Sunday, December 12, 2010

No Noble Notions

My family watched The Chronicles of Narnia last night having seen the competing Jimmy Stewart holiday movie forty or so times. One aspect of the movie (and the C.S. Lewis book on which it was based) is the glorification of combat. From the age of the Crusades, mortal engagement for the greater glory of God was elevated, with knights with grand heraldry and shining panoply being portrayed heroically. Not withstanding that after the initial success of the First Crusade because of the sort of surprise aspect of it- that the Muslims won all the rest with some like the infamous Children's Crusade not even making it off the continent of Europe  (not to mention the utter brutality that these knights of Christendom exhibited toward Muslims and Jews including defenseless women and children). Paeans to the good fight by James Fenimore Cooper spawned Mark Twain's derision with the Missourian, who had seen death in battle, figuratively eviscerating such high-minded characterizations of organized murder. One group in particular still venerates death and killing as the highest honor and that is the jihadist with martyrdom as that which is to be sought- a high religious aspiration. While we were watching the fiction of Narnia in the comfort of snowy middle America, some poor deluded practitioner of the religion of peace was meeting his maker detonating himself as a suicide bomb across the water in heretofore peaceful idyllic winter wonderland Sweden. Sane people must always and forever abandon the idea of glorious sacrifice, while dying for one's country may sometimes be necessary and courage in defending liberty should always be recognized, the loss of life should never be cast in a shiny wrapper.

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