Should We Just Quit Now?

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Doing some light reading the other night, I came across this in the concluding paragraph Chapter 4, "Of the Limits to the Authority of Society over the Individual" in John Stewart Mill's "On Liberty":

If civilization has got the better of barbarism when barbarism had the world to itself, it is too much to profess to be afraid lest barbarism, after having been fairly got under, should revive and conquer civilization. A civilization that can thus succumb to its vanquished enemy, must first have become so degenerate, that neither its appointed priests and teachers, nor anybody else, has the capacity, or will take the trouble, to stand up for it. If this be so, the sooner such a civilization receives notice to quit, the better. It can only go on from bad to worse, until destroyed and regenerated (like the Western Empire) by energetic barbarians.

Where are our priests and teachers who stand up to preach and teach against the barbarism is radical Islam? Where are the defenders of Western Civilization? Where are the leaders proclaiming that our way of life is the best, because it allows every individual to fulfill his potential?

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Jack, good points, akin to the one I wrote the other day. In this case, I think the answer to the question is some of us need to step up and be those teachers and leaders. Some things need to be left to the priests, others can be handled by laymen.

There is a terrible shortage of writing or speaking about what is preferable about Western Civilization. I recall trying to make the point some time ago and some bozo threw the Spanish Inquisition back at me as evidence the West had never been better than any other culture in the world and certainly was not so today.

Lots of people think this way, and I think many of them are in our institutions of higher learning.

So we do need to dust off our John Stuart Mill and Victor Davis Hanson, etc. and help get that message out.

Shaun Kenney said:

Wow. Great quote.

Jack said:

I must say there was an ulterior motive to writing this post -- it pushed Al Franken's sorry ass further down the page!

Ron said:

Excellent quote. I like the reference to the Western (Roman) Empire. Well, one can read a lot of Gibbon and come up with more material.

The modern version of the barbarians see us very much as the kind of degenerates that need to be overthrown. Now, we have a lot of problems in society, but none that I think demands our overthrowing. In addition, we have more democratic (with a small "d") values and freer markets than whatever existed in ancient times (or what Mill could have studied).

I wonder what he would say about us now?

No Relation said:

The ironic thing is that most of those people who speak out against our civilization from within won't leave because they depend on it.

stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

vanquish the barbarians?! you're such a romantic! and like true romantic, you're just a bit out of touch with reality

what do you mean, "preach against radical islam" if we need to be told that it's a bad thing.

the question is what do you want to do? invade some place? that's been less than effective so far.

"Where are the defenders of Western Civilization? Where are the leaders proclaiming that our way of life is the best, because it allows every individual to fulfill his potential?"

right now Bush is asking for another $100,000,000,000 for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What are you talking about?

Kevin said:

Nice, spmm

No Relation said:

Poof, if you're backing the President, we've finally found something we agree on.

I think Jack was referring to ideological defense, with particular attention to those living within it who don't understand the value of what they have or how easy or inevitable it would be to lose.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:


Well, I'm not backing or dis-backing the pres.

Bush's approach to defending our way of life was with these wars. and while they're effects on quelling radical islam are questionable, it's incorrect to suggest that no one is doing anything. Everyone wants to preserve our culture and our country, there are just different ideas of how best to do that.

We occasionally hear in the news that a terrorist cell was discovered planning an attack on some western city. It's always police and secret agents and informants who expose these groups. I think our money would have been better spent on training a bunch of arabic-speaking James Bonds than on invading Iraq.

I've heard people on the left talk about the cause-and-effect of American/Western involvement in the the Middle East, and people on both sides (Al Gore and GWB, for instance) talk about the need to be less reliant on Mid. East oil, but I have never heard a serious "leader" denounce our way of life, or "America" in general.

No Relation said:

Well, the thing is, Bush has been completely demonized for what he is doing and he is being opposed every step of the way by people within our own western civilization. He's an exception, not a standard.

Arabic speaking James Bonds are out there...we don't know who they are or anything else about them because they are James Bonds.

Still, the conventional forces are necessary to fight the militias and para-militaries that radical Islam is producing.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

ok. He's being opposed because his actions have led people to see him as an incompetent leader. those who oppose his policies do so because they see his actions as exacerbating rather than solving the problem, not because they are america-hating terrorist sympathizers or something.

No Relation said:

Is that right?...

So all those Democrats who have been saying all along we needed more troops in Iraq to secure the country...why are they opposed to the troop surge?

If this was the first time the pacifist left of the Democrat party had played flip-flop partisanship to undermine the President, I might have partially ceded your point.

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