02 Jun 2006

The Folly of the Elect

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Armed Liberal takes some of the postings of chin-stroking Greg Djerejian at Belgravia Dispatch as representative of Chattering Class opinion, and finds that Mr. Djerejian is full of doubts. AL wonders why the view taken by the American elite of this war is so different from what it was during earlier America wars, and concludes that, firstly, today there is a disposition to regard America as invulnerable, and consequently any form of US military action as unnecessary and optional.

We have arrived at this point because

we have no direct experience of loss. I’ve wondered how it is, isolated from the blood and meat of death, that we have become so fascinated with a pornography of violence in our arts. Things which were everyday to a farmer in the 18th century – privation, disease, death – the crushing hand of Necessity – are strangers to us. But not to most of the people in the world.

That means that we are shocked by it when we see it; we don’t accept it as a part of the natural context of life.

My father (as I’ve written) built high-rise buildings. Construction work – particularly heavy construction work – is dangerous. Height, tools, heavy steel, cranes lifting buckets of concrete all combine to make up a hostile environment to the unlucky or careless. I think there were seven or eight deaths on his jobs in his career. The days that happened were the lowest I ever saw him. Was it worth it? To build an apartment building for rich people or an office building for lawyers?

Would it be different if they’d fallen of a barn roof? Or been maimed by a thresher and bled to death in a field?

and AL concludes:

I’m genuinely afraid that the ruling cohort, and those who enable it by participating in the political process, have so much lost touch with the realities that we face that they are incapable of looking at an issue like Iraq, or 9/11, or the economic straits we have spent and borrowed ourselves into as a nation except as a foothold in climbing over the person in front of them. I imagine a small table of gentlemen and -women, playing whist on a train as it heads out over a broken bridge. The game, of course matters more than anything, and the external events – they’re just an effort to distract they players from their hands.

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Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds, who quips:

Alas, you go to war with the political class you have.

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