Thursday, February 23, 2006

In their own image

Arthur's wisdom:
The notion of "world transformation" -- altering the entire planet so that virtually everyone and every country subscribes to what we view as "acceptable" and "tolerable" to a significant degree -- founders on all the evidence provided by history, culture and political theory. Moreover, it does not require a genius to see that it simply cannot be done. Oh, we can try to do it, if we are prepared to see the full militarization of the United States and of every aspect of our lives here at home. Even then, we would fail. Even if our government were to spy on each and every one of us, even if we forbade entrance into the United States to almost all foreigners, and even if our government "protected" us with cameras on every corner and in every building and with countless other "anti-terrorist" measures, people determined to do us great harm would still get through. And of course, this does not even take into account those few Americans who themselves might be bent on wreaking havoc here at home.

We would only achieve the complete destruction of personal liberty in a manner that gives our individual lives meaning and genuine fulfillment -- and we would still not be entirely safe. Absolute safety in that sense is not achievable, no matter what we do. Life by its nature entails risk; the continuation of life is never guaranteed. In their attempts to protect our lives to an extent that is impossible of achievement, the believers in world transformation succeed only in destroying the purpose and the glory of our lives now, in the present when it matters.

But when you pull back and consider the broader forces that inform the policies supported by the administration and its defenders, and when you realize the ultimate roots of those forces, you are struck by the similarity between the Western zealots who preach world transformation and certain of our enemies. This is an absolutely crucial point, and one that I think escapes many people, even many of those who are among the severest of the current administration's critics.


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