What Brings Peace - The Good Guys Win
April 14, 2002
by Bruce Walker
The world stands on the brink of very serious dangers, and there are many sincere opinions of how best to keep the suicide attacks on Israel and America, the riots in the streets of Moslem nations, the cowardice of European and Far Asian affluent democracies, and the veiled threats of China from dragging us into a global nightmare.
Is there a solution to these problems? A solution that will last? Yes, there is. War, terrorism, international crime, genocide, enslavement, and oppression stop only when the Good Guys are triumphant. What stopped the Holocaust? Allied victory over the Nazis.
Although the Soviets also fought Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, Stalin did not care one whit about the extermination of six million Christians and six million Jews in that ghastly totalitarian crime: the Vozd had already killed that many himself, and he would continue filling the Gulag with tens of millions of poor wretches until his death in the early 1950s.
When the Good Guys stopped fighting the Bad Guys in Indochina, then "peace" arrived, but it was a peace much worse than the war had been. Perhaps half of the people of Cambodia were exterminated in a grisly and preventable Holocaust every bit as bad as the more famous Holocaust of Jews under National Socialism.
Ronald Reagan, who knew that he wanted goodness in the world and who knew also that evil was very real, summarized his masterful and successful Cold War strategy with the famous: "How about this? We win; they lose." Liberals cringe at language like this because they dwell in the shadow lands of moral relativism.
This moral relativism is not all nonsense to historians. All political and military conflicts have three types of participants: good guys, bad guys, and indifferent guys. There were doubtless some isolated examples of Jews behaving monstrously toward Germans before the Holocaust, and there were Germans behaving angelically toward Jews. Much more common, however, were people caught up in the current of events and the passions of community who "go with the flow."
Over time, however, some political systems and some societies tend to purge themselves of good guys or of bad guys. Those Nazis alive and sincere by 1942 were almost certainly evil men, because the costs within that system of goodness were so high. At best, Nazism at its end left morally ambiguous figures like Van Braun and Speer, who were extraordinarily competent and could accept the evil around them without necessarily become monsters themselves.
The Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China, and the ghastly forces of Arab-Islamic hate are all examples of this relentless destruction of goodness in men and of good men who have courage. What factors cause this incurable cultural illness? Total disregard for truth is an important factor. Hitler lived by "the Big Lie" and it is almost routine now to expect total dishonesty from al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Islamic jihad, and similar extreme groups.
This is closely joined to the demonization of huge clumps of humanity. "Jews" and "Americans" and "Christians" are undifferentiated armies of wickedness to these groups. While President Bush or the various prime ministers of Israel may seek goodness in Arab leaders, many of these Arab leaders simply do not believe that the United States or Israel is capable of producing good people.
If that is what makes "bad guys" then what makes "good guys?" One vital element which both America and Israel share is that the people who live in those nations have chosen for personal reasons, often running against their personal material interests, to live in those two nations. Both nations are filled with the descendants of immigrants who rejoiced simply in the joy of freedom.
Closely connected with this is a tradition of self-criticism and reform which is an ongoing historical process. Jewish tradition makes no excuses for the failures of individual Jews or of the Jewish people, when failure exists. The prophetic tradition, as anyone remotely familiar with the Tanakh is well aware, is filled with jeremiads against the sins of the Jews.
Christianity not only inherited this Jewish tradition, but incorporated the Gospel injunctions to be intensely concerned with personal rather than collective moral failure. No two religions on Earth allow less doctrinal smugness than Judaism or Christianity.
This is the very heart of their success in the world. Not only have members of both faiths been inclined to personal and sectarian self-criticism, but also have not been shy about pointing the defects of their sibling in the broad Judeo-Christian belief system.
This has resulted in America, which is very much a homeland to Jews as well as Christians, in a nation single-mindedly concerned with morality in its international relations. It is simply dumbfounding to found how seldom American political figures have been able to successfully parlay national selfishness into electoral success.
Even the migrations which dispossessed American Indians and Mexicans provided this land to desperately poor and persecuted Irish, Italian, Polish, Jewish, and Swedish immigrants and it is a tribute - rather than an embarrassment - that the United States honors today old and often absurd treaties with Indian tribes for no reason greater than the ethical duty of earlier American governments.
Moreover, these huge groups of foreign-born Americans have created an internal political dynamic that creates pressure for fairness. Greek, Italian, Arabic, Japanese, Jewish, Chinese, Armenian, Korean, Polish, Ukrainian, Irish and many other hyphenated Americans have the power to influence, but not dominate, American diplomatic policy. This reinforces the importance of morality in forming policy.
These two nations formed of immigrants seeking to escape persecution and live in peace, which are founded in the culture (if not always the religion) of the great Judeo-Christian belief system, often appear weak, divided, soft, cowardly, materialistic, and so on. Ironically, these are the very nations with informed men and women most likely to become implacable foes once war is truly engaged.
The Biblical analogy with the ways of God are the best, and to paraphrase a famous passage from the Bible: The wheels of America and Israel grind slow, but exceedingly fine. When we understand that our very way of life is hated with the hatred of those of live to hate, then those most peaceful (almost pacifist) peoples - devout Christians and Jews of America and Israel - become a juggernaut of free, educated, healthy, fierce, and supremely committed nations in arms.
The Hussein, bin Ladin, and Arafat types of this world rely not only on the courage and strength of their people, but the fears and lies and vile bigotries which they inflict upon their slave populations. That melts in the face of greater physical power, and it evaporates in the face of greater moral power.
Soon, perhaps, the President may have to give a speech sounding less like the loving and gentle man that he so obviously is, and more like the Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1940, who said about the policy of his battered nation, the following:
Hitler, Mussolini and their sympathetic friends in Moscow and Tokyo assumed that the soft, pampered Brits were good guys, but that good guys finished last. They wound up in the dustbin of history, just as soon will their admirers fifty years later. But the people of Germany, Italy, Russia, and Japan did not wind out in the same dustbin, but in a rise toward freedom, prosperity and hope that, while sometimes rocky, was even upwards and onwards. And today Germans, Italians and Japanese live in peace with the world - because the good guys won.
Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.
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