It will be necessary in the coming days to fortify your mind, and not be suckered into irrelevant disputes that do nothing but distract and confuse the public dialogue.
America is in a fight for her life as a nation of constitutional liberties. The threats come from multiple axes. One of them is from Islamic terrorism.
From the beginning, Islamic terrorism has carried with it the peculiar danger of an unsustainable social divisiveness. The unique problem with it is that it is virtually impossible to fight from within a nation or society. No open, consensual society can long endure having a second-class segment of the citizenry, but the proposition of Islamic radicalism is precisely that someone’s going to have to be second-class. It’s either the non-Muslims or the Muslims.
Radical Islam refuses to live under Western rules. So wherever there is a door opened to radical Islam, Westerners begin either resisting their own dhimmification, or accepting a loss of their rights.
In both Europe and the U.S. today, the political fight that’s on is between the Westerners who demand to become second-class citizens, and the Westerners who refuse to.
The Western left is determined to redefine citizenship so that its people become second-class citizens. Such citizens will be denied rights like the free practice of their religious beliefs, free expression in public, freedom to dress and eat according to Western mores in their own streets, and the ownership of guns on their own say-so, without any need to give justification to the government.
The Western right is determined to preserve the Western definition of rights and liberties. Not one of those rights or liberties is negotiable. None of them can be sold or traded away, and for some of them – such as the right to religious freedom and the right to bear arms – there is absolutely no national “emergency” that will ever justify even temporarily suspending them. Not having those rights is the condition of a conquered people, the very definition of being unfree and constantly at risk from an armed occupier or armed predators.
The potential clash of the “war on terror” with the rights of the people has been visible from the very beginning. George W. Bush sought to fend off that clash, in at least some ways, by fighting Islamic radicalism overseas. He took domestic measures, to be sure, that many have considered undesirable or excessive, in the Patriot Act and the poorly supervised use of surveillance methods. I’ve regularly objected to some of those measures myself, as I believe no government can be trusted with the power to use them.
But surveillance and extra paperwork are still a different kind of burden from literal limitations imposed on Americans’ options and freedom of action. Overall, the Bush approach was to push the fight outward, and minimize the limitations placed on Americans at home. Part of the reasoning behind this was to preserve the American political idea and way of life.
But it’s important to remember another aspect of the reasoning, which was that living in peace with Islam and Muslims required an America in which people didn’t have to give up rights and liberties to do it. While Americans are free to live in peace as ourselves, there is no need to confront or fight with Islam.
It’s when American rights and liberties have to give way, before the demonstrated incapacity of some (not all) Muslims to enjoy them without using them against others, that the confrontation is inevitable. That confrontation is what’s happening now.
It’s been clear for some time that Obama has no objection in principle to placing arbitrary limitations on the American people. (Cf. Obamacare and his EPA, just for starters.) We can assume in full confidence that that’s what he intends to do. He is perfectly happy for Americans to be second-class citizens in our own country; he has no innate distaste for that idea, in regard to anyone.
And the way his administration and its Amen corner in the media are preparing the political battle space is by trying to make the Orlando terror attack about guns and gays.
It’s not about either one. It’s about Islamic terrorism, and what we’re going to do about it. That’s a separate discussion, although the right strategy can be summed up as reaffirming Western, Judeo-Christian civilization and living by it. Westerners haven’t been doing either one for at least the last decade – in some key ways for much longer – and our predicament today is what comes of that.
But it’s obvious that the operationally significant factor in the Orlando terror attack – the factor it will make a positive difference to address – is Islamic radicalism. To try to silence the good sense of the people on that head is itself a way of trying to reduce everyone, except a small political elite, to second-class status.
And so: in the few dozen hours since the nightclub attack, Obama, his cabinet officials, and a slew of other Democrats and pundits have rushed out to deflect references to Islamic radicalism, and push new restrictions on guns.
Of course, Omar Mateen would have had no problem getting guns even if guns were more restricted than they already are. Europe denies guns to its citizens much more comprehensively than America does, and terrorists have no trouble getting guns in Europe (along with grenades and grenade launchers).
It’s laughable that Obama maintains absurdly porous American borders, which children can routinely surge across, and yet also proclaims solemnly that we need to “control” guns in such a way that law-abiding citizens find it harder to get them. Who’s kidding whom here?
The other theme being developed, mostly in the media, is the psychotically incoherent theme that the Orlando attack was somehow about the marginalization of “gays,” or – by the irrational syllogistic progression favored by activists – about “LGBT issues” (as if the different disputes over public arrangements for lesbians and gays, as opposed to bisexual, as opposed to transgender people, are all part of one big political problem. Note to the logic-challenged: which marriages are being recognized has nothing to do with which bathrooms people use).
In the days ahead, activists and media personalities will do everything they can to talk up the non-issue of whether Omar Mateen was or wasn’t gay. We can no doubt rely on a Salon or Huffington Post writer to make the case that Mateen melted down and slew 49 people in a nightclub because a vicious, Christo-fascist America, by refusing to let men take their clothes off in front of little girls, made it impossible for him to “find himself” in Aisle 15 of the great Identity-Mart.
The upshot of this line of “argument” will be that Americans have to give up their religious (and by extension all intellectual) liberties, because it’s a national security emergency if we keep exercising them.
These themes will ignore stern realities like the fact that it’s far harder, more dangerous, and more alienating to be gay in Muslim nations than in the West. Or the fact that there is zero history of sexually ambivalent people running out and committing horrific mass attacks because of their self-doubts.
The rampaging theme-calliopes will ignore a whole lot of real, obvious things – and you, dear readers, will feel strong urges to point those things out. You’ll want badly to make the burning counter-arguments against the ludicrous themes.
But the point of this post is to ask you to remember what matters. The clear and present threat is Islamic radicalism, and the terrorism and rights-busting that go hand in hand with it. Concentrate on that.
Focus on the reality that the Obama administration is trying to use the threat of Islamic radicalism, as a national emergency, to curtail your rights and liberties. It will be doing this by making false arguments and blaming the wrong people. Don’t play along.
Focus on the overriding principle that there is no American life, no hope, and no future if we give up the rights and liberties our nation was founded to protect. Don’t be distracted from this by red-herring shout-fests over the secondary and the irrelevant.
And don’t lose sight of this final, decisive reality. The West’s great vulnerability is not to pressures from without. It’s to pressures from within. The hard-left movements that produced Obama and his cohort in the culture are what will kill us, if we let them – not Islam, and not Muslims. As armed, peace-loving, truth-loving, committed Christians and Jews, we can live in peace with Muslims. It’s under the yoke of un-Western weaklings, appeasers, and deceivers that we perish.