I generally dislike sports analogies. They are often overblown and the context of sports is much simpler that real life. But with The Super Bowl coming up and The Perfect Season Patriots looking like they will soon rewrite football history, there is a subtle lesson to be learned from some of the “sports talk” we are hearing.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichik has always been a controversial head coach but this year the controversy has come in waves all season long. He has long been an object of media and fan fascination often called a genius and sometimes called obsessed, cold, ruthless and even evil, but this year the debate has been fueled by forces larger than usual.
From the ‘tape-gate” scandal in the first game of the season to the whining about “running up the score”, the yapping dogs of envy and the devious media jackals that feed on the scraps left by big meat-eaters like Bill and this year’s undefeated Patriots have been trying to diminish his achievements and draw attention to themselves. They alternately, cluck their tongues disapprovingly and rail disingenuously about rules and moral issues that in the end have played no discernable role in this triumphal season. There has even a very earnest debate over whether Belichik deserves to be the “Coach of the Year”.
There is more to this debate than meets the eye. A large part of the animus against him, of course, is the anti-competitive angst of the fans of other teams who would like to find a way of rationalizing their teams as the “better” teams. But, beyond that, I think Mr Belichik is disliked in so public a way because he is very Incorrect Politically.
Here are some of the things about him that are incorrect:
He believes in keeping score.
He does not pander to the press.
He does not mince words.
He wants to win every time he competes.
He shows disregard for the feelings of opposing players and fans.
He thinks winning is more important than the emotions of his players.
He does not allow his own emotion to cloud his judgment.
He is resourceful, self-reliant and self-confident.
He is notorious for never being satisfied just to win- he wants to use it as an opportunity to assure continued winning.
He is famous for being so diligent and dedicated that he simply out-works all opposing coaches.
He knows the difference between inventive strategy and cheating and is not afraid to walk the thin line between them to secure victory.
When he is judged wrong he takes his penalty without complaint.
He is focused on winning because he knows it’s better than losing.
He knows the difference between a reason and an excuse.
He does not want to give in to “you can’t win them all”.
The thing that most offends the general sensibilities of people who don’t understand Belichik is the way he responds to winning. The Tuesday after a win he always has an even longer list of negative notes and film clips of mistakes and miscues to go over with the players than after a loss. This is looked on with a mixture of horror and amusement by much of the press and the general public. There are those who seem to believe that with a great group of individual athletes to lead and a winning system, Belichik might be better advised to celebrate a little longer and give his players a bit more of a reward. But Belichik knows that that is not how perfect seasons happen.
I heard John Madden (the former coach turned broadcaster) on the radio last Sunday morning. He was talking about how the most successful coaches have always been the kind of person who never rests on success. They are driven toward perfection. They are winners.
Madden was talking about the amused, even condescending, attitude with which many people, even inside football respectfully deride such behavior. But he defended it. He explained it this way, he said;
“Whatever you let go when you’re winning, you will have to live with when you are losing.”
I knew just what he meant.
A top flight coach realizes that if he can see it on the film then the opposing coach can see it too. When, for example, a linebacker habitually does not take responsibility for defending against the run in a particular formation, he is leaving his team defenseless against that threat. Sooner or later an opposing coach will design a running play to take advantage of him. The victorious team may think they will be winning forever but the coach knows better. If the coach does not correct that lapse now, he will, in the future, have to live with the result on a day when the team is not winning.
It has become a habit for us in the West to assume that we will be winning forever. We have, after all, dominated the civilized world for several centuries. By comparison the ‘07-‘08 Patriots are a flash in the pan. So it is understandable if not forgivable if we have begun to lose sight of what makes western civilization great.
Having our way so habitually has even made us a little shame-faced about it. We try very hard not to rub it in- not to appear to be “running up the score” on the opposition. In fact, we invented multiculturalism so that we could pretend that there really is no competition- that we are all just the same as everyone else and that there is no reason why any other culture should feel anymore threatened by us than we do of them.
The problem is that our perspective has become warped. We are not afraid of them because we have been on such a long winning streak. They hate us for our success and power- and they despise our smarmy, condescending, back-handedly racist multiculturalism.
At the same time, non western challengers are rising up in the Islamic world and Asia who do not share our values and our scruples. We don’t believe it, but they have no interest in becoming like us. We are so busy trying to console them for being so backward that we cannot comprehend that they don’t see it that way.
Nobody in the west can see this as clearly as someone from the outside. Alexander Solzhenitsyn saw it. In his 1978 commencement speech at Harvard (Hat tip to Jeremayakovka) he delivered a very clear and ominous notice to the western world about this blindness. He said:
“But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that the vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems, which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented (by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity and incomprehension) from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction.”
Solzhenitsyn was viewed as a crank back then. I remember the polite but troubled way in which most reviewers of that speech backed away from his ideas. They did not engage his observations because they could not find the words to do so in their politically correct vocabulary. And back then the vocabulary was so much broader and unconstrained than it is today. The Correctness mafia has been picking off words and ideas progressively and spreading the blankness of omerta wider and wider.
We actually have become so polite about it that we feel that discussing those things that make Western Civilization better than (or preferable to) other cultures (let alone the measures that might be necessary to defend the west) in public constitute some kind of “bad form”. We even have whole sets of words and ideas that we refuse to use because they sound too harsh, too male dominated, too power oriented, too insensitive or judgmental. This is what is called Political Correctness and if we could put a good coach in charge, a geopolitical Belichik or an American Solzhenitsyn, he would put a stop to it before another game went by.
Just as the small and overly legally-minded have continued caviling about Bill Belichik’s tape-gate peccadillo and crying that it should invalidate his body of work, so the tiny minds and shriveled souls of the progressive wing and their surrogates in the media have been harping on Abu-Ghraib, Guantanamo, inflated collateral casualty figures and fabricated public-relations incidents like al Durah, Jenin, Gaza Beach and Qana and implying that they make us, “no better than” those who want to destroy us.
Political Correctness is Unilateral Cultural Disarmament. As bad as it is here in the U.S. it is even worse in Israel. In December Caroline Glick wrote about the aftermath of the Lebanon War:
“This week the IDF distributed ribbons to its soldiers and officers for their service in the war with Hizbullah in 2006. The ribbons were a source of embarrassment. Soldiers and officers, who like the general public view the war as Israel's greatest military defeat, are loath to pin them on their uniforms.
While the soldiers and general public view the war as a failure, one sector of Israeli society sees the war as a great triumph. For Israel's legal establishment, the war was a great victory. It was a war in which its members asserted their dominance over Israel's political and military leadership.
The legal establishment's ardor for the Second Lebanon War was exposed on Tuesday with the publication of the testimonies of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and Military Advocate-General Avichai Mandelblit before the Winograd Committee which the Olmert government established to research the war's failures. In their testimonies both men shared their perception of the war as a great victory of lawyers in their campaign to "lawyerize" - or assert their control - over Israeli society.
In his opening statement, Mazuz extolled the war as "the most 'lawyerly' in the history of the State of Israel, and perhaps ever." He explained, "The process didn't begin in Lebanon 2006. It… is a gradual process of 'lawyerizing' life in Israel."
Mazuz responded negatively to the question of whether legal considerations superseded operational and strategic goals during the war. He claimed that the government and the IDF restricted their plans from the beginning to conform with perceived legal restrictions.
As he put it, that preemptive limitation of goals was "the result of a sort of education and internalization that have taken place over the years. I remember periods where there was a great deal of friction with the senior military level regarding what is allowed and what is prohibited. But today I think that there is more or less an understanding of the rules of the game and I can't identify any confrontation… or … demands to 'Let the IDF win.'"
Solzhenitsyn predicted we would come to this in the west:
“I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale than the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses. And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure.”
The very idea that a nation fighting for its life could be saddling its combat units with the legal equivalent of the Communist “political officers” who used to be assigned to every unit of the Soviet armed forces is hard to believe. Israel is clearly on the threshold of discovering the point at which she can no longer live with all of goofy politically correct baggage that the west has loaded onto the back of her spectacularly successful society. She is, as is the rest of western civilization, is being challenged now by a new kind of enemy. Funded by torrents of petrodollars, allowed to breed uninhibited by any effective counter-measures and armed with the power of darkness and light through it’s control of our energy supply, this enemy has been studying our films. They know our weaknesses better than we do.
Israel and all of western civilization must face the fact that millions of us, including most of the most intelligent, powerful and affluent of us have already lain down our arms in this struggle. We refuse to talk about a proven threat despite the proof (9/11, Madrid, London, Beslan, Bali, etc…). Or we shrug and concede that we may, in fact, deserve the death with which we are threatened (viz. Vanessa Redgrave, Cindy Sheehan, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Sean Penn, Harry Reid, etc…). Some of us even accede that we should be ashamed to resist. We need to find ways to take back our city walls, to hold back the horde at the gate and to find weapons and rearm ourselves before we are conquered in a war whose existence we still refuse to even acknowledge.
There is yet some faint hope.
Back on December 27 I saw, on Little Green Footballs, a snip of an article by Andrew C. McCarthy who is director of the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The National Review Online article is clear and comprehensive and you should read it in full but I’ll shorten up the LGF quote to the most important paragraph:
“But we should at least stop fooling ourselves. Jihadists are not going to be wished away, rule-of-lawed into submission, or democratized out of existence. If you really want democracy and the rule of law in places like Pakistan, you need to kill the jihadists first. Or they’ll kill you, just like, today, they killed Benazir Bhutto.”
You read it right. He said “kill”. A very incorrect word, that. In spite of the prejudice in our public life that “you can’t say that” he said it.
It is true. A lot of people have already been killed and many more are going to get killed and we are going to have to learn to talk and think about the prospect of the killing sooner or later. The sooner we do, the better off we will be. We need to be able to talk about it so that we can figure out how to do it with the minimum number of deaths and to make sure that the deaths that do happen, happen to them and not us.
“Surely, there must be another way”, the Political Correctness mafia tell us- “War is not the answer” they say. If you say that war is not the answer to any question, that means you have refused to understand the question.
Solzhenitsyn, our friendly outsider, says that we do not comprehend the danger we face because we think that there will be a point of convergence where all other cultures (he calls them worlds) will overcome their backwardness and corruption and begin to think and act like us…
“…It is a soothing theory which overlooks the fact that these worlds are not at all developing into similarity. Neither one can be transformed into the other without the use of violence.”
Last April I used a lot more words to say what amounts to the same thing: In my series debunking the American Indian Analogy I wrote,
One of the two cultures, Islam or The West, must conquer the other and, if the end of the conquest is to be humane, there must be a clear winner. Someone has to admit they have been conquered. At the end of the Indian wars there were many moments of despair, bitterness and regret which still haunt America. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe gave voice to the Indian defeat in a speech that is both dignified and noble:
"Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
It took several generations a profound transformation of the environment (including the slaughter of the buffalo herds) and much bloodshed to force that speech out of an Indian.
If, as seems to be the case, we cannot get the Calphatists to make that same transition peacefully, we will have to reduce them by some combination of that same kind of starvation and attrition. We will have to make them capitulate the way we did with Chief Joseph.
The good news is that we still have enough power and resources to protect ourselves, if we can find the will, there are a number of comparatively humane and easy ways to render them harmless. One that appeals to me because it addresses the source of their power most directly and would not damage the environment or kill large numbers of them to implement this solution, is to deprive them of the oil money. Without that vast river of cash to float on, they would be on a very short and precipitous downhill slide back to the pit of atavistic oblivion that their honor/shame based culture.
“No blood for oil”, you say? I have already written about that little Correctoid. What do you think 9/11 is? What do you think every honor killing of a young woman in western countries is? How about the slaughter of innocents in Israel? Its all blood for oil.
We must learn how to discriminate among the peoples of the earth. Who shares our cultural aspirations? Who are our cultural equals and who must we help by leading them through the gateways to equality? And who (if they, by their dedication to our destruction, insist) must we conduct, humanely (that is with the least number of collateral casualties)and swiftly as possible, to The Pearly Gates.
Just so there is no room for misunderstanding here, let me say this explicitly, I leave it open that it is possible that America did not have to kill all of the Indians who were killed in the development of the continent. It is probable that a better understanding of the cultural issues at stake and a better grasp of the possible strategies might have brought about a solution to the problem without as much carnage as did happen. No one (at least no one with any power to change the course of events) was able to see and verbalize that the Indians and their way of life were being replaced by the leading edge of western civilization. If they had been able to frame the situation that way, the whole thing might have been handled with out the wasteful and disillusioning hypocrisy of treaties that promised autonomy and coexistence.
Likewise, I am not saying we have to kill a large number of Muslims. It might only be necessary to kill a few- the few that are actively trying to kill us. The fact is, though, that our current approach is without doubt the worst way to handle the problem and will end up costing more in suffering and blood than a more frank and aggressive tack. We must acknowledge that they do not consider us fully human, and that many of them take it as their sacred responsibility to either make us full humans in their eyes by converting us to their primitive and imbecilicly intolerant cult or KILL us.
They will continue killing us and forcing us to kill them until we solve the problem in some way and that solution will be impossible if our rules of discourse continue to outlaw the vocabulary to describe the problem and the concepts that define it.
One thing is for sure, we have to neutralize the oil problem one way or another. After all, before the oil money started to pour into the shabby remnant of the Caliphate after World War II it had been shriveling on the vine for five centuries- dying of its own incompetence ( see here and here).
Or maybe we can either invent a replacement for oil or, perhaps just take it away from them. How we do it is debatable but unless we are able to speak frankly about it and consider the alternatives, we will continue to pretend it’s not really a problem until the Christians and Jews among us are all reduced to dhimmi status and the rest are forced to become Muslims and head the call to prayers five times a day
I’m not necessarily advocating that we take and hold the oil fields, nor am I saying we must invade Iran next. I am merely saying that we have no idea what we can do to stop being picked off a few (or a few dozen or a few thousand) at a time. We have not yet made the commitment to define and solve the problem as it exists. As a result we are forced to make concessions to a parasitic cultural disease. Caliphate Islam is attempting to burrow into and control the heart and mind of Western Civilization. Unless we can reclaim the vocabulary with which to identify and talk about it, we are at its mercy. The only thing standing in our way is our misunderstanding of our own principals.
I remember my step-daughter, at fifteen years old, cornering me after having been denied a bid to attend a "rave" in another state with her seventeen year old boyfriend. She had argued all of the familiar teenage arguments about trust (how can you ever trust me if you don't give me a chance to prove that I can be trusted? etc...) she had made her bid for respect (I'm not a baby anymore, you treat me like a child, etc..,) and she let us know how entirely unreasonable our position was (every other kid I know is going, etc...,) and her mother and I had been united in telling her that it was inappropriate and wasn’t going to happen.
After a while, her mother left the house and she approached me from behind as I typed. "Yaacov", she said, "do you consider me an equal?" With only a moment’s hesitation I recognized the attack. She was employing the fiendishly manipulative adolescent tactic of using an over-simplified version of one's deeply cherished principals to coerce you to give them what they want. Just like a besieged parent dealing with a sociopath (that's what teenagers are) we in the civilized world have to look the rest of the world and tell them "No, you are not yet fully equal. You have the rights but you are not up to the responsibilities that the rights require. Until you are experienced and mature enough that you will not kill yourself and others, I'll have to help you decide these things."
It is a fatal mistake to take "All Men are Created Equal" too literally. This allows the radical left, and the Caliphateists, to torment them by advocating premature equality. There must be a lower limit of civic ability below which a population cannot be trusted to act in their own best interest. The right to self-determination may be inalienable but THE ABILITY to participate in a culture that allows such freedom has to be affected by education, experience and culture. Multiculturalists will ask, “Who are we to pass judgment on another culture?” If the criteria are not obvious enough, I’ll mention a few:
Freedom of speechThere are more but those will do for a start. If we could just stop pretending that we are all the same and put a real effort into understanding which countries have those attributes and which do not, we could begin to understand who our enemies are and why. The multicultural, politically correct elite want to prevent that discussion. This is how multiculturalism strikes at the heart of western democracy- it insists that the unqualified, the unwilling and the unready nations should never be identified by those characteristics. As a result, they are afforded the same access, independence and respect as the most culturally advanced.
Freedom of religion
Freedom of association
Legal, social and economic equality for Women
Thus, the women, children and non-Muslims of those countries suffer murder, beatings, and all manner of abuse and humiliation while the US who first put those ideals into words for the rest of the world is mocked and Israel who scrupulously reigns in her own power and embodies the finest instincts of the west is branded a pariah.
In the event that the United States continues to dither away our waning oppotunity to reverse the direction of this threat, Israel has to begin to throw off its lawyers and resurrect her self-defence. Seraphic Secret had a very good post last week about the requirements for that effort. Here is part of it:
“Time is running out for Israel. If she doesn't get serious about the jihadist threat, I fear for her existence. Here then our recommendations for defeating the Arab/Muslim threat.
1. Jews have the right to live anywhere in the world. Especially in Israel, the Jewish State.
2. Appeasement leads to further aggression on the part of Israel's enemies.
3. There is no peace process; there is a process of war.
4. Israel should cut off all supplies of power and fuel to Gaza.
5. Israel should cease all negotiations with the Arabs. There's nothing to talk about. We have legitimized these genocidal killers far too long.
6. Israel should declare Israel's boundaries; the Arabs can sink or swim.
7. Israel should announce that the next rocket that comes from Gaza will be met with an overwhelming barrage against the infrastructure of Hamas.
8. If the rockets from Gaza continue, Israel should announce that the next attacks will be directed at the civilian population of Gaza.
9. Israel must carry through on these threats. Further: all terrorist attacks must be met with disproportionate responses.
10. Israel must never trade land for promises of peace.”
Here is the text of a comment I left on that Seraphic Secret post:
Jews must stop acting as though we live at the sufferance of others. May I presume to add another point? Since the Arabs seem to value their holy sites much more than their children, and in the light of their desecration of all Jewish holy sites within their reach, I have long thought that Israel should simply tell them that every Qassam that falls on Israeli soil will cause a brick to be removed from the Al Aqsa Mosque. Every Israeli murdered by Qassams, Katushas, drive-bys or suicide killers would be worth a wall. A mass killing should equal a plastique charge. When the Al Aqsa excrescence has been eradicated from our Temple Mount there will be other targets. In fact, if I were free to make policy, I might just tell them that if Israel is attacked militarily, the next time you want to make a pilgrimage to visit the Ka’ba you’d better plan to take a Geiger Counter and a very long rappelling rope. Of course we can afford to do the honorable thing and give them a day’s notice before launch…
Its not just Jews- Western Civilization must stop behaving as if we don't feel entitled to live unless every other culture wants to be like us. We have to understand that life is always and always has been a competition for survival. If we want our children and our values to survive, it is time to act while we are still able to win easily.