The Enemy that Won't be Named
Regis NicollRegis Nicoll's weblog
- 2016 Nov 30
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, chosen by president-elect Trump to be national security adviser, again finds himself in the crosshairs of liberal ire. This time for calling Islam a political ideology masked behind religion.
A registered Democrat, Flynn served in the Obama administration until, in his words, “the stand I took on radical Islam,” led to his early retirement.
Liberal aversion to the phrase, “radical Islam” is a symptom of what psychologists call, the “false consensus bias”—the belief that, in the global brotherhood of mankind, everyone shares the same wants, needs, desires, and values.
However, while everyone wants peace, the Western liberal and the radical Islamist promote vastly different means of achieving it—the former, through an ethic of universal tolerance and the latter, through the universal “purification” by the sword.
Waste Not a Crisis
Under the false consensus, a liberal in the West, for whom religion is largely irrelevant, cannot conceive that it could be any different for the shooter who goes on a killing spree in a crowded night club, screaming “Allahu Akbar!” Or, as just happened recently, an Ohio State freshman and Somali Muslim refugee who drives his car through a crowd of students injuring nine. Such a person can’t be motivated by religion, because religion is an outward expression of our primal longings, making every variety, even that of the jihadist, a “religion of peace.” Thus, televised beheadings and crucifixions are not acts of religious devotees, but of madmen given to fear, anger, xenophobia, depression, or the increasingly fashionable, “causes unknown.”
The tragic consequence is that each terrorist act becomes a crisis, not to be wasted, for politicians eager to mount their hobbyhorses of gun control, mental health care, and military action—measures that are ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst against the “enemy that won’t be named.”
Consider gun control. Even if all the ammunition and firearms in the world were rounded up and destroyed, the person intent on purifying the world will attempt to do so, be it with explosives, incendiaries, chemicals, biotoxins, knives, and vehicles, all of which have been used to great effect. On July 14, 2016 one of the most efficient terrorist attacks occurred in Nice, France. In only a matter of minutes, one man, armed with a 19-ton cargo truck, was able to kill 84 people and injure over 300 others.
As for mental health care, while some psychological problems have been exhibited by some jihadists, mental illness is not a common factor in Islamic terrorism. Thus, contrary to common depictions, the typical jihadist is not some deranged psychopath, but a religiously informed foot soldier who believes he has a divine commission in the imminent apocalypse.
The Enemy is Not Terrorists
Then there’s military action, which has not, and never will, defeat the “enemy that won’t be named,” because “enemy that won’t be named” is not the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other jihadist group...continue reading here.