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We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
— Alfred, Lord Tenneson, “Ulyssses”
Susan Quinn wrote an excellent article earlier this week on America’s apparent lack of resolve in the face of Islamic terror. She’s not wrong in that there are seriously unserious elements to the left’s response to Islamic terror, one which mimics the response of countries in Western Europe who believe that accommodation, assimilation and multiculturalism are the correct ways to defang the cobra of radical Islam.
However, America is not yet Europe, and it never has been, either. There is a streak of rugged individualism inside the American culture that remains to this day. We will not fight radical Islam the same way that Europe has tried to fight it because, to paraphrase an unnamed German general after World War 2 was over, war is an inherently chaotic situation, and Americans thrive on chaos.
The decentralized threat of Islamic terrorism thrives in a centralized, top-down environment. A large bureaucracy like the European Union knows of only one solution to battle Islamic terror: Stronger laws, and more of them. This might work, if terrorists obeyed laws, but since they obviously don’t, such efforts are doomed to failure from the very start. The cycle of violence will continue until the citizens of Europe take up arms and rush once more to the gates of Vienna in order to defend their way of life.
Americans, for better or worse, have a long history of not waiting for the government to solve their problems, and there’s a significant portion of us who aren’t placing our trust in the Powers That Be to protect ourselves from radical Islamic terrorism on our shores. We look to face the decentralized threat of radical Islamic terrorism with a decentralized, aware, and empowered citizenry. We know and understand that the chances of being caught up in a jihadist’s attempt to please his twisted god are very slim, but we take the steps needed to protect ourselves and our loved ones because the possible outcomes of such an attack are horrific indeed. We do not look for trouble, but if trouble finds us, we look to end it, and quickly.
America is (still) not Europe, and there is no reason why we need to share Europe’s fate.