In a certain sense it is true: the dividing line between good and evil is not between one group and another; rather, it is within every human heart. This article is trying to make that point, but also to go farther than that, to reinforce the fashionable relativism of the intelligentsia: no moral distinctions can be made, everything and everyone is corrupt, and thus no effort against an evil such as the Islamic State is valid. Zimmerman’s line of thinking, followed out to its logical conclusion, would have the West abandon all efforts to defend itself and surrender to the global jihad.
What is astonishing is that this counsel of despair has become so mainstream, such that its author is a professor at a major university, and his piece is published in a respected newspaper. If our age weren’t so sick, both Zimmerman and the Los Angeles Times editors would never get close to any positions of influence.
“Practice of beheading not limited to Islamic State,” by Jonathan Zimmerman, Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2014:
In 1623, just two years after Native Americans and Pilgrims dined together at the first Thanksgiving, Pilgrim commander Myles Standish decapitated an enemy Indian chieftain and impaled his head on a pike outside of the Plymouth fort.
That’s the part we typically omit from our Thanksgiving myth, which emphasizes interracial harmony instead of violence. And we certainly don’t like to remember that our forefathers practiced beheading, especially when we’re faced with an enemy that still engages in it….
And the victim’s eyes were pointed at us. Condemning Islamic State on Wednesday, President Obama said it “forces us to look into the heart of darkness.” The allusion was to Joseph Conrad’s classic 1899 novel, in which a deranged white colonist in Africa erects human heads on the fence around his house.
To Conrad, writing at the height of imperialism, the heads showed how whites could regress into the barbarism of the lesser races. Today, we know better — or we should. The savagery that you see on those YouTube videos isn’t just in Islamic State, or in some other enemy that you fear and despise. It’s in you too.