The Most Dangerous Game, institutionalized


“I wanted the ideal animal to hunt,” explained the general. ” So I said, ‘What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?’

“And the answer was, of course, `It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason.'”

“But no animal can reason,” objected Rainsford.

“My dear fellow,” said the general, “there is one that can.”

“But you can’t mean–” gasped Rainsford.

“And why not?”

“I can’t believe you are serious, General Zaroff. This is a grisly joke.”

“Why should I not be serious? I am speaking of hunting.”

“Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder.”

– from the short story, The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell

Humanity loses when we set up people to be prey, targets for bigoted hunters who’s survival in no way depends on an ethnicity’s destruction, but who choose to bait and pursue, both barrels up, as a bloodsport. Whether you’re an “ugly” American, White Supremacist or committed Jihadist, your group-think notions of a life-and-death struggle for cultural survival are too often distilled into self-aggrandizing, self-righteous assertions of moral superiority. culturecontest

“Our Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to the Islamic one,” Geert Wilders, the keynote speaker at the anti-Muslim cartoon contest that was attacked, Sunday, told the crowd in Garland, Texas, just before the shots rang out. “I can give you a million reasons. But here is an important one: We have humor and they don’t.” I guess no one ever explained to America’s indigenous peoples what jokers the European missionaries were. Cortez, particularly, was a barrel of laughs.

Pamela Geller, head of the hate group American Freedom Defense Initiative, which sponsored Sunday’s Texas event, told CNN Monday, that the shooting in Garland “illustrated” that there is “a problem in Islam.”

I think our Founding Fathers and Mothers would agree that while free expression is paramount, if one uses that right as bait to ensnare those who are tragically consumed by their religion, who are as zealous for their version of truth as you are to challenge it, even if it ends with them lying in a pool of their own blood, then you haven’t proven your point. You’ve proven theirs. You become the intolerant aggressors. They become the ones martyred for a cause.

Geller is careful not to dehumanize her enemy, in any obvious sort of way. Instead, she merely subhumanizes them with the antiquated terms of the Crusaders of old and the aforementioned colonialists. “I will not abridge my freedoms so as not to offend savages,” she said, in defense of her group’s actions in holding an event she knew would be offensive to Muslims.

It’s important to be clear, here, that while the actions of Geller’s group disgust me, they do have a right to give voice to their beliefs. The U.S. Constitution gives them that right. But my personal constitution does not. Their “contest” smells too much like the anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda that targeted my recent ancestors. It is used as a justification for murder.

But violence of the sort perpetrated by individuals claiming to represent the so-called Islamic State, in response to the Garland event, is also never, ever right.

Injustice, intolerance, racism – these should all be hunted down and destroyed, but advocating for the destruction of human behavior does not mean advocating for the murder of those who practice it. It is the practice itself that must end. That was the staff at Charlie Hebdo’s point. Geller, et al, have abandoned the French cartoonists’ nuance for a cudgel.

Finally, and I can’t say this loud enough, making Pamela Geller the bogey in this is not the right approach. Just as hatred of Islamist militants only empowers them because it gives them an “us against the world” determination, so too Geller, Wilders and the other racists’ voices only get louder the closer we put our ears to them. We should send them back to the fringe from whence they came. If we’re lucky, we won’t hear from them again, except as high squeaks in a distant, fading echo.

-PBG

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3 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous Game, institutionalized

  1. Your comment equating the “ugly American, White Supremacists or committed Jihadist” is wrong and inaccurate.

    For starters, the pejorative use, which I suspect is why you chose the word, ugly American, denotes a loud or obnoxious American traveler. This characterization, despite its misuse and context, has no connection to a life and death struggle for cultural survival you are associating with Jihadist and the like. White Supremacists, may be compared to Jihadist, but in today’s world, you can gather every one of them in the world and they would not amount to many. Unlike Jihadist’s that conservatively amount to 5% of the Muslim population of 1 billion people, roughly 50 million people.

    That said, neither Geert Wilders nor Pamela Geller hate all Muslim people. They have issue with Islamic radicals. Saying that one culture is superior to another is legal and protected in this country and focusing on our country, our values and our history is not done enough by leaders and teachers in the country in my opinion.

    Your reference to the Founding Father is way off base, not based on our history and puts words in the mouths of men who’s words are well documented.

    The way I see it, Islamic terrorist are savages. How else do you describe their behavior? Beheadings? Kidnapping? Bombing of trains? Hijacking airplanes and flying into office buildings?

    To me, your reference to their “contest” and the similar smell to Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda is upside down and backwards. In much of the Arab Muslim world, anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish propaganda is rampant in schools and media. It made national news here because of how rare and unique this contest is in America. She is intentionally being provocative. In Nazi Germany, they had more sinister plans and means.

    I agree with your final point that Geller and Wilders are on the fringe. But I believe that our current executive leadership in this country is so blind to their point. That is that we need to protect our constitutional rights, call evil by its name and stand firm against those whose ideologies are against ours. I would add finally, that the other 95% of the Muslim world would support that Jihadist, terrorist in the name of Allah and other oppressors are evil as well.

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    1. At least we found some agreement, my friend. But let me explain a couple of things that you took issue with.

      While the term “ugly American” is based on a novel of the same name, about an American who travels abroad and runs roughshod over foreign cultures, I use it here in the broader sense of an American who is unwilling to accept that other cultures express themselves according to their own truth that is just as valid to them as the UA’s world view is to him.

      As far as Geller, she says she doesn’t hate all Muslims, but she was one of the leading voices against the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque, which was not a Jihadist project. It was a community center that was actually several blocks from World Trade.

      I’ll grant that the Founding Fathers bit may have been a tad rhetorical, but I’ll have to get back to you on that. 🙂

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      1. Ok, your piece was well written and creative as all your postings are PG. I think I forgot to add that bit of information. Regarding your UA retort, I believe that the caricature of the UA is just that, imagination. In my 55 years on this planet, I contend that few societies are as welcoming and accepting as our American culture to foreign cultures and religions. And the US only has about 240 years of practice compared to other societies. Regarding the proposed ground zero mosque, it was a provocative gesture on the part of the organizers. It was a project that was not need based. Some people that experienced the horror of 9/11 because it happened in there town, would even contend that 9/11 made them much more knowledgeable about Islamic history, culture and practices. They would counter that Islam has a long history of upon attacking a foreign land, remaking churches and other houses of worship into mosque. Additionally, they would build mosques in land considered conquered or just attacked in an effort to make a spiritual claim. I personally believe that the proposed ground zero mosque was part of that effort to make a claim on that level.

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