As an addendum to my disparaging comments about pirates in “Flipper contra the Dread Pirate Asad,” allow me to suggest an article by the ever honest and feisty Andrew McCarthy at the National Review—“Pirates Test the ‘Rule of Law.’” Mr. McCarthy points out what the Left too often refuses to acknowledge:
“Civilized” is a much-misunderstood word, thanks to the “rule of law” crowd that is making our planet an increasingly dangerous place. Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn’t recede willingly before the wheels of progress.
There is nothing less civilized than rewarding evil and thus guaranteeing more of it. High-minded as it is commonly made to sound, it is not civilized to appease evil, to treat it with “dignity and respect,” to rationalize its root causes, to equivocate about whether evil really is evil, and, when all else fails, to ignore it — to purge the very mention of its name — in the vain hope that it will just go away. Evil doesn’t do nuance. It finds you, it tests you, and you either fight it or you’re part of the problem.
As I have remarked here before, Leftists assume that peace, social stability, the inculcation of virtue, and the higher elements of human society just happen—as if by a law of nature. They take such for granted and therefore constantly overlook, or even denigrate, the necessary preconditions for civilization. McCarthy states it well: “Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil.” As Plato repeatedly reminds us, fine things are difficult.