Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why We Still Need Heroes

For the few people in the world who don't already know, someone tried to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day.

Further information can be found at these MSM links

It was a major intelligence failure

How it happened and who he was

Security did NOT work

Stiffer security in place

Miss the obvious so make everyone's life a nightmare

Canadian security

Then our dear friends in the blog world

Blazing Cat Fur with links about the bombing plus a bonus debate about whether Bernie Farber is a liar and if saying so is actionable.

Small Dead Animals and her team of amateur psychologists
diagnosis a case of "Peri-Millionaire Banker's Son Stress Disorder" and notes that Allahu Akbar is "The New "Cry For Help""

I'm not sure whether to say Steyn is part of the media or a blogger but anyway he is cynical about the anti-terrorism quality of scholarships and suggests that "with failures like this"

Wintery Knight
calls attention to the fact that even the terrorist's father turned him in.

Deborah Gyapong has a couple noting amongst other things the ironic double meaning of "religious ceremony" and that "western nihilistic gangsta "culture"" combined with Islamic jihad is a frightening and deadly synthesis.

Scaramouche points out that, Marxian theories to the contrary, poverty does not seem to be a driving force in jihad attempts.

In possibly related news. CHRT will investigate whether an airline racial profiled when they denied someone the human right of flying. I wonder if our Christmas bomber could have used that excuse if he was grounded.

One has to feel sorry for people in security. Everyone hates you for invading their privacy, delays, searches, stupid questions, making them turn on their laptops and cameras, etc. etc. etc. Then something happens and suddenly the way-too-careful security weren't careful enough and now just look what happened.

The bottom line is that short of an air marshal on every plane, plus no luggage for anyone, plus full body searches for everyone, you won't be able rule out any possibility of a successful bomb attempt and even then I'm not sure.

Mark Steyn points out that:
The arithmetic is very simple: Can we regulate for all faster than they can adapt for some? And remember, whatever new rules they pass about not using the bathroom in the last three hours of the flight, when you're sitting in seat 7B and the guy in 7C starts doing something goofy, the Federal Government won't be up there with you.
The short answer is that it is probably impossible to regulate faster than the ever creative criminal mind can think up ways to evade the system. We have technology today that was sci-fi fifty years ago (actually five years ago) and we still have trouble catching ordinary criminals who are not interested in martyrdom. The criminals just upgraded as the police did.

One answer that does seem to work is vigorous self-defense and an active, free-thinking public not scared of taking personal initiative. That's what happened on Flight 93. That's what happened on Christmas Day.

Somehow we seem to discourage heroism even while society applauds it. A little while ago I wrote a piece titled "Where Have all the Heroes Gone: They've Gone to the Psychiatrists" about the rise of anti-heroes in our culture and the fact that heroes have no place in utopian fantasies. In it I wrote:
Utopias are like pizzas, everyone has their own variety. But one theme that runs through many of them is that this is a No-Hero Zone. You don't need many heroes where everything slips by like pistachios on a conveyor belt. No drama, no moments of crisis. The bad ones disappear, taken by mysterious giant hands from above. The good ones run their course and land with a self congratulatory little rattle in the appropriate bag.


Heroes track mud in on the clean floor. More often than not they attack the postman, mistaking him for a burglar.

Criminals are so much simpler to deal with.
But in a world not quite so well regulated as a pistachio conveyor belt, for all the government's attempts, do we not still need heroes? That question was just answered. The next one is, do we have the heroes we need and will we continue to have them?
We are immersed in relativism and cynicism. There is no good and evil, no right and wrong, no up or down, no standard beyond expediency and we're not even sure about that. In this claustrophobia of equality can we be expected to look up to a hero? Can we believe in anything above or beyond ourselves? Did we kill the fairy tale when we made androgyny our god?

Can you die for something that is not a good?
Is our philosophy capable of producing heroes? I think the answer is no, at least not our post-modern philosophy. The only reason we still have heroes, real heroes, is because we have a logos, the law written on our hearts and minds, that part of the human being which is the image of God, however you would like to phrase it. Humans are not as malleable as some would like to believe. And it helps that most people don't listen to philosophy professors, although now philosophy has gone mainstream and cinematic. Watching a dozen or so popular movies should prove my point.

Ghost of a Flea points out that societies for a "non-killing world", to take an example, are out to lunch because of their disregard for human nature, both the logos and original sin parts, however much we would love to see the eradication of killing. While there is evil there will be death. Where there are humans there will be evil. Any attempt to impose a system of perfect morality by force (funny how conservatives are always accused of wanting to do that when in reality liberals are the ones addicted to that idea) will fail. In the mean time the evil will not stop, the only people you might be able to stop are the good ones who want to defend themselves.
Perhaps universal lobotomies, or drugs in everyone’s drinking water might work – except then the whole society becomes a free killing field for anyone who is not so controlled.
We all have an enemy, internal and external, called original sin. Today it is jihadists, yesterday it was Irish nationalists, tomorrow it will be who knows what. Always it is the usual suspects, rapists, murderers, liars, adulterers, those who steal the last chocolate chip cookie, you get the drift.

We always need heroes because every victory over sin is a heroic battle of titanic proportions. Any reader of sentimental fiction knows what returning a lost shilling will do for an orphan boy (fame, fortune, and adoption for those not addicted to the genre), but while this may be slightly exaggerated it is patently self evident that even tiny decisions can change a life, change lives, change a nation, change the world.

We need an empowerment that can only come from an unapologetic conviction. A conviction that some things are to be resisted with every fiber of our strength and that some causes are to be advanced in the face of the most fierce tigers of opposition, despair, laughter. How can relativism provide that?

We obsess over self-esteem and then rob people of objective morality or judgement, the very things which can give a person personal assurance and confidence.

What happens when our society has leveled all of life and culture to the point that we no longer know how to discern between mob violence and Flight 93, a just war and an illegitimate one, hysterical vigilantism and self-defense, rabid hate and plain spoken truth, discrimination and common sense. Do I have to wonder any more?

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