Why Is Our Intelligentsia Getting Dumber?
February 28, 2011 10 Comments
On Libya, the New York Times opens an article like this:
BENGHAZI, Libya — Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back on three fronts on Monday, using fighter jets, special forces units and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya closer to civil war.
I don’t know any other way to read this than that the New York Times doesn’t think what is occurring in Libya right now is a civil war. Events are bringing it “closer to” a civil war but it’s not one right now.
This is symptomatic of what I’ve complained about many times: Almost everyone in the West, especially among the intelligentsia, seems to have utterly forgotten basic, common-sense facts and simple knowledge about warfare. If what’s occurring in Libya right now isn’t “civil war”, then I don’t know what the heck is. People who don’t understand that – it’s not clear what they do understand about warfare.
I can only conjecture that the NYT is unsure it’s okay to call what’s happening in Libya a “civil war” because it doesn’t quite seem to fit the template laid out in movies like Gone With the Wind and Glory. Doesn’t there need to be a pitched-battle in a muddy field like Gettysburg, and legs getting cut off due to gangrene, in order to call something a “civil war”?
This is similar to how the entire intelligentsia still – here and now, in 2011 – refers to the situation in Iraq as “The Iraq War” (tm/2003). Ask anyone. People still discuss and speak about whether they agree with “The Iraq War”. That’s because, as everyone knows, there’s an “Iraq War” going on right now – which one? – “The” Iraq War. And why, you might ask, is there an “Iraq War”? Because the United States has soldiers stationed in Iraq. No one can conceive of the war being over, and us having won it (which actually occurred with the capture of Saddam Hussein), because it doesn’t fit their template of ‘winning a war’, which – as far as I can tell – comes from the ending of the original Star Wars trilogy: big thing is exploded, the Emperor is tossed down an endless pit, and all the people cheer, because there’s now permanent peace. Unless/until that happens, you can’t “win” a war, so the war can’t be over, so it’s still going on.
Describe the events of Iraq to a person plucked from 200 years ago, and they’d go: “I see. So, let me summarize: the U.S. successfully invaded, occupied the country, decimated and scattered the army, and the former leader was captured. I gather the U.S. won, then.”
Similarly, describe the events of Libya today, and they’d instantly recognize it as a civil war.
So the question is: why are people today dumber than people of 200 years ago?