Blogs > Liberty and Power > DON'T BOTHER TO EXAMINE A FOLLY

Dec 27, 2003 1:43 am


I have some follow-up discussion on the capture of Hussein here. In that post to the SOLO Forum, I actually reiterate a point I made way back in February 2003 to the Philosophy of Objectivism list, which Arthur Silber republished on his blog here. There is no mystery as to why Hussein didn't go down in a blaze of glory. Telling his captors,"Don't shoot" is rather typical of a man who sees his own survival as the only barometer by which to measure victory in any battle. As I wrote:

This brings to mind a really wonderful skit from earlier this season on"Saturday Night Live." A group of Islamic terrorists are sent out to die so they can all get the rewards that come from sacrificial martyrdom: X number of virgins in paradise, etc. When somebody asks the Osama Bin Laden character why he isn't fighting, why he hasn't died for the cause, he fumbles over his words, screams out something about Allah, and proceeds to send out another group of martyrs to die—in his place.

We all know why this is the case. [Ayn Rand's villain from The Fountainhead] Ellsworth Toohey provides the answer:"Don't bother to examine a folly—ask yourself only what it accomplishes. . . . It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. . . . The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master." Hussein, Bin Laden, and other leaders of Islamic terrorism are fully capable of sacrificing their own people; they most assuredly do not wish to die themselves. I think it is reasonable to assume that pointing a nuke at Baghdad can still have the required effect of keeping Hussein in check, since he apparently wants to live. Why would he have so many tunnels and escape routes under his various castles if living were not a priority?

And so it was that he was captured in one of those filthy holes in the ground. How apropos. Now, the Butcher of Baghdad will put on a show to keep himself alive in the Mother of All Jury Trials. We're already hearing all the psychobabble about how the poor guy suffered abuse as a child, as if this should be a mitigating factor in our judgment of his crimes.

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