If David Nason,
New York correspondent for The Weekend Australian, had wanted to
interview a philosopher he would have picked somebody like Jed
Clampett or Barney Miller. Jed was Clarence Darrow, Judge Roy Bean
and Abe Lincoln all rolled into one. Nothing ever fazed him—not
double-naught spies, Ellie’s critters, or Granny’s tonic; he had an
answer for everything.
Miller (D-GA) has patterned himself after Jed. Barney Miller was
more like Erich Fromme with a little Aristotle thrown in. He once
said a good suit should last ten years. Anyone who could handle Wojo
and Inspector Luger on a daily basis would be more than a match for
such pseudo-philosophers as Noam Chomsky or Robert Jensen. With
their feet planted firmly on the ground, Jed and Barney would never
have praised or made excuses for suicide bombers.
If Nason had been
looking for an old curmudgeon he couldn’t have gone wrong with Andy
Rooney. If he had wanted a radical leftwing firebrand there was
Michael Moore and Howard Dean. Unfortunately, what Nason got was
Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of
Champions. Nason was on assignment and Vonnegut was promoting his
new book, Man Without a Country, a collection of anti-Bush essays.
Vonnegut is not a
philosopher no matter what he might think. He doesn’t use words like
Well, doggies and Jimcracky and he’s probably never seen the insides
of a cracker barrel. He seems lost in a beatnik time-warp;
coffeehouses, poetry, bongos, goatees, women in black leotards; Che
and Fidel; Jack Kerouac On the Road; Maynard G. Krebs standing watch
over the Endicott Building; Edsels and Moa; students flirting with
Buddhism and Communism; not dirty or grungy enough to be a hippie,
but older, nastier, no longer capable of understanding America, and
with his own mortality staring him in the face, unable to keep his
mouth shut for any appreciable length of time; the anger of a
foolish old man, doddering on the brink of oblivion, unaware of the
onset of senescence.
Could this be
Kurt Vonnegut? Who else? It’s not Jed Clampett; it’s not Andy
Rooney. Vonnegut never starts a sentence with Well, doggies or Did
you ever notice— So as not to disappoint anyone, Vonnegut discussed
his world view with Nason. “What George Bush and his gang did not
realize was that people fight back,” he said. Ah-hah! Bush has a
gang! That is not good. Al Capone had a gang; Wild Bill Doolan had a
gang. Bad people have gangs. Ipso facto, Bush must be bad. This is
cracker barrel philosophy without the barrel.
Vonnegut had a
lot to say about suicide bombers. “I regard them as very brave
people,” he said. To die for what you believe is “sweet and
honorable.” He rejected the idea that Islamo-fascists like Mohammed
Atta and Hani Hanjour were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.
“I regard them as very brave people, yes.”
Brave? No, Kurt,
you are mistaken. Brave people do not commit suicide. Suicide is the
opposite of bravery. Brave people take chances; they risk their
lives, sometimes against enormous odds, but it’s to save people.
They don’t deliberately kill themselves hoping to take thousands of
innocent people with them; bravery is Audie Murphy charging a
pillbox to save his buddies; bravery is John Q. Public diving into a
frozen river to save a drowning child. Brave people do not want to
die; they want to live; they do what needs to be done to save lives;
that is what makes them brave. Fools, maniacs and those twisted and
perverted by religious fascism want to die.
They don’t save lives; they take lives. Truth and reason have no
place in their warped world. They are not brave; they are cowardly.
Mohammed Atta, the result of 1,400 years of systematic brainwashing,
did not commit an act of bravery by crashing that plane into the
World Trade Center—it was an insane and selfish act—he was on his
way, one might say he was Hell bent, to Allah’s Great Whorehouse in
the Sky. Seventy-two virgins can last one of Allah’s slaves a long
“They are dying for their own self-respect. It’s a terrible thing to
deprive someone of their self-respect.”
What did Vonnegut
mean by that? Did he mean anything at all? Was his mind wandering?
This is confusing. Self-respect? Was that why Henry Clay fought a
duel with John Randolph of Roanoke? Was that why Lt. Col. Jochen
Peiper of the Waffen SS ordered the execution of 72 American
prisoners of war at Malmedy? Were Clay and Peiper trying to regain
their self-respect? Had they been dis-respected like, say—Rodney
King? Was that what Lieutenant William Calley had in mind at My Lai?
If Rodney Dangerfield had come into the world without a religion
would he have chosen Islam?
So Mohammed Atta
and Hani Hanjour killed thousands of innocent people because they
were deprived of their self-respect? Is that why Ibrahim Hoopercrit
of CAIR has never apologized or even made an excuse for their
horrendous crime? Even the Wizard of Oz could not have helped those
disgusting ratbags. One gains self-respect by doing the Lord’s work,
not the Devil’s bidding—though in Islam the demarcation line is slim
“And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from
where they have turned you out (think Herr Adolph’s lebensraum); for
Al-Fitnah (polytheism, disbelief, oppression) is worse than
missed; John Randolph was as slim as a blade of grass. Peiper
murdered enemy soldiers not civilians—nonetheless a horrible crime.
Islamic suicide bombers make no distinction between soldiers and
civilians; they are far beyond Peiper. More Americans might have
died at Malmedy had not a German Sergeant ignored his lack of rank
and prevented a German officer from killing yet more prisoners.
Is there anyone
in Islam that would stop a suicide bomber? That’s where self-respect
begins. Jed Clampett knew that; Barney Miller knew that; Kurt
Vonnegut doesn’t. Vonnegut compared the destruction of the World
Trade Center to Truman’s dropping the atomic bomb on Japan.
Nine-eleven was more like Pearl Harbor, Kurt—a declaration of war on
the West. Get it?
Then Vonnegut got
philosophical. Could anything match a suicide bomber’s last seconds
on earth? The rush must be awesome! Fantastic! “You would know death
was going to be painless,” he said. “So the anticipation—it must be
an amazing high.” Kerouac? Timothy Leary? Jed Clampett had that same
feeling every time he sampled Granny’s tonic, but Jed always woke up
alive the next morning.
83-years-old—and that might be part of the problem; but just to be
safe, when he’s around, lock up the hemlock. He’s not going to pull
a Charles Bronson, but he might think he’s Socrates.
By Denis Schulz
Keywords and misspellings: politics poletics
democrat demoncrat republican repub comentary commentary plegde 9/11