Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, June 4, 2017

ISIS, Europe And Terrorism

I have a "friend" on Facebook who posts a lot of inflammatory stuff about Muslims and terrorism.  His position is that Islam, as a religion, is inherently violent.  Certainly, he seems to revel in every assault upon a European city as validating his thesis.

However, there are a lot of Muslims in the world.  There are a lot of Muslims in the US.  Within the US, there was really one dyed in the wool jihadist attack, and that was San Bernandino.  The Orlando shooter, and probably the Ft. Hood shooter, seemed more expressions of American mental illness, though I could be persuaded about Ft. Hood.  There are also Muslims across Africa and Asia.  I mean, there are a billion Muslims.  If the religion itself was to blame, we'd have a lot more Londons and Manchesters and Parises on our hands.

Terrorism, properly understood, if political violence.  Political violence occurs when politics doesn't function properly.  A person or group does not have access to governance and so resorts to violence.  This makes sense when we think of groups like the IRA, ETA or even the PLO.  It's no less true of Islamist terrorists in Europe.  They feel disenfranchised and they have the same sense of a gap between what they feel society should give them and what they have.  That's the anger Trump voters feel, but they have access to the ballot.

There is no doubt that liberal democracy is facing a crisis.  In some ways, it is facing a crisis as it attempts to add pluralism to a culture (Europe's) that really has no experience with it.  It is facing a crisis in places like the US, as a form of authoritarian populism has taken surprising hold in Washington.

To me, there is a huge governance problem in the Middle East.  There is also a disenfranchisement problem in Europe.  Hopefully, we can keep most of that away, because you know Trump is salivating at a chance to exploit a terrorist attack in the US.

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