Saturday, December 11, 2004

Are the Dutch Ents?

Victor Davis Hanson thinks there's a chance we are:
One of the many wondrous peoples that poured forth from the rich imagination of the late J. R. R. Tolkien were the Ents. These tree-like creatures, agonizingly slow and covered with mossy bark, nursed themselves on tales of past glory while their numbers dwindled in their isolation. Unable to reproduce themselves or to fathom the evil outside their peaceful forest — and careful to keep to themselves and avoid reacting to provocation of the tree-cutters and forest burners — they assumed they would be given a pass from the upheavals of Middle Earth.

But with the sudden arrival of two volatile hobbits, the nearby evils of timber-cutting, industrial devilry, and mass murder became too much for the Ents to stomach. They finally "wake up" (literally). Then they go on the offensive — and are amazed at the power they still wield in destroying Saruman's empire.
I am somewhat of a Tolkien buff. Hanson's characterization of the Ents is fairly accurate.
The Ents were also very wise, powerful ancient creatures, immortal, guardians of the trees. In that sense, the Dutch (or any other Europeans) are very unlike Ents.

But I like the idea of Europeans being provoked to the point where they do remember that
...the Western military tradition is European. Today the continent is unarmed and weak, but deep within its collective mind and spirit still reside the ability to field technologically sophisticated and highly disciplined forces — if it were ever to really feel threatened.
We ARE threatened. We just refuse to acknowledge it. Of course Islam is not a serious enemy, IF Europe would just decide to recognize the fact that Islam sees the West as its enemy.
[In France] Thousands of unassimilated Muslims mock French society. Yet their fury shapes its foreign policy to the degree that Jacques Chirac sent a government plane to sweep up a dying Arafat. But then what do we expect from a country that enriched Hamas, let Mrs. Arafat spend her husband's embezzled millions under its nose, gave Khomeini the sanctuary needed to destroy Iran, sold a nuclear reactor to Saddam, is at the heart of the Oil-for-Food scandal, and revs up the Muslim world against the United States?
Then Hanson makes a point that is crucial. I have been making it for years:
Only now are Europeans discovering the disturbing nature of radical Islamic extremism, which thrives not on real grievance but on perceived hurts — and the appeasement of its purported oppressors. How odd that tens of millions of Muslims flocked to Europe for its material consumption, superior standard of living, and freedom and tolerance — and then chose not merely to remain in enclaves but to romanticize all the old pathologies that they had fled from in the first place. It is almost as if the killers in Amsterdam said, "I want your cell phones, unfettered Internet access, and free-spirited girls, but hate the very system that alone can create them all. So please let me stay here to destroy what I want."
So what's Europe going to do?

Read Hanson for his thoughts on it. I think Europe may shape up yet. But it's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.


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