Mark Steyn has some trenchant thoughts about the Manchester terror attack. Here's an excerpt.
A few months ago, I was in Toulouse, where Jewish life has vanished from public visibility and is conducted only behind the prison-like walls of a fortress schoolhouse and a centralized synagogue that requires 24/7 protection by French soldiers; I went to Amsterdam, which is markedly less gay than it used to be; I walked through Molenbeek after dark, where unaccompanied women dare not go. You can carry on, you can stagger on, but life is not exactly as it was before. Inch by inch, it's smaller and more constrained.
And so it will prove for cafe life, and shopping malls, and pop concerts. Maybe Ariana Grande will be back in the UK - or maybe she will decide that discretion is the better part of a Dangerous Woman's valor. But there will be fewer young girls in the audience - because no mum or dad wants to live for the rest of their lives with the great gaping hole in your heart opening up for dozens of English parents this grim morning. And one day the jihad will get lucky and the bomb will take with it one of these filthy infidel "shameless" pop whores cavorting on stage in her underwear. You can carry on exactly as before, but in a decade or two, just as there are fewer gay bars in Amsterdam and no more Jewish shops on the Chaussée de Gand, there will be less music in the air in western cities. Even the buskers, like the one in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens today serenading a shattered city with "All You Need Is Love", will have moved on, having learned that it's a bit more complicated than that.
. . .
Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign. Thirty years ago, in the interests of stopping IRA terrorism, the British state was not above preventing the internal movement within its borders of unconvicted, uncharged, unarrested Republican sympathizers seeking to take a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool. Today it declares it can do nothing to prevent the movement of large numbers of the Muslim world from thousands of miles away to the heart of the United Kingdom. It's just a fact of life - like being blown up when you go to a pop concert.
All of us have gotten things wrong since 9/11. But few of us have gotten things as disastrously wrong as May and Merkel and Hollande and an entire generation of European political leaders who insist that remorseless incremental Islamization is both unstoppable and manageable. It is neither - and, for the sake of the dead of last night's carnage and for those of the next one, it is necessary to face that honestly. Theresa May's statement in Downing Street is said by my old friends at The Spectator to be "defiant", but what she is defying is not terrorism but reality.
There's much more at the link. Recommended reading.
I want to disagree with Mr. Steyn, but I can't. I disagree profoundly that Islam as a whole is the source of our terrorism problem; but the fact that the terrorists are overwhelmingly fundamentalist Muslims undermines my argument, because it's almost impossible to tell them apart from Muslims who are not terrorists or terrorist sympathizers. If you can't distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, you're left with only one alternative to ensure your safety. You have to regard all of them as dangerous until proven otherwise.
This is a tragedy of monumental proportions - and it's one that until recently simply was not a factor. I was discussing this with Lawdog last night. He and I can recall many encounters with Muslims in Africa back in the 1970's and 1980's, he in the west of that continent, I in the south and east. Almost universally, the Muslims we knew then were not radicalized, were perfectly happy to coexist in peace with their neighbors, and were not interested in terrorism as a tool to promote their beliefs.
If there was a single, seminal event that changed everything, it was the war against Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. So-called 'mujahideen' flocked there from every corner of the world to resist the invaders - and the survivors took back home with them the newly radicalized Islam they had learned there. Now, in the aftermath of Afghanistan, things are radically different in Africa, to the point where Lawdog and I can no longer recognize the socio-political-cultural landscape we once knew. From Boko Haram in West Africa to Al-Shabaab in East Africa, from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North Africa to Qibla and PAGAD in South Africa, radicals attempted (with varying degrees of success) to subvert and take over more moderate Muslim organizations and activities. Their efforts have been beaten back, but continue to this day. The same is true all over the world.
After the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, I wrote:
When one simply can't tell whether or not an individual Muslim is also a terrorist fundamentalist, the only safety lies in treating all of them as if they presented that danger. That's what the French people are going to do now. That's what ordinary people all across Europe are going to do now, irrespective of whatever their politicians tell them. Their politicians are protected in secure premises by armed guards. They aren't. Their survival is of more immediate concern; so they're doing to do whatever they have to do to improve the odds in their favor. If that means ostracizing Muslims, ghettoizing them, even using preemptive violence against them to force them off the streets . . . they're going to do it.
I've written before about how blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few is disingenuous and inexcusable. I still believe that . . . but events have overtaken rationality. People are going to start relating to 'Muslims' rather than to 'human beings', just as the extremists label all non-Muslims as 'kaffirs' or 'kufars' - unbelievers - rather than as human beings. For the average man in a European street, a Muslim will no longer be a 'person'. He's simply a Muslim, a label, a 'thing'. He's no longer French, or American, or British, no matter what his passport says. He's an 'other'. He's 'one of them' . . . and because of that, he's no longer 'one of us'. He's automatically defined - no, let's rather say (because it's easier to blame him) that he's defined himself - as a potential threat, merely by the religion he espouses. He may have been born into it, and raised in a family and society and culture so saturated with it as to make it literally impossible, inconceivable, for him to be anything else . . . but that doesn't matter. It's his choice to be Muslim, therefore he must take the consequences. We're going to treat him with the same suspicion and exaggerated caution that we would a live, possibly armed hand-grenade. He's asked for it, so we're going to give it to him.
That's the bitter fruit that extremism always produces. It's done so throughout history. There are innumerable examples of how enemies have become 'things'. It's Crusaders versus Saracens, Cavaliers versus Roundheads, Yankees versus Rebels, doughboys versus Krauts . . . us versus them, for varying values of 'us' and 'them'.
. . .
And in the end, the bodies lying in the ruins, and the blood dripping onto our streets, and the weeping of those who've lost loved ones . . . they'll all be the same. History is full of them. When it comes to the crunch, there are no labels that can disguise human anguish. People will suffer in every land, in every community, in every faith . . . and they'll turn to what they believe in to make sense of their suffering . . . and most of them will raise up the next generation to hate those whom they identify as the cause of their suffering . . . and the cycle will go on, for ever and ever, until the world ends.
Again, more at the link.
The Manchester attack has merely added fuel to the fire, perpetuated the cycle . . . and that's precisely what the extremists want. Their brand of radicalism can only flourish in a climate of fear, uncertainty, doubt, and perceived racism and/or xenophobia. Manchester will add to that climate, enhance it, make it more widespread. Sooner or later, at least some of the people of Britain will rise up and react of their own accord, rather than wait for their leaders to do something about it. When that day comes, Muslim immigrants to and residents of that country will bear the brunt of it - and since most of them are not involved in terrorism, they'll respond with anger, outrage, and a reaction that grows increasingly more radicalized and violent. In response, Christian churches are likely to grow less tolerant, more radicalized, in their turn. I fear the Crusades were - and are - not merely an historical anachronism.
"To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Newton said it about physics. Radicalization demonstrates it in religion - and terrorism demonstrates it in our society's response to terror. If anyone in today's world thinks that terrorism won't affect them, they're living in a fool's paradise. All of us are vulnerable, and all of us are already victims, even if only peripherally. (Want to know why your right to privacy is systematically and deliberately being raped by our organs of government? It's all in the name of the War on Terror. Yes, you're affected, all right.)
Manchester was the latest episode. Stand by for many more to come . . . and be prepared for the consequences.