Anyway. Not too long before shutting down for the night, I polished off another chapter of The Second World War: A Complete History by Martin Gilbert, and then made the mistake of following it up by scooting around Town Hall and some of the other conservative websites in aid of following the latest David Horowitz/Michael Berube bitch-pitching. (If you don't know who those people are, you're better off than me.) Ignoring all the other bullshit I knowingly exposed myself to, I noticed this whole "cheaters never prosper"/"evil contains the seeds of its own destruction"/"freedom will always triumph in the end" theme threaded through a lot of conservative writing, especially on the Iraq war.
This is interesting to me for any number of reasons. First, I don't buy it. It's not that I'm not optimistic (sometimes); I think things can be very good (and very bad) in cycles. I'm just a big dubious of the idea that it's inevitable, or that we have as much control over our ends as we like to tell ourselves. As it stands now, freedom and democracy are trailing tyrrany and oppression by a deficit of 6,000 years to 250. And, of course, you can play the half-empty/half-full game all day long: those in favor of this argument will point out that Hitler eventually lost, but those against will point out that to the millions and millions of people he had killed, his eventual defeat was a pretty empty comfort. To them, he did win.
Beyond that, there's the interesting rhetorical flourish employed in all other-directed victimizing propaganda: the enemy, whether it's Jews or blacks or women or Muslim terrorists or liberals or whatever, must be portrayed as simultaneously superior and inferior. The blacks, say white supremacists, are lazy and weak and degenerate and stupid; but they are also violent and menacing and horrid and unstoppable. The Jews, said the Nazis, were subhuman, base and filthy, but they were also brilliant and nefarious and omnipresent. The dictators and terrorists, we are told today, will never win, because evil contains the seeds of its own destruction; the terrorists, we are told today, will inevitably win if we don't keep a constant watchful eye and strong hand in play. It's a totally impossible contradiction that cannot be reconciled, and yet the pattern is always the same: the Other is weak and cowardly and inferior; the Other can never win because he is beneath us. The Other is strong and determined and cunning; the Other will inevitably win if we do not destroy him.
Another thing I can't do well: write posts that make sense.