A month ago I began my post about how we in the west are locked in deadly denial about the oil money that is the means by which the Caliphate Islamists keep their dreams of world Shari’a domination going with an image from my childhood. The snake devouring the toad left a very powerful impression on me. I described it this way:
I crouched down and watched for a while until the snake, with a subtle but urgent, peristaltic motion relaxed its hold instantaneously and inched up its teeth on the toad’s body- engulfing another three percent or so of its length. That gulp filled me with a claustrophobia and dread so deep that I couldn’t stand to see any more. I walked away- leaving them to their fates- one the devourer and the other the acquiescent devoured.
I’ll never forget the way the toad looked at me. It comes back to me time and again Even now, forty years later; the blank, blinking eye of the toad haunts me. Of course it is ridiculous to speculate on the motives, behavior and emotions of the toad. I don’t know why toads behave the way they do when snakes begin to swallow them. I do know that I am reminded of it very often by the behavior of my fellow human beings.
It is the look you get from people who are prepared to ignore any fact, accept any contradiction and succumb to any peril in order to support their current state of belief and comfort.
The Mainstream Media too remind me of a legion of toads. Claiming “evenhandedness” they write their niggling articles about “disproportionate responses” and “humiliation” as the teeth inch their way up the body of western civilization. Their blank refusal to report the actual content of the two warring sides, even in issues of life and death import for their own civilization, (the culture that gave them their life and the words with which they dismiss it) is so much worse than the surrender of the toad to the embrace of the snake that it beggars comparison. These people are supposed to be our eyes and ears- our warning system. Instead they are lulling and placating us even as they encourage our avowed killers.
Even in Israel, on the very most exposed outpost of the west, the place where the teeth have sunk in first, there are toads. A perfect illustration of how even a toad who is swallowed all the way up to her eyes can remain placidly, calm and self-assuredly sanguine is this interview with Amira Hass in which she tells a South American journalist:
“My hope is that my fellow countrymen Israel become aware, before it is too late, that military superiority doesn’t guarantee security or normal life in the region. Peace and Justice are not incompatible. It will be easy to establish peace in the region from the moment we abandon the policy of exclusion imposed on Palestinians ever since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. “
This blindness must, officially, make Hass the Queen of the Toads. The monumental absurdity of it has to be obvious to anyone with wit or will. It was never the policy of Israel, especially at her inception to exclude anyone. Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel. They vote and are represented in the government more freely than in any Arab-ruled country in the world. Arab Israelis who are not blinded by religious hatred and genocidal rage, prefer “living in the “Israeli hell” to “the PA’s heaven” by a large majority.
The Arab armies that assaulted Israel in the moment of her birth did not do so because of settlements, or exclusion, or right of return, they attacked because the entire Arab/Islamic world viewed itself as shamed because The Jews (who for centuries they had subjugated, murdered at will and viewed as subhuman) were being allowed to have sovereignty of a miniscule, poverty stricken strip of land that some Arabs lived on also.
In spite of the fact that Israel intended to (and did in fact) respect the property and rights of those Arab citizens who stayed, the Arab nations and local leadership insisted upon feeling humiliated. The Arabs living in Israel today have a higher standard of living than any Arabs living in the “Arab World”. They view this as a humiliation too- and it is- but not in the way they conciev it. They should be humiliated that Israel, as small and bereft of oil wealth as she is, is a far better place to live than any Arab country on earth. Hass’ sympathy with their provocative rage and humiliation tells us far more about Hass and her dear old Arabs than it does about Israel.
But the thorny crown atop Hass’s “Queen of the Toads” regalia is her absolute insistence in the equivalency of the Arab and the Israeli cause. This is how the toad pretends that everything is comparable- How it rationalizes not fighting the progress of the snake. After all if neither side is better or worse what difference does it make?
“Our particular ethnic condition, on the other hand, cannot lead us to a mass behavior that inflicts pain and sufferance to others. Self-criticism and the criticism to oppressive regimes are ancestral Jewish values of which I am proud.”
Freedom of speech is essential but it carries a grave responsibility to pursue it with discrimination and judgment. Of course, Hass is a professional critic and when she equates the Palestinian aspiration to eliminate Israel with the dream of Israel to live in peace and security, when she suggests that Israel is oppressive on anything resembling the scale of her Arab neighbors, she gives us an important insight into the paralysis of the cultural death wish.
Hass’ ideology prevents her from seeing how things really are. She thinks deeply about things but because she is a leftist, in the grip of kitsch emotionalism, relativism and cultural anomie, there are certain things she must not think. For example, she cannot even entertain the possibility that one culture is any better than the other- this would run the risk of cultural imperialism. She is prohibited from advocating for her own people for fear of chauvinism. There is a myriad of “no think” zones like these in the progressive mind. They set a whole universe of important facts off-limits to the thought process. It is a particularly dangerous form of selective blindness.
Whatever it was that so anesthetized the toad that it never struggled or panicked, is a mystery to me. Since we cannot converse with the toad, it is an “animal behavior” that can only be explained or explored to a certain degree of imprecision. The cultural paralysis of the west today, however can and must be understood.
Slowly, but in inexorable increments, a disaster is engulfing the outlying precincts of the west. The atrocity of 9/11, the car fires of France, the transit bombs of Britain and the street murders of Van Gough and Fortuyn in the Netherlands are only the most obvious signs of an agonizingly slow but apparently irresistable process, and even these are explained and excused as the blinking toads prattle about “Why they hate us” and how we are “cultural imperialists”, focusing on our small faults and equating them with the horrific intentions of our enemy.
Those few of us who have begun to awaken, to fight and to raise the alarm meet with the same blank stares and uncomprehending placidity. Often it seems the only unease we are able to raise rebounds on us. We become objects of horror- just as the toad looked at me and tried to obey its instinct to flee from its only hope to live.
I pray that it is not too late for the entire west. I know that America has a fair chance. I have the sense that Australia is waking up and has the vitality to survive. But Europe, old Europe, with her vitality crippled by her heavy, useless guilt and anger about the Holocaust and her moral energy sapped by her post-Christian relativism seems unable to see or respond to her own danger. Time is clearly short- most of Europe sits and blinks with its haunches firmly in the maw of the serpent. Some hopeful signs emerge; the election of Sarkozy, and this incident but for each one of these there are a hundred small gulps by the snake and vacant blinks by the toad. But it is Israel, on the front-line for so long, bombarded daily, weighed down by ineffective, self-absorbed leadership and lulled by the likes of Hass the Toad Queen that I fear for the most.