Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men -- My Christmas Manifesto
“Peace on Earth, good will toward men.” This is a common refrain around Christmas time; one hears it often – at least if one lives in a country where Christmas is celebrated. Such an impressive formulation, but what does it mean? I always thought that wanting peace on earth was a good thing, that it is natural to want there to be no conflict anywhere on the planet.
Clearly, I was naive.
Peace, apparently, means a lot of things to a lot of people. For the multitudes that took to the streets in Europe and the US in the run-up to the most recent war in Iraq, “peace” apparently means allowing a cruel, unreconstructed Stalinist to remain in power. Marching for “peace” also means making common cause with retrograde elements of the Muslim community who would like to see women garbed in a Burqa and beaten if they failed to obey, as some radical feminist groups in Britain did immediately prior to the war. Apparently some people love the ephemeral notion of “peace” so much that they would band together with their natural enemy in order to agitate on behalf of a regime which invaded two countries and whose operatives gassed their own countrymen. In doing so, by the way, these “peace lovers” overtly and explicitly equated the leader of the world’s oldest democracy, the country responsible for the liberation of countless millions of individuals from oppression, with Adolf Hitler, the man whose policies and aggression led to the deaths of millions of people.
Political liberalism, a belief system whose tenets I have always held dear, has been dying a slow death within me since 9/11. The values of liberalism that I have always cherished, that I have always regarded as the lodestar of my personal life, included such worthy concepts as respect for individual rights and for freedom of choice. A liberal, in my comprehension, stood for the rights of all people to achieve what they could do. Liberals supported the rights of women, minorities, and homosexuals to live ordinary lives free from oppression by either government or society. Liberals opposed communism because it oppressed the common man under the guise of struggling for his salvation. Liberals believed that, given the freedom and the opportunity, men and women would strive to better themselves.
In short, the kind of liberalism I believe in didn’t induce people to rally on behalf of a status quo that had already resulted in the murder of thousands, while comparing an American President to a Nazi leader. Somewhere along the way, a great many liberals stopped believing in right and wrong and started believing in the Church of the Evil George Bush.
I don’t know when, but at some point, political liberalism in America shifted. Rather than take a stand for things, liberals began to delineate themselves by what they stood against: George Bush. Rather than join a national discussion on the threat posed to America and the West by Islamic fascism, many liberals chose to circumvent meaningful discussion and simply blame America. In kaffeeklatsches around the world, wave after wave of meaningless epithets tumbled from the lips of liberal chatting classes. Chimerical concepts such as “neoconservative,” “imperialism,” and “unilateralism” filled the air. Apparently, for many liberals, it became easier to repeat hackneyed cliches than to actually formulate a coherent opinion. While there was plenty of room for thoughtful, cogent criticism of the Administration and its policies, many liberals decided simply to agree that the President was bad without asking what, if anything they would have done in his shoes. The left finally found, in Michael Moore, its own Rush Limbaugh: a fat, petulant, noxious, partisan blowhard.
While hating George Bush and marching with Islamic radicals in the name of “peace” may be a balm to the troubled leftist’s soul, it does absolutely nothing to help secure peace on earth. Sometimes, peace can only be secured by force of arms. And, in many cases, the only nation possessed of the wherewithal to deliver that force of arms happens to be the United States of America. Certainly America is not the only nation that realizes this, many other nations are willing to join in the cause.
In this holiday period, when the word “peace” is on everybody’s lips, some points bear repeating: wishing for “peace on earth” does not make it so. Many of the people who live free and in peace today do so because someone was willing to lay down their ploughshare, pick up a sword, and fight for it. In many cases, that person was a young American who interrupted his own life to fight for the freedom of others. Many of these individuals gave the ultimate sacrifice: if you’re not sure what I mean, book your next vacation to Normandy and stroll through the cemeteries.
This continues today in Iraq. Once again, much of the left acquits itself not by offering constructive criticism, but by performing an end run around the notion of freedom for Iraqis. Part of it comes from the soft racism of “intellectuals” who believe that Arabs are not suited to democracy. Part of it comes from the fact that much of the left simply has its head up its ass. Rather than offering support for Iraq and Iraqis, much of the left merely asserts that this war was fought for oil and corporate interests. That’s great: now they don’t have to worry about what happens. They don’t have to care what happens in Iraq. By debasing the cause of the war, many on the left have no need to struggle with the old fashioned notion that freedom and democracy can occur in Iraq. It was, after all, fought for oil, and those silly Arabs just aren’t cut out for democracy.
This holiday season, I’m thankful that somewhere, there are men and women who have sacrificed so that I can enjoy the freedoms that I have. We who have freedom owe a debt of thanks to those men and women of all nationalities who are willing to stand in harm’s way so that we can live the lives we do. To those of all nationalities standing up for freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else, I offer my most profound admiration, humble respect, and deepest thanks. The world will be better because brave individuals like you took a stand for freedom and democracy. May you continue to fight the good fight, and may you return safely to your homes and loved ones when your duty is completed. And in the final accounting, when your labors are finally completed, may we finally know the true meaning of the words “peace on earth, good will toward men.”