One site explaining the Tsarnaev brother’s homicidal motivations offered this helpful comparison: “al-Qaeda is a form of right-wing Islam”. It’s a phrase almost as good as “dark skinned white American
We have to wise up. Why have we not until now? Because we have forgotten common sense; unlearned the idea that to win means waging mental strife so that the sword can sleep in your hand. That we can’t fight the enemy by “law enforcement”. Why did we miss something so plain? Because it required the recovery of old idea: if you are trying to kill me then you are my enemy. And if you are my enemy I will fight you.
But we are so beyond that. We want to feel other people’s pain. We want to demonstrate how enlightened, tolerant and progressive we are. We want to do everything except face the facts. And that’s why we won’t ever stop having to drone people all over the map and hunt them down house to house.
The process of opposition stops when then enemy gives up trying to harm you. Then you have have what is called peace. And the world turns again. In the coming weeks the Internet will be deluged with long and involved tracts purporting to explain things. It will offer new perspectives, new insights, new … but perhaps that is not half so important as the need to remember the old things; and to unlumber the attics of our mind.
Intolerance for the poverty excuse and a universal expectation of personal responsibility would put the poverty-industrial complex out of business, of course, which is why Planned Parenthood admonishes the Bloomberg administration instead: “It’s time we focus on the root causes [of teen pregnancy] rather than point fingers at teen parents and their children.” The implication that the administration is not already focusing on what Planned Parenthood deems the “root causes” of teen pregnancy is hilarious. New York City has spent billions over the decades “fighting poverty” through social-service programs and a smorgasbord of transfer payments. Bloomberg has also liberally poured taxpayer dollars into family-planning services, sex education, and—it has come to this—“relationship education” for students.
Nearly as dangerous as Planned Parenthood’s philosophical position on individual will are the group’s factual claims about teen pregnancy. “Teenage parenthood is simply not the disastrous and life-compromising event these ads portray,” the group asserts in its press release, shamelessly denying the overwhelming evidence. The city’s farsighted welfare commissioner, Robert Doar, who pioneered the ad campaign, knows better. To be sure, one can always find an individual teen mother here or there who has raised law-abiding, successful children. But such exceptions don’t disprove the rule that teen parenting is, on average, a tragedy for parent, child, and society. The administration’s anti-teen-pregnancy campaign could be one of its most important initiatives if the campaign inspires public figures elsewhere (including New York governor Andrew Cuomo) to get some backbone and follow suit.
Most disturbing, however, is the tendency to ascribe Islamist terror to diminished mental capacity. As Teri Blumenfeld notes in the current issue of the Middle East Quarterly, “Muslims who kill in the name of their religion frequently evade punishment in Western courts by pleading insanity or mental incompetence.” In Western courts, indeed, defense lawyers routinely attribute acts of jihadi murder to insanity.
Ignoring the religious and ideological roots of Islamist terrorism carries a heavy price; not thoroughly investigating the Kahane assassination meant overlooking materials that could have prevented the World Trade Center bombing in 1993; and Merah’s apprehension sooner would have saved lives. Islamism must be squarely faced to protect ourselves from future violence.
When I wrote the Three Conjectures years ago, it was premised on the argument that a politically correct system would simply paper over problems until things got out of hand and then it would act with extreme prejudice overnight. Like the Soviet Union, a politically correct polity would announce things were getting much better each year until it collapsed. Multiculturalism will be working just great right up to the eve of the day when they announce the wholesale destruction of the Muslim world or the mass deportation of immigrants back to their home countries.
That is of course, an extreme example, but it is characteristic of how systems in denial work. Such systems have two tracks: the one for public consumption and the one for internal consumption. The version for public consumption is based on the “noble lie” and the version for internal guidance is based on secret and classified memoranda. It is an extremely dangerous method of governance which assumes that the Guardians, or the Philosopher-Kings — someone at any rate — will eventually be reasonable, even in a system where reason is secret. Ayn Rand once likened the method of the “noble lie” to “the theory of the Nazi ruling elite”.
The better approach would be to let it all hang out and let the sunlight of fact disinfect the debate. Western societies should frankly admit that Islam poses a problem and engage the public in open discussion over what should be done. Maybe the idea will be openly refuted and we shall all, by exposure to the evidence, admit to error where it exists; maybe we will all realize that things are worse than we thought. However that may be, the results are likely to be far more rational and humane than a politically correct approach which denies all difficulty up until the moment when the whole thing blows up.
The first step would be to demolish all unnecessary hate speech codes; the second to identify radical and violent doctrines (and not the inoffensive ones) as an ideological enemy and see where that goes. Those who are afraid of an open process should ask themselves why the alternative is better. If they believe a system of dual-track government and sanctioned lying is superior because our sensitive souls are spared the sight of the truth, then what is the reason? But we may need a disaster to convince ourselves that the truth after all, will set us free.
I was always curious when teaching in the California State University system why self-important administrators sent us weekly memos about their diversity goals and accomplishments, but were silent that under their watches the number of students in the freshman class who needed remedial courses hit 50% — or why, after even six years, less than half those students who entered CSU graduated. Have you experienced this phenomenon, a sort of politically correct Neroian fiddling amid burning Rome?
NASA head Charles Bolden not long ago announced that his agency’s chief mission was Muslim outreach. I wish instead that his chief worry was getting rockets into space, since last week yet another one, under NASA auspices, failed to send a satellite into orbit, a mere $424 million mistake. Perhaps with his newfound contacts, Gen. Bolden could enlist some of the brilliant scientists from the Middle East who have tapped into the Islamic scientific tradition as outlined in the president’s Cairo speech.
Why did Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik lecture the country about the social-political-economic-cultural — and cosmic — implications of the unhinged Tucson killer, Jared Loughner? Might not the sheriff have worried less about a supposed conservative “climate of violence,” and more that he did not have any of his 500 sheriffs at Rep. Giffords’ rally, or that his department was well aware of Loughner’s prior serial run-ins with law enforcement? Did Rush Limbaugh prohibit him from putting Loughner under surveillance or patrolling the perimeter of the congresswoman’s event?
Mayor Bloomberg by now can offer a polished lecture on dietary fat, second-hand smoke, and the status of Islam in the United States, but not guarantee his own streets will be passable after a storm. Were his municipal workers too fat, out of breath, or Islamophobic to remove snow?