Sunday, April 20, 2003

The last post got me thinking about a book I'm reading right now, Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night. Its almost unreadable -- I think Mailer was drinking heavily when he wrote it -- but there are some very interesting things in it. Its about Mailer's participation in the march on the Pentagon in 1967 to protest the Vietnam War, and there's a really extraordinary passage where he describes the Anti-War Movement's ideology. Basically, he says, they don't have an ideology. Their revolution is not meant to establish anything, the revolution itself is the ideology. The revolution will teach its disciples what the new order will be through the process of destroying the old one. There's no question that this is as true today as it was in '67. These people believe in nothing except the absolute, unshakeable faith that what is now is evil, and must be changed no matter the human cost. This is how they can espouse human rights and defend Iraq, Iran, and Syria. This is how they can attack America as racist and embrace anti-semitism. Because in the end all these things are irrelevant. What matters is the war against the existing order and, ultimately, its downfall by apocalyptic violence.


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