Back when I was -- if you believe the commies at Wikipedia, anyway -- coining the unfortunate term "warblog," one of my first enthusiastic discoveries was a then-obscenely young Norwegian right-of-center smartypants named Bjoern Staerk. (Who, I declared in January 2002, was, along with Glenn "InstaPundit" Reynolds, "the two most inspiring media stories of the last four months.") Anyway, much has changed in five years, not least of which is Staerk's separation from the Glenn Reynoldses of the world, and the thousands of similar symbolic separations of people who thought they all agreed back then. Tuesday Staerk published an interesting essay about it all, entitled "What Went Wrong." It examines
Westerners who had their reality bubble pricked by people from an alien culture, and spent the next couple of years stumbling about like idiots, unable to deal rationally with this new reality that had forced itself on them. Egging each other on, they predicted, interpreted, and labelled -- and legislated and invaded. They saw clearly, through beautiful ideas. And they were wrong.
Who were these people? They were us. This seemed a lot clearer at the time. Us were the people who acknowledged the threat of Islamist terrorism, who had the common sense to see through the multicultural fog of words, and the moral courage to want to change the world by force. It included politicians like George W. Bush and Tony Blair, it included the new European right, it included brave and honest pundits, straight-talking intellectuals in the enlightenment tradition.
And then there were people like me, who labelled ourselves "warbloggers", and called our friends "anti-idiotarians". Phew, all those labels! [...]
[T]here was an identity based on an unspoken agreement about who were "ok" and who weren't. And -- God help me -- I was ok. I haven't been for a while now, but it's only recently I've realized just how little there's left of what I believed five years ago. Our worldview had three major focus points -- Iraq, terrorism and Islam -- and we were wrong about all of them.