Why, according to Genesis, did God permit a great flood? Because “the wickedness of man was great”; “the earth was filled with violence”; “all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth”; “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God provided men with a means of escape, but feeling self-sufficient most men didn’t bother with it. Only Noah and his family, heeding God’s warnings, boarded the Ark and survived.
In this generation’s great flood, the Noahs and arks of salvations are considerably less sturdy. Bill Clinton is no Noah; the United Nations is no ark. And as for chroniclers of biblical catastrophes, the media aren’t up to the task. Frantically trying to find the proper posture on this catastrophe while making sure to jack up their ratings with the “most trusted news on TV”-style promos, the media are engaging in the usual feckless finger-pointing and compassion-contest baiting. A pantheistic press corps just doesn’t know what to say about a natural disaster. So it falls back on Bush-bashing, with the novel and hypocritical twist of castigating the president for not unilaterally intervening in the tragic affairs of countries the press normally emphasize as “sovereign.”
What happened to the media’s hardheaded realism on display during the days of Saddam Hussein? If human disasters don’t merit American leadership, why should natural ones? The American media were chanting, follow, follow. Now they chant, lead, lead. Which is it? Aid to Iraqis was “patronizing” and presumptuous, but massive aid to Indonesians is compulsory?
From the coverage one would think the Indonesians and others from that region are U.S. citizens whom George Bush refuses to help. But imagine if Bush, a year ago, had told Indonesia and other countries to set up an early warning system. The multiculturalists in the press would have scolded him for imposing Western norms on “native cultures.”
While comfortable tsk-tsking Bush for clearing brush in Texas after the tidal wave — apparently he should have immediately jetted off to Sumatra to oversee the collection of corpses — the nature-worshippers in the press aren’t comfortable grappling with the meaning of natural disasters. Who can we blame it on? they wonder. Since we can’t blame it on nature, let’s blame it on human nature — corrupt presidents didn’t do enough to prepare for the natural disasters. And while the illuminati’s worship of nature isn’t lessened, their belief in nature’s creator is. They act as if God failed to organize the world to their satisfaction, even as they ooh and aah over the natural works he created and sustains.
If nature were as blind and unintelligent as they suppose, it would make more sense to rage against it than revere it. The unintelligent design theory of the evolutionists, were it true, would be grounds for hating nature as a series of brutal transformations. Can you love nature and hate human nature and God? Many environmentalists think so, but they fail to explain why nature is lovable in that event. Why not hate nature too?
God is the only reason nature is worth understanding and appreciating. Nature reflects his intelligence and what appears in it evil to man isn’t. If a bewildered Job had asked God why he permits tsunamis, he might have answered, You try and create a dynamic universe without them. Take away what humans call “natural evil” and you wouldn’t have a universe at all.
If liberals want to blame human nature for the tsunami, they can. But that would require a Pauline explanation they’d never endorse. Regarding man as sinless — with the exception of conservatives they dislike here and there — liberals wouldn’t dream of attributing the groanings of nature and man’s inability to live in harmony with nature to Original Sin. Would tsunamis have happened before The Fall? Yes, but Adam, possessing intelligence not weakened by sin, would have had the wit to circumvent it. Original Sin meant man would no longer control nature, starting with the inevitable death of his human nature. It meant that he would need an ark of Salvation which Noah prefigured and Jesus Christ fulfilled.
But this is all too hopelessly reactionary for the self-sufficient minds at the United Nations. From their Tower of Babel in New York, the Kofi Annans will tack away at an ark of secular salvation before the glare of the cameras, then send it off to the Indian Ocean where it will sink under their greed and celebrity compassion.
George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.