There Are No Good Options Left

I wrote a post after Manchester, but didn’t publish it. It was nothing that had not been said before. Reading internet comboxes has been depressing in the wake of these two attacks: on the one side there are increasing calls for expulsion of Muslims, on the other moralistic scolds are doubling down on the theme of “it’s all America’s fault” that Arab men blow up a bunch of little English girls.

Expulsion of Muslims, or at least Muslims under suspicion of sympathizing with terror, would be a repudiation of the Western Enlightenment: it would be admitting that modern civilization is not self-evidently superior, that there are cultural limits to the bounds of Western Rationality, that multiculturalism was never a good idea, that religious tolerance is fine so long as you are talking about letting Catholics join country clubs or putting up with tiny numbers of Jews or the cranky village atheist, but that when it comes to Islam in large numbers it simply isn’t possible.

In short, expulsion of Muslims who refuse to integrate – many of them citizens who have committed no crimes – would be the end of the modern concept of Europe. It would be tantamount to saying Charlemagne had more or less the right idea when he made the Saxons choose between death or Baptism.

Which is why it will never, ever, happen.

As for the “it is all America’s fault” turds, they are ideologues incapable of looking at reality. For them, swarthy people are automatons free of moral agency: everything a non-white person does is a pure reaction to some white man’s provocation. The terrorists have no plans, goals or aspirations to speak of. Their violence, though planned for months, is purely spontaneous and devoid of internal rationality.

Why do they see things this way? Because the “it is all America’s fault” people are indifferent to the reality of their countrymen actually being blown to bits, all they care about is winning the argument against the real enemy, their domestic political opponents. Pinning murder on them is a good way to win an argument.

The only important opinion of course is that of the politicians: they see a Europe that needs a constant flow of migrants to keep the population from dropping below replacement levels, which would throw economies and pension programs into disarray. They also see the migrants as breaking up unfavorable political tendencies: if you don’t like the voters you have, replace them with new voters. Thus, they have decided that intermittent outbursts of Allahu-Akbar are the new normal, and the peasants will simply have to get used to it.

Some people like to point out that you are still more likely to die of any number of causes – say bee stings or lighting strikes – than of a terror attack, which is true, and besides the point. No one expects the government to protect them from bees and lightning, they do expect the government to protect them from acts of war and insurrection. The terrorists are trying to change that expectation, and are succeeding.

Europe has reached the point where the two options are to surrender the European project, or to accept Islamic terrorism as just another risk you have to run.


  1. Interesting but- intermittent outbursts are the *always* normal in Europe. Give me any period in time and I’ll be able to name violent groups who were committing atrocities during the period.
    ETA and the IRA have killed substantially more Europeans on European soil than any Muslim group. And before that there were the communists like Baader Meinhof, and there were the anarchists, and the Corsican separatists have had their moments. And the mafia in Italy isn’t the nicest group around either. There are between 50 and 100 Italian mafia related murders per year, and that’s just the directly related variety.

    1. Body count probably isn’t relevant yet, since you are comparing a fairly new movement to ones that had thirty or forty year runs. The separatist groups were working within the framework of nationalism, the dominant ideology of the time. The leftist groups are a closer parallel, looking to overturn the dominant ideology.
      What seems different is the random and gratuitous violence. You would probably have to go back to wartime to find parallels. Older groups tended to target security personnel or political figures. Civilian targets were often given warning before the bomb went off.
      The mafia is a different sort of animal.

      1. Death toll: one particularly stupid (though funny) suicide.

      2. Guess how many armed conflicts Spain had in the 19th century?

      3. I am only familiar with the Carlist wars.

      4. Three monarchs were deposed, there were five civil wars, 130 governments and nine constitutions. Minor “revolutions” were a normal part of life. France didn’t help matters, having its own whole range of power struggles, revolutionaries, Empire, two royal houses (Bourbon & Orleans) against each other, then Napoleon III. The idea of a violence free world is a post-modern utopia dreamt up after WWII.

      5. Old EU attitude: our progressive bureaucracy will bring lasting peace by applying the Enlightenment principles of multiculturalism.
        New EU attitude: Sorry, but there is absolutely nothing we can do about crazy Arabs who were previously reported to police as terror threats from running around killing random people: human nature, you know. But we can always hold a candlelight vigil. Want us to play Imagine again? Oh, we are going to settle some more Arab refugees this summer, hope you like gyros!

      6. Europeans kill other Europeans by dramatically more important numbers than Arabs kill Europeans.
        Are you implying that because they’re Arab, they should be held to a different and much higher standard?

      7. Why are you so intent on denying that Islamic terrorism is a problem?

      8. So you don’t like it when the numbers don’t support your argument?
        Islamic terrorism is less of a problem than hippo deaths in Africa, and incomparably less of a problem than domestic violence murders (by Europeans) in Europe.

      9. We are discussing political violence, which is a political problem that disrupts social life. The political violence of 50 or 30 years ago is not today’s political violence. Bee stings and shark bites are not a political issue. One Neapolitan hoodrat murdering another is not a threat to the governing ideology.
        Saying crazy Arabs imported by the government and blowing people up is just a natural occurrence is a good example of pissing on my shoes and telling me it is raining.

      10. That’s absurd. You want standards to apply based on identity, national origin or religion rather than on an action itself.

        It’s not murder if a white person does it and he’s got a good reason?

      11. Ah, but I am the one insisting that nature of the act matters, you are the one saying a terror attack is indistinguishable from a hippo attack.
        A terror attack is a political act and a political problem whether preformed by the IRA or an ISIS sympathizer. The current wave of terror is Islamic. What previous ideological commitment makes it so hard for you to acknowledge that?

      12. Yes, you are insisting that matters, because then you get to use that measure as justification for generalised prejudice.

        The problem is it doesn’t matter in real terms. There have always been and will always be fringe groups responsible for violence. That’s the nature of animals and in particular our species. Here Catholics and Protestants fought in Asia it’s the Chinese vs. the Tibetans. Your proposition that the standard can be zero violence has no basis in fact or history.

      13. So because you fear that my secret motive is a hatred for Muslims per se, you must deny that Islamic terrorism is a political problem?Wouldn’t it be more rational to say Islamic terrorism is a problem independent of dpmonhan’s secret bigotries?
        Yes, there has always been violence and always will be. If only our species had developed some sort of institution which could promote a degree of social tranquility. It could deal with these intermittent outbursts of outrageous political violence. We could call it “government”… no wait, that is the self-serving institution telling us to just put up with terrorism which is as spontaneous and mysterious as lighting strikes.

      14. Nope. What’s rational is to order threats by statistical importance. That balanced against what we can do (if anything) to avoid the threat.
        We can’t avoid that in a pyramidal society there will always be groups at the bottom who feel the world is unfair. We also can’t avoid that some of those people will resort to violence. And we also have to accept that unless being psychic becomes a possibility the best we can do is reduce damage, but not eliminate it.

      15. Here’s a mental exercise for you- substitute the word terrorism for gun violence or mass shooting. That way you can see it from a non-partisan perspective.
        Can governments stop all gun violence? At what cost? Is gun violence statistically significant enough to ban guns?
        How does the equation look now?

      16. The comparison is apt and I’ve thought of it before.
        Cost is what the above post is about: the cost of fixing the current terrorism problem is invasive policing of some Muslim citizens, limiting immigration from some Muslim countries, and policing borders. (Even that does not fix the problem forever, maybe in twenty years the Middle East will have calmed down and some other group will take up terror as a political tool and arrangements will have to change.)
        The problem here the dishonesty: no one wants to pay the costs of safety, so they hope you get used to terrorism but don’t dare say that. They don’t want to pay because of ideological commitments, and they lie to their citizens about it and throw around incoherent slogans.
        What you are doing is ignoring the costs of terrorism that are beyond mere body count. A person beheaded by a terrorist and a person killed by a bee are not the same as a social reality. The first is violence to the human community and odious to justice, the second a bit of bad luck.

      17. Sorry, but no. People kill people every day. For myriad of reasons. We can’t punish a whole class of people based on minority behaviour. Italians and the Irish would have never been allowed into *any* country if that was the standard.

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