As you will probably have heard, we have just had another Islamist terrorist attack in the UK, this time more organised and deadly than anything since 7/7, and involving the targeting of children with a suicide bomb.
The thing that is strange about this atrocity is what it throws into relief. Striking children hits a powerful nerve with people. You would expect a great deal of anger, but the official response (in the media at least) seems to have been characterised by concern for the reaction of the public, almost more than by fear of the terrorism, as the latter is met with a kind of resignation. It’s difficult to understand this, until you realise how divorced the media in its “liberalism” from common sense, and concrete realities. It’s laudable that people do not blame whole groups for the actions of a few, but we seem to have a really distorted view of who is threatening who, and exactly who the parties are, their identities, and the meaning of those identities.
Now there is a struggle going on, or two separate struggles that I can see, one being far more developed than the other. But what the liberal consensus seems to worry over is a struggle between the “indigenous” non-muslim population, and the British muslim population. This fits their story and their ideology, as it minimises individual identity and choices in favour of classes and collectives, and it plays on exactly the trigger perceptions of “racism”, “xenophobia” and (most incoherent of all) “Islamophobia”.
This might be the trouble that the media class would feel shame over, but it is not the struggle that I can see. The struggle that I can see is between the liberal* (actually leftist-lite) elite with its influential world view, and the greater mass of people who live the lives, and meet the realities, which that elite would rather ignore. The latter are not the people which TV news crews will most likely seek out to interview. They are more likely to want action to correct what they see as problems, rather than anodyne words that extol “carrying on as normal”. It is as if the problem in the world was force, rather than how it is used; thus practical effectiveness is seen as part of the problem.
Whereas many would see a flawed human nature that we have to be pragmatically reconciled with in order to create a livable life with realistic protections, the “liberal elite” see a need for therapy, as if we were above situations like public violence (which they themselves may of course actually be, in their gated communities). “If everyone were like us, the world would be ok. Why can’t you be like us?”. Terrorists are mentally ill, misguided, loners, etc. Islam is treated as somehow privileged as a touchy ideology, and the muslim community viewed condescendingly as almost honoured guests (which really is insulting) that need special understanding. It’s like the people who behave reasonably are the ones that have to take responsibility. It’s a strangely middle class (in the British sense), self-despising, self-deluding view, but it’s not shared by the great mass of people, who however are left in no doubt that to deviate from this publicly is to be seen as “bigoted”.
The other struggle I see going on, which is far less reported because it is uncomfortable for the liberal elite, is the struggle within Islamic communities to become free of the authoritarian ideologies which not only prepare for radicalization and terror, but destroy countless muslim lives by depriving them of individual choice. This of course doesn’t fall nicely into line with ideas about “racism” and “xenophobia”, let alone “Islamophobia”, in fact the liberal-left have been treacherous in their mistrust of muslim reformers, treating them as “Uncle Tom”s (as our risible London Mayor once called them, along with telling us to just get used to political terror), Islamophobes, and essentially as a kind of “class traitor”. This is a very difficult struggle, because muslim reformers and ex-muslims face real threats from their communities, right up to threat of death.
It’s very strange when it feels like the media, the leftists-liberals, the terrorists, and the Islamic traditionalists seem to be oddly in a defacto sympathetic alliance, while the ordinary majority British people who we are told we should fear for their racism, and those muslims who are trying to get out of the situation of being dominated by a backward and violent ideology, have such obvious common cause.
You might ask who’s war this is? There is, as Maajid Nawaz says, a jihadist insurgency against the West (in fact, against the non-muslim world). “The West” isn’t doing a good job of seeing this clearly. To the point of down playing the very natural anger over the mass murder of children, and telling us that we just have to get used to it. No we don’t, and we shouldn’t.
For everyone’s sake, we mustn’t.
* the word “liberal” really has become misused, to the point where people termed “liberal” are often very illiberal in their views, and exponents of a collectivist identity politics.