“I always wanted to be in a show about nothing and here I am,” our President recently said, sitting in a 1963 Corvette Stingray with a comedian driving in circles on the south lawn of the White House. “There’s nothing more nothing than this,” replied the comedian famous for his show about nothing. “Nothing.”
Seinfeld, the long-running TV comedy featuring four narcissistic friends in New York, has been widely described as “a show about nothing” – a riff echoed by both Obama and Seinfeld in the December 2015 episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (season 7, episode 1, “Just Tell Him You’re the President”).
It turns out that the show was about everything. As Jerry Seinfeld noted in a Reddit discussion from January 2014, “the show about nothing was just a joke in an episode many years later, and Larry and I to this day are surprised that it caught on as a way that people describe the show, because to us it’s the opposite of that.”
Just as Seinfeld was not about nothing, this essay is not about the show. But it is a useful starting point – not only because most Americans are convinced that the show was about nothing, but because America is embroiled in a world war about everything that too many Americans believe is about nothing.
On the home front of this war, certain combatants have gone to great lengths to convince Americans that nothing is superior to anything.
Commander in Chief Obama told the world at the NATO Summit of 2009, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In other words, the so-called leader of the so-called free world wants you to believe that every country believes it is exceptional and no country is exceptional in fact.
In our educational institutions, the doctrine of Multiculturalism demands that students believe no culture is superior to any culture. Higher up in the Ivory Tower, the philosophers of Relativism posit that all cultural standards are local – that beauty, or good, or justice, are only beautiful or good or just in their local context – and that no one has a “framework-independent vantage point” from which to create a universal concept of good or justice.
Outside the green zone – the military term for “safe space” – Social Justice Warriors interpret these orders to require cultural suicide: cultures which believe themselves to be superior must open their borders to immigrants from every other culture; recognize and accommodate the group differences of those immigrants; grant a host of legal exemptions to foreigners who demand those accommodations; and abandon their own local standards in favor of others.
SJW’s are against Capitalism, Christianity, and Israel. They use freedom of speech, religion, and assembly to incite violence against the same. They press every tenet of Western thought into the service of a gelatinous cultural Marxism that has no foundation but power. They even pervert the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose objections to this ideology are well known:
“This deprecation of individual freedom was objectionable to me,” King wrote in his 1957 book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. “I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as means to the end of the state; but always as an end within himself.”
Okay, that seems to be a fair – if minimalist – description of America’s domestic enemies; and America would survive the onslaught from the legions of nothing if they were not allied with enemies foreign.
In 1947, an Egyptian Muslim intellectual named Sayyid Qutb wrote of his country, “Either we shall walk the path of Islam or we shall walk the path of Communism.” He was convinced that Islam was the only complete system – laws, government bureaucracy, social and economic rules – which could create a just and godly society.
A year later, threatened with arrest in Egypt, he sailed first-class to New York, NY – the city where “the show about nothing” was set 41 years later – for a two-year educational tour of America.
Lawrence Wright describes Qutb’s journey – from New York, to the District of Columbia, to Colorado, and finally to California – in The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Although he appeared to like our country, its combination of racism and sexual hedonism radicalized Qutb so that, when he returned to Egypt in 1950, he wrote:
“The white man in Europe or America is our number-one enemy. … We are endowing our children with amazement and respect for the master who tramples our honor and enslaves us. Let us instead plant the seeds of hatred, disgust, and revenge in the souls of these children. Let us teach these children from the time their nails are soft that the white man is the enemy of humanity, and that they should destroy him at the first opportunity.”
Where have we heard that before? #EgyptianLivesMatter?
Executed in 1966 for jihad against his own country’s secular government, Qutb became the father of the Muslim Brotherhood and modern political Islam. “I performed jihad for fifteen years until I earned this martyrdom,” he said from prison. When his sister pleaded for him to accept parole, he said, “My words will be stronger if they kill me.”
Qutb’s writings motivated men like Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and countless others. Today, Sunni Islamist groups – Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State, to name the most prolific – have declared a War on Everything. They’re against Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, and Democracy. They’re anti-Christian, anti-Jew, and anti-Atheist. They hate the Gay Community enough to throw suspected gay men off tall buildings. They even hate the minority Shiite Islamists who share their hatreds.
America’s response to the moral certainty of Islam has been predictable: Nothing will win the War on Everything.
Even though the stated goal of ISIS is to reestablish the worldwide Islamic Caliphate, President Obama has said repeatedly that the Islamic State is “not Islamic.”
In September 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “In terms of al-Qaeda, which we have used the word ‘war’ with, yeah … We are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates. In the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we are at war with ISIL in that sense. But I think it’s a waste of time to focus on that.” In other words, America is finally at war with an Islamic State that isn’t Islamic, but it’s a waste of time to think about that.
More recently – after a Philadelphia man fired 11 rounds at a police officer and told authorities that he “pledges allegiance to Islamic State” and was “called upon to do this” – the mayor of the City of Brotherly Love said the act of Islamist terror had “nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”
Which brings us back to the home front, where those who insist there is no “framework-independent vantage point” feverishly put labels on the consequences for which they fight. Social Justice is superior to Blind Justice. Income Equality is superior to the idea that Everyone is Created Equal. Human Rights are superior to the Natural Rights of Humans. Black Lives Matter but All Lives do not.
This is the war that matters most. Not just because it is an absolute lie to assert that some truths are absolute and simultaneously that no absolute truth exists; but because believing that obvious lie imbues us with a self-humiliation, or, as Theodore Dalrymple once put it:
“When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”
I would like to say that the self-evident truths of the Constitution will prevail in both of these wars, but the very foundations of our society are being destroyed just as ruthlessly as the ancient monuments of the Middle East.
It is cruel justice that America’s future – and that of Western Civilization – will be determined at this intersectionality of Nothing and Everything: where America’s un-American Social Justice Warriors find themselves allied with Islam’s non-Islamic terrorists.
There is nothing more everything than this. Nothing.
Photos: “Women March Against the Phony ‘War on Women'” courtesy of Ringo’s Pictures. Islamic Warriors March Against Other Phony Islamic Warriors during the Safavid dynasty in modern-day Iran, from a fresco in Isfahan.