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Something Must Be Done — But What?

Here is the problem: [1]

Marine Le Pen, head of the anti-immigrant National Front, disparaged the government’s efforts against terrorism.

“The war against the scourge of fundamentalism hasn’t started, it must now be declared,” she said in a statement. “That is the deep wish of the French, and I will put all my energy so that they are finally heard and the necessary fight is finally undertaken.”

A French parliamentary report released July 5 said France’s failure to prevent last year’s attack was partly due to lack of coordination between the country’s six intelligence units, and recommended the creation of a single counter-terrorism agency.

But look:

Police killed the driver of the truck, a 31-year-old Tunisian with French residency. While the government and French judicial system are treating the attack as Islamic terrorism, media reports have cited neighbors of the suspect as saying he was going through a divorce and wasn’t religious.

The BBC reports that the man, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was not on the radar of French authorities as a terrorist sympathizer. [2] In fact, we was a wife-beater whose wife had had enough of him:

Outside the flat in the Route de Turin where he had been living, residents of the four-storey building described the man as a loner who never responded when they said hello. He would often be seen climbing the stairs to his first-floor flat, carrying his bike, they said.

Although the attacker had a pistol, all the other weapons found in the lorry turned out to be fake, which raises questions about the extent of support he had from jihadist groups.

The story may change as police sift through the evidence they gathered in their raid of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel’s home, but this sounds a lot like what the Orlando shooter appears to be: a violent head case who wasn’t especially religious, but who used radical Islam as a rationale for releasing the murderous impulse held inside.

I don’t intend this to downplay the political and religious meaning of these acts; there are countless French and American men who are violent, and whose lives are falling apart, but they don’t commit mass murder in the name of jihad. What I’m saying is that even if you agree that Something Must Be Done, what, exactly, can be done to anticipate and neutralize men like Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel.

You could stop all immigration from Muslim countries, and expel all non-citizen Muslims, I suppose. Even then, you would have millions of French citizens who are Muslims. How do you prevent them from snapping like this guy apparently did? If they have no public record of Islamist sympathy, how do you read their minds? Besides, what kind of world would this create for the vast majority of French Muslims who have done and will do nothing wrong, and may even despise the jihadists as much as non-Muslims do? How can that be just?

It is true that ideal justice must take a back seat to a society that’s fighting for its life under attack. And it’s true that every attack like this pushes the French closer to the edge of concluding that they are in just such a fight. If a French family cannot go out to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day without having to worry about a Muslim running them down with a lorry, then the French will not be willing to live in that kind of state indefinitely. Nor should they.

Something Must Be Done. Really, something must. But what effective thing can be done?

There is this: Europe must close its borders to the flood from the Middle East. It only invites this kind of thing to occur infinitely over the decades to come. If Angela Merkel and the other Eurocrats won’t do that, the European publics will elect leaders who will. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was not one of the refugees, but aside from bringing in actual terrorists masquerading as refugees, Europe is important young Arab Muslim men who are unlikely to find employment, and who are highly likely to find nothing but frustration in the West. This could easily be fatal for untold numbers of Europeans.

UPDATE: This, from reader Devinicus, puts it pithily:

If there is nothing a free society can do to stop Islamic terrorism, that society will not long remain free.

That’s where France is headed, I’m afraid, not because the French want it, but because terror will make them desire it.

UPDATE.2: A European reader e-mails:

It happened again. A large attack on European soil, with close to 100 persons dead (at present count). And all I can feel (and notice from other people) is emptiness. It’s like the will to talk about resistance and fighting is suddenly broken. Sure, in some ways, the debate is in better shape now, compared to before Paris.

There is an ongoing debate about the inherent problems with radical Islam, and about the dire need to integrate/assimilate the large numbers off middle eastern/African refuges into the European states.

But when it comes to this sort of attacks, there is no longer anything to say. It’s an enemy that can hardly be fought, and that can hide practically anywhere. After Paris, we talked about striking back, and bringing the fight to them, but now, it’s just empty glances and silence. And with the growing lack off Christianity in large parts of Europe, I fear that some of our spirit in “finally” broken. I seek shelter in these words “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

130 Comments (Open | Close)

130 Comments To "Something Must Be Done — But What?"

#1 Comment By An Agrarian On July 16, 2016 @ 10:32 am

Something Must Be Done, but What?

Corollary question: Can this “Something” be accomplished by the state?

95% (maybe 99?) of Americans believe in the power of the state to resolve all problems, all conflict. As other posts mention, the state’s options are to bomb & drone or withdraw & deport. Neither option, to my mind, helps secure one’s life & liberty. If the collectivists could create an environment, completely decentralized, where individuals and communities could address violence, then we might find a path toward this “something to be done.” But hey, that’s not what statists do. And the majority demand that their government fix the problem, much as we’re reading here. In other words, we’ve been conditioned to be sheep, completely reliant on professional, uniformed sheepdogs.

There’s a pattern in all these attacks … utterly defenseless people are mowed down. Maybe the “something” we need to address is an introspective look. On a more practical level, that “something” would include individuals pursuing defensive training & tactics, the avoidance of vulnerable places (i.e. gun-free zones), and a preparedness mindset that assumes individual responsibility over state dependency.

#2 Comment By Noah172 On July 16, 2016 @ 10:35 am

Aaron Gross wrote:

If there is nothing a free society can do to stop Islamic terrorism, that society will not long remain free.

That’s just obviously false. Israel has been living with terrorism for 68 years or for a century, depending how you count. The terrorism hasn’t been explicitly Islamic all that time, but it has always against the existence of the state/polity. And Israel is a free society, including for Muslims

Because, to state the obvious, Israel takes the measures Western polities generally won’t: ethnically and religiously discriminatory immigration policy; border walls; deportation of illegals; broad military conscription; (more) extensive (and ruthless) internal security apparatus; and a political culture which consciously marginalizes the Muslim minority (no Jewish party, even Meretz unless I’m mistaken, would agree to a coalition with the Arab parties).

Also, to state the obvious, Israel feels no guilt over the events of the 1930s and 40s as the Western countries do.

#3 Comment By Michael Guarino On July 16, 2016 @ 10:45 am

Reuters reported that IS has claimed responsibility. France has thousands of citizens and residents that have fought for IS, not merely were inspired by them, each of which could commit acts just as savage as this. IS’s propaganda is incredibly prevalent (I run into it a ton at my job actually), and they could easily recruit even more through simple memetics. This madness could go on for decades if you simply adopt a passive approach.

#4 Comment By Read some Machiavelli On July 16, 2016 @ 10:49 am

Enoch Powell’s 1968 “rivers of blood” speech said that a prime function of statesmanship was to guard against “preventable evils,” including those that result from uncontrolled immigration.

The ultimate guilt for terrorist carnage lies with the traitorous Western politicians and globalists who created the situation.

If we defeat the barbarian invasion, those people must be called to account. If we do not defeat it, they will probably face rougher justice than they would if we had. Barbarians do not care about due process.

#5 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 16, 2016 @ 11:37 am

And since World War II, the historical lesson has been taken that ethnic cleansing, mass explusions, genocide, etc. are really bad ideas. Any advanced country that tried any of them would make itself an international pariah. The commenters here who are suggesting such things point to absurdly irrelevant examples from long ago, when the world was very different and much less democratic. I mean, come on: Clovis? The Reconquista? Get serious.


I really hate it when people say things like ‘get serious’, because it’s usually indicative of an unwillingness to think about the box, or to accept that historical norms and social norms change over time. Yes, modern liberal values are strongly against deporting people because of their ethnicity or religion, or (probably) even my non-coercive strategy of paying Muslims to leave, and yes, any country that did this would be an international pariah. In the words of Colonel Hugo Chavez when his coup d’état of 1992 failed, for now. Guess what, though? Modern liberal norms are not going to last forever. You point out rightly that things have changed over the last century, quite a bit. (And not, in my view, entirely for the good. I like electricity and running water, modern medicine, heavy industry, GMOs and the Green Revolution, the achievements of modern science, and the sexual revolution as much as the next man, but I regard the triumph of modern liberal-democratic capitalist norms as mostly a disaster). They can change again in the future. As a historian, you know too much of history to believe we’re at the end of history.

Social norms change over time: over the last century they’ve changed in a liberal direction, and I suspect some day the pendulum will swing back. Who would have thought, when Fukuyama wrote his End of History piece, that twenty-five years later most Russians would want communism back? Who would have predicted in the 1960s that political Islam would be an important force in the future? For that matter, who in 1900 would have predicted the rise of fascism and Stalinism in Europe? Social norms not only change, they have a way of changing in ways that are difficult for us to foresee.

Already, politics in Europe is a lot more based around ethnicity and identity than it was even ten years ago, or for that matter even five. Working class voters in Austria, two months ago, voted 86% for the Freedom Party candidate, instead of for the purportedly ‘left’ guy (which says something about whether modern day social democrats are really left wing in any meaningful sense). Political systems all over Europe, including in Nordic-liberal states like Sweden and Denmark, are starting to fracture and explicitly ethnonationalist parties are becoming more influential. Several eastern European countries are issuing a flat “no Muslims allowed” response to their masters in Brussells, and are even threatening to leave the EU over it. I think the European political spectrum over the course of the next few decades is probably going to be as much about nationalism and ethnicity as about class and economics, and in some instances that’s going to end up with mass removal of Muslims or recent immigrants, either voluntary or involuntary. Yes, that’s incompatible with the liberal democratic order. I don’t think the liberal democratic order will survive the next few decades. Especially when the soon-to-be largest economy in the world, and the pioneer in a couple scientific areas, is an explicitly nondemocratic state.

Another alternative though, is that instead of removing Muslims, Europeans who don’t want to live in multiethnic, ‘cosmopolitan’, Muslim-heavy societys might, you know, remove themselves. In a sort of 21st-century reversal of the 4th-century barbarian migrations west. There are parts of Europe today- countries like the one you live in, for example- that have essentially no immigrants or Muslims, and that are essentially all white and either Christian or post-Christian. From the way it sounds, you seem to enjoy living in a country like that quite a bit yourself, at least compared to ‘cosmopolitan’ United States. Maybe we will start seeing mass migrations of French, Germans, and Englishmen to countries like the Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus, where they can live in a country that’s quite a bit poorer than the one they left, but also quite a bit more ethnically and religiously homogeneous.

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, following nuclear war or climate collapse or the destruction of the global economy, sure, the way would be open to large-scale force and violence. But under present circumstances there are, rightly, huge constraints against anything like that. Calling for it is either pants-wetting hysteria or cynical demagoguery, or both.

OK, so you concede that a great catastrophe like that will end liberal democracy. I have news for you: some great catastrophe is inevitably going to happen, sooner or later, so then it’s not a matter of whether liberal democracy falls, but when. I like to take the long view, and my long view is that Europeans- at least, the non-cosmopolitan silent majority- won’t surrender peacefully to their demographic replacement across the whole continent. Somehow or other- either through mass migrations, paying people to leave, partitioning the continent, or more unsavory means- Europeans will eventually do something about it.

#6 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 16, 2016 @ 11:42 am

It would be difficult to carry out such measures even if most people in a given country wanted them, but in fact there’s nothing remotely like a consensus for them in Europe.

There isn’t now. I suspect there will be eventually, once the problem gets worse.

Anyway, I am not even defending the ‘mass expulsions’ talk, I’m starting with something more modest. How about paying people to leave?

#7 Comment By Potato On July 16, 2016 @ 11:46 am

@ Darth Thulhu, nice one.

#8 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 16, 2016 @ 11:48 am

Anyway, Eamus, France already has a program to pay people to leave, it’s just the payments are too low. How about increasing the payments?


#9 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 16, 2016 @ 1:42 pm

Both the CR and Slovakia have immigration hardliners in power, and Slovakia refused the EU quotas on Syrian refugees. The CR accepted them but doesn’t have to resettle very many in practice because most of them would rather live in Germany. So these countries have not lost all freedom to act in their own interest.

That’s cool and all, but how long is that going to last? Is the EU going to let Slovakia and other countries defy them indefinitely? (For what it’s worth, Fico in Slovakia is a Social Democrat, and apparently his party is one of the few social democratic parties in Europe that hasn’t gotten screwed in the last few years, probably partly because they’ve decided to side with the ethnonationalists rather than oppose them).

The EU is rapidly turning into something even more oppressive than the Warsaw Pact: at least the Warsaw Pact didn’t force its member countries to import hundreds of thousands of migrants from, like, Afghanistan. We’ll see if their relative forbearance towards their eastern members continues.

In any case, Eamus, this is one of the many times I envy you for your decision to emigrate, in particular to a country that’s chosen not to embrace the multiculturalist ideology. (Also, a country that has the second-lowest level of inequality in the world, tied with Sweden. Clearly, the Czechs have been doing something right).

#10 Comment By Chris Travers On July 16, 2016 @ 3:59 pm


Also, Hector, polling in several EU countries over the past month shows that support for the EU is up. That’s partly a reaction to Brexit, but it’s not one that many predicted (the general view was that there would be a contagion of Frexiters, Spexiters, Czexiters, Slovexiters, etc.)..

I am always amused when I hear polsters say these things and yet when I talk to people everyone has something very different to say.

Almost eveyone I have talked with albeit they are all in Denmark and Sweden) may be in favor or opposed to the EU but they all agree on one thing in this area namely that the EU must decentralize.

One thing that doesn’t get a lot of press is that the EU is decentralizing and in big ways. Part of it is that the EU cannot really enforce its will over member states so when Sweden started border controls the EU was not in a position to do anything to stop it other than bring all the ministers to Brussels for emergency negotiations.

The British voters voted as they did because they saw the EU as a house on fire that was eroding their national sovereignty and harming their working classes. And they are right. The Euroskeptics here in Scandinavia say the same thing.

But the pro-EU folks see an EU that is responsibly dealing with turmoil by transforming itself in positive ways and they too are right. In essence there is not much of a real division between pro-EU and Euroskeptics here in Scandinavia as you might be lead to believe. In fact there are two things just about everyone agrees on, namely that the neoliberal elites are overextended and dangerously wrong, and that the EU must decentralize. Pro-EU folks think that the EU will decentralize. Euroskeptics think it will not. A few think both are right but time will tell.

#11 Comment By Eamus Catuli On July 16, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

@Chris Travers:

Thanks for that report on opinion in Scandinavia. I do find it interesting. All the Scandinavians I encounter are pro-EU, but then, they’re mostly students on EU-funded exchange programs, so not a random sample. Personally, I agree that the EU has to reform, and it needs to junk the neoliberal orthodoxy (I think that’s starting to happen), but I don’t know if the reform necessarily has to be decentralization. If it turns out to be that, though, I wouldn’t oppose it — it seems to me that the EU is a project of the European countries and their voting publics, and it’s up to them to decide what they want it to be like.


I get why you don’t like the phrase “Get serious.” I don’t particularly like “I have news for you,” although I can’t swear I’ve never tossed it out there myself, and anyway the rhetorical flourishes here aren’t the issue.

First, you give me too much credit for making some grand decision in moving abroad. I just took the best job available to me — granted, in a country I understood to be civilized and at peace. Oh, and to have great beer. 🙂 I had previously been offered an otherwise pretty good job in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, and considered it but turned it down, partly because I wasn’t sure about at least two of those three elements. For me, a country’s membership in the EU is a selling point. So I probably would have accepted the same job in Greek Cyprus, but Turkish Cyprus is a different story.

Second: As I’ve said here before, I think it’s up to the people of a given country whom they choose to let in. So if the Czech Republic decided next week that it was expelling Americans, well, I would accept that as an unfortunate but legitimate decision on their part. Likewise, I am less appalled at Trump’s talk about walls and Muslim bans (often modified and partly retracted) than I guess a good liberal is supposed to be. In my comments above, I was not saying that a European nation can’t choose policies meant to minimize the number of immigrants; I think it certainly can. I was talking specifically about mass expulsions, and about arguments that justify these by analogy to events of hundreds of years ago.

Your suggestion about paying people to leave, therefore, is not one that I would object to in principle. I would want to hear more details, because my worry would be that what seems like a voluntary program could subtly become coercive (as conservatives fear with regard to assisted suicide, for instance). If, say, a country was offering what its nativists regarded as fair terms to certain people to leave, would public opinion turn against anyone in those groups who chose not to? Would the mob decide to make sure that these were offers that the people in question couldn’t refuse? If I were persuaded that there were adequate safeguards against that, then fine, let them pay people to leave. (If the CR decided that it was worth, oh, half a million dollars per head to get rid of Americans, I’d be happy to take that deal and go retire someplace.)

Third: I am less pessimistic than you are about the future of liberal democracy. I think history is, broadly speaking, more unidirectional than you do. Put another way: we have liberal democracy as a prevailing system today because it evolved for a reason, and the reason is that other systems don’t work — they eventually consume themselves in wars and pogroms and other horrors, the world wars being recent cases in point. Liberal democracy is the only system that is potentially self-adjusting within its own rules, which is the point I was making about public opinion: a system of competitive political parties and elections allows something like anti-immigrant sentiment to register politically and change government policy. The Pharaohs didn’t have such a system, nor did the Roman emperors, nor did the barbarian warlords or the popes and feudal kings of the High Middle Ages. And so they all eventually went into eclipse. I don’t think that’s just random chance, I think it reflects the underlying logic of political history. The EU needs reform, but overall I think it’s on the right side of that logic.

[NFR: But it’s turning out that liberal democracy mostly cannot sustain itself outside of the West. You end up with illiberal democracies, like Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey. It’s complicated. — RD]

#12 Comment By Ebenezer_Arvigenius On July 16, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

Europe must close its borders to the flood from the Middle East. It only invites this kind of thing to occur infinitely over the decades to come. If Angela Merkel and the other Eurocrats won’t do that, the European publics will elect leaders who will.

Remember when, a few months back, I told you that this while thing was nothing new and would probably calm down in the not so distant future. Guess what – refugee numbers have been dropping for the last five months straight. So let’s take a deep breath, stop the chicken little routine and concentrate on the real problems. God knows there are enough of them.

#13 Comment By David J. White On July 16, 2016 @ 6:10 pm

Social norms change over time: over the last century they’ve changed in a liberal direction, and I suspect some day the pendulum will swing back.

Case in point: we often use “Victorian” as a derogatory term for social and sexual mores that, to us, seem very straight-laced and restrictive, and the loosening of social norms in the 20th century was a reaction against it. But to an extent the public moral standards of 19th-century Britain were themselves a reaction against what had come before. Compared to the 19th century, Britain in the 18th century was a much more libertine and unchurched place. Just read Tom Jones.

(And Captcha just asked me to identify all pictures showing bananas. Um-kay.)

#14 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On July 16, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

Aaron Gross,

That’s just obviously false.

Why? “If there is nothing a free society can do” doesn’t necessarily mean “a free society can do nothing”. It just means that *this specific* free society can do nothing.

#15 Comment By David J. White On July 16, 2016 @ 6:27 pm

So we cannot export democracy. The EU and the US somehow believe that if we import their citizens we can change them. Who is to say? Our democracy is a product of millennia of work, faith, and bloodshed, and not everyone agreed with it at every point. We know we cannot export it, why do we think we can change these people in a generation if we let them in whole-scale when even we do not believe in the meta-narrative that produced our democracy and they believe in a meta-narrative which is inimical to democracy.

I think part of our elites’ meta-narrative, as you call it, is that the US did in fact take in a great many people from cultures that had no historical or cultural experience of democracy — the Irish, southern and eastern Europeans — and managed to assimilate them into our society as good citizens and supporters of our institutions. And this included people from religious traditions — Catholics! Jews! — that were once perceived as alien and unassimilable. But they forget that this assimilation was made possible by a couple of things: the World Wars, which placed a great deal of pressure on immigrants and first-generations to “prove” that they could be good Americans by, well, dropping a lot of their ethnic distinctiveness (my grandfather stopped speaking German at home and at church at the time of WWI, and I don’t think it occurred to him to complain about “discrimination”); and the fact that after several decades of heavy immigration, the US deliberately stopped allowing all but a relative trickle of immigration from the 1920s to the 1960s, which gave the previous group of immigrants and their families a couple of generations to become assimilated without having their ethnic culture constantly renewed and reinforced by new arrivals. So the way we assimilated immigrants and made them good citizens of democracy was, among other things, a) social pressure to drop a lot of their ethnic distinctiveness, and b) turning off the spigot for awhile. But of course anyone who would suggest that today would probably be labeled a “bigot.”

#16 Comment By bacon On July 16, 2016 @ 6:49 pm

RD, you took a licking in the comments thread for this post. The reason, as you may realize, is you have committed the sin of seeming reasonable in discussion of a highly emotional social issue. If you don’t watch out you might be labeled an ocino.

#17 Comment By Elrond On July 16, 2016 @ 7:05 pm

Again, one must ask what is the solution for WHO? The question is flawed because there is no single solution for every group. Multicultural globalist elites don’t even think there is a problem.

The “solution” for multicultural globalists — the cosmopolitans — is to leave things the way they are. More immigrants, more police state measures, more war, more neo-liberalism. Manuel Valls told the French with dead kids in the street that they learn to live with terrorism.

The solution for Muslims is Sharia Law and more migration into Europe by their own kind, which will allow them to seize power and change Europe to reflect Muslim sensibilities.

The solution for indigenous, non-cosmopolitan Europeans presently under assault by immigrants and by refugees and who don’t even get the scraps from the neo-liberal table is embracing pan-European racial nationalism and uniting behind a right-wing authoritarian government.

Is it possible now? No. So what? The point is that rejecting the liberal order, breaking the chains and jettisoning the stale moral restraints of liberalism and Christianity, at least offers the theoretical chance of success. Better to propose that which can work, deportations, etc., and work toward making it happen than playing the rigged game of “liberal” “democracy.”

“Liberals” certainly have no problem using State Power in all kinds of authoritarian ways to shape society in the directions they want. Neither do Muslims. There is a lesson there!

#18 Comment By OMM 0910 On July 16, 2016 @ 11:02 pm


H/T: [5]

#19 Comment By I am Salahuddin On July 17, 2016 @ 3:13 am

Mr. Dreher:

First — of course, something must be done. Probably more like somethings, by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities, both swiftly yet also with composure. As a Muslim, I think a big part of the problem is an erosion of strong, moderate faithfulness in many households. How that is solved on a communitywide level, I have no idea.

But, second — I was a bit troubled by this line: “… and may even despise the jihadists as much as non-Muslims do.” I know this statement meant well, but I take issue with the word “may.”

Mr. Dreher, although I haven’t done any surveys at my local mosques, I can assure you that a huge majority of the Muslim world despise these losers. That’s because no matter how much these so-called jihadists have targeted and hurt non-Muslims here in the West and elsewhere, their carnage so far has often been even worse when targeting Muslims. Just look at the Ataturk attack (although they did not claim responsibility), or the underreported Baghdad bombing on July 3 that may have killed more than 300 people getting ready to celebrate Eid. These animals probably even were behind the bombing in Medina. (Medina, for God’s sake!) Here in America, the actions of these terrorists have caused a leap in anti-Muslim harassment and violence; have inspired many of the recent, thinly veiled anti-Muslim pieces of legislation; have emboldened many of the prominent figures in this country to use rhetoric that paints the Muslim community here with broad, damning strokes; and have probably done more to corrupt the definitions of the words “jihad” and “sharia” (two vital and often-misunderstood parts of a practicing Muslim’s life) than Islamophobes have. You want to be able to attend social and holiday events without fearing violence? So do we. Let me remind you that innocent Muslim blood was spilled during the Bastille Day carnage, too.

Mr. Dreher, your statement above seems to give us Muslims the benefit of the doubt. But I’m sure that if you continue to look at our communities more closely, you’ll share my belief that the vast majority of Muslims — in France or elsewhere — despise these so-called jihadists just as much as non-Muslims do, if not more.

#20 Comment By Chris Travers On July 17, 2016 @ 4:02 am


That’s cool and all, but how long is that going to last? Is the EU going to let Slovakia and other countries defy them indefinitely?

Well, Sweden’s decision to impose border measures for up to three years (when the Schengen agreement said up to 3 months) more or less showed how much power the EU really has.

The subsequent discussion of immigration policy from non-EU states has also more or less shown how much power the EU actually has.

The fact is, the only real enforcement mechanism the EU has is the European Central Bank….

I mean what are they going to do? Summon your foreign minister to Brussels for emergency negotiations?

#21 Comment By Chris Travers On July 17, 2016 @ 5:07 am

BTW one thing that absolutely must be pointed out regarding terrorism in France and the UK is that the EU has almost nothing to do with it. In the UK, most of the terrorists come from the Pakistani community (most Pakistanis are peaceable but as one friend of mine put it, there are a lot of very tolerant, very well educated Pakistanis, and a lot of absolute crazies). Those didn’t get there through EU channels but out of the heritage of empire.

The same goes for the Tunisians and Algerians in France.

Let me put that clearly: the terrorists come from former colonies of the countries they terrorize. They are a relic of empires past.

I don’t know what is to be done about. But it isn’t really about Islam and it isn’t about refugees. It cannot just be about former colonies either, as Indonesians have not been terrorizing Amsterdam or anything (I don’t know if this had to do with the Indonesian experience under the Japanese).

But the first thing we have to do is recognize that injustices of the past don’t disappear immediately. People do continue to remember injustices for centuries.

I am reminded of a Scottish folksong called MacPherson’s Rant, which speaks critically of the execution of a highwayman over three hundred years ago. It ends with a startling stanza, “Reprieve was coming o’er the brig o’ Banff / Tae set MacPherson free / They pu’d the clock aye a quarter forward / And they hanged him frae the tree.”

Now historians have not been able to find any solid evidence that MacPherson was getting a reprieve, but the perception that he was unfairly hanged lives on centuries later.

One real question is, what the legacy of the US empire will be in this regard.

#22 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On July 17, 2016 @ 10:22 am

Rod Dreher says “But it’s turning out that liberal democracy mostly cannot sustain itself outside of the West. You end up with illiberal democracies, like Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey.”

This is false. Democracy has thrived in India for almost 70 years, and I don’t see any threats to democracy there. For that matter, democracy is doing fine in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Philippines. These Asian countries together have more than 2 or 3 times the population of the West. There are no Merkel-like figures issuing commands in any of these countries, and if there were, the population would not take it lying down, which is more than I can say for “democratic” Europe.

[NFR: A fair point. I withdraw my earlier comment — though I wasn’t aware that Singapore is a democratic nation. — RD]

#23 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On July 17, 2016 @ 10:43 am

Travers says “Let me put that clearly: the terrorists come from former colonies of the countries they terrorize. They are a relic of empires past.”

The population of the British Raj was overwhelmingly Hindu. There are more than a million Hindus in the UK. Please explain why not one Hindu has committed a terrorist act there in spite of this colonial history.
The Philippines was a colony of Spain and later, the US. Philippines is one of the main source of immigrants to the US. Please explain why not one Filipino is committing terrorist acts in the US.
India was colonized by Muslims starting in 711 AD and ending only around 1800 when the British consolidated their rule. During those 1000 years of darkness, thousands of our temples were desecrated and destroyed, millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains were murdered for the crime of being kaffirs, millions were enslaved and taken to slave markets all over the Arab world (Marco Polo writes that Bengal was the main source of castrated slaves being sold in the Arab world). If Hindus commit terrorist acts now against contemporary Muslims, would you be willing to make the same excuses for us that you are willing to make for Muslims?
What does it take for you guys to see what is in front of your noses? I’ll give you a hint: it begins with I- and ends in -slam. There is a famous hadith about Muhammad in which he says “I have been made victorious by terror.” Modern-day Muhammads imitate his example since they think he is the ideal man. Whether they commit terrorist acts or not depends on other factors as well – no one is truly one-dimensional – but Islam is a major risk factor.

#24 Comment By Eamus Catuli On July 17, 2016 @ 11:08 am

[NFR: But it’s turning out that liberal democracy mostly cannot sustain itself outside of the West. You end up with illiberal democracies, like Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey. It’s complicated. — RD]

We don’t know how “it’s turning out” because it’s still early days. We’re talking here about developments that unfold over generations. Japan seems to have a stable liberal democracy, originally Western-imposed but apparently self-sustaining now (and Japan had been entirely cut off from the West for a long time, so it’s not like the cultural soil had been well prepared in advance). Russia is the biggest of the USSR successor states, but not the only one; Freedom House gives at least somewhat higher ratings to Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Ukraine.

But anyway, there was the USSR itself: it’s not there anymore. As the Soviets discovered, a government that isn’t responsive to the mass public isn’t stable. It can buy time by producing wealth, as China has been doing, but that cuts both ways, because a more prosperous population also starts making demands and thinking of itself as having rights. The government either responds to that or risks revolution. This is not just a phenomenon of the West, it’s a fact about human nature. It’s just that for various reasons the West was the earliest of world’s cultural areas to figure it out.

Again, we’re talking about the long term. A previously liberal democratic order can be lost for a few generations or maybe a century or so. But that just means that the pressure will eventually build to reinvent it.

#25 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On July 17, 2016 @ 2:56 pm

India was colonized by Muslims starting in 711 AD and ending only around 1800 when the British consolidated their rule.

I have a fairly dim view of Islam (and Hinduism) but this “Muslims ruling over subjugated Hindus” is an oversimplified view of history (although it matches up pretty well with the stories I heard as a child from my Hindu grandmother). Muslim rule over the Indian subcontinent was never total, there were parts of the south and east that always remained Hindu-ruled, for example. And it started crumbling in the late 17th century with the rise of the Hindu Marathas. By the time of the British takeover the Marathas had long since supplanted the Mughals as the dominant power. For that matter, much of the territory of modern-day Pakistan was, before it was taken over by the British in the 1840s, mostly a country of Muslims ruled over by Sikhs.

#26 Comment By Reinhold On July 17, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

“because a more prosperous population also starts making demands and thinking of itself as having rights. The government either responds to that or risks revolution. This is not just a phenomenon of the West, it’s a fact about human nature.”
No, it’s a dogma of modernization theory. This Harvard study ( [6]) aims to demonstrate that modernization theory has some validity up to $6000 per capita income, but thereafter an authoritarian regime is as stable as any democracy.
The extensive unrest in China (something like 100,000 demonstrations, often violent, per year) is not exclusively due to democratic activism; most of it is labor unrest and some of it is neo-Maoist. There’s lots more to discuss there than just ‘rising expectations.’

By the way, I’ve been meaning to congratulate your Cubs on their remarkable season. Barring any unforeseen events, they are headed to the Series; well done!

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 17, 2016 @ 5:20 pm

In the end, what could be done EFFECTIVELY is rather dull, mundane police work, tightening up intelligence here, perhaps adopting some new tactics for large crowd situations there, but in any society, if someone is determined to go out in a blaze of glory, chances are they will find a way to do so, more often than not. Charles Whitman’s killing spree didn’t result in drastic changes in American law enforcement, nor should it have. It may be that a few sharp shooters will be posted near parade roots in case some nut job with a truck comes rolling down the street killing pedestrians. It may be that a rapid-response team will be on duty during busy nights in the club districts. But there isn’t a major new initiative that’s really going to “make us all safe.”

#28 Comment By Reinhold On July 17, 2016 @ 6:03 pm

Correction: the study aims to demonstrate that between $1000-$6000 per capita income, there is the possibility for democratic revolt. (I haven’t read it since I was an undergraduate, so I’m rusty on the details.) Above and below that interval, dictatorships are stable.
Saudi Arabia’s per capita income, for example, is roughly $26000 per capita.

#29 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On July 17, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

Janwaar Bibi,

From what I know, Thailand is ruled by a group of military officers for now. Not saying that it is bad, just establishing a fact.

#30 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On July 17, 2016 @ 8:12 pm

Alex says “From what I know, Thailand is ruled by a group of military officers for now.”

You’re quite right. I should not have included Thailand in my list. I do think Singapore is a democracy, although Rod seems skeptical.

Hector St. Clare: I have no disagreement with your more detailed description of Muslim rule in India – I salute your grandmother – but those details do not affect the substance of my questions.
Which remain unanswered by the experts on terrorism.