Nice, Munich, Ansbach, Würzburg, Reutlingen. Not a day seems to pass without a new act of terror in Europe, almost always with an Islamist motive. Security in our cities can no longer be taken for granted. Yet too many lazy assumptions remain unchallenged.
Europe is gripped by cognitive dissonance, writes the Spectator's Douglas Murray. He's right. Facts are being ignored because they conflict with predetermined narratives. That's a bad recipe for effective public policy.
After every terror attack, we still hear it argued that the victims are really the perpetrators.
The September 11th attacks were blamed, in some quarters, on American imperialism. The July 7th bombings in London on the Iraq war. Military adventurism didn't quite hold as a motive for the spate of atrocities in France over the last few years, so instead it was pinned on enforced deprivation in the banlieues.
What supposed oppression will be scapegoated for the recent attacks in Germany?
In some minds, only the West is capable of proactive violence. Non-Westerners only act with justifiable provocation. This is absurd inverse racism. Post-colonial guilt offers no protection against terror.
The only thing that Germany can be accused of is generosity. With several attacks perpetrated by presumed asylum seekers, Angela Merkel's magnanimous decision to admit so many people so quickly from Syria and elsewhere looks increasingly misguided.
It should be clear by now that mass immigration from a warzone where terror groups are ascendant poses security risks. Yet many remain unwilling to admit it. No matter the reality, the idea that all immigration is always beneficial is still considered sacrosanct.
Lone-wolf terrorism is difficult to eradicate. It can, however, be contained, and its effects mitigated. Israel, which has a far lower mortality rate per terror attack than Europe, shows how we might do it: a combination of low-tech defence mechanisms – e.g. concrete blocks around street targets – and high-tech tools – e.g. cyber-monitoring of radicals on social media.
But first our basic assumptions need to change. Self-loathing won't keep us safe.
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
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