Sunday, November 23, 2003

The New Committee for a Free World

This is an unserious post about a very serious subject. The American Digest understands that the battle for domestic public opinion is the decisive theater of operations in the War on Terror. It is trying to organize a nucleus of eminent thinkers -- called the New Committee for a Free World -- who can provide a rallying point for the ideas that must illuminate our journey into the perilous new century, looking ahead in the way that the pamphleteers of the War of Independence did more than two hundred years ago.

Let me say as an aside that the apocalyptic nature of the struggle -- call it good versus evil -- has been apparent to many in the Blogosphere. But being as terminally deficient in gravitas as myself, some bloggers have tended to frame the subject in juvenile but incisive terms. Dan Darling at Regnum Crucis has compared Osama Bin Laden to Magneto, who must wage war against the world of normal humans in order to make it congenial for mutants. Darling points out that Al Qaeda's blood-curdling, apocalyptic emanations from hidden caves resemble nothing so much as a "standard supervillain rant". Although the Belmont Club would not go so far, to preserve its false aspirations to respectability,  I had rather hoped for a more resounding name than 'the New Committee for a Free World', because it lacks the magnificence this larger than life struggle calls for. Darling's instinct is right. We need a name with the sonority of the "Justice League of America", "The Avengers" or at least "The Four Just Men". Perhaps nothing quite so Stan Lee-ish, but a name that will bear the freight of its task.

And it needs an oath, a pledge that will appeal to the heart, uplift the spirit and give us strength when we are too tired, weary and heartbroken to go further. It is said that when Chesty Puller's men walked into the relief lines after battling their way past ten times their number at the Chosin River, they pulled themselves erect, dusted off their dungarees and sang the Marine Corps Hymn, so that the Dogfaces might remember them laughing as they emerged from the jaws of death and before they marched into legend. We are their heirs must sing our own song.

"In brightest day, in blackest night,
no evil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship evil's might,
beware my power.. Green Lantern's light!"