The savagery of Hamas terrorists this past week stands in sharp contrast to the snowflakes at Harvard.
This morning I’m deferring to Peggy Noonan. She wrote an outstanding opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on the savagery of the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. If you’re not a WSJ subscriber, here are excerpts worth reading… slowly, carefully, thoughtfully.
“We are again in a new place. What has happened in Israel the past week is different… Within hours, as the facts of the October horror began to emerge, I understood… this is a new thing. And I felt a foreboding.
We must start with what was done. Terrorists calling themselves a resistance movement passed over the border from Gaza and murdered little children; they took infants hostage as they screamed. They murdered old women, tormented and raped young women, targeted an overnight music festival and murdered the unarmed young people in cold blood or mowed them down as they ran screaming. They murdered whole families as they begged for their lives; they burned people alive; they decapitated babies.
There is no cause on earth that justifies what these murderers did. There is no historical grievance that excuses or “gives greater context” to their actions. Spare me “this is the inevitable result when a people are long abused.” No, this is what happens when savages hold the day: They imperil the very idea of civilization. They killed a grandmother and uploaded pictures of her corpse to her Facebook page. They cut an unborn child from a mother’s body and murdered both.
This wasn’t “soldiers morally brutalized by war who, in a frenzy, butchered people.” Butchering people was the aim. It is what they set out to do. This wasn’t cruelty as an offshoot; it was cruelty as an intention.
You can’t see what we have seen this week and not feel—how to put it?—a reawakened sense of affiliation with this suffering people, a sympathy reborn; as an American Catholic I am experiencing it as a renewed sense of loyalty to kin. And if you can’t feel any of these things, or appreciate how they might be justified, and if you instead use this occasion to say Israel deserves it as the price of its sins—sorry, wrong word, they don’t even know what sin is—then you are a walking, talking moral void.”
[Hit Pause: Noonan shifts to the US. Her comments remind me of people who are called “snowflakes.” A snowflake melts at the sound of any moral judgments, or distinctions. Everything is about feeling safe. Snowflakes don’t say: “This is evil.” Hit resume.]
“I’m not going to dwell on The Squad, or the Ivy League student groups that declared support for Hamas. Except to say, about the latter, we seem to be raising a generation whose most privileged and educated members appear to be incapable of making moral distinctions. They made me think of the Oxford Union vow, in 1933, not to fight for king and country: High-class dopes always get it wrong. In Oxford’s defense, when World War II came many of them did their part. These guys are apparently upset they might not get jobs on Wall Street. What cold little clowns.
I will only quickly say of Mr. Netanyahu that I think of him as I thought of Boris Johnson, a bad man who is bad because he thinks politics now is beyond bad and good; you don’t even have to make a choice, there’s nothing in being “good”; it’s all about you and your quest for power and greatness. It never occurs to them not to be selfish because the self is all.”
On this week’s podcast, Pat Brown and I discuss how Philip Rieff predicted our snowflake culture in his 1966 book, The Triumph of the Therapeutic. This therapeutic triumph began in the 1800s, when faith became Freudian—the self is all, I seek an individualized spirituality that feels “safe.” I don’t want to read about “bad” stuff. Calling something evil is judgmental.
Twenty years later, sociologist Robert Bellah wrote how this has creeped into the church, mainly American evangelicalism. He called it expressive individualism, individualized spirituality where my church is a “safe place.”
Twenty years later, sociologist Christian Smith, with Melinda Lundquist Denton, coined the phrase moralistic therapeutic deism to describe the gospel as it is understood by much of American evangelicalism, especially younger people. They may be “saved,” but they unwittingly resemble the snowflakes at Harvard who feel that calling something evil is judgmental.