Mideast, Midwest, over there, over here

Our concentration is typically focused on Illinois political and governmental matters. National issues – and especially foreign policy – we leave to our allies with larger budgets and bigger staffs. Occasionally, however, events occur or words are spoken that relate in an important way to what we’re trying to accomplish and are worth a note.

Victor Davis Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a classics professor who brings his historical sense to current events in some of the most thoughtful commentaries written today. The fact that his website gets over 2 million hits a month is heartening. It’s good to know people are reading what he is writing.

The title and subtitle of his August 4th article in National Review Online are:

The Brink of Madness – A familiar place

“Our present generation,” he writes,

is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.

There are a lot of people in this country who think it’s immoral to ever cast a judgment regarding the behavior of another human being. This has resulted in some strange manifestations when it comes to international events.

[E]xamine here at home reaction to Hezbollah – which has butchered Americans in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia – from a prominent Democratic Congressman, John Dingell: ‘I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah.’ And isn’t that the point, after all: the amoral Westerner cannot exercise moral judgment because he no longer has any?

The current problem with Lebanon and Israel isn’t complicated. If this were happening to America – if some foreign power was allowing a terrorist group to fire rockets onto U.S. civilians – we’d be close to bombing that section of the globe into oblivion.

The foreign and domestic policy arenas are plays acted out on different size stages, but the plots have a lot in common. Accord/conflict and success/failure turn on human behavior. From terrorism and war to crime and moral turpitude, societies prosper or suffer based on human decisions about what’s right and wrong.

Hanson also writes:

It is now a cliché to rant about the spread of postmodernism, cultural relativism, utopian pacifism, and moral equivalence among the affluent and leisured societies of the West. But we are seeing the insidious wages of such pernicious theories as they filter down from our media, universities, and government – and never more so than in the general public’s nonchalance since Hezbollah attacked Israel.

Certain historical periods are fascinating because from today’s decades of separation we wonder how, for example, could people have tolerated the appeasement taking place during the 1930s. Didn’t those people realize that such moral cowardice risked a World War?

Hanson concludes:

In short, if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around.

Ideas have consequences but so does morality – both internationally and here at home.