The last line of defense

Free Press founder/editor Bari Weiss has posted the text of her Federalist Society Barbara K. Olson lecture “You are the last line of defense” together with video at The Free Press. Weiss’s lecture runs to some 4,000 words, but nothing in it is superfluous. Nothing is expendable. Events have not superseded it. The message remains urgent. Here is an excerpt taken from the top of Weiss’s remarks:

Some Israelis were literally disappeared on October 7—burned at such high heat that volunteers are still sifting through the bones and the remnant teeth to identify them. But we know that more than 200 people are currently being held hostage by Hamas and that more than 1,400 were murdered in those terrible hours. Among the dead are some thirty American citizens. There are at least ten Americans among the hostages.

All of which is why the immediate analogy the world reached for was to 9/11.

As with 9/11, the terrorists caught their victims by surprise on a clear blue morning.

As with 9/11, the spectacle and the savagery were the point.

As with 9/11, the terrorists notched points on their sadistic scoreboard, taking from us not just precious lives, but our sense of our safety and security. They changed something within us.

The difference between 9/11 and 10/7—two massacres of innocent people, symbols to their killers of Western civilization—was the reaction to the horror.

The difference between 9/11 and 10/7 was that the catastrophe of 10/7 was followed, on October 8, by a different kind of catastrophe. A moral and spiritual catastrophe that was on full display throughout the West before the bodies of those men and women and children had even been identified.

People poured into the streets of our capital cities to celebrate the slaughter.

In Sydney, crowds gathered at the Sydney Opera House cheering “gas the Jews.” People rejoiced on the streets of Berlin and London and Toronto and New York.

Then came BLM Chicago using the paraglider—a symbol of mass death—as a symbol of freedom. Then came posters across our campuses calling for Israel to burn. Then came our own offices in New York City being vandalized with “Fuck Jews” and “Fuck Israel.” Then came Harvard’s task force to create safe spaces for pro-Hamas students.

Then, as thunder follows lightning, more dead Jews. An anti-Israel protester in Los Angeles killed a 69-year-old Jewish man for the apparent sin of waving an Israeli flag, though NBC’s initial headline made it hard to know: “Man dies after hitting head during Israel and Palestinian rallies in California, officials say.”

In lockstep, the social justice crowd—the crowd who has tried to convince us that words are violence—insisted that actual violence was actually a necessity. That the rape was resistance. That it was liberation.

University presidents—who leapt to issue morally lucid condemnations of George Floyd’s killing or Putin’s war on Ukraine—offered silence or mealy-mouthed pablum about how the situation is tragic and “complex” and how we need to think of “both sides” as if there is some kind of equivalence between innocent civilians and jihadists….

Please read the whole thing or take in the video here.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.