Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Celebrating its 17th birthday in 1961, Seventeen magazine triumphantly announced that it had given “stature” and “a sense of identity, purpose, and belonging” to once “forgotten” teenagers whose “needs, wants… even whims are catered to by almost every major industry” worldwide.

Brilliantly argued and presented in elegant, accessible prose, Diana West’s “The Death of the Grown-Up” demonstrates how this successful modern “Children’s Crusade” was perhaps more of a disaster, given its lingering pernicious effects, than the notorious ill-fated 1212 campaign under Stephen of Cloyes and Nicholas of the Rhineland.

(Most of these children died of exposure en route overland, or drowned at sea during a storm, the survivors being captured later by Muslim jihad pirates, enslaved and forcibly converted to Islam, or martyred for refusing to apostatize from Christianity.)

Because as the author, a syndicated writer whose column appears weekly in The Washington Times, reminds us with appropriate bluntness, her late father (about whom I know because I know the author) was an infantryman who waded ashore in 1944 at Normandy on D-Day plus two, then fought at the Battle of St. Lo. Many teens of his World War II generation already manifested a consummately healthy “sense of belonging” — to the U.S. armed forces.

And by 1949, the author notes, anthropologist Margaret Mead had discerned this unhealthy “abdication” of adulthood, characterized by mothers who no longer told their children, “When I was a girl, I was not allowed…” but instead substituted the query, “What are the other girls doing?”

Ominously, the writer asks, has the worst-case scenario projected by Tocqueville in the 19th century — a country inhabited by an “innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls,” governed by a state of “immense protective power… [resembling] parental authority… [trying] to prepare its charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood” — materialized?

The author’s witty, evocative phrasemaking — “hair-trigger moderate [Muslims],” “mash of civilizations,” “far from realpolitik, this is dreampolitik,” “in denial there is defeat” — elucidates an infantilized American (and Western) culture, further immobilized by the pervasive fanaticism of the new “secular religion” of multiculturalism, to the point where it appears incapable of identifying, let alone adequately defending against, the resurgence of jihadist Islam.

Accurately portraying the central, uniquely Islamic institutions of jihad, and its corollary, dhimmitude, the author eschews the dominant, politically correct but ahistorical characterizations.

Jihad — as sanctioned by Islam’s core texts, the Koran, hadith and sira, and actualized by the Muslim prophet Muhammad himself — is the eternal, aggressive quest for totalitarian Islamic hegemony, i.e., the imposition of Islamic law, over the entire world, including via terrorism and genocide. Dhimmitude is the permanent state of legal, social and psychological inferiority imposed, coercively or by threat of force (i.e., resumption of the jihad), upon the non-Muslim survivors vanquished by jihad war, and neither converted to Islam nor enslaved.

Julien Benda, in his 1928 classic “La Trahison de Clercs,” decried with prophetic accuracy how the abandonment of objective truths abetted totalitarian ideologies, which led to the cataclysmic destruction of World War II. The author identifies the “Trahison de Clercs” of our time: The complete failure of Western intellectuals to acknowledge the heinous consequences of the living Islamic institutions of jihad war and dhimmitude.

Might Diana West’s pellucid analyses help awaken Western elites to the existential threat they pose? One hopes these elites follow the admonition to rediscover and reclaim our shamefully derided Western cultural patrimony of “dead white males,” including icons such as Britain’s Winston Churchill and America’s John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt, whose uncompromised wisdom on Islam is so desperately needed if our civilization is to survive.

TR, for example, wrote these words in 1916, presaging this book’s advice: “The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization… [including] those of Charles Martel in the 8th century [over Arab jihadists] and those of John Sobieski in the 17th century [over Ottoman Turkish jihadists]. During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier [Martel] and the Polish king [Sobieski], the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any ‘social values’ whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence [is]… concerned.”

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of “The Legacy of Jihad” and the forthcoming “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.”

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