Michael Savage is probably the most inflammatory of the so-called Talk Radio crowd. He is certainly the most incendiary of all that I have heard. In the past, I have found it very difficult to listen to his broadcasts. I could barely stand it during the 2004 election year when I first heard of him. But lately I find myself tuning in, and not just because I'm on the road frequently in the late afternoon these days. Something in the near hysterical urgency of his message resonates with me.
Then he said something that I had been thinking for a long time. In a long rant that sprang out of the Moussaoui verdict, he began talking about how the powers-that-be in Europe were letting Islamists walk all over them, all under cover of political correctness and civil discourse. Then Michael started shouting, "The soccer hooligans are going to be the ones who save Europe!"
For decades now, at least as long as I have been reading The Economist (since 1979, or thereabouts), so-called "soccer hooligans"-presumably in Europe they are "football hooligans,"- have been an embarrassment to Britain on the Continent. They are rowdy, ill-behaved, bottle throwing ne'er-do-wells who are unabashed descendents, culturally if not biologically, of the low-life types who were routinely chronicled by Dickens and equally routinely transported to penal colonies in Georgia and New South Wales. Except that the 20th and 21st century versions are carrying forward a trait that Briain is losing rapidly in the face of Globalization, the European Community, and the ever-increasing tide of immigrants from the Commonwealth: the willingness to defend, indeed, promote at the point of a beer bottle, a British national identity.
This is what the Left decries. After all, aren't we all so civilized? Violence is never the answer and defense of a national identity- so retrograde. Well, context is everything, and while it's doubtful that the soccer hooligans are impressing anyone in Europe with their drunken rage, the well-named Mr. Savage and I get it . But what if there were a few Conservative pols who felt their pain? And perhaps a few magistrates and justices who reject the slow suicide of The Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in favor of remembering Britain's long and unique evolution to rule of law and responsive government? Undoubtedly there are a beleaguered few who do, but what they need is to feel like the soccer hooligans: they need rage. They need righteous anger. They need to stop clinging to the notion that civility is the mark of civilization. It isn't, if you extend every courtesy to a barbaric enemy. The first obligation of the civilized person isn't to be polite. It is to defend his civilization . If you own a home, is your priority to polish the furniture or to kill the termites? To wax the floor or put in a smoke alarm? The Leftists will tell us all day long that we should all be proud of our furniture while the pest is eating our house.
Much has been made in some quarters about how Palestinian and other Arab children are fed violent, anti-Semitic propaganda on a show that resembles Sesame Street. Much should be made in those same quarters about how Sesame Street itself has become the fundamental values instructor for Western nations as well, but bearing the message of civility, of gentleness in a cuddly world of overstuffed puppets and kind adults. It offers the universal balms of diversity (whatever that means,) non-violence and simplistic, reasonable solutions to every childish problem, in stark contrast to the AK47-toting moppets on al-Sesamya. Cookie Monster is sad. He had a hard childhood so we should offer him friendship, understanding and more cookies, and perhaps life in prison, and not consign him to the same fate he cheerfully, exultantly doled out to three thousand Burts, Ernies, and Big Birds.
Oh, I seem to be getting my plots mixed up. That was not a plot for Sesame Street. The problem is, by the lights of the stunted morality of much of Western society, the unmistakable imprint of Sesame Street is everywhere. Every real life event is a Big Bird dilemma and every problem is put through the sieve of "What would Elmo do?" It appears to be expressed even in the judgments of the most catastrophic events of our time. The Leftists got it right when they molded their message for four year olds and then made an Education degree the credential for teaching older children, thus ensuring that feelings, rather than history and experience would shape the budding worldview of our youth. In the 36 years of that show, we have seen a greater and greater value placed on eradicating "violence" wherever it may be lurking, be it amongst the bullies (they have to sign "No Touching" contracts at the beginning of the school year) or the dodge ball circle. This has seeped upward into the culture and is now a common talking point for the religious left (yes, there is one.) Last fall we were treated to an Adult Education offering at our church that revolved around "violence in the Bible" and how we can reconcile our peaceful selves to this scurrilous part of our religious heritage. One woman was overheard saying that she even found the "violence" of the Eucharist almost too much to bear- wouldn't it be nice if that weren't such an integral part of the service? Murmurs of approbation all around in the Left-leaning group but a substantial minority were thinking as I was: we are all very glad to partake of the violence symbollically to be in unity with the one who partook in it for real.
For real. In the real world, nature abhors a violence vacuum. In the real world every one knows and understands and has experienced the immutable fact that you don't get bullied if everyone knows you'll defend yourself. Children who have grown up on the Sesame Street values have never been told the rest of the story. Elmo, after 36 years, is still four. He is still understanding in a childish way, but the rest of us should be understanding the world in an adult way, the way life has instructed us. That we stand up for ourselves and for the defenseless (including those whose lives have already been cut short) even if it means resorting to violence. Disciplined, swift, sure retribution, not farcical play pretend civility that serves only to mock justice.