Doing the Enemy's Work
The case of the two Fox News journalists, held hostage in Gaza, is worth dwelling upon. They were released after their captors had made tapes of them dressed as Arabs and announcing they had changed their names and converted to Islam.
Lately I have been looking at the large -- at how the West is proving unable to cope with a threat from a fanatical Islamic movement, that it ought to be able to snuff out with fair ease. But the large is often most visible in the small.
The degree to which our starch is awash is exhibited in the behaviour of so many of our captives, but especially in these two. They were told to convert to Islam under implicit threat (blindfolded and hand-tied, they could not judge what threat), and agreed to make the propaganda broadcasts to guarantee their own safety. That much we can understand, as conventional cowardice. (Understand; not forgive.) But it is obvious from their later statements that they never thought twice; that they could see nothing wrong in serving the enemy, so long as it meant they'd be safe.''
Warren writes about the Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi, who bravely refused to do his Moslem captors' bidding, and instead, died defiantly, saying 'This is how an Italian dies!' The Moslems who killed him hoped that they could display his humiliation and death to the infidel world, and thus demoralize and terrorize us. Quattrochi deprived them of that opportunity; his death might inspire other Westerners to defy the jihadists. The surviving Italian hostages, who let themselves be degraded and obeyed their captors' commands, inspired no one, in my opinion. While yes, we can understand their desire to survive, is their subservient behavior a good portent for the West's chances in the struggle against Islam? Do we want neighbors and 'leaders' who will fold like cheap tents in the face of Mohammedan threats, just for the sake of physical survival?
There's an oft-quoted saying which is often repeated among Americans. The source is unknown, but the proverb says 'Better to die on your feet than live on your knees' . Our forefathers must certainly have believed that saying, because many of them gave their lives rather than betray their faith, their principles, their country, or their countrymen. Many more were willing to risk their lives and endure terrible hardships and tortures for what they believed in and loved, for their homes, their families, and for their honor.
But how many today have that kind of courage and integrity? Judging by the actions of the Fox journalists, and the public responses to the story, apparently not many. Now it could be said that the Fox newsmen are not typical; after all, most media people are leftist ideologues; many of them are sympathizers with Islam and especially with the 'palestinian people' and cause. Maybe Wiig and Centanni are typical only of journalists, not of Westerners in general. I would accept that, if only the response to this story were not so cynical.
Many of the comments I've encountered on this story were along the lines, of 'oh well, they just did what we all would do if we had a gun to our heads', or 'I would do the same; you gotta do what you gotta do to stay alive'. Anyone who differed with these cynics was answered with phrases like 'anybody who says they would die is lying' or 'you don't know what you would do in their place; stop judging those guys.'
As always, being 'judgmental' is the ultimate crime in our morally flaccid, relativistic society.
Many of the people who defend the 'conversion to Islam' are people who seem to believe that there is no real right or wrong in a situation like this: whatever one needs to do to survive is A-OK. Even converting to a vile cult that wants to destroy or enslave us would be all right, because it would just be a ploy to survive. 'You could just say the words, you wouldn't have to mean what you said.' So, if Centanni and Wiig had their fingers crossed when they 'converted' to Islam then it doesn't count.
I've even heard Christians say that 'God will understand if I had to convert in order to live; he knows I wouldn't mean it.' This kind of thinking from a Christian just stuns me. I expect cynical pragmatism, the mantra of 'whatever works', from an atheist or a liberal or a nihilist, but from a Christian? I suppose in the minds of these 'Christians', the martyrs of old, including the apostles, were fools because they wouldn't just 'say a few words' and pretend to convert to save their lives.
Quite a few Americans, whether they are familiar with their genealogy or not, are descendants of French Huguenots. This is especially true of many Southern families, who have some Huguenot ancestors mixed among their otherwise Anglo-Celtic forebears. Our Huguenot forefathers were driven out of France, where many of them were martyred for their Protestant faith. Even when they came seeking freedom of worship in the New World, some met with death, as in the story of La Caroline, in Florida, where the Spanish beheaded hundreds of Huguenots who would not recant their faith. Jean Ribault, who was the leader of the ill-fated colony, was asked to recant his faith and was slain after saying he would not. Now if Ribault and the other victims had just said 'a few words' -- after all, they didn't have to mean it -- they could have lived, but they were 'fools'.
Such is the thinking of many of today's Westerners.
For a sobering reminder of the difference between today's postmodern Westerners, consider this piece by James S. Robbins, describing Fabrizio Quattrocchi, alongside some examples of bravery in our American past, such as William Logan Crittenden, executed in Havana in 1851.
Crittenden was a West Point graduate, a soldier. Granted, we don't expect journalists to behave with the bravery and discipline of a soldier, but then again, Fabrizio Quattrocchi was 'just' a baker, who was in Iraq as a security guard. Yet he showed extraordinary courage in the face of death.
Many 'conservatives' love to sneer at the French, calling them 'surrender monkeys', but the fact is, we have not a few of those in our country too: the people who believe that saving one's neck is the highest good, even if it means selling out one's principles, sacrificing one's honor, or collaborating with a sworn enemy. Defenders of the journalists (whose journalistic integrity and objectivity are now compromised hopelessly, by the way) will say I am condemning them. I am condemning, rather, the mindset that says there is nothing worth fighting for and yes, even dying for, as Jean Ribault did back in 16th century Florida, and as Fabrizio Quattrocchi did in our time. To the extent that we abandon this stoic attitude, we are easy prey for the jihadists.
David Warren is right: there are willing accomplices of the jihadists: the effete, jaded types who have nothing which they are willing to fight to defend, and nothing they treasure enough to die for.
Is it cowardice? Nihilism? Apathy? Sloth? Loss of faith in God, and in ourselves?
Winston Churchill said, in writing about his own country,
If we lose faith in ourselves, in our capacity to guide and govern, if we lose our will to live, then indeed our story is told.'