Ganging wildly agley

Bane likes how Lileks states it, but they both fail to understand the irrelevance of their martial enthusiasm:

Look: there’s always a place for the bitchers, the carpers, the griefers, the snipers, the angry marginal sorts flinging poo from the cages of their own beliefs. But it’s not the pessimists who will save the West. It’ll be those who believe the West is worth saving, and not because it is the least horrible option whose defense must be prefaced with endless apologies, but because it really is the best hope we have. Would you rather be a libertarian in China? A Christian in Sudan? A Zoroastran in Iran? A lesbian in Saudi Arabia?

But – but we supported the Shah, and –

Yes. Interesting how supporters of the Shah didn’t storm our embassies or wage a 30 year Death-to-America campaign after we cut the Shah loose. Reset the hands. We can argue about all manner of strategies now, but there’s one division that counts more than any other, and it’s fundamental and pervasive. Pessimism or optimism. One’s very satisfying. The other’s hard. I’d say we don’t have any choice, but we do, and that choice may undo us yet.

First, citations of past misdeeds and incompetencies are not always an indictment of essential American evil, but can be relevant in terms of pointing out one reason why so few allies are willing to sign onto the Grand Crusade for Democracy. I don’t know Lilek’s position on immigration, but if he is a conventional Republican hawk, then he is Optimistic on converting the entire Muslim world through the neocons’ internally contradictory Kill-and-Seduce strategy and Pessimistic on Encouraging Emigration.

This is stupid, of course, since the latter is eminently possible whereas the former is likely to wind up with the same sort of Unintended Consequences that our installation of the Shah did. The evilness of installing the Shah is far less important than the unintended consequences of doing so. Already one of the justifications for invading Iran is the assumption of the result of American actions in Iraq.

The most important point that must be understood is that the West cannot be defended externally while it is simultaneously weakened (demographically) and colonized by non-Westerners. That’s not pessimism, that’s a provable assertion backed by millenia of historical examples. Mindless invocations of national will never win wars or stop migrations, such declarations have been made by winners and losers alike and they are particularly unconvincing when that will is clearly nonexistent.

Foolish optimists with demonstrably counterproductive strategies focused on irrelevancies won’t save the West either. And Bane, I believe you could say it better, but it wouldn’t make any difference because you’d still be avoiding the central issue.