Beheading is a peculiarly devastating form of murder, more so than shooting or stabbing. Human identity is tied to the head. From birth, we are programmed to recognize faces and voices. It’s the human face and the mind behind it that separate us, not only from other animals, but from each other: The contents of our minds and the features of our faces are what make us unique. Decapitation therefore doesn’t just kill people, it effectively erases them. It seems fitting, somehow, that jihadists who buy into an extremist Islam that demands complete submission – the denial of the individual — would use beheading as their preferred form of execution.
The Islamic-inspired murder of a British soldier yesterday on London’s streets horrifies us because the men who carried out sought, not just to kill a man, but to erase him. The brave women who stepped forward to challenge these men remind us that, at least for now, in the West individualism still exists. The entire event, which played out before witnesses who were tweeting, photographing and videoing, therefore had a bizarre, Kabuki-quality to it, as if the actors were carrying out culturally defined roles in a play.
Richard Fernandez noticed much the same thing, only he said it a lot better than I could:
This incident illustrates, if nothing else, the endpoint of the social engineering of the West. It has been remarkably effective.
From a certain point of view, the British crowd behaved perfectly and this is the way “they” all want us to behave. The populace sheltered in place, didn’t do anything rash, talked to the perpetrators as people. They waited for the police to come and the hospital helicopter to take the corpse away. Some will doubtless get counseling to overcome their shattering experience.
And then they will congratulate themselves on how tough British society is; resilience and all that. The more caring will leave some flowers by a railing and hold a few candle vigils for healing and peace, until these wither and blow away and the news cycle washes up a new object of attention.
The attackers knew they were actors in a drama — as keenly watched in their communities as on the BBC. And in that other audience they were asking: “How will the locals behave?” We know now. And that other audience may derive an entirely different lesson from this tableau: “See? Only their women act like men. They follow orders. They are nothing anymore — these Westerners. They are a civilization whose core has been destroyed.”
What Richard didn’t know yet when he wrote those words is that, while Prime Minister Cameron did so the attack was terrorism, the Department of Defence had a different response: it told its troops to shed their uniforms when on British streets. The DOD assured everyone that this was a temporary move, while they figured out what to do, but the fact is that the damage was done the moment the order went out. The once mighty British Empire had been told to stand down. When I saw the Scottish play “The Black Watch,” I wondered whether it spoke to the end of the British soldier. The verdict is still out on the troops, but that’s irrelevant. Without leadership, even the best troops in the world are pointless. They’re merely victims along with everyone else. England has been turned into one vast field of sheeples, watched over by the wolves her Labor government deliberately invited in in order to destroy the Tory party. (And yes, of course I’m thinking of the Gang of Eight’s amnesty . . . er, immigration reform bill.)
One more thing. While I was trolling through my overflowing email inbox yesterday, I found a link a friend had sent me shortly after the Boston Marathon Bombing, in which Leftist talking head (or do I mean writing hand?) Marc Ambinder says “Folks, you must stop blaming Islam” and then tells us that America’s gun culture was the reason the Tsarnaev brothers killed. Now we know, of course, that Islam was why the Tsarnaev brothers killed.
Ambinder is right that in America we have free speech, that people are allowed to disagree on things, and that ugly ideas can exist as long as they don’t become ugly acts. Islam, though, is sui generis because the Western idea of free speech and individualism is predicated upon voluntary assimilation. We allow things to happen on the fringe because we assume that everyone will gravitate to the bell curve portion of society, and embrace society’s values, whatever they happen to be. Islam, however, does not assimilate.
Think about that for a minute, because it’s a rather staggering concept. One of the hallmarks of being human is that we adapt. I do believe that only cockroaches have the ability to adapt to as many climates, including extreme climates, as we do. For humans to have adopted a mindset so impenetrable that it is incapable of change is really amazing. In any group, of course, you’ll have some people who are more adaptable than others, but we’re talking about a religion/worldview that renders adaption impossible.
When I was a child, my parents told me (rightly or wrongly) that Turkish soldiers could not be brainwashed. They were so self-assured in their Turkishness that they were invulnerable to lies, blandishments, fantasies, etc. They were Turks. End of story. It occurs to me now that this myth might have been true, not in terms of modern, secular Turks, but in terms of the Janissaries, who were the most elite soldiers of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Once your brain has been steeped in Islam, perhaps you become incapable of blending….