Sunday, February 22, 2015

Industrious lunatics

It is almost impossible to parody the daily breaches of common sense that constitute our political life. I used to have fun in these pages lampooning the imbecility of governments and their enablers. Now they take the piss out of themselves with no need for outside assistance. Who needs a blogger to enjoy a laugh at the voluntary inmates at the asylum when the asylum is the corridors of power?

For months now, we have been told about the sickening atrocities committed by the Islamic State and various other excitable subgroups of the religion of the Prophet. Unless a new chapter has been opened today, the latest farce is Imam Obama's calling together a group of professional meeting-goers for something called The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism.

Since 2012, we've actually had an undersummit on the same theme (supported by the U.S. State Department and your tax money, headquartered in Abu Dhabi) -- the International Center for Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism. "Excellence" is a nice touch; remember the 1990s management fad of Excellence? Remember Total Quality Management (TQM)? ISO 9000?

We can perhaps expect the White House Summit to establish a new certification, CVE 45,000. CVE is combating violent extremism. What does the 45,000 mean? Who knows, but it sounds impressive.

The first award will go to a Green company, subsidized by the U.S. government, that turns Libyan sand into biofuel. Or says it will. That will aptly fulfill the suggestion of State Department Marie Harf that ultimately extremism must be counteracted by a jobs program, which would (for instance) recruit jihadis as heads of departments rather than head hunters.

As everybody has heard by now, the Sheikh of Washington has seen to it that the White House Conference on Violent Extremism tiptoes around any mention of the Islamic State and similar. Maybe they're not considered violent enough to win a Best Killing Oscar.

G.K. Chesterton wrote that "going mad is the slowest and dullest business in the world." He explained that it happens without anyone noticing that it's going on, especially the person going mad. Countries, too, can lose their minds with smooth-flowing efficiency.

"Madness is a passive as well as an active state: it is a paralysis, a refusal of the nerves to respond to the normal stimuli," Chesterton adds.
There are commonwealths, plainly to be distinguished here and there in history, which pass from prosperity to squalor, or from glory to insignificance, or from freedom to slavery, not only in silence, but with serenity. The face still smiles while the limbs, literally and loathsomely, are dropping from the body. These are peoples that have lost the power of astonishment at their own actions.
Take a look at that White House Summit logo again. In no particular order, as they form a circle, the "Solution" includes Engage, Mentor, Support, Communicate, Partner, and Educate. Just the stuff for community organization of bloodthirsty tribes. The symbolism is hard to make out, though. I get the little red schoolhouse for Educate, and the monitor for Communicate, but what is the house with a heart over the door meant to say about support? An Adopt-a-Soldier-of-Allah program? The weirdest of all is the symbol for Partner, which resembles if anything a filing cabinet.

Well, Imam Obama probably had a brainstorm for the White House Summit and wanted to announce it the next day. Some poor sod in the federal bureaucracy, normally occupied with devising wavy lines to indicate water and fish outlines to indicate fish in brochures for the Department of Wildlife, got the call to come up with a design for the Violent Extremism summit in the next eight hours. That didn't leave much time for refinement, or for imagination to set in.

When nations that have "lost the power of astonishment at their own actions," Chesterton says,
... give birth to a fantastic fashion or a foolish law, they do not start or stare at the monster they have brought forth. They have grown used to their own unreason; chaos is their cosmos; and the whirlwind is the breath of their nostrils. These nations are really in danger of going off their heads en masse; of becoming one vast vision of imbecility, with toppling cities and crazy country-sides, all dotted with industrious lunatics.
Come, let us unreason together.

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