Friday, February 1, 2008

On the Irrelevance of Elitist Gloom

Ari Shavit has read the Vinograd report and is deeply depressed. It's a requiem, he says, "a sad book about a nation that is currently flying into a storm with an empty cockpit".

Requiems are serious things, and they generally come after death. While too many people on both sides died in the stupid little war our leaders ineptly foisted upon us in the summer of 2006, it wasn't the end of the world, nor is it a harbinger of it. On the contrary. If you ask me, the long-term implication of the war is that inexperienced leaders can foolishly take us to war accompanied by arrogant and wrongheaded generals, and it doesn't make much difference. Partly this is because the leaders on the other side are even worse at their job, and mostly it's because the people - civilians, voters, all those folks that Shavit and his friends love to look down on - are strong enough, or perhaps simply too stubborn, to let it make that much of a difference.

Shavit likes to think in Spenglerian terms of the decline of whatever, but Spengler was mostly wrong, and so is Shavit.

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