What Are We Fighting For?

Der Spiegel runs an essay entitled Hurray! We're Capitulating. I agree with everything the author writes --it's in the Steyn-Hanson mold about Western appeasement of Islamist protests about every little thing. Boilerplate for this blog. I post it, however, because the editors chose to illustrate the column with, among other things, a photo of celebrities swilling beer on a boat. The dominant image is of an obviously surgically enhanced starlet (is it Pamela Anderson?) spilling out of her bikini with the caption:
The West has values worth defending. Doesn't it?
I can't decide if the paper is being flip or making a more serious point. If "the West" equals debauchery, bad news for us because debauched people don't rise up --they just keep the buzz going as long as they can. But maybe the paper is asking if we can't do better --if we don't have more to live for and more to offer than the Hollywood lifestyle?

Along those lines, I was thinking about Rick Blaine and the culture of life recently. That Rick Blaine. My question being, here's a guy who's living a dissolute life --he calls his nationality "drunkard"-- with booze and gambling presumably standing in for other behaviors we wouldn't be squeamish about depicting now. What is it that makes him capable at the end of the flick of saying the famous words
I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
What is it that makes such a man send the love of his life off to marriage and babies with another man and himself to a mission that will probably get him killed? Because I'm convinced that if the movie were made today, while he might still give the exit visa to Victor, Rick would take Ilsa back to his place and make love to her until the Nazis stormed down the door and the jig was up. In fact, someone should do that; it'd be a shoo-in for an Oscar. Especially if Ilsa were a man.