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Darwin Takes Out the Trash

Exclusive commentary by Greg Lewis /
November 18, 2003

In the final analysis, the war we're fighting against an enemy that perpetrated a horrible atrocity on our country is a matter of survival, the survival not just of our country but of our way of life. It's not about tolerance of other religions or political systems; nor is it about maintaining some sort of status quo which will enable the UN and countries like Germany, Russia, and France to keep their lucrative trade deals with the planet's dictators.

It's about survival. And where there's survival, there's Darwin. Religious fundamentalists notwithstanding, in survival terms, our planet has become, over the past 4.5 billion years or so, something of a trash heap, littered with the refuse of forgotten civilizations and species waiting to be unearthed and pondered over by a next-generation geologist or anthropologist. When Darwin keeps house, he's merciless, and it looks like he's about to go on another tear. The question becomes, how do we avoid being swept under the rug?

President Bush has correctly understood that our survival depends not simply on our eradicating a terrorist "enemy" but on our introducing democracy to that area of the world where the enemy thrives. The liberation of Iraq of course had the effect of freeing Iraqis from the rule of the most murderous tyrant since Pol Pot, but it will also be seen in the near future as a critical step in America's future survival.

In an important sense, our survival is a question of will, and it is instructive to take a look at some of the forces that are at work to try to erode our will to succeed in Iraq and to survive in general. In this regard, the bottom line is that the Left has lost the will to survive. It is up to the majority of Americans who still have that will to make sure that those on the Left aren't able to perpetrate an agenda that would destroy our way of life by letting an insidious and murderous enemy succeed.

When I look at those on the left, I unconsciously ask myself a question: Is there anything about them — their dress, demeanor, attitude, talents, education, or way of interacting with others — that would enable them to survive, let alone thrive, in any other society but the United States of America, ca. 2003? In other words, could they survive in any other society but one which would pamper them and tolerate their rants as no society has ever — at least never on so enormous a scale as happens in contemporary America — pampered its liberals, especially its young liberals, before?

Of course, the rich are famous for raising children who never have to grow up and so never do. You only have to watch E! Entertainment television for news about the latest iteration of rich, spoiled American brats, Paris and Nicky Hilton, to see that. But American kids have become something worse than spoiled brats. If you believe the broader image of them that is presented in music, television, and movies, a significant percentage of them have become middle class white trash. And Darwin's always ready to take out the trash.

What we're looking for here is some kind of critical mass, some sort of line you have to cross before the skills you've acquired by the time you're in your late teens and early twenties no longer count as survival skills. And when less than, say, 25 percent of the skills American young people's intelligence and talent have enabled them to acquire actually have any survival value whatsoever outside the hothouse in which they, as a privileged American kids, have been raised, that critical mass may have been reached.

The lack of survival skills coincides with a greatly diminished appreciation of the very need to survive on the part of many American parents and almost all American educators. This group also includes about 90 percent of the members of the Democrat Party. The brainwashing that passes for education these days is perpetrated by the people who preach that there is no justification for war, spout moral equivalencies, and wallow in America's "guilt." They're the America-deserves-whatever-it-gets crowd, the crowd that, for instance, has (unsuccessfully, I'm happy to say) lobbied to have a "politically correct" narrative of the events surrounding the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II posted at the Smithsonian Institute display. They would be beyond silly if it weren't for one thing: they've got a say in whether we survive or not.

Over the past 40 years or so, this bunch has gained sway in many of our most important institutions, including our schools and colleges and universities, and they've managed to inculcate a general feeling of whining worthlessness into too many of their students at the same time they've taught them skills and attitudes that, in all but the most perversely tolerant of societies, would send them straight to the head of the welfare line, or worse.

On the level of the particular, how would orange spiked hair play in Iran? Or advanced video game skills in the country formerly known as Burma? Of course, that's not really a fair question. I mean, what if we reverse the situation? How could a young person born and raised in North Korea compete with an American kid in mall skills?

A society as extraordinarily wealthy and productive as ours is also a society that can support a high level of decadence, with decadence being defined as "lacking in survival value." From late 18th century France to fin de siecle England to Weimar Germany, societies wealthy enough to support culture whose primary function was to cultuvate an attitude of refined ennui have come and gone. The day of reckoning for those societies forced them to respond by turning their backs on their cultural spokespeople and their attention to survival.

Such a day of reckoning is certainly at hand in America today. Fortunately, we've not had to face it with the likes of an Al Gore or a Bill Clinton in office. Not a single Democrat seems even to have the capacity to recognize the seriousness of the international situation today, or to realize that it demands a continuing response of the most absolute and unwavering firmness. But in the end, those on the left are precisely the people who have the most to fear when Darwin decides to take out the trash.

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