…like the thought of my death, it burns in my private heart with a tiny, brutalizing flame.
Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.
Often slightly misquoted as:
Maybe everybody in the whole damn word is scared of each other.
In Qutb’s passionate analysis, there was little difference between the communist and capitalist systems; both, he believed, attended only to the material needs ot humanity, leaving the spirit unsatisfied. He predicted that once the average worker lost his dreamy expectations of becoming rich, America would inevitably turn toward communism. Christianity would be powerless to block this trend because it exists only in the realm of the spirit – “like a vision in a pure ideal world.” Islam, on the other hand, is “a complete system” with laws, social codes, economic rules, and its own method of government. Only Islam offered a formula for creating a just and godly society. Thus the real struggle would eventually show itself: It was not a battle between capitalism and communism; it was between Islam and materialism. And inevitably, Islam would prevail.
No doubt this clash between Islam and the West was remote in the minds of most New Yorkers during the holiday season of 1948. But, despite the new wealth that was flooding into the city, and the self-confidence that victory naturally brought, there was a generalized sense of anxiety about the future. “The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible,” the essayist E. B. White had observed that summer. “A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions.” White was writing about the dawn of the nuclear age, and the feeling of vulnerability was quite new. “In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning,” he observed, “New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.”
But this love business – so far, it had been not very satisfying. He had been involved with girls he liked; he had been involved with girls he didn’t like. In neither case had he ever really felt…whatever it was that he imagined he was supposed to feel. He was shy, so that even though he showed determination at work, and playing hockey he positively enjoyed giving an opponent a hard check, he shrank before a girl who attracted him, and this made the search for someone who would make him feel whatever it was he was supposed to feel particularly difficult. Moreover, he wasn’t cold-blooded, so he couldn’t pursue and abandon girls with the same relish as some of his friends, his best friend in particular, rather, he had a sympathetic streak that, in the matter of making conquests, seemed much more like a weakness than a strength.
If a mandarinate ruled America, the recruiting committee on September 11 would have had to find someone like Cheney. “I don’t want to get too poetic about this, but it’s almost as if his whole life had been a preparation for this moment in history,” said Jack Kemp, who used to be a future vice president himself. Scooter Libby quoted that line, too, giving credit to Winston Churchill. Cheney professed no knowledge of fate. He had some acquaintance, though, with force and counterforce. Al Qaeda having struck on his watch, Cheney made clear by word and deed that he would take a leading role in the nation’s reply. So, too, did Libby and Addington. The three of them simply knew what had to be done, a considerable advantage in the debate that would soon follow.
These two are very young: one mustache is still sparse, one face is still blotchy. Their youth is touching, but I know I can’t be deceived by it. The young ones are often the most dangerous, the most fanatical, the jumpiest with their guns. They haven’t yet learned about existence through time. You have to go slowly with them.
Last week they shot a woman, right about here. She was a Martha. She was fumbling in her robe, for her pass, and they thought she was hunting for a bomb. They thought she was a man in disguise. There have been such incidents.
“You have no juice, baby. You’re all sucked out and you’re just eighteen. You’ve tried everything and you’re not scared of nothing and you wonder why it’s all so dead. You’ve had it handed to you, sweet baby, that’s why it’s so dead. Fucking Christ, you think you’re going to make the world over you don’t have a fucking clue what makes people run. Fear. That’s what makes us poor bastards run. You don’t know what fear is, do you, poor baby? That’s why you’re so dead.”