Monday, September 30, 2013
Brendan O'Neill asks a question and, perhaps unwittingly, provides much of the
answer himself, when he speaks of the need to address the issue of the "barbarism of
modern Islamist terrorism". Regarding the barbarism, he notes an
interesting change over the past couple of decades:
Time and again, one reads about Islamist attacks that seem to defy not only the most basic of humanity's moral strictures but also political and even guerrilla logic. Consider the hundreds of suicide attacks that have taken place in Iraq in recent years, a great number of them against ordinary Iraqis, often children. Western apologists for this wave of weird violence, which they call "resistance", claim it is about fighting against the Western forces which were occupying Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion. If so, it's the first "resistance" in history whose prime targets have been civilians rather than security forces, and which has failed to put forward any kind of political programme that its violence is allegedly designed to achieve. Even experts in counterinsurgency have found themselves perplexed by the numerous nameless suicide assaults on massive numbers of civilians in post-war Iraq, and the fact that these violent actors, unlike the vast majority of violent political actors in history, have &ldq uo;developed no alternative government or political wing and displayed no intention of amassing territory to govern". ...O'Neill wonders what motivates these attacks even as he notes that, "Western observers do all sorts of moral contortions in an effort to present such violence as run-of-the-mill or even possibly a justifiable response to Western militarism." This is part of the answer. Much of the rest lies in the irrationality of the cultural milieu from which these barbarians arise, as Anat Berko explains:
The overriding distinction between the two is their native cultures: the suicide bomber's education and attack preparations are diametrically opposed to that of mass killers, as is their socialization. Suicide bombers are radical Islam's celebrated heroes, its darlings, whose acts are viewed by the larger culture as exemplary and heroic; in contrast, the West's mass killers are aberrant individuals isolated from their resolutely life-affirming culture.But O'Neill notes that, at least a few decades ago, even terrorists felt "restrained both by their desire to appear as rational political actors with a clear goal in mind and by basic moral rules of human behaviour". Clearly, that restraint has disappeared, and that is a function of a change in the culture of the intended audience.
There has been a change in the culture of the West over that time. Our leader s fail to name an enemy or fight an actual war as our commentariat does the dirty work of excusing atrocities. This has been a trend for several decades and has been accelerating lately. In a discussion of a senseless terrorist attack, Noah Stahl of The Undercurrent names the trend, after rightly noting that "multiculturalism" is only a manifestation of it:
Limiting blame in this case (though blame is certainly due) to particular individuals would be an evasion of the actual philosophical culprit: our cultural fear of judgment. If nothing else comes from this loss of life, it should serve as a wake-up call to reevaluate this premise and an impetus to reassert its antidote: not an avoidance of judgment, but the recognition that it is vital, not only in day-to-day life, but in our very self-defense. Judgment entails recognition of facts, the acceptance that facts are what they are, and that they have real consequences. If the military had exercised proper judgment of [Maj. Nidal] Hasan by this standard, it is likely that the massacre may have never occurred. Though it's too late for that, it is only by embracing the value of objective judgment that we will be able to prevent such acts in the future.When their enemy's refusal to pass judgement on anyone (except to condemn themselves) is considered, the mayhem of the barbarians suddenly makes perverse sense. Islamists educated in the West will be told that their culture is as good as any other, and there will be, if anything, a plethora of excuses made -- by their own victims -- for anything they do.
Any idiot can blow something up. However, it takes a modern form of barbarism for such behavior to continue unabated, let alone succeed. Yes, jihadists are barbarians, but they are impotent against actual opposition. It is another sort of barbarism -- that looks quite harmless -- that we have to worry about.
10-1-13: Corrected spelling of "Hordes".