Last updated 11/14/2023 at 12:14pm
Shipworms, if you didn’t know, were the bane of mariners for many centuries. Shipworms are mollusks that make a living by burrowing into wood immersed in saltwater. These “termites of the sea” can chew a wooden ship into pieces in a relatively short amount of time. There is even some evidence to suggest, in the writings of Bernal Diaz del Castillo and other contemporaries, that Cortez didn’t burn his ships because he wanted to trap conquistadors in Mexico, but because they were so riven with shipworms they were no longer seaworthy.
We’ll never know if that’s true, but it isn’t hard to see that America has taken on an unhealthy load of shipworms.
Who could have imagined that a mere twenty years after 9/11, when a handful of Wahhabi-inspired radicals killed more than 3,000 innocent people, Americans would march on the White House chanting jihadi slogans, smearing the pillars with red paint, and demanding the United States withdraw support for the only democracy in the middle east.
It’s probably worth remembering that Hamas isn’t your friend. The fundamental issue isn’t American support for Israel — which is an acutely naïve notion that wholly disregards the Hamas Charter and the tenets of fundamentalist Islamism — it’s the assumption that withdrawing American support for Israel would somehow cause Hamas to abandon their 7th- century view of the world for an embrace of political pluralism and freedom of religion.
Because they won’t. Ever. Hamas will keep killing people no matter what we do. And we know this because they tell us they will keep doing it, and then doing it, without hesitation or reservation.
Here in the West we have grown accustomed to ignoring the declarations of our politicians, who will say almost anything except what they actually mean. We are so inured to this charlatanism — it is baked into the process — that we wrongly assume politicians in other, more serious regions of the world do the same.
The great strategic weakness of Wahhabists, Khomeinists, and other extremist middle eastern religio-ideologies — should anyone in the West ever decide to exploit it – is that they tell us exactly what they are thinking, and what they intend to do. If the Taliban say they are going to line up howitzers and destroy the Bamyan Buddhas, or if a Salafi radical says they are going to kidnap civilians and murder them, they are going to do it.
Failing to believe them is an enormous mistake, and images from the evacuation of Kabul, where people knew better and were so desperate to escape the Taliban they were clinging to the sides of C-130s, then falling out of the sky as the planes took off, will hang around Joe Biden’s neck like a dead chicken for the rest of his life, whether he knows it or not.
But, infested as we are with wormy notions of moral equivalence, and self-hating suggestions that all of this strife and violence is somehow our fault, it is no longer clear that we in the West still have a determination to defend our way of life — even against people who throw acid in the faces of young girls who want to read, beat women who display their ankles, throw homosexuals off of rooftops or hang them from excavators in the town square, or, in their latest outburst of medieval horror, parade Holocaust survivors through the streets, behead children, tie people together and light them on fire, and rape women in front of their families.
They tell us they are going to do it, and then they do it, and an astonishing percentage of the American public goes wobbly in the knees rather than embrace with moral clarity — as the Israelis certainly have — that fighting these monsters isn’t even a choice: it is a sacred duty to defend civilization from primitive savagery.
It’s a topsy-turvy world, no-doubt, and one great irony in the offing while the shipworms go chewing through the keel, is the potential reelection of Donald Trump. Nobody should want that, but the law of unintended consequences seems to be forbearing. America has a long and embarrassing history of embracing criminals, which is probably one reason the DNC’s big ad-campaign portraying “Trump as Criminal” was recently yanked from the airwaves — because it wasn’t moving the needle of public opinion in the direction they had hoped. And who can be surprised?
For decades now we have been coddling criminals, attempting to explain away their behaviors as the result of an ethereal, intersecting matrix of various grievances, rather than demanding they behave better and punishing them harshly when they don’t. So, if Trump ascends to the Iron Throne again, the progressive American left, which rarely finds a crook it doesn’t love, can thank itself for so broadly seeding the field.
The Trump question aside, if milquetoast mayors and city councils across the land won’t stand up to mobs running riot in their own streets, burning down whole city blocks in the name of a career criminal, imagine how they will defend your values, to say nothing of your life and property, against something as scary as jihadis wired on amphetamines and loaded down with rocket launchers and machine guns, with lists of people to kidnap and kill?
And worse, when they start suggesting that barbarous mentality is your fault, it is abundantly clear that the ship is riven with worms and taking on water.