism is a particular variety of an evil whose collectivist roots are currently in vogue. It is a now ascendant collectivist, totalitarian ideology. These ideologies may vary in their particulars from time to time, and place to place, but in essence they are the same. They all view man through the lens of class, whether class is defined as race, religion, social status, sex, genes or whatever else they dream up next. None of them think of men as individuals with agency; none believe that natural rights adhere to individuals; none care about freedom, property rights or the rule of law. What dominates is the will to power.
America must confront the reality that we are in a civilizational war. The attack on Israel is but one front in that war. If a Liberal global order is to prevail, America must rapidly build up its defense capabilities; instill fear in its enemies; dismantle the unaccountable bureaucracy of the welfare state bureaucracy and stress individual choice, rights and responsibilities. In other words, get back to basics.
The reason is simple. In a globalized world political economy, merits aside (and they are nil) it is simply impossible to maintain an “America First” Donald Trump style isolationism without being a hostage to events. The world needs a Liberal hegemon to defend its civilizational values, by force if necessary. And the only candidate capable bearing that burden is America.
While in the short run it will be necessary to build up our defense capabilities, in the longer run it will be necessary to alter the suicidal culture Western elites have (perhaps unwittingly) adopted. That is a tall order.
Students at elite universities, for instance, are routinely described as highly educated. But for the most part they are not even close to being highly educated. Indoctrinated is more like it. A better description would be people who attend brand name schools that are important shapers of the culture. Which is one reason why it will be so difficult to reform our institutions.
But reformed they must be if a culture of liberty is to be reawakened. Elite institutions have been captured by collectivist fanatics who wish to silence opposition—in the name of democracy no less. Not only do these institutions maintain a cultural monopoly, their influence ripples out to other institutions. A challenge to that order is long overdue.
Fortunately, some challengers are on the way. A new private school, the University of Austin, has been proposed to do just that. On its roster it includes Larry Summers, Glen Loury, Jonathan Haidt, Arther Brooks and a whole host of academic luminaries. It is also the case that ever since the Covid pandemic, public schools have been losing students to private schools, thereby weakening the educational establishment’s grip on the system. Further, despite fierce opposition from teachers’ unions, 12 states now have full school choice programs; twenty one states have partial school choice programs.
A return to an emphasis on the importance of the individual; of natural rights and responsibilities and the search for truth would be just what the doctor ordered.
It will be a long and arduous path; success is by no means guaranteed. But there are glimmers of hope.