Friday, May 07, 2004

WHY DOES VICTOR DAVIS HANSON HATE AMERICA SO MUCH? In the course of minimizing the Iraqi POW thing, Victor Davis Hanson characterizes the Western peoples thusly:

We are "plagued with attention-deficit problems." We are "affluent, leisured and consensual," which means that we are pussies about what other people think of us ("not so much worried about being convicted of being illiberal as having the charge even raised in the first place").

When confronted with graphic war images, the "Western suburbanite" will "change channels and head to the patio, mumbling either, 'How can we fight such barbarians' or ? better yet ? 'Why would we wish to?'"

And when faced with the grotesque spectacle of American servicemen torturing prisoners, instead of shrugging it off, the West "engages not merely in much needed self-critique and scrutiny, but reaches a feeding frenzy that evolves to outright cultural cannibalism."

He also compares our "institutionalized cowardice" unfavorably to the way things are done in, say, Russia. "They really don't care much if you hate them," he swoons. "They are likely to do some pretty scary things if you press them." Nonetheless he does acknowledge that "you wouldn't really wish to emigrate there for a teaching fellowship," which I guess means that we can't expect Hanson to pull a Coriolanus and lead the admirably bloodthirsty Russkies against the weak-kneed West, though the thought seems to tempt him.

When all the Abu Ghraib stuff first came out, I figured on the "Of course this is terrible, but [insert rank neocon absurdity here]" responses, and even the "Of course this is terrible, but it's all the liberals' fault" angle. But this "It's not terrible at all, you Westerners are like-a de woman" thing is more what I'd expect from a secondary villain in an Indiana Jones movies than from a pundit. Is this how far we've sunk? Oh, much lower than this, for sure, but let's not tempt the blues on such a sunny day...

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