Like President Bush at his best, Tiny is not afraid to express her feelings. Above in a post-catnip stupor at the base of Goomp's scratching post over the weekend, she let it all hang out.
"What we ought to have learned from the terror attacks of September 11th and subsequent events is that multiculturalism has sapped our will to fight back and thus to survive," said James Bowman -- American editor of The Times Literary Supplement and author of Honor: A History -- in a recent NRO interview with Christina Hoff Sommers, putting his finger on exactly what's wrong with our "nuanced" fellow citizens of the left who've lost their nerve and dare not call a spade a spade:
If American patriotism has to be expressed at the expense of non-Americans, even non-Americans who want to kill us simply for being Americans, we are ashamed to express it.
Of course not ALL of us are ashamed to express it. "If you want to impress an honor culture, try a touch of Texas 'swagger,'" wrote Bowman -- who blogs here -- in the Washington Times the other day. Listen to a bit of what he has to say about the President's toe-curling p.c. "admission" last May that he had been wrong to use "cowboy" expressions like "bring it on" to taunt the enemy:
The offending remarks that the president now professes to regret were calculated for their effect on the enemy, but their collateral effect was deeply to offend the media.
Now he says that "I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted." What he doesn't say is that the main parts of the world where it was misinterpreted were New York and Washington and London [Don't you LOVE it?], where the educated elites think such remarks encouraged the insurgency in Iraq.
But in the Arab honor culture, they were much likelier to have been interpreted, correctly, as a warning and an assurance of U.S. resolve. Mr. Bush's kind of masculine vaunting behavior had to have been well understood as part of the age-old rituals of fighting. Like a boxer making the "come here" gesture in the ring, Mr. Bush was saying in effect: "I'm not afraid of you. Hit me with your best shot and I'll still defeat you."
Honor-code dynamics -- the Darwinially driven dynamics of bonding within groups through honor codes among one's chosen peers, as explicated in Peter Rowbotham's "The Importance of Being Noticed" -- are, of course, the great unifying theme of this blog. Educated elites' honor codes are "mostly useless in terms of their survival value," Bowman elucidates:
When an honor culture breaks down, honor itself doesn’t simply cease to exist. Rather it is transmuted into other forms, though forms which are mostly useless in terms of their survival value. One such alternative to traditional honor culture is to be found in the exaltation of victimhood . . . the decline of traditional honor proceeds pari passu with the loss of national identity and finally even the will to survive as an identifiable people distinct from those who would destroy that identity.
Eurabia's creeping dhimmitude -- itself on many levels an honor challenge to American hegemony -- comes to mind and reverberates as "world opinion" weeps and moans about Israel's "disproportionate" military response to existential threats from certified victim groups:
To deflate American power and assure themselves a steady supply of oil, European leaders accepted "the traditional cultural baggage of Arab societies, with its anti-Christian and anti-Jewish prejudices and its hostility against Israel and the West." In exchange for markets in the Islamic world, Europe turned its back on its Judeo-Christian heritage and set the stage for its own Islamization.
"The jihadists who fight us today belong to a primitive honor culture and hold us in contempt, partly because we have abandoned our own [honor culture]," summarizes the Bowman blurb at AEI, where you can listen online to that book forum. Adds Bowman himself in a recent FrontPage interview with Jamie Glazov:
The point remains, however, that Saddam was unquestionably weaker than U.S. and Western intelligence thought he was and, I believe, that the reason for this misapprehension [about the status of his WMDs] was our failure to understand the imperative of the Arab honor culture, like other honor cultures, to hide weaknesses and wear the mask both of fearlessness and of fearsomeness.
But not all Westerners are held in contempt by jihadists. Dr. Sanity explains:
Isn't it interesting that Hezbollah is suddenly willing to talk? After all their huffing and puffing of the last week? Isn't it interesting that Hamas is ready to talk, after all their posturing and certainty of victory? What's happening? I suspect that the leadership of both terrorist organizations are really confused right now.
Every time they behaved this way before, it led to simultaneously enhancing their eternal victimhood, and that, in turn inevitably led -- not to a victory; but it certainly never led to defeat, and it always improved both their status in the world as well as their fortunes.
Doesn't look like that's gonna happen this time. Enough momentum has been generated by the Bush policies in the Middle East to preclude yet another award for victimhood.