The Camel Ate My Homework
More reflections on a massacre, from Ilana Mercer
The Fourth Estate has moved the country into the Third Dimension. The media lie so much, that when stuff happens that scares them, they no longer know where to turn for the truth.
For now, mainstream media have stopped meditating on Charlie Hebdo, and moved on to the weather and other woes. But something changed after this month’s strike, carried out by French recruits to Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
The frightful events that unfolded in Paris seemed to have triggered something of a come-to-Jesus moment among members of the media. For example, before Charlie Hebdo, supernova Megyn Kelly’s everyday “expert” on Islam was one Brooke Goldstein. Unless good looks qualify one to expatiate on Islam, Goldstein was—still is—gormless.
However, right after Charlie Hebdo, Kelly traded Goldstein for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is both victim of and an expert on Islam. Lo and behold, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch made the rounds, myth-busting about Islam and its Prophet. The New York Times was really running scared: its editors solicited a piece from the pen of Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s rightist Front National. While she did not quite counsel pulling the drawbridge up, Le Pen questioned the wisdom of inviting “waves of immigration, both legal and clandestine” into the West.
Like lab rats, media are maze-bright, no more. Other scribes found solace by levitating in the Parallel Universe, pretending that in the Hebdo massacre we had a Whodunit to unravel. “Both the motive and the identity of the perpetrators are still unknown,” intoned a cipher at Slate. For a while, Wolf Blitzer of CNN was all wide-eyed wonderment, too. Across the pond, the constabulary in Hamburg, north Germany, informed its citizenry that the motive for an attack on the Hamburger Morgenpost, a newspaper that published the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, was “still under investigation.”
Just as some mediacrats still pretend the phrase “radical Islam” is not a redundancy, others make believe that the motive for shooting up a place of business while yelling praise for the Prophet is a mystery. Unless authorities say otherwise.
Disaffected, disadvantaged, disenfranchised is how progressives prefer to depict the murderers in their midst. After all, progressives hail from the school of therapeutic “thought” that considers crime to have been caused, not committed. Misbehavior is either medicalized and outsourced to state-approved experts, or reduced to the fault of the amorphous thing called society.
The most famous advocate of the-Camel-Ate-My Homework theory of criminal culpability is Barack Obama. Obama’s flabby assumption has it that the poor barbarians of France’s burbs have been deprived of fraternité. “Europe needs to better integrate its Muslim communities,” lectured the president.
Libertarians are also guilty of a social determinism that flouts their philosophy of individual freedoms. For the sins of man, hard leftists blame society and libertarians saddle the state: U.S. foreign policy, in particular. A war of aggression, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and torture are thus “principal catalysts for this kind of non-state terrorism,” argued Ray McGovern.
“The-state-made-me-do-it” argumentation apes that of the left’s “society-made-me-do-it” argumentation. Both philosophical factions, left and blowback-libertarian, are social determinists, in as much as they implicate forces outside the individual for individual dysfunction.
Myself, I despise U.S. foreign policy as deeply as any Muslim. But it would never-ever occur to me to take it out on my American countrymen.
In the context of free will, and in a week in which we remember the Holocaust, Viktor E. Frankl rates a mention.
Dr. Frankl came out of Auschwitz to found the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. The philosopher and distinguished psychiatrist said this of his experience in the industrial killing complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau: “In the camps one lost everything, except the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
To plagiarize another Jew (myself): “You can see why liberals have always preferred Freud to Frankl [my family included]. They retain a totemic attachment to the Freudian fiction that traumatic toilet training is destiny.”
Dr. Frankl lost his beloved young wife in Auschwitz, yet told poignantly of finding her, if figuratively, in a tiny bird that flitted close by. If this man was able to discover the reality of free will and human agency in a laboratory like Auschwitz, so too can Muslims find the will to respond adaptively to events that enrage them and are indeed unjust: Western foreign policy.
The idea that the Brothers Kouachi and thousands of their coreligionists in the West who’ve joined ISIS were driven by “disaffection” to do their diabolic deeds conjures a skit from the “Life of Brian,” John Cleese’s parody of Judea under Rome.
In what is a typically Jewish dialectical session, Reg and his band of anti-Roman rebels are debating the merits and demerits of the enemy. So, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” asks Reg. “The aqueduct,” ventures one rebel. “Sanitation” pipes-up another: “Remember what the city used to be like?” A third praises the roads. A fourth, the public baths. Exacerbated by the growing list of Roman improvements, rebel-in-chief Reg responds: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health—what have the Romans ever done for us?”
By the same token, what have those “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” ever done for their Maghrebian immigrants (les beurs, as they are known)—apart from replacing the mud huts of their ancestors with subsidized housing and modern plumbing, giving them schools, job-training institutes, cradle-to-crypt welfare, health care and, my personal favorite, the Musée du Louvre?
While Obama sounded a bum note, British Prime Minister David Cameron acquitted himself well with this take on criminal culpability: the murderers in our midst “have had all the advantages of integration,” they’ve “had all the economic opportunities that our countries can offer.”
ILANA MERCER is a paleolibertarian writer based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing column, “Return to Reason” and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. She is a Quarterly Review Contributing Editor. Ilana’s latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. She blogs at www.barelyablog.com