Friday, January 26, 2007
Tortured liberals. posted by Richard SeymourAdvertising his fascist impulses, Martin Amis had this to say a while ago:
There’s a definite urge—don’t you have it?—to say, “The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.” What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation—further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan. . . . Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. . . . They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs—well, they’ve got to stop their children killing people.
You see I wasn't exaggerating when I said 'fascist impulses'. This was quoted in a friendly review by Hitchens of neocon Mark Steyn's new book, which outlines the latter's view of the 'Muslim threat'. The trouble according to Steyn is that the Muslims are breeding furiously, rapidly taking over Europe with litters of progeny even as we all lapse into a sullen anti-American slumber. Hitchens gives credence to this theory, dressing it up in the usual trashy self-exculpatio, and also quotes Sam Harris on his claim that only European fascists have the correct attitude to the Islamic threat, later adding "Not while I'm alive, they won't." Okay, now look at this:
As Martin Amis said in the essay that prompted Steyn’s contempt: “What is one to do with thoughts like these?” How does one respond, in other words, when an enemy challenges not just your cherished values but additionally forces you to examine the very assumptions that have heretofore seemed to underpin those values?
I could be persuaded to live with the idea that some viciously reactionary polemicists can espouse a chemically pure distillation of modern fascism, and still be called liberals. But it's a bit much to hear that they have been coerced into it by the "enemy". And it's altogether too much to hear these arseholes whine about it, as if they're traumatised by their own disgusting racism, as if it is merely another burden that whitey has to bear. Perhaps if these moments of introspection and narcissism actually produced a moment of self-revelation, it would be worth it.
This smoothe transition from humanitarian motives to barbaric ones reminds me of Kurtz, the vainglorious Belgian colonialist who, in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, is set to work on a report for the International Society for Suppressing Savage Customs. He at first commends a noble mission: "By the simple exercise of our will, we can exert a power for good practically unbounded" etc., etc. Marlow, reading the report, comments that the "magnificent" peroration made him "tingle with enthusiasm" right until "the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment" when "it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: 'Exterminate all the brutes!'"