The Corner

Explaining Away Atrocity

Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill:

Less than 24 hours after the barbarism in Paris, the bodies of more than 120 concertgoers, Friday-night revellers and children barely cold, and the apologism has already begun. They couldn’t even wait a whole day, these cultural appeasers, whose kneejerk response to every act of terrorism is to ask what we the wicked West did to deserve it, or to argue that we the wicked West will make things worse with our response to it….

O’Neill sees an interplay between the self-loathing of some in the West and what he refers to as the “nihilism” (I don’t think it’s that) of the terrorists, but there’s a great deal to this:

They are a brutal, violent expression of a disgust for the modern world that has its origins in the universities, political circles and media elites of the West itself as much as in the volatile, unstable territories in the Islamic world. Indeed, many of the attacks in the West over the past 15 years have been carried out by people either born in or educated in the West.

Indeed they have. And many of them will have attended schools of the multiculturalist era, schools in which the culture of the West is portrayed as something exceptionally shameful, a caricature of history that some of them will have swallowed whole, a caricature of history that is particularly dangerous at a time of mass immigration. Assimilate into that?  

Others would have seen this as an expression of weakness.  And they would have been right.

To quote Bin Laden:

When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.

And then O’Neill highlights what a Marxist might refer (not so very inaccurately) as the class angle to all this:

[T]he first response of concerned observers is not with the actual victims of actual terrorism but with possible victims of [an ‘Islamophobic’] moronic mob uprising that exists entirely in their imaginations. This, too, speaks to a profound self-loathing in the West, where the media and political elite’s fear is always how their own societies, and what they see as their inscrutable fellow citizens, a ‘confused and anxious’ mass, will behave. They condemn the terrorism, yes — but they fundamentally fear and loathe the societies they live in, the people they live among.

‘Fear and loathe’ is probably too strong, but the sense of moral superiority that this elite feels is real, as is the incessant need to proclaim it. That there are already signs that this latest atrocity will be used as yet another opportunity to display a supposedly superior morality is disgusting, but not, unfortunately, surprising. 

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