Shadow-boxing in the dimness of a new inchoate world? 123

“We’re living through a revolutionary moment, all over the world. The world we knew and believed we understood is gone, and we don’t know where we’re headed.”

So writes Michael Ledeen at PajamasMedia. His column gives rise to question after question in our minds:

The more I look at the Oslo massacre, the more I am struck by how archaic it all is. The killer fancies himself a noble defender of a Western world that no longer exists, and has not existed, really, since the First World War destroyed it. He is the sort of fascist who believes in the myth of a Golden Age that must be restored, and vaingloriously sees himself a member of the elite chosen by history to defend the mythical West.

So what is the nature of the West that exists now? Whatever it is, is it not under attack? And if it’s under attack, how should it be defended?

He [Breivik] fancies himself a warrior fighting against two mortal enemies: “Marxism” and “Islam.” He needn’t have bothered; they both died a long time ago.

Is there not a Marxist in the White House right now, and has not his ideology brought America to economic crisis and contributed to chaos in the world?

The first was effectively demolished in the Cold War with the defeat of the Soviet Empire. Yes, there are certainly Marxists around, and even communists, but there is no longer a worldwide mass movement challenging the West in the name of dialectical materialism. Their contemporary warriors are intellectuals, not workers, and they are more often masked as liberals or moderates than openly leftist revolutionaries. That’s because there is no market for revolutionary Marxism, as Van Jones can explain to you.

No link is given to any statement by Van Jones, the Maoist who was exposed as such and (therefore?) left his White House job as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Perhaps Ledeen means that his discharge demonstrates that Marxism “has no market”.

It’s true that most Reds are Green these days, but is it not still the same old egalitarian collectivist ideology that moves their emotional bowels?

The second, “Islam,” has been moribund for centuries. Virtually all the countries calling themselves “Islamic” are failed states whose citizens are starving, whose industries are generations behind those of the contemporary West, and whose most talented young people are mostly eager, even desperate, to live and work in infidel countries. Yes, there are certainly plenty of murderous jihadis around, but although they work very hard at killing us (typically often blowing themselves up instead, or setting their own underwear on fire), they are most effective against other Muslims. Even outside the “Muslim world” — as President Obama called it during his unfortunate address in Cairo in 2009 — the hard-core pro-jihad, let’s-create-a-new-caliphate crowd visits misery on correligionaries packed into ghettos and force fed a particularly nasty version of shariah.

What of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt whose declared and practiced policy is to spread Islam world-wide, and the legitimization of that jihadist organization by Obama’s State Department now pursuing diplomatic relations with it?

And what of the growing power of Islam in Europe, with sharia recognized as a parallel legal system and the unchallenged acceptance of virtual Islamic states within the states?

Anders Breivik’s demons did not drive him to attack Muslims, although there may have been some among his victims; his targets were his own people, those he called “traitors” for betraying the mythical West to the mythical global forces of Islam and Marxism. Quite a bizarre tapestry: A fight to the death among and within three spent forces which had already died.

So there is no Islamic threat to the West? There is no Red-Green movement trying to establish world government? And no West to be threatened?

He goes on to acknowledge that all three “spent forces” still exist, still think of themselves as they once were, and fail to see the new realities in which they are struggling with ghosts.

This archaic mythology is not only Breivik’s; the Marxists and the radical Islamists embrace it just as avidly. The Marxists embrace the myth of class struggle in a Western world that is no longer capitalist and where there is no working class. The jihadis embrace the cause of holy war (no accident, the Marxists might say, that jihadis raced to take “credit” for the mayhem in the first hours) against a Western world described as Christian and Islamophobic. That, too, is an archaic remnant from a past long dead and buried, especially in Europe. The Old World is secular, and, certainly among its elites, more anti-Semitic and anti-Christian than anti-Muslim. Just look at the thoroughly disgusting remarks by the Norwegian ambassador to Israel AFTER the massacre, in which he showed greater “understanding” of Palestinians killing Jews than of a Norwegian massacring fellow countrymen.

The West no longer capitalist? In every Western country capitalism is grossly interfered with by socialist governments, but capitalism is still the only bread machine.

True the European West is no longer Christian, but it is increasingly Islamophobic, as it must be if Islamic terrorism and the jihad are working as intended. One should not judge the degree of Islamophobia by how many attacks are made on Muslims. Even mockery and criticism of Islam are restrained, because Islam’s campaign of intimidation has worked. Europe has been largely dhimmified, and that in itself is proof that Islam is feared.

Sure the Marxists long since abandoned the proletariat as their sentimental pretext for revolution, but they substituted the Third World, those more distant “victims” of capitalism, and of “colonialism” and “imperialism”. They still aim to impose their egalitarian and collectivist tyranny on the rest of us, and with the trumped-up panic of the environmental movement have come far too close to achieving their goal. The threat still hangs over us.

The new Norwegian ambassador to Israel did indeed imply that terrorism is not bad when used by Hamas against Israelis, only when it is used by Breivik against Norwegian leftists. He must be a rather stupid man.

It is thoroughly understandable, then, that some have responded to the Norwegian mass murder with myths of their own, beginning with the fable that Breivik is the tip of a very large iceberg, that includes not only deranged would-be killers but also writers and politicians. Thus they conjure up yet another phantasmagorical mass movement — a vast conspiracy with countless followers, some hidden, others public. There is no such movement. Yes, there are crazy people who think they are fighters in the great cataclysmic struggle of the days of the Last Judgment … But I doubt there are enough of them to feed more than a handful of Knights Templar, let alone a full-fledged political movement.

No argument there.

He concludes:

We’re living through a revolutionary moment, all over the world. The world we knew and believed we understood is gone, and we don’t know where we’re headed. No wonder chaos disrupts orderly thought, and mythology replaces common sense.

Are our thoughts so chaotic that we deceive ourselves when we think of Marxism (in its new green clothes) and Islam as real enemies?

Is it a myth that capitalism works, or that the individual freedom on which it depends is worth fighting for?

Are we so bewildered that we cannot apply common-sense lessons from the past to our present predicaments?

Even if Michael Ledeen is right and we are shadow-boxing in the dimness of a new inchoate world, what choice do we have but to battle the enemies we perceive, and cling to the certainties we imagine we possess?