Of all the wonderful words in Mark Steyn’s new book, the ones that made the greatest impression on me are on the cover. It’s the subtitle, “Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned”. It struck me that literature and history are full of warnings. Some are heeded and some are ignored. Warnings that are not heeded make good drama but bad history. Oedipus was warned. So was Neville Chamberlain. The familiar phrase, “Beware the Ides of March,” illustrates both outcomes. Dismissed by Caesar, it led to his death and a civil war. Employed by Shakespeare, it gave his little play on the affair a bit of tension.
The Canadian Cassandra also brought to mind another drama. “Biedermann and the Firebugs” was written by Max Frisch in 1953. It opens with Herr Biedermann reading a newspaper story about an epidemic of arson fires in his city. No sooner does he put his paper down than a man with a can of gasoline arrives and asks Biedermann if he has a room for the night. What will Biedermann do?
Likewise, I recall an episode of the 1965 TV series, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” based on Jean Kerr’s book of the same name. Please don’t ask me how I remember this when I don’t remember my dentist’s last name…but I do. In the story, the family dog has a cavity filled which somehow turns his head into a radio receiver. I know, it’s not quite Shakespeare. On the rover-radio, the family overhears the conversation of two crooks planning to swindle them out of their home or the gold buried in the basement or something else of significance (I can’t remember everything). What does this average American family do with the amazing information?
Not every prophesy comes true. The failure of most predictions is predictable. But every decision should be made with an appreciation of consequences easily foreseen.
A vote is a decision and we have been reminded that not voting is a decision too.
Steyn and others have warned us of the danger to our freedom, our lives and liberty, and the advance of human civilization that is the clear, coming result of looking for ways to cooperate with those that have announced their plans to kill you. When the leader of ISIS says he will see us in New York, he means it. The words are not talking points scribbled that morning by a consultant.
But we don’t want to hear or heed al-Baghdadi or Steyn. We won’t believe or appreciate that our enemies (we have enemies?) have not adopted the obvious benefits of diversity and gender equality. Or if we do or suspect, our current administration doesn’t. They keep telling us everything will be alright and who doesn’t want to hear that? The wonderful Jaime Gorelick insists it was better that the CIA and FBI couldn’t collaborate and the warning was never given. What’s a couple of buildings compared to your progressive suspicion of American institutions?
In 1965, that sitcom family, led by the incredibly feminine and wonderfully strong Pat Crowley, got the warning from the dog, called the cops, set up a sting, and bagged the bad guys. How quaint.
Will Robinson listened to Robot and Dr. Smith didn’t.
Biedermann was certain that no arsonist could outsmart him. He couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. There was no point in setting fires anyway. What would be the purpose? And his houseguests filled the attic with cans of gasoline. In the end, he helps measure the fuse and hands them the matches. Don’t say you weren’t warned.