It seems that Western Civilisation has lost its will to live. Faced with mortal threats, many Europeans and Americans are voicing ideas that support the cause of their enemies. Why do they do that? Do they really fail to understand the danger that hovers over their heads?
So it seems.
It is hard to believe that so many opinion-makers - in academic circles, political institutions and the mass media - have become enemy agents, who intend to destroy the free societies that offer them the comforts and opportunities upon which their lives are based. It is even less plausible to assume that so many people have turned into suicidal individuals. It seems rather clear that these influential persons have developed some kind of psychology that offers them an illusion of safety and immunity. Somehow, the dangers don't look real to them. As Sir Winston Churchill said: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
I would like to suggest that this mentality is essentially infantile. It has developed among prosperous and successful circles because their way of life has become more and more detached from the basics of human survival. They live in comfortable homes, drive smooth cars, work in air-conditioned offices, libraries and lecture halls, eat healthy foods and wear neat clothes. In short, they are spoiled and just like spoiled children, these grownups develop unrealistic expectations from reality. Here are a few examples:
Many Westerners tend to criticise the anti-terror policies of certain governments, such as the UK, USA and Israel. They point at the difficulties that law-abiding countries face in their struggle against criminal groups. Since Western leaders refuse to adopt the same terror strategies of the enemy, the battles tend to be long and indecisive. At this point, the Western Infantile reaction is divided into two opposing stands. Many would-be Liberals say:
What's The Point In Fighting Terrorism?
They express impatience and even despair. Sometimes, they even glee at their own countries' failures, which "prove", according to them, that "there is no military solution to terror". The key word is "solution". Just like spoiled children, they want to get immediate satisfaction and if they can't get what they want right now, they throw a tantrum and scream insults at the adult who disappoints them. However, any adult should know that sometimes it is not possible to supply the child with an immediate "solution". Some problems in life require a longer process, much patience and acceptance of incomplete results. For example, one could say that law enforcement is a complete failure because the police keeps chasing the criminals and thus far, has failed in "solving" the problem, since there are still thieves, robbers, rapists and murderers in our cities. So should we abolish the police force, the courts and the entire legal system that failed so shamefully?
The opposite reaction goes:
Butcher The Bastards!
Essentially, the call for a more aggressive strategy against terror is the other side of the very same coin. The spoiled Western citizen demands from his leadership an immediate "solution", even at the cost of losing the value system that ensures the rule of law and civil liberties. The would-be patriots delude themselves that an unrestrained military action can scare the terrorists "once and for all". They cannot accept reality in which chronic, malignant problems require long processes of healing.
Both sides share the same impatience and lack of moral strength to endure a period of ongoing pain and loss.
The enemy shows more strength and resilience, simply because they are less spoiled and more realistic in identifying the weaknesses of their foes. This is bad news for the West. Terrorism is a strategy of mental warfare. Terrorists cannot conquer territory through armed struggle. They can only break the spirit of their enemies and bring them down to their knees. Both infantile, hysterical reactions described above play into the terrorists' hands. The internal rift between the West's so-called "left" and "right" is a primary achievement for the terror organisations.
The Western immaturity goes even further. The pseudo-Liberals get carried away with their oppositional mentality and start questioning their own country's value system. They say:
It's All Our Own Fault!
They blame the West for all its troubles and thus, they justify the crimes perpetrated by the "oppressed" terrorists. It stems from a deep need to be loved, just like a spoiled child that demands constant attention and praise. The opposite reaction is of course:
It's All The Fault Of Islam!
This line, held by many right-wing Westerners, is rooted in the same infantile mentality. Just like a disappointed, spoiled child, they react with senseless rage against "everyone", or at least against anyone who doesn't like them.
Both sides produce elaborate articles to prove their points. An average Westerner has the choice of putting all the blame either on Capitalist Imperialism or on Barbaric Islam.
However, any slightly less immature individual would have to admit that life is not always so simple. There are certain situations where both conflicting sides have some legitimate claims, as well as many errors and faults. The real "solution" to such situations is never one-sided.
If the West wishes to survive, it must sort out its own mental confusion. It should fight terrorism without hesitations, simply based on the universal principle of self-defence. At the same time, Western leaders should look into their own arrogance and moral faults and improve their own conduct. At the moment, the West is doing the exact opposite: It rewards aggressors and continues to neglect its own morality and noble values.
Perhaps the time has come for all of us to pray for the eyes of the blind to be opened and the spoiled children to grow up!
Ehud Tokatly, 20/July/2006