Malaparte was describing the Americans he met after the liberation of Naples in 1943, but his observation is even more fitting for our “elite” today. As vast stretches of the world revert to barbarism, our government is captive to self-absorbed narcissists who not only have never been in a fistfight but whose peers regard a child’s bloody nose as grounds for a lawsuit.
Our hyper-privileged ruling class assumes that any man can be brought to see reason, if only we concoct the right incentives. Educated in exclusive universities – which scorn patriots – our leaders believe that words are an adequate substitute for action and that, anyway, we’re probably to blame for the problems bedeviling us. They’re negotiations junkies, with every bit of the junkie’s narrow worldview.
These pampered creatures have never faced real evil and thus deny the joy some humans take in torture and murder. In 1994, I published an article, “The New Warrior Class,” which warned that our frequent future enemies would be terrorists, tribal militias, pirates and global thugs fighting for faith, ethnic supremacy or just old-fashioned loot. Civilian “defense experts” were aghast at my observation that some men delight in doing harm to others and that violence alone elevates their status, lending them the only power they’ll ever know.
If negotiations are opium, violence is an amphetamine.
I was stunned that educated men would deny history’s salient lesson that killing can be intoxicating – as it has been from the myth-shrouded plains before Troy to Rwanda or Congo. If killing is hateful to all, why do we need armies? Police? Laws? If Homer isn’t to their taste, our leaders should at least pick up the Old Testament – literature’s comprehensive guide to human misbehavior (those commandments are there for a reason).
The truth is that some enemies of civilization and life itself must be killed to protect the rest of us. We can’t redeem evil men – that’s God’s department. Protecting our fellow Americans is ours. And anyone who denies that evil inhabits those who bomb schools and clinics, who torture and murder doctors and teachers to please a bloodthirsty god, needs to get out of D.C. and see the world.
Countless leftists cite Karl Marx, but very few actually read him. Should they take the trouble to wade through his works, they’d find that, far from being an advocate for “the wretched of the earth,” Marx warned of the Lumpenproletariat, a level below the honest working class. Marx believed that this violent, feckless class was a danger to any society.
What we see in the Middle East and much of Africa is the empowerment through radical Islam or ethnic-supremacist movements of this rock-bottom swarm. Their leaders may be renegades from the educated strata, but the recruits who delight in beheadings, throat-cuttings and exterminating “infidels” in Allah’s name are overwhelmingly those who had been powerless and now have the strength that comes from a gun and a cause.
Our consciences are indulged at the expense of their innocent victims.
Even the narrow-minded, theory-bedazzled officers who patched together our counterinsurgency doctrine refused to heed the inconvenient lesson of two millennia that violent extremists must be killed – there’s no reverse gear for blood-fueled religious fanaticism.
For those who find Malaparte “un-American,” try a parable closer to home, the John Ford Western, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.” Jimmy Stewart is more likable as the man of conscience determined to follow the law than our contemporary do-gooders in their Audis, but he finally grasps that the “terrorist” has to be killed – because nothing else works.
Watch: Will any of our leaders accept that our fight with Islamist terror is a zero-sum game?
Crisis Watch Bottom Line: Evil exists. It flourishes when ignored.
Ralph Peters is a retired Soldier, an author, and a longtime member of the “Armchair General” team.
Originally published in the July 2014 issue of Armchair General.