March 20, 2006 - March 13, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Death in a Cold
I think there's some anniversary or other that's going to be getting a
lot of attention in the next few days, and I didn't want to talk about
that because everyone else will. So I thought I'd talk about something
else instead. How about death? Did you know that last year in the
United States 2,310,000
people died? (This doesn't include approximately 2 million abortions,
but that's another topic for another day.) The way the World
keeps track, that's 8.25 people per thousand, which sounds better than
the big number, but
gives every U.S. citizen a higher chance of dying this year
than of ever winning
a million dollars in
the lottery. There will be about 6,300 winners of the death lottery in
this country every single day of 2006. That's a little over 260 an hour
and over 4 per minute. Since you started reading this, between four and
six of your fellow citizens have handed in their dinner pails.
Why should you care? Because we're all going to win this lottery
eventually. No exemptions. But that's exactly why we tend to avoid
paying much attention to the facts. If they wanted to, the New York Times
front page of their paper every day, "6,300 Deaths Yesterday in
Continuing U.S. Health Catastrophe." But they don't do that because you
don't want them to and would
probably stop buying their paper if they did.
Collectively, we've all developed a great workaround for this gruesome
unreported story. We do ask for, and receive, plenty of stories about
death, but always in a way that makes it seem somehow avoidable or
controllable for the most of us. Local television news programs play a
very active role in keeping death alive, so to speak, as an important
news story. While they may overlook such trivialities as reporting
seriously or in depth about local politics, they work hard every day to
show us deaths by auto accident, arson, homicide, corporate negligence,
and, of course, smoking. And they try not to give us big numbers, but
individual faces -- of the schoolgirl slain by the drunk driver, the
toddler who couldn't be rescued from the rowhouse fire, the cop gunned
down on a domestic disturbance call, the hooker raped and murdered on
the corner, the chemical plant worker who
succumbed to toxic fumes, and the contemptible old lady who continued
to sneak cigarettes at the nursing home even after her lung surgery.
What's great about this kind of death reporting is that it almost
always gives us something to blame, whether it's bad behavior or
criminals or insufficient government protections. And there are even
kinds of death that make us feel somehow immune -- the celebrity
skydiving accident, the newest pre-teen killer drug, the fatal crimes
and diseases of passion our own love lives aren't imaginative enough to
encounter, and the heroic deaths of those who do brave things we would
never contemplate. The illusion of death as a syndrome of the very good
and the very bad.
What we experience in the news shows and obit columns is a steady
drip-drip-drip of death that makes it seem like something we can put
away by tossing the daily paper in the trash or changing the channel.
This is punctuated by another kind of relieving death story -- the
Dramatic Total. School Shooting Claims 16 Dead. 10 Lost in WV
Mining Disaster. 21 Dead or Missing in Tornado Rampage. 9/11 Death Toll
Passes 3,000. New Milestone in Iraq: 2,000 Killed in Action. The
Dramatic Total can be a balm even on foreign soil, as long as the
numbers rise by an order of magnitude: 100,000 Drowned in Tsunami.
Saddam's Mass Graves Yield 200,000 Bodies. African Genocide Estimated
at 500,000 Victims. 1 Million North Koreans Believed Dead from
Starvation. What's so wonderful about these kinds of stories is that
they give us a safe way of expressing outrage about death. We can be
angry at death, indignant, resentful, and self-righteously superior to
its instigators if not the actual state it represents. Which is another
way of pretending that death doesn't have us by the throat -- each and
every one of us -- all the time.
You see, what all these acceptable stories are about is keeping
death a stranger. The chemistry is altered when death becomes an
intimate. The math changes. We stop calculating in terms of raw
longevity and begin assessing life in terms of quality, accomplishment,
spiritual attainment and legacy. Time fades into the illusion it always
was. The field of psychology has mangled this natural transition into a
forced death march through the so-called phases of denial, anger,
bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Everything I've described so far is about the denial of death. It's
something that happens to others, the ones who are weak or excessive or
over/under-privileged or unlucky or stupid. It can't happen to me
because I'm good or moderate or pacific or important or altruistic.
Lies. Death comes to everyone. Every one.
All but the final phase described by psychologists are simply different
flavors of denial driven by fear. We cycle through all of them all the
time, just as we react in turn to each of the artificially framed stories told us by
the media. The death of someone completely unlike us feeds our denial.
The Dramatic Total arouses our anger. Death by institutional policy or
neglect makes us feel we can bargain away the danger. The failure of
such bargaining induces depression. Throughout, death remains the
terrifying stranger whom we deny and turn away from at every
There are really only two "phases," denial and acceptance. Achieving
acceptance of death is one of the primary purposes of all major
religions. Why is it that Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism,
Hinduism, Taoism, and all the other great faiths work so hard to
eliminate the fear of death, to describe it as a rite of passage rather
than an end? Because like all unconquered fears, the fear of death
distorts our values and creates a self-defined prison. Lives that
should be lived become instead a kind of bunker in which we hide and
peek out at the world through ragged slits in our fortifications
The irony of our great post-modern secularization is that it has stolen
away our avenues to acceptance. When we scoff at the Christian heaven
-- or the Muslim heaven -- we are reducing our own power to establish
values and accomplishments that are more rewarding than mere survival.
In the process we surrender strength and authority to those who have
overcome their fear of death, even if we feel nothing but contempt for
their spiritual logic. That's why the Islamists are willing to die by
the thousands without pausing in their mission to count up the dead,
and we cannot take a single step to stop them without counting, and
recounting, and adding up, and performing all the other masturbatory
math of the most cowardly primitives who didn't even have the guts to
venture out of their caves.
Here are the facts we don't want to hear about in the media. We are all
going to die, and the overwhelming majority
of us are going to die from heart disease (28.5%), cancer (22.8%),
stroke (6.7%), emphysema (5.1%), and accidents (4.4%), to the tune of
more than 1.5 million a year. Another 70,000 of us will die from
diabetes every year, 62,000 from flu or pneumonia, 55,000 from Alzheimer's, and
about 115,000 from various other diseases. That's more than 5,000 a day, 80 percent of the total. The wild hope of curing any or all of these diseases is merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. If we eliminate these ills, we'll just die from something else.
The funny thing is that wars, even terrible wars, kill far fewer
victims. In the U.S., World War II -- from December 7, 1941 to May 15, 1945 --
killed a little under 500 troops per day. The Iraq War has killed just
over two troops a day. And amazingly enough, the country of Iraq, even
in the midst of its horrifying warfare, has a lower
annual death rate
than the United States -- 5.5 per thousand versus
our 8.25 per thousand, while the arrogantly neutral (and safe)
Europeans have a higher rate than both -- 10.1 per thousand. Do you begin
to see the distortions of denial?
So what are we really doing when we insist that the price of
confronting Islamism and liberating an oppressed people in another
country is too high? We are saying that nothing is more important than
physical survival for our allotted three score years and ten (or
twenty). Can this really be true? No risks are worth taking to defend
our values, our way of life, the prodigious accomplishments of our
forebears from those who would ransack and overrun us. Would you really
prefer to hide in an empty concrete bunker for the remaining decades
before you, too, join the list of 100 percent casualties by expiring
from heart attack, cancer, or stroke? And does this determination
really make you feel superior to those who have so transcended the fear
which grips you that they believe a short, noble life offered up in
service to you is better lived than a 50-year game of hide-and-seek
with cancer? Do you honor them -- or yourself-- by scorning their
bravery as contemptible beside your pusillanimity? Or are you simply
using them as one more gambit in your lifelong game of denial? Isn't it
all really about you
Try this as you fulminate and rage about the unacceptable daily
casualties in Iraq. Each morning, remind yourself that more than 6,000
of your fellow Americans will die today -- feel the gush-gush-gush of
death. Remind yourself that you, too,
are absolutely going to die, probably enfeebled, probably in pain. Ask
yourself if there is anything you'd like to do in the time left to you
that is more important than trying not to confront the inevitable fact
of your own demise. Anything?
If you can't find an answer, get ready to live in the Islamist world.
They are not afraid of death, at least not as much as you. And they're
just dying to kill you.
The 'Dramatic Total' tantrum surrounding the third anniversary of the
Iraq War is in full cry. Stay abreast of the details with Michelle Malkin
Friday, March 17, 2006
St. Patrick's Day!
By all means, party with your
greyhounds, but don't let them drink too much.
. There are hundreds of ways of celebrating St.
Patrick's Day, but we especially like the approach taken by these folks
They even get the leprechauns involved.
If you're really seriously Irish, though, you might want to get some
guidance from this blog
which in past years has even shown us how best to follow in the path of
St. Patrick himself.
We like that
too. What better way to work up an honest thirst?
Have a good one.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
WHAT'S THE BUZZ?
The Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci is soon to go on trial in France
for having dared to write critically about muslims and the religion of
Islam. For those who don't know of her, she is the maverick foreign
correspondent and cultural critic Christiane
has been self-consciously imitating throughout her CNN
career. Except that Fallaci is smart, original, and far too independent
to be a politically correct whore for the Palestinians. Her present
lonely situation is described in the current issue of L.A.
, along with this compelling assessment of the self-appointed
thought leaders of western culture:
Fallaci speaks for the ordinary reader.
There is no one she despises more than the intellectual “cicadas,” as
she calls them — “You see them every day on television; you read them
every day in the newspapers” — who deny they are in the midst of a
cultural, political and existential war with Islam, of which terrorism
is the flashiest, but ultimately least important component.
Her latest book on the subject is The Force of Reason
. We should
all read it. Drawing on history and her own observations and
...illuminates one of the central
enigmas of our time. How did Europe become home to an estimated 20
million Muslims in a mere three decades?
How did Islam go from being a virtual non-factor to a religion that
threatens the preeminence of Christianity on the Continent? How could
the most popular name for a baby boy in Brussels possibly be Mohammed?
Can it really be true that Muslims plan to build a mosque in London
that will hold 40,000 people? That Dutch cities like Amsterdam and
Rotterdam are close to having Muslim majorities? How was Europe, which
was saved by the U.S. in world wars I and II, and whose Muslim Bosnians
were rescued by the U.S. as recently as 1999, [be] transformed into a
place in which, as Fallaci puts it, “if I hate Americans I go to Heaven
and if I hate Muslims I go to Hell?”
We could go on quoting from the L.A. Weekly
article and discuss her
views in conjunction with those of Mark
, who has also written extensively about the imminent peril of
Eurabia. But we're not going to because we're so taken with Fallaci's
Loud, raspy, droning insects. A plague because of their extraordinary
repetitive resonance, not their collected insights, which are really
only one groundless affirmation repeated ad nauseam and unto death:
Bush is the problem.
Are you up for a sensory adventure? Listen for the cicadas that drown
out intelligent conversation every day in our own country:
, champion of limiting free speech in politics, who
nevertheless pretends to be defending freedom (and the Constitution he
has betrayed) by denying the national security imperatives of the War
on Terror in order to promote the fiction that Bush is the problem.
-- that dry droning voice of Democrat obstructionism -- who
can't bring himself to endorse Feingold because it might compromise him
in the 2006 election, but who can't bring himself to repudiate Feingold
either, because if his party wins the 2006 election, the only
order of business for
Democrats will be impeaching
, because Bush is the problem. Bzzzzzzzzz.
, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United
States of America, who travels to a foreign land to affirm her
allegiance, not to the Constitution she is sworn to defend, but to "the
experience and good thinking foreign sources may convey," specifically
for the purpose of discovering "common denominators of basic fairness
governing relationships between the governors and the governed." This
while the governments she looks to in order to supersede her own
constitution are busily engaged in surrendering freedom to Islamist
extortionists who care nothing for fairness. A contradiction? A
problem? Of course not. Everyone knows that Bush is the problem.
known as Harvard and Yale, where myopic feminists are
slaying academic freedom even as they offer safe harbor
on a silver
platter to the avowed enemies of every other kind of freedom as well,
because they can recognize no danger from barbarians abroad so long as
they remember that the president of their own country, Bush, is the
The thrumming hive of show business, which gathers round its symbolic queen
to take credit for understanding everything better than the people who
make them rich, gorging themselves on the fruits of a freedom they
routinely abuse while failing to make a single mention
of those who are fighting and dying overseas to preserve that freedom.
Instead, they congratulate themselves for their brilliant discovery
that Bush is the problem. Bzzzzzzzzz.
The New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NPR, NBC, CNBC,
MSNBC, Time, Newsweek, etc, who saturate the atmosphere with virtually
infinite restatements of the lie that with respect to Islam, Iraq,
Iran, the U.N., and even nature itself, Bush is the problem.
We could go on, because the buzz does go on, day after day, month after
month, and year after year, while the Islamic flood tide rises to
calamitous levels around the world, irrigating anti-semitism and
gradually drowning the one faith which is most responsible for the rise
of individual rights, science, and political liberty. But we prefer to
let you take it from here. Listen to the buzz as long as you dare, be
ever mindful of its existence and purpose, but be aware that if you
listen too closely for too long, it will drive you mad. There can be no
other explanation for the routineness of the insanity around us.