Although we live in a forgetful culture, it is worth casting our minds back as far as last week. If you recall, back then we were all discussing the inability of students at Yale to cope with anything as scary as Halloween. For some of us the whole business was disturbing not so much because some brats at an Ivy League university were showing themselves unfit to be students but because the adults — their professors — all seemed to have surrendered to them.
What else was clogging us up? Well, Caitlyn Jenner had just finished a clean-sweep of the award season by being named “Glamour Woman of the Year.” Naturally no one dared question why someone with a penis should be declared woman of any year. In Britain, a left-wing woman came out as “trans” but, despite admitting she wasn’t going to do anything physical about this, immediately began to be written about in non-gender-specific plural pronouns. The inevitable, unspoken conclusion was that we should molest our delicate and beautiful language in any way possible rather than upset anyone from the non-cis trans community.
I mention this because we should recall that this is what the modern Left in the modern West has reduced us to: a twittering, gibbering puddle of competing neuroses — some sincere, most not.
Then some real triggering went off in Paris. And instead of students falling over themselves to pretend to be more wounded than the next, people the same age as they and younger were being gunned down in Paris by the score for having a drink or going to a concert or football match. Of course, the major tragedy was that so many lives had been lost or destroyed so un-mendably. But one follow-on grief was that once again the people who should be in positions of power decided to check out.
The American president’s cursory remarks on the tragedy sounded like someone not merely phoning it in but visibly yearning for the post-presidential speaking and golf circuit. His secretary of state, meanwhile, used the aftermath of the slaughter of 130 people in a European capital to vow “resolve.” Perhaps the average French memory can still stretch back ten months.
#share#If so, they will be suitably cool about the promise. For that was the last time Secretary John Kerry had to respond to a brutal massacre in Paris. On that occasion he turned up late with the guitarist James Taylor. To a visibly pained audience, James Taylor sang, on behalf of Kerry and the whole American people, “You’ve got a friend.” It is hard to think of a more mawkishly insulting diplomatic offering. The French foreign minister turning up in New York a week after 9/11 and hauling along a Gallic crooner to sing “Que sera sera”? Of course John Kerry made it worse, as he always does, by saying that he had turned up in the wake of the slaughter of twelve journalists and four Jews to “share a hug with Paris.”
This time Kerry made things worse still by implying that, whereas January’s attacks had some “legitimacy” or “rationale,” these were indiscriminate. The only thing that linked them, in Secretary Kerry’s eyes, was of course that they had “nothing to do with Islam.” Here in Britain and across Europe, politicians are conspicuously uttering this lie less and less because the public finds it less and less believable. But Kerry plods earnestly along. This latest attack, he said, “has nothing to do with Islam; it has everything to do with criminality, with terror, with abuse, with psychopathism — I mean, you name it.” Sure, so long as you don’t name it “Islam.”
The words the Left has used — and the mawkishness they purvey — is daily losing the power to harm.
If Kerry had just said that you can call Caitlyn Jenner whatever you like so long as you don’t call her a woman, he would probably have had to resign by now. The Left would have put him in place and created such a firestorm of anger around their political priorities that he would have been chased from public life. But no similar rage appears able to be summoned against lies that have consequences in what we used to call the real world. A world that comes knocking ever louder.
Instead we hear from the Left about how the terrorists are propelled by poverty or lack of education or a desire to turn Europeans nasty or whatever the excuse du jour is. My favorite lie of the Left this time is that ISIS attacked Paris to make Europeans stop taking in millions of Muslim migrants. This is an almost admirably audacious lie, intended to force us to only one conclusion: commit suicide or be branded pro-ISIS. It’s the one-two punch of the modern Left. Destroy your culture or we’ll call you a racist.
#related#Well, what a shock it will come for all these people when one day they discover that while they were playing their games of cis hermeneutics and insincere one-upmanship, the real world (away from the conceits of mewling students and secretaries of state) was going on much as it always has done.
On the world stage the decision by America’s adults to check out of the world has meant that the best bulwark against ISIS’s continuing rise is now a combination of France and Vladimir Putin. And that means that the Left as a whole is going to have a terrible reckoning for this somewhere down the line.
Thanks to years of making unjustified and unpleasant accusations of every imaginable bigotry and vice against those who warned of terrors like those in Paris, the words the Left has used — and the mawkishness they purvey — is daily losing the power to harm. A day suddenly seems visible — in France and across the continent — when the Left’s insults will have run out of power at just the moment when actual hatreds do erupt and such words might have been needed most.