Monday, 22 June 2009

The Narcissism Revolution

Richard Spencer writes:

It will be Twitterized!

Leave it to the neocons, their congressional allies, and much of the “conservative” blogosphere to make Barack Obama look like an elder statesman of Burkean inclinations.

As the newly color-coded “Green Revolution” unfolds on Twitter and other hipster-powered social networks, The Messiah has been rather circumspect in his public statements: saying that he thinks the Iranian people’s “voices should be heard” is as far as he’ll go. Obama wants to wait and see, and no matter what happens, he’ll meet with the Iranian president, whoever he might be, in the coming months. (Joe Biden stated unequivocally, “The decision has been made to talk.”) This policy of Splendid Wishy-Washiness with regard to the election is, without question, wise when an outside power is unstable and no one’s certain where the chips might fall.

The Republicans, of course, have recognized this deficit in obnoxious global-democracy happytalk, and have stepped up to fill the void. This is their moment! Since 9/11, you can always count on them to do Stephen Colbert impressions and put forth various windy resolutions in Congress whenever an international crisis of some sort occurs.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R, Va), who’s making a bid to be the next Newt, led the way:

The Administration’s silence in the face of Iran’s brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East.

And later,

America has a moral responsibility to stand up for human rights around the world and to condemn the abuses that are occurring in Tehran today.

John McCain declared he’s certain the election, in which evil Ahmadinejad won almost two thirds of the vote, was a “sham” and, more ominously, announced, “I hope that we will act.” (Thankfully “act” only means, at least for the time being, “not talk to evil Ahmadinejad.”)

The blogosphere has been far worse. If Republicans are saying, “We’re all Iranians now!” then the bloggers are writing, “The Iranians are all Americans now!” It’s the Narcissism Revolution, and everything that happens in Tehran is, pretty much, all about us.

Andrew Sullivan is perhaps the most prominent in this regard. Sully has, of course, partaken in multiple “casual encounters” with various political movements in public blog posts over the past decade. At the beginning of the century, he was “warblogging,” spouting off all kinds of nonsense about “Munich” and—in 2001!—demanding that we consider nuking Iraq before it was too late! By the 2006 midterms, he’d switched to bashing the GOP and had gone quasi-antiwar—how conveeenient. And last year, Sully, much like Brüno, fell in love with Ron Paul, for a bit, and then abandoned him to follow Jesus Christ Superstar and launch a new career as a White House shill. Now on The Daily Dish, Sullivan’s quoting from various revolutionary “tweets” from Tehran—this vicarious Iranian liberal nationalism being his most pathetic political infatuation to date. The Twitter Revolution, according to Sully, will be a “game changer,” as a liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East will set off a domino effect of progressive change that will transform the hearts and minds … Wait, haven’t we heard this before?

Even some in the Religious Right are falling in love with themselves all over again with this Green Revolution thing. Take this from Catholic author Mark Shea:

It is beyond ironic that the country most identified in our minds as one of the major fomenters of Islamic nutjobbery should suddenly reveal a gigantic population of people who seem to have grokked [apparently this word means “understand, like, deeply”] the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaking of which, what also stuns me is how deeply in tune the Greens seem to be with ideas which are now quite despised here in the West by our elites, namely, the truth that, as JFK put it, ‘the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.’ Our elites, all agog for the New Atheism, sneer at such stuff as incipient “theocracy” even as the marchers in Iran call upon God to overturn the tyranny of the regime. It’s the other side of the coin that secularists never take sufficient stock of: the fact that faith in God doesn’t *just* inspire monstrous deeds. It can also fire incredible heroism and pull down despots.

The Greens in Iran are acting on ideas that are stunningly American (and, of course, deeply Catholic [of course!]). It is Augustine who tells us that an unjust law is no law at all. It is St. Thomas who says that a people have the right to overthrow a tyrant since raw power is not the same as authority from God. And it is the American Founders who insist that precisely *because* man has rights that come from God, not the state, that the state which tramples those rights is rightfully overthrown. How strange it is to hear Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar!” in support of the teachings of Thomas Jefferson and St. Thomas.


As evidence of this rapturous state of affairs, Shea shows us a YouTube video that looks a lot like all those horrible black-and-white “B-list Celebrities ♥ Obama” ditties we were bombarded with last spring. In this dispatch from the barricades, a collection of diverse, attractive Iranians hold up signs above the soft sounds of emo-rock guitar.

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