Satiated with Tryptophan, surrounded by the excesses of Black Friday, unable to call on enough motivation to mount the the Elliptical, the mind is forced to look outward, to the larger issues, to the scary, real world that has momentarily retreated behind our great national Holiday. Horrendous slaughter in Baghdad and in Northern Iraq, endless negotiations with the proto-nuclear empire of Iran, the perfidy of North Korea and its diminutive tyrant, news that brings a depressing familiarity to the pages of our local newspaper and our Google Reader. Numbed, almost de-sensitized by the reports of continuing horror and cruelty executed on such a broad scale by our enemies, we still retain the ability to be shocked by the recent news that nation-states are capable of directing their weapons of murder at individuals, that the eradication of principles, of states, and of peoples is not enough; lone human beings must be singled out for extermination. Pierre Gemayel shot dead in the streets of Beirut, Alexander Litvinenko poisoned to death in London. Terrorism as practiced by our enemies is not content to simply spread fear amongst the free nations of the world, it must also demonstrate that individuals with the courage to speak against their enemies are legitimate targets to be attacked at will and with impunity.
Against these dark forces are arrayed the voices of reason, speaking with the force of moral superiority and the logic of liberal thought. Against weapons like poison, car-bombs, the threat of nuclear destruction, homicide bombing grandmothers , and whatever other inventions of destruction can be devised by the evil minds of our enemy, some among us would chose to fight with our legal systems, pacifism, morality, and the deaf ear. Others, of a more forceful bent, would use our military forces…but impose such restrictive Rules of Engagement as to render our incomparable soldiers powerless to defeat an inferior collection of thugs, militia-men, and foreigners.
It is as if we have lost the will to fight, let alone win. It is as if the evolution of our value system has created such respect for individual expression, such a demand for moral equivalence, such a deconstruction of our values, as to render impotent our most precious value, the right to exist. It seems that many of us would rather die than impose our national right to exist on another culture, or another religion, or another value system. See this post by Jim Geraghty for details. What is most worrisome is that the subset of our populace that is willing to fight, and die, for our national self-interest and honor, are fighting and dying for all of us. What will we do when they are gone? Who will defend us? Who will care? And what will it say about our moral superiority that we allowed others to die for the principles we were not willing to fight for ourselves?
UPDATE: Daniel Henninger says it better.