The Paris Attacks: Here Begins the Lesson for America
As France and the rest of the world reacted to the Islamic terrorists’ merciless slaughter of scores of defenseless civilians in Paris, one report I heard had the French authorities claiming that they had stopped all the terrorists. In context the report may have made some sense, but it struck me as ironic, nonetheless. French authorities apparently hand no inkling that the attacks were imminent. How could the French authorities say with any certainty that all the attackers were accounted for when their failure to thwart the attack suggests that they had no inkling the attacks were coming, and no idea who was involved until after the fact? Therefore, how could they know that all the attackers had been stopped? How could they be sure the attacks were not the first stage of a larger offensive, which might have included similar attacks elsewhere, launched while the French forces of order were preoccupied with events in Paris?
From what I’ve heard since, evidence has emerged that suggests that not all the people involved in the attacks have been accounted for, much less apprehended, including the person suspected of planning them. The report stuck in my mind as an example of the way bureaucratic and political agendas may, however inadvertently, affect the way government officials speak and behave. In their desire to contain the public’s fearful reaction, they say things that give the impression of being on top of events, when the events themselves emphatically contradict that impression.
Once a blow like the Paris terrorist attacks has been successfully administered, events are already provably out of hand. Unbridled public fears will only make matters worse. So it certainly serves the common good for Government officials to speak and act in way that does not feed the impression that things are spinning out of their control. But in addition to this understandable and public spirited motivation, other motives are in play, especially for those subject to periodic elections. Subtle claims that convey the impression of knowledge they logically should not possess precede actions intended to seem like a decisive, emphatic response to events. Both serve to distract the public from the reality of egregious failure those events actually portend.
Of course, the falsely “pragmatic” approach to government administration, now prevalent in the West, provides government officials with a self-righteous argument, equally false, against anyone who lets the clear logic of events interfere with their willingness to be distracted. The public’s preoccupation with the injury they have suffered makes “doing something” seem like the first imperative, even though the people doing it are the very ones whose failure to anticipate events laid them open to the injury that has fall upon them. But now is not the time for recriminations, the pragmatists say. Now is the time for decisive action.
That may be, but when is it ever a good time to leave in place the very fools who literally paved the way for the attackers? The chief administrators of governments in Europe (and the United States) self-righteously insisted on throwing the gates open. Worse still, as they did so they adamantly defended their folly, hurling explosive charges that not very subtly imputed racism and heartlessness to anyone who opposed it.
Even now they speak as if the temptation to man the gates, and make ‘closed’ their default position, is a greater existential threat to the public good than the horrors inflicted by the forces of Islamic conquest, for whom violent terrorists have ever been the honored vanguard of their intended siege. Islamic terrorists now celebrate the murderous exploits by which they have bloodied and shamelessly defiled the hospitality proffered to their fellow Muslims. Yet European officials like Angela Merkel are demanding that their compatriots accept the view that their desire to defend their homes threatens their identity as decent people. Never mind that it has been the common sense of people of goodwill in every society that refugees who turn on their hosts to do murder and mayhem poison the wellspring of human goodwill (cf., for example, Genesis 34:25-30 and 49:5-7.) They deprive themselves and others from the Middle East of what is otherwise their presumptive portion of the heritage of mutual succor all people of true conscience ought to hold and respect in common. If the stern repudiation of their crimes leaves them with no place of refuge, those crimes are to blame, not the people whose hospitality they have bloodied and shamelessly betrayed.
But also to blame are the government officials for whom the habitual predilection for terrorism as a principle of warfare, endemic to the Middle East, should have come as no surprise. If these official were truly taken by surprise, they are monumentally incompetent. If, with a sense of clear and present danger, they persisted in promoting “open borders” policies regardless of that danger, then they willingly risked the security of the public, which is their constant duty, in order to service ideological preferences that somehow failed to include the performance of that duty as a constant prerequisite.
If the people of Europe still have confidence in such leaders, perhaps they are, as some suggest, prey to suicidal self-loathing. But Americans need urgently to consider the fact that the “Europeanization” of the United States is what the elitist forces that presently dominate American politics quietly embrace as a substitute for “America exceptionalism.” This implies that self-immolation is the fate also intended for us. Nothing portends this fate more clearly than the election, driven mainly by racial guilt, of America’s first anti-American President, Barack Obama; and the unwillingness of his supposed opponents in the GOP to hold him accountable for the repeated abuses of power by which he clearly means to leave us (as their governments have left the Europeans) naked to our enemies, at home and abroad.
With their heads befogged by the sham that has presently replaced true electoral politics, Americans are poised to be swept away by the ill-fated current of threatening events. If there were any real hope left alive in the GOP, it would now itself resolve into the political will to demand a national inquest, as the Constitution provides; an inquest intended to end the treacherous elitist faction folly that is pulling us ever deeper into the moral and political void, and away from our place as the home of decent liberty.
Yet I cannot but share the foreboding that those who wait upon that partisan, false hope would do better to wait upon the Lord, like previous generations of Americans. Instead of looking for leadership from Republicans, faithless to the Republic, all those who can do so in good faith, should turn to the Lord within. Only by doing so will they rediscover in themselves, the faith, and moral clarity, and courage needed to reclaim the constitutional initiative. Otherwise, the American people are more than likely to find that they have lost it, once and for all.
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