Wednesday, September 08, 2004

None So Blind

There's a nightmare that recurs to some people where you fall into a dark pond where a ravenous beast is lurking; but friends are at hand. You call out for help and they turn, but with blank faces, and walk away. Roger Simon describes that feeling.

When I first "came out" on this blog as an apostate from the liberal church, I heard a number of old friends and acquaintances whispering, sometimes in front of me and sometimes behind my back, "Poor Roger, he's scared. He got mugged by 9/11." Well, no. I don't scare that easily. I have my share of problems, but unbridled fear isn't one of them. I was angry.

But now I am scared. 9/11 didn't scare me. The Atocha railroad station didn't scare me. The horrors of the Russian schoolhouse didn't even scare me. It was the reaction by many in Europe and in our media to what happened in that school that has me terrified. Sure the Russians have historically brutalized and mistreated the Chechens, but this barbarism was far beyond a reaction to that. It goes to the core of our common humanity. It was a gauntlet thrown down at Western civilization and yet some still choose to look the other way. But if the sight of children being stripped and shot in the back after having had their gymnasium pre-wired with explosives doesn't wake them up, I don't know what will.

The first task in a nightmare is to discover which parts are wholly imaginary and which have real counterparts. In this scenario Roger Simon is real but the "liberal church" from which he expects outrage has now become entirely fictive. Or rather it has faded into non-existence in a positive sense and come into its own in the negative. The only literary character that ever frightened me was Edward Rolles Weston in C.S. Lewis' science-fiction classic Perelandra. Nothing before or since has ever been so horrible as the description of the brilliant Weston being taken over by the evil whose existence he denied. In the story, Weston decides to corrupt an Edenic planet purely as demonstration of intellectual power; an ultimate exercise in vanity. But on the way Weston discovers he cannot hold evil at arm's length, that is become him. The protagonist of Perelandra, Professor Ransom, describes his confrontation with a Weston who has now turned into the Un-Man. Effects are magnified on that alien planet and evil has eaten him out.

'But this is very foolish,' said the Un-Man. 'Do you not know who I am?'

'I know what you are,' said Ransom. 'Which of them doesn't matter.'

'And you think, little one,' it answered, that you can fight with me? You think He will help you, perhaps? Many thought that. I've known Him longer than you, little one. They all think He's going to help them -- till they come to their senses screaming recantations too late in the middle of the fire, moldering in concentration camps, writhing under saws, jibbering in mad-houses, or nailed on to crosses. Could He help Himself?' -- and the creature suddenly threw back its head and cried in a voice so loud that it seemed the golden sky-roof must break, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.'

And the moment it had done so, Ransom felt certain that the sounds it had made were perfect Aramaic of the first century. The Un-Man was not quoting; it was remembering. These were the very words spoken from the Cross, treasured through all those years in the burning memory of the outcast creature which had heard them, and now brought forward in hideous parody; the horror made him momentarily sick.

The Left, having declared itself above the pettiness of all moral belief now finds its emptiness filled by the ugliest and darkest blood-cult on the planet. It was a proud Tower, but its windows are now dark and its rooms filled with old and withered things. Laugh at it. There is nothing left to fear.