Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sorry to Have to State the Obvious, But "Feelings" Won't Vanquish the Jihad

It started with the shocking, untimely death of Princess Diana, I think: people feeling the need to one up one another in demonstrating just how emotionally devastated they were by "their" loss, and that display being proof that they were in essence superior human beings because of their overly overwrought emotions.

Fast forward to today, and, as Bruce Thornton writes, "feelings"--which is to say the therapeutic approach to dealing with a public trauma--has, as expected, shown up in Nice, France (my bolds):
We know what is going to follow the latest terrorist murder in Nice. Shrines to the dead will instantly spring up. Conclaves of citizens will gather at sorrowful demonstrations filled with ecumenical clichés. The media will profile selected victims, wringing every ounce of pathos out of their tragedy. Twitter will be inundated with sentimental bromides and ephemeral hashtags, and politicians will give solemn and empty speeches laced with even emptier threats. 
Welcome to terror in a therapeutic age. 
What we will not read are passionate demands from most citizens of Western governments that mind-concentrating force be unleashed on those responsible for the latest slaughter of the innocents. Nor will we hear stirring speeches from our political leaders that forcefully make the moral case for war against the murderers and their enablers. 
Obsessing over feelings and emotions is what many moderns reflexively substitute for meaningful action. Righteous anger and burning revenge of the sort that fired up Americans after the Pearl Harbor attacks are too “mean” and “hurtful,” and require a serious commitment and exorbitant risk. Displaying emotion is cheap and gratifying and offends no one. Indeed, such displays demonstrate the purveyors’ superior “we are the world” sensibilities and sensitivity. It is “conspicuous compassion,” as Alan Bloom called it, as much a status symbol as Veblen’s conspicuous consumption. It’s how people show themselves to be civilized and advanced, too sophisticated for retrograde emotions like avenging anger. That’s so Old Testament...
That's for sure. But that "turn the other cheek"/what's-so-funny-'bout-peace-love-and-understanding stuff is to this era's jihad what Bambi is to Godzilla. (I'm sure you know what that looks like):
The problem is, we live in a world of people with radically different ideas about the goods they should pursue, and who don’t give a damn about “peace, love, understanding,” or the opinions of Western infidels about their religion. Whatever their potential is for possessing and recognizing a “common humanity,” in practice this possibility remains mostly unexpressed in their traditional religious tenets. Rather, Muslim jihadists––and hundreds of millions of ordinary Muslims–– limit their compassion, sympathy, and respect for humanity to fellow Muslims, and deny them to the infidel or heretic.  
That’s why zakat, the personal obligation for Muslims to make charitable contributions, for the most part restricts that charity to other Muslims. 
The only “common humanity” pious Muslims recognize is the divine obligation for all humans to become Muslim. Their highest goods are not democracy, prosperity, leisure, and tolerance, but obedience to Allah and his laws. And millions of them view violence in the name of Allah as the divinely justified instrument for creating a world in which “all men say there is no god but Allah.”
It's awfully hard to feel any warm 'n' fuzzy John Lennonesque (or Kerryesque) vibes about that.

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