What's Wrong With the World has a post up about the ISIS attacks in France, and I would not for a moment want to detract from that. In fact, it exemplifies the response I am calling for in this post--namely, manly outrage and concrete suggestions as opposed to sentiment for its own sake.
The present post takes its point of departure from this rather depressing piece at National Review by Daniel Pipes. Pipes points out that a pattern has been repeated in the face of numerous terrorist attacks--namely, the leadership runs left while the voters run right. Says Pipes:
[W]hen it comes to the Establishment — politicians, the police, the press, and the professors — the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems. These professionals bald-facedly feign belief in a mysterious “violent extremist” virus that seems to afflict only Muslims, prompting them to engage in random acts of barbaric violence. Of the many preposterous statements by politicians, my all-time favorite is what Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said about the Charlie Hebdo jihadis: “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”
This defiance of common sense has survived each atrocity, and I predict that it will also outlast the Paris massacre. Only a truly massive loss of life, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, would force the professionals to back off their deeply ingrained pattern of denying an Islamic component in the spate of attacks.
More surprising yet, the professionals respond to the public’s move to the right by themselves moving to the left, encouraging more immigration from the Middle East, instituting more “hate speech” codes to suppress criticism of Islam, and providing more patronage to Islamists. This pattern affects not just Establishment figures of the Left but more strikingly also of the Right (such as Angela Merkel of Germany); only Eastern European leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban permit themselves to speak honestly about the real problems.(Interestingly, and in passing, Pipes links to a carefully documented post on the health problems being brought into Germany with the many "migrants," an issue that a leftist commentator recently scoffed at when I mentioned it. Dang those xenophobic facts!)
With decent evidence now indicating that at least one of the Paris terrorists came in through Greece posing as a refugee, I was just wondering how Angela Merkel was sleeping these last couple of nights. According to Pipes' evaluation, though, she is not racked with any thoughts of the "My God, what have I done?" variety but instead is planning to tell her people that the beatings will continue until morale improves. A suicidal approach indeed.
I'm afraid that Pipes is right. And, if my experience with Americans has any relevance to European attitudes, his pessimistic predictions--namely, that our leaders will learn very little from what has happened--may have their source in confusion among the voters as well.
As I've been taking a bit of the temperature on Facebook, I've noticed that there are those who are "in support of France," even doing that thing with the profile photo and the French flag that Facebook is encouraging, but remain highly ambivalent (at a minimum) about any negative take on Muslim immigration, including the current wave of alleged refugees which apparently included at least one terrorist. It was, in fact, almost inevitable that this would happen. We shouldn't even be surprised that it was predicted. The Greek migration minister said on Sept. 9 that it would be "foolish to believe that there are no jihadists among the refugees that cross into Europe."
But there is a huge amount of sentiment, and I'm afraid not only among the elites and leaders, against exercising common sense in the area of immigration. Part of the problem is that we hear "refugees" and assume, "Okay, this is a crisis, this is an emergency, all checks and prudence have to go to the wall, because we have to help people in danger." It's a generous impulse, but a wrong-headed one. To say, outright, "We do not have to welcome large numbers of immigrants from radically different cultures whom we have not had time to check for either jihadist ties, real identity, or health problems, and that our economy may not be able to support, and this is true even though taking basic steps of prudence will probably mean that some innocent people die one way or another" sounds harsh but is simply true.
What must be recognized is that the West does no good to the world at large by committing suicide through an excess of generosity and sentiment. Where will the refugees of thirty years from now, any of them, even a small number, turn to if Europe has become part of a Caliphate? How much can the U.S. help others or act as a beacon of freedom if its already weakened economy and infrastructure are further strained by bringing in numbers of people with problems we do not have the resources to handle? And as we turn into more of a police state in response to the terrorist threats we have fecklessly welcomed in, how much do we remain an exemplar of freedom to the nations and a place of safety for others to come to? And, finally, face this: The government of Germany, or the U.S., or France, has more of a duty to protect its own citizens from terrorist attacks than it has to welcome the destitute and oppressed from other countries. That's just a fact. There are concentric circles of duty, though it is politically incorrect to say so.
To his credit, Governor Snyder of Michigan has rescinded his previous eagerness to relocate a bunch of Syrian immigrants into his state. He said explicitly that his recent decision was made in light of the Paris attacks. Good for him. He's governor of Michigan, not of Syria.
What we need in response to these attacks is not sentiment but rather manliness. By manliness I do not mean hatefulness and cruelty, such as will come from the alt-right against whom I have been writing lately. I do mean the kind of concrete suggestions made in the W4 post--stop Muslim immigration (and especially stop the madness of these recent unrestricted waves) and take military action against ISIS. Also, recognize the blazingly obvious connection between Islam and Jihad and take this into account in public policy--something too many on both sides of the aisle seem unwilling to do.
It may be too late for Europe, though I hope not. It may be that even if the most allegedly "xenophobic" measures are taken concerning future immigrants, many more such terrorist attacks will be carried out, though I hope not. But one thing we can be sure of: If Europe and the United States do not wake up and start taking measures that represent bare common sense in these areas, things will get much, much worse. Pointing out that inconvenient fact is what "standing with France" should mean, even if it isn't what the President of France wants. I do feel anguish for the victims and their families. But more, I feel outrage that this was allowed to happen and outrage at the evil of man that brought it about directly. It is in that sense that I "stand with France." Not in the sense merely that I have warm and sad feelings. Not in the candle-lighting sense, but in the sense of a call for clear eyes and active hands. Let us be up and doing, and may God defend the right.
A collect to be offered in time of war and tumults:
O Almighty God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.