In her column this week, Peggy Noonan has written about an apparent dearth of genius, an inability for anyone in power to bring any sort of creative, constructive thinking to bear on the myriad problems and true evils that are before us, threatening every nation, and every people. She says we are missing the “genius cluster” that has always arisen — “Providentially,” her friend suggests — when the world has needed it to.
Where are the geniuses who will figure out how to fight a hidden yet determined international band of beasts who are committed to death — and all too willing to “be jihad in-place” — bringing the ISIS principles to local places of business and coming to a playground near you?
What we are seeing in ISIS is what we have seen before in the death-serving ideologies of the 20th centuries; totalitarian extremism never loses its desire to destroy all that does not conform. The illness is always the same. What has changed, though, is the antibody with which the West has previously addressed this killer virus. Like the culture itself, the antibody has shifted; it no longer contains one essential component necessary to fight the evil that instigates human savagery on this level, that of a faith.
There are no “genius clusters” arising to deal with ISIS, because there are no geniuses in leadership willing to look into the medicine bag and say “we have run out of faith in anything beyond our own selves, our court systems and bureaucracies…”
Consider that when the Nazis were barreling through Europe, the majority of the western world professed – with no fear of ridicule or of giving insult, anywhere – a belief in something greater than itself. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were conventionally religious men of their times, not overly observant. But they were imbued with enough faith to recognize that some occasions called for more than rhetoric; some things called for enough humility to make a prayer of supplication, one calling on the Deity to guide, to bless, to sustain – to, as Lincoln said, have “firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.”
Roosevelt led the nation in prayer on D-Day. In Britain, Churchill openly spoke of “a miracle of deliverance”: “A guiding hand interfered to make sure the allied forces were not annihilated at Dunkirk.”
Our post-Christian, post-faith Western leadership is no longer capable of making public prayer, or willing to credit heaven with anything but twinkling stars. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was told by his own government “we don’t do God” and President Obama, who once defined the notion of “sin” as being “out of alignment with my values” has not yet, in nearly 8 years, attempted to lead a nation in prayer.
This matters in the face of ISIS, especially in its revelation that its attempts to acquire power through fear are indiscriminate: they are murdering of all peoples, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or agnostic.
If this is true, one might ask, then why especially should the West reacquaint itself with the language of faith and supernaturalism?
The answer is simple: because what ISIS is doing is a true evil.
The entire piece should be read, inwardly digested and passed on, particularly today when this great country celebrates freedom, a freedom absent the tethering and mooring of the guiding hand of God that will not last long.
Think on these things but more than that, pray... pray as Ms. Scalia has asked, for a "genius cluster" to rise, one that will not overlook the helping Hand of Heaven.
Crossposted at Wizbang.