Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sometimes Goliath is the good guy

I've been reading David McCullough's wonderful 1776, with its stirring description of how a small rag-tag army beat the mighty British Empire, possessor of the best trained, best equipped army in the world. It made me think of how some Liberals recently have likened the Iraqi insurgents (or, as I like to call them, paramilitary death squads) to the Minutemen. The most obvious examples of this way of thinking are Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan. There's definitely a trickle-down effect here, though, since many on the Left have fallen in love with the idea of "insurgents" as the new Founding Fathers. It occurred to me that Michael Moore and his compadres are not entirely to blame for this ignorant approach to the war now taking place. For thousands of years, most cultures have gloried in stories of the little guy (always good) defeating the big guy (always evil). After all, David (the good guy) slew Goliath (the bad guy). The Greek League defeated the might of the Persians in the Battle at the Hellespont. Roland (good guy) failed an Roncesvalles, but his rearguard action become the stuff of epic legend. As mentioned above, the American rebels (good guys) defeated the mighty British empire (bad guys). The same trend appears in fiction, too. Beowulf's mano-a-mano with Grendel is the stuff of a thousand English classes. Fairy tales delight in the stories of clever, brave heroes bringing down kingdoms. (The one that I keep thinking of in this context is "The Brave Little Tailor.") Even Narnia, which we all know and love, begins with the story of four mere children, with good on their side, defeating the White Witch's thousand year reign of evil. Given our culture, which delights in the David v. Goliath narrative, it's almost unsurprising that liberals would thrill to the idea of yet another small group (the insurgents) taking on the mightiest Army in the world. This is the stuff of epic legend. Pop culture tells us that, in these unequal battles, the little guy is always the good guy. This is the paradigm, and it's lasted intact in history and literature for thousands of years. The question then becomes whether we can get people to recognize that here, at least, evil comes in small packages. I have to admit that I'm somewhat doubtful about our ability to change this mindset. Considering how remarkably forgiving the Left has been of the fact that Insurgents embrace beheadings, whippings, kidnappings, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism, I'm not sure that the Left is capable of looking beyond its blinkered view that good is always small and evil large. I guess all we can do is keep hammering home the reality that, in this case, just as America's Might (good) brought down Nazi Germany (bad), just as the more powerful non-slave North (good) brought down the slave South (bad), and just as American Might (good) ended once and for all the horrible stalemate that had become WWI, here America does represent virtue, packaged on a large scale.