Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hard vs. Soft People

This article has so many good points in it that it's hard to pick just a paragraph or so to give you enough of a taste to make you want to go read the whole thing--which you should, because it's a great article.

In contrast, the people of the Third World - and especially the Muslim fanatics who have designs on the West - are hard as stone. We fret over the fact that Saddam Hussein endured some taunts during his execution, while next door in Saudi Arabia they may still chop off the hand of a thief. We cater to the religious wants of incarcerated terrorists, providing everything from the Koran and prayer rugs to desired foods, and the soft set still laments the terrible privation these poor victims must endure. In contrast, the terrorists' Muslim brethren often disallow the practice of other religions in the Abode of Islam. We let illegal aliens run roughshod over our nation, sometimes bestowing government benefits upon them, then still feel guilty about not exalting them sufficiently. In the Third World, however, foreigners are often treated like second-class citizens. Under the Mexican Constitution, one foreign-born will never enjoy the full rights of citizenship. In many Muslim societies, a certain kind of second-class status is reserved for "infidels"; it's called dhimmitude...

There is an immutable truth of human nature: When soft people clash with hard people, the soft are vanquished. That is, unless they become hard...

The Muslim world is one extreme, we are the other, the humanitarians who have no truth. Why can't we control seven-year-olds, prosecute a war efficiently or strike fear into the hearts of criminals? It's all for the same reason. We're soft-headed pseudo-humanitarians to whom the kind of action or punishment necessary to deter evil behavior seems medieval. This is why we had a national conniption when teenage vandal Michael Faye was to receive a typical Singaporean punishment, caning, for his misdeeds. We should bear in mind that you can walk Singapore's streets safely in the dark of night. The same cannot be said of ours.

Oh, this is just the price of freedom, some say? They are wrong. This is the price of abused freedom.


Ellen K said...

This sort of gets back to my Bumper Bowling blog of awhile back. I think that there are two things in play here-single mothers raising male children and single mothers in poverty. Both situations, usually mutual, create atmospheres in which children are growing up with little supervision, no respect for authority and little structure at home, school or from church. It's making us soft ethically via situational ethics. It's making us soft physically, in that our kids are coddled rather than challenged. It's making us soft emotionally by disregarding the very real fact that sometimes in this world, you lose. We have a generation that has never been disappointed, never allowed to fail. The safety net is always there. So they think if they speak softly and act nicely, things will magically fall into peace. Life isn't like that. And I don't know what type of catastrophe will bring this across. I suppose Katrina would be a prime example of this magical thinking. People assumed that "someone" from the city, state or D.C. would swoop in and save them. But you can't save someone who won't even take the basic steps to save themselves. And that, sadly, is where we are right now. I see it every day in the classroom. Parents rail against schools and want their children to pass not despite their limitations, but BECAUSE of them. We cannot build leaders in a society that doesn't value leadership. We can't win if we don't know how much losing can cost us.

Unknown said...

Right on. Thanks for posting this!

allenm said...

I can't share your enthusiasm, Darren.

Articles like this play into the underlying assumptions of the left: that there are qualitatively different types of human beings.

There aren't. Either we hold these truths to be self-evident or we don't and the left don't. That's my litmus test. If your beliefs require capitalist oppressors of the proletariat or a "Greatest Generation" you're positing qualitatively different creatures who bear a resemblance to human beings but are, in fact, either better or worse depending on the traits assigned to them.

Turns out those "hard" people aren't so hard though and, given an opportunity aren't anxious to continue to enjoy the benefits of the sorts of situations that breed hardiness. The illegal immigration problem and the legal immigration waiting lists are evidence that lots of people want to go from the places filled with opportunities to toughen up to where you don't have to be so hard.

It further turns out that when some of the representatives of "soft" people meet "hard" people, those tough guys turn out to fare not so well. I'm sure there are more then a few Iraqi insurgents, were they not rendered into their component parts, who could give testimony to how tough some "soft" people can be.

Not a new phenomenon either.

Part of the reason for World War II was that the "hard" dictatorships didn't have much to worry about from the "soft" democracies. I guess they were wrong.

What really bugs me about articles like the one you linked is that the author has things precisely backwards. It's the "hard" people who fear and loath us. We're the danger to the, relatively, comfortable situations they create for themselves and that situation's always dependent on one type of oppression or another.

The mullahs want to maintain control over their congregations so as to save their souls and/or to keep the themselves in mansions and Mercedes'. The commissars differ only in the litanies to which they subscribe. Their common bogeyman is the place where leaders are regularly and unremarkably, turned out of office. That's us and contrary to the author's prediction, or fear, we're the ones who are winning.

Darren said...

Allen, one of the many things I like about your commentary is the intellect you bring. One thing I like about the above comment is that you disagree in a reasoned, reasonable manner--and for that I thank you.

Of course I'm not implying, and the author of the linked piece isn't saying, that *every* American is soft. Our society, though, is. And of course people are trying to get into the US, illegally in some cases; we have a great economy and present opportunities, both in freedom and economics, that they couldn't get in their home countries. Economic and political freedom are not caused by a soft society, as we offered both back when ours was a stronger society.

I'm not sure I understand your first point, though, about qualitative differences in people. Again, I consider that the author was looking at societies and judging the moral strength, the strength of character, and not saying that each of us individually is the soft hand wrapped in velvet. Do you perceive his points differently?