In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris; San Bernadino; Orlando (note that Wikipedia refers to the attack as a “shooting,” which proves my upcoming point); Nice; and too many more to mention, there’s been a tendency for some of us to declare, “Humanity is doomed,” or “People are awful,” or something very similar. When rioters destroyed sections of Baltimore, Maryland, President Obama said that the entire country had to do some “soul searching.” He also claimed that the entire country had to do some soul searching when Omar Mateen, a Muslim extremist, murdered 49 people in Orlando.
People aren’t awful. When a Muslim extremist murders people, humanity isn’t doomed. There’s nothing wrong with us. However, there is something catastrophically wrong with extremist Muslims. Distributing blame for an evil act among the victims, the victims’ families, and the millions and millions of people who had nothing to do with the act is not just despicable, but thoughtless and dishonest. We don’t need to search our souls when we’re attacked by Islamic terrorists.
Personal responsibility isn’t like chewing gum: you can’t just hand it around. Individuals are responsible for individual acts. Blaming everyone for what individuals do is a deliberate attempt to shift the responsibility for evil acts away from a protected class. Muslim extremists appear to be a protected class, which is fascinating because Muslim extremists are to blame for virtually every terrorist attack the West has experienced in the last two decades. Why should our intellectual and moral betters seek to diffuse blame for the actions of Muslim extremists? It’s a question I could answer in some detail, but to do so would excite terrible outrage. Do some soul searching; you’ll figure it out.
Blaming humanity for the actions of individuals needs to stop; it encourages evil.
The other commonly-bleated bromide to be quashed is the notion that every religion is to blame when a Muslim extremist murders people in the name of Islam. These bleats are most often grunted from people who do not practice any religion, haven’t studied Islam (let alone any of the other faiths they distribute blame across), and have no interest in doing either. When confronted with the terrible truth that Presbyterians aren’t flying airplanes into buildings or shooting people in nightclubs for Jesus, they invariably respond with invective or false comparison between Muslim extremists and evangelical Christians. Imagine going through life thinking that you have as much to fear in a crowded airport from a Jehovah’s Witness with a Watchtower pamphlet as a man with a bomb strapped to his chest, screaming “Allahu Akbar!” Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism aren’t the same as radical Islam, and blaming other faiths for what radical Islamists do is a sickening, thoughtless, and stupid exercise. It’s how anti-theists virtue-signal, telling the world how much more intelligent, moral, and sophisticated they are than God-botherers. After all, you don’t find anti-theists committing acts of terrorism these days, do you? It’s only the religious types who do it.
Radical Islam and the extremists who act on it are to blame for Muslim terror attacks. Not the rest of us. It takes courage in our PC-soaked culture to stand up and say, “I know who did it and why.” When you identify an enemy, the next natural, expected step is to defeat that enemy, which takes even more courage. By claiming the national need for soul searching, you have made everyone the enemy. How can you fight everyone? Do you see the inherent, deliberate futility of the diffused responsibility idea? If everyone’s responsible, no one is. And if no one is responsible, you don’t have to do anything about it.
You may not believe that the West is at war with radical Islam. You may believe, despite having done absolutely no research on the subject whatsoever (be honest), that people who murder innocents in the name of Allah are hijacking an otherwise peaceful faith. You may also believe that all religions are at fault when Muslim extremists commit acts of terrorism. It’s unfortunate that facts haven’t made a dent in your consciousness, and even more unfortunate that you vote for people laboring under similar misapprehensions, but that can’t be helped; there are still braver, smarter, and stronger people than you who will uphold the Enlightenment values so intrinsic to Western civilization. But if you believe that everyone you meet is responsible for what Muslim extremists do, because we’re all part of humanity and humanity is doomed, you definitely have some of that vaunted soul searching to do.