Thomas Sowell

European nations protesting Saddam Hussein's death sentence, as they protested against forcing secrets out of captured terrorists, should tell us all we need to know about the internal degeneration of western society, where so many confuse squeamishness with morality.

Two generations of being insulated from the reality of the international jungle, of not having to defend their own survival because they have been living under the protection of the American nuclear umbrella, have allowed too many Europeans to grow soft and indulge themselves in illusions about brutal realities and dangers.

The very means of their salvation have been demonized for decades in anti-nuclear movements and protesters calling themselves "anti-war." But there is a huge difference between being anti-war in words and being anti-war in deeds.

How many times, in its thousands of years of history, has Europe gone 60 years without a major war, as it has since World War II? That peace has been due to American nuclear weapons, which was all that could deter the Soviet Union's armies from marching right across Europe to the Atlantic Ocean.

Having overwhelming military force on your side, and letting your enemies know that you have the guts to use it, is being genuinely anti-war. Chamberlain's appeasement brought on World War II and Reagan's military buildup ended the Cold War.

The famous Roman peace of ancient times did not come from negotiations, cease-fires, or pretty talk. It came from the Roman Empire's crushing defeat and annihilation of Carthage, which served as a warning to anyone else who might have had any bright ideas about messing with Rome.

Only after the Roman Empire began to lose its own internal cohesion, patriotism and fighting spirit over the centuries did it begin to succumb to its external enemies and finally collapse.

That seems to be where western civilization is heading today.

Internal cohesion? Not only does much of today's generation in western societies have a "do your own thing" attitude, defying rules and flouting authority are glorified and Balkanization through "multiculturalism" has become dogma.

Patriotism? Not only is patriotism disdained, the very basis for pride in one's country and culture is systematically undermined in our educational institutions at all levels.

The achievements of western civilization are buried in histories that portray every human sin found here as if they were peculiarities of the west.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate