We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have a hunch. It’s neither a particularly interesting nor daring hunch, but it’s a hunch nevertheless. In short, it is this: Almost everyone who writes letters to the editor at The New York Times is a buffoon.
Not exactly earth-shattering, is it? We told you so. But a missive in the September 14 number of the Gray Lady offers some perfect anecdotal evidence that helps to demonstrate our point.
Penned by one Tom F. Driver, an emeritus professor of theology and culture at the Union Theological Seminary, the epistle reads as follows:
“America’s Guardian Myths,” by Susan Faludi (Op-Ed, Sept. 7), is very insightful. For a very brief time after 9/11 we North Americans had a chance to learn from our pain. One of its lessons might have been how much we are like others in our vulnerability, our suffering and our flawed leadership.
Since we were getting a flood of messages of sympathy and solidarity from around the world, we might have learned from them how to turn pain into compassion and wisdom. Then we could have begun to address the causes of the miseries that lead to terrorism.
We could have seen that terrorism is not simply born of evil but comes from histories of inferiority and the consequent desire for revenge. The way to counter terrorism is to advocate not for our own brand of “democracy” but for the just distribution of the world’s resources.
Instead, we used 9/11 to bolster our own feelings of “us versus them,” our illusory dream of invulnerability and our search for enemies rather than friends. This mentality, a blend of machismo and militarism, has given us bloody Iraq, tempts us to nuke Iran and requires us to look under every rock for dangerous foes.
Given this mentality, we will find them.
Tom F. Driver
Sheffield, Mass., Sept. 7, 2007
Oh, dear. According to the distinguished professor, America’s pugnacious response to 9/11 was all wrong. We should have reveled in the “flood of messages of sympathy and solidarity around the world”–which, at least in the case of France, was very short-lived and, in the case of the Palestinians, was non-existent.
But that’s not all we should have done. According to Tom F. Driver, there is one reason that terrorism occurs: It is a response to “histories of inferiority and the consequent desire for revenge.” That an emeritus professor of theology can’t fathom religious rationales lurking behind terrorism speaks volumes.
Yet it gets even worse. Mr. Driver opines: “The way to counter terrorism is to advocate not for our own brand of ‘democracy’ but for the just distribution of the world’s resources.” Oh, brother.
Put to one side, dear reader, the fact that the democratic government established in Iraq is of the English parliamentary variety and not “our own brand.” Also set aside the irksome fact that Mr. Driver puts the word democracy in scare quotes, as if such a thing is ipso facto highly dubious.
Yep, to Mr. Driver the proper response to terrorism is worldwide Communism. Ah, yes: That should work. All we must do is assure “the just distribution of the world’s resources,” and presto: No more terrorism. And, of course, the history of the 20th century amply proves that attempts to enforce “the just distribution of the world’s resources” all end in blissful happiness.
But, under the circumstances, wouldn’t it also be important to assure equal levels of production for the world’s resources and services? After all, the United States is a far more productive country than, say, Afghanistan or Zimbabwe. If Americans catch wind of the fact that they produce far more than other countries per capita and yet their share of the “distribution of the world’s resources” doesn’t reflect this fact, you know what this could lead to. That’s right: Terrorism.
(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently advocating for a just distribution of the world’s brain cells for retired theology professors.)