What Is To Be Done?
In my latest post on the aftermath of the Manchester bombing I lamented the false pledges that we in the West would carry on as ever before; it was a pledge proven to be a lie by every new armed patrol of soldiers, every ever higher concrete security barrier, and by the visceral feel of morbid dread that has come to descend upon us and comes to weigh slightly more with every new attack (since then there have been a pair of simultaneous knifing sprees in London carried out by jihadis claiming “this is for Allah”). We haven’t carried on as before, we’ve simply begun to normalise these times of danger and terror we live in and responded by slowly getting quieter, and smaller, and more shut in bit by little bit. The lines at security checkpoints have gotten longer, the armed presence of the military in our public spaces has become more visible, and we’ve become ever more hesitant to go out and about and travel abroad. We mouth the empty cliches that we shall not be divided and we shall not be intimidated, but even the ones speaking them no longer believe them.One common reaction was the question “Well what do you suggest we do about this?” and it is a fair enough query. Empty bemoaning and criticism accomplishes nothing at the end of the day. What is to be done then? What can we do to erase this slow and steady death of the West that seems to be unfolding before our very eyes? I’m neither an expert on security or intelligence so I won’t play armchair general on those topics. However, there is one area I wish to explore which is the role that multiculturalism and cultural relativism in general has played on this issue.
Looking at the perpetrators that have been behind this surge of ghastly attacks that has rocked the Western world in recent years they fall largely into two camps. The first and smaller of the two are either refugees or ISIS militants who have entered Europe via refugee routes while the larger second group have been the children and grandchildren of immigrants who have been born and raised in the West only to be radicalised and turn to violence (a very distant third category would likely be Western born white converts to – though this phenomena seems to be restricted mostly to North America). It should be emphasised that of the attacks we have seen almost none of the perpetrators have been first generation immigrants.
This is not surprising when we consider the matter. It seems that people who have chosen to uplift and move to the West because they see it as offering an opportunity for a better life are not particularly keep to strap suicide vests on their chests and go blow up their new neighbours. What is fascinating however is that it seems their children and grandchildren are. Why is this?
Simply put, it is because we in the West have simply lost faith in ourselves. In the aftermath of World War II, the idea of the Western world as an evil imperialistic power increasingly tool hold amongst the progressive left, and as they came to monopolise the top echelons of government, media, higher education and popular culture this view influenced their every decision. Multiculturalism and the encouragement of differences over unity became the priority of the government, history (when it was taught at all anymore) is simply an exercise in figurative mortification of the flesh as it recites the seemingly endless wrongs and crimes a nation has committed since its inception, and Hollywood has turned the stodgy old white man (ideally with an upper class British accent or at least a southern drawl) into the default villain of every drama or adventure.
Is it any wonder then that the children and grandchildren of immigrants are turning away from the West when they are told from birth that it is a disgraceful and horrible thing, and that there not truly a part of it anyway just a hyphenated extension who should look to the old country for their real identity? When you tell people their country is evil long enough some of them are eventually going to believe it.
Human beings naturally desire to community. We want to feel like we are a part of something greater than ourselves. When meaning is not given to us we go looking for it elsewhere. Where do you think the alt-right comes from? Just like Salman Abedi, the second generation Brit who blew himself up in a crowd of tweens at Manchester’s Ariana Grande concert, they’re disillusioned, angry young men who’ve grown tired of the constant post-modern refrain that nothing is of any value and sought out something – anything – that they can believe in.
The solution then, is for us to take off our hair shirts and instead begin once again teaching our future generations who they are and where they have come from. This does not necessarily mean sweeping the nastier parts of our history under the rug (introspection in reasonable measures is a healthy part of any society) but also teaching the admirable parts as well. Give them roots and give them wings, and make them all feel part of a monoculture, one that is multiethnic and tolerant of difference but also is one that they all can feel a part of. Stop emphasising what divides us, and instead elevate what binds us together, and recognise that if we in the Western world do not see something of value in ourselves worth saving no one else will either.