Culture

Athens & Jerusalem

October 03, 2009

Athens & Jerusalem

Geert Wilders is a Dutch parliamentarian, and leader of the Freedom Party (PVV). He, and sixty percent of the Dutch population, “considers mass immigration to be the worst mistake since the Second World War.” An equal percentage of Wilders’ countrymen see Islam as the number one threat to their national identity. Late last year, Wilders spoke in Jerusalem, which he called “the city of David. The city that, together with Rome and Athens, symbolizes our ancient heritage”.
 
Warned Wilders:
 

[I]f we don’t fight the Islamization we will lose everything; our cultural identity, our democracy, our rule of law, our liberties, our freedom. We have the duty to defend the ideas of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem. The ancient heritage of our forefathers is under attack; we have to stand up and defend it.

 
Hellene and Hebrew: A systematic, philosophical defense of the distinctly Western character of America and Europe must incorporate both. Heck, one can’t appreciate the greatest composer of all times, Bach, without acknowledging the contribution of his muse”€”Christianity”€”to the glory of his music. The self-anointed left-liberal, American Jewish leadership has managed to cast Jews as a mere faction among a multicultural mob, a position Jews (being leftists) relish. But the proper metaphor for the relationship between Judaism and Christianity is that of proud parent and progeny.
 
A defense of the West against the onslaught of Islam and Third-World immigration, the kind Wilders preaches and practices, is incoherent absent a recognition that this has been Israel’s battle from its inception; that Israel is of the West; that in Israel”€”foibles and frailties notwithstanding”€”the West has reclaimed a small spot of sanity in a sea of savagery, where enlightened western law prevails, and where Christians and Jews and their holy places are safe. (Muslims are always secure in western societies, Arab-Israelis too.)
 
The fiery address this heroic European rightist delivered in the Israeli capital got me thinking about the difference between the American and the European Old Right.
 
Wilders is a hardcore man of the latter faction, for whom”€”in the derisive description of neoconservative Francis Fukuyama”€”“identity remains rooted in blood, soil and ancient shared memory.” It is this earthy instinct, I venture, that accounts for the understanding the European Right evinces for Israel’s life-and-death struggle.
 
Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front gives the American media a petit mal. Yet, despite all his idiosyncrasies, he identifies with Israel. Even the late Jörg Haider of the Alliance for the Future of Austria, who “exhibit[ed] every sign of anti-Semitism””€”Hugh Fitzgerald’s estimation, not mine”€”was “not quite so systematically vicious when it [came] to the state of Israel.” Vlaams Belang of Belgium is pro-Israel. Leader Filip Dewinter told a Jewish magazine: “One has to choose sides. Which side are you on in the ‘war on terror,’ the side of western democracy and western civilization, with its Judeo-Christian roots, or the side of radical Islam?”
 
Most libertarian and conservative American traditionalists, also referred to as paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians, depart from their European counterparts. Like exotic political marsupials, local paleos have developed in geographic isolation and, hence, in a self-referential and self-reverential vacuum. While they have generally”€”and justly”€”supported western interests in conflicts such as in the former Yugoslavia, Chechnya, and Cyprus, paleos make an exception of Israel. In fact, some are more devoted to the Palestinian cause than most left-liberals.
 
Expected is the mainstream media’s tendency to blame all the ills of the backward and benighted Palestinian Authority on Israel. By the MSM’s account, Israel is the reason jobs are unavailable in that otherwise economically viable anarcho-terrorist territory; why government consists of competing terrorist gangs (rather than only one), and why Palestinian civil society, such as it is, canonizes killers. It’s all Israel’s fault!
 
Unexpected is the corresponding paleo position: When it comes to Israel”€”and the plight that won’t shut up, i.e., the “Palestinian problem””€”paleos, who’re usually poised to storm the ramparts of a decaying media regime, agree with it.
 
To their great credit, paleos worry about the preservation of ancient Christian communities, which is why they did not join the jubilation Bill Clinton’s attack on Serbia elicited. A Christian country, Serbia, as Patrick J. Buchanan has observed, was “an ally in two world wars, and [had] never attacked us.” For the same reason, paleos booed Bush and his bastardized conservatives as they celebrated Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Bush doesn’t care about the fate that awaits Orthodox Christian Serbs there, but paleos do. Yes, neoconservatives are terribly smug about America’s multicultural achievements, and feel stupidly superior to the Europeans, for whom American paleoconservatives have compassion and camaraderie.
 
Paleos are filled with foreboding as they watch Europeans fight the battle that Enoch Powell foresaw. When the barbarians of the banlieusard rioted through France in November of 2005, one neoconservative troika”€”Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, Frederick Kempe”€”fingered French racism and snobbery in marginalizing its Maghrebis. France, in this unholy trinity’s assessment, fell short in offering its Third Worlders freebies and fraternité.
 
Naturally, paleoconservatives protested when neoconservatives sacrificed Iraqi Christians to the false idol of democracy. So why would they remain mum about another dwindling, equally old Christian community”€”the one being ethnically cleansed from the Palestinian Authority? Nor would American paleos ever think to badger the Russian Bear to withdraw from the North Caucasus and let Chechnya exercise full statehood, as the White House and Whitehall are wont to do. Chechnya, after all, is another Sharia-law dominated anarcho-terrorist society. It has been successfully transformed into an Islamist terrorist training ground, complete with court-ordered mutilations and public hangings.
 
Not unlike the Palestinian Authority, Chechnya has no economy to speak of, other than a thriving trade in weapons, drugs, and stolen goods. Both Russians and Israelis live adjacent to terrorist entities”€”the Russians to Chechnya; the Israelis to the Palestinian Authority. Russians must put up with the likes of Shamil Basayev (a Chechen terrorist and advocate of an Islamist state in the Northern Caucasus); Israelis have to contend with the Dalai Lamas of Gaza (Hamas).
 
Yet in fawning, radical-left fashion, American paleos excuse almost everything about the savage Palestinian society, while sneering contempt at the adjacent civilized society. When some honesty pierces the fog, and the facts on the Palestinian ground are acknowledged, it is invariably to blame Israel: If not for the colonizing Jewish state, a veritable economic oasis and a culture of life would flourish where a black hole now threatens to collapse upon itself.
 
Never did I imagine that the Bush and Blair administrations could be more consistent than my fellow paleos: The former, at least, hectored both Russians and Israelis about granting statehood to their nihilistic neighbors. Against the same insuperable odds, paleos expect Israel, but not Russia, to trust terrorists and their fan base to stop butchering babies and embrace Jeffersonian democracy and a Bill of Rights.
 
My own position (as a paleolibertarian) is, dare I say, consistently right and rightist: Assailed by savages, Russians, Europeans, and Israelis have my support in the battle for the West.
 
Geert Wilders’ position is eminently consistent. His conclusion: “We come from Rome, Athens and Jerusalem. That makes our civilization special, and certainly worth preserving”.
 
“Consistency,”€ it has been said, “€œis the touchstone of truth.” If paleos of the conservative and libertarian stripe are to be consistent in defending what Wilders calls “who we are and where we come from,” they will have to include Israel in their philosophical defense of the West.
 
 
A version of this column first appeared on VDARE.COM
 
NOTE: A “€œphilosophical defense”€ must not be confused with a blind support for the Israeli government’s policies, or for foreign aid, which this writer has always vehemently opposed.

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