The Manchester Arena bombing warrants shock, outrage and sadness. And something else: honesty. The usual platitudes are now so tired as to be offensive, but we got them anyway: this is nothing to do with Islam, most Muslims are peaceful, a tiny minority has misinterpreted the Koran. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Okay, fine, make that argument, but it doesn't let Islam off the hook. It just tells us that it's uniquely problematic. After all, there aren't many Sikhs or Hindus who take their faith as a call to arms and go on killing sprees. Religion of peace or not, there is evidently something in the teachings of Islam that lends itself to murderous fanaticism.
Are moderate Muslims interested in solving this conundrum? Are they even able to? We're pushing on towards two decades since 9/11, and they haven't come up with much so far. Or is it the job of non-Muslims to find a solution? We'd certainly like one, but I doubt we can offer an easy fix - not one that doesn’t amount to submission, anyway. Or maybe we should stop overthinking the problem and just bang up suspects in our own version of Gitmo.
Then there's the prickly question of Muslim immigration. We could keep the door open and hope for the best, but that would be like leaving the water main on while waiting for a plumber to fix a leak - a plumber who may never show up. Besides, as Donald Trump discovered, any action that threatens to stem the inward flow of Muslims is unacceptable to right-thinking people. In fact, anything less than looking to maximise their number is considered deeply suspect. You don't want as many Muslims as you can get? What are you, racist?
This is where we find ourselves. Be sad, be angry, our leaders tell us, but don't let this atrocity upset the status quo - i.e. rampant immigration, cultural self-loathing and plenty of multiculti blind-eye-turning. This mentality is so entrenched among progressives, that when Islam hits the headlines for the wrong reasons, they immediately spring to the defence of the Muslim community, just as a mother reflexively sticks up for her child when someone else tells them off.
It's reasonable to ask what kind of person’s first thought, when confronted with a pile of corpses, is for the welfare of the community that spawned the killer, and who refuses to entertain any response, however effective, that might alienate that community’s members. To comprehend such insensitivity, one needs to understand how progressives view society, and their own place within it.
From their perspective, society is divided into four distinct groups. First, we have The Masses: malodorous, uneducated commoners, who, left to their own devices, will do, say and think all the wrong things. Lacking any intellectual sophistication, their tastes are vulgar and their opinions bigoted. They are easily bedazzled by demagogues and cheap trinkets, and harbour racist thoughts, which they hide behind a fig leaf of national pride.
Then we have the Bullies: white, middle-class professionals, who get all the breaks in life, because our society was built by their kind for their own benefit. They are selfish, hidebound philistines, who despise what is strange or different. They want to wind back to clock to a time when women were in the kitchen, gays were jailed, and darkies were nowhere to be seen. They elbow their way up the corporate ladder or slither into conservative politics, and lead the Masses astray, filling their heads with hate, greed and false dreams, and exploiting them for their own ends.
Next we have the Victims, comprising every disadvantaged and put-upon group in the land: the poor, the disabled, ethnic minorities, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ rainbow alliance. They are the natural prey of the Masses and the Bullies, and their existence is one long tale of prejudice and abuse. They are blameless for their woes, because they never had a fighting chance. Their actions and behaviour, however destructive, are attributable to the mistreatment they have suffered at the hands of others. Denied a voice, ringfenced by hate, they are helpless to fight their corner alone.
So it’s a good job we have our fourth and final group: the progressive Saviours. Here are the heroes of the piece: wise and compassionate souls, nuanced in thought, sophisticated in taste, possessed of great intellectual and moral prowess, far too wise and wonderful to be constrained by the rules and values that govern the rest of us. If there were any justice in the world, we would live under a benign dictatorship of Saviours, who would provide for us, educate us, and keep us on the straight and narrow.
Despite being our natural leaders, the Saviours lived for many years in the shadow of the Bullies, who denied them the treatment they deserved, the jobs they were born to fill, and the influence they needed to make a difference. That’s why the Saviours are so nauseated by patriotism: because it’s a celebration of Bully culture, and a reminder of their own humiliation.
The Saviours’ sense of having been wronged helped them forge an emotional bond with the Victims, who they came to see as fellow casualties of an oppressive system. Saviours dote on Victims like pets, protecting them from the fascistic Bullies and the ignorant Masses, and smoothing their path through life with a slip-slide of excuses and preferential treatment. The Masses, meanwhile, they treat with a mixture of disappointment and disgust. Saviours see it as their duty to guide and redeem these misguided proles and blunt their worst instincts. They hope one day to win back their loyalty and bring them under their wing.
Saviours use ‘whiteness’ as a catch-all phrase to describe the dominant culture of the Bullies: their unearned privilege, their exploitative ways, the way they feather their own nests at the expense of others. They know ‘white folk’ have it easy, because...well, just look at the balance of power in society. Every decision will go their way as long as people are free to think and choose for themselves, because that’s how the game is rigged. This is why, ultimately, Saviours want to stamp out individual freedom: because it’s a licence for injustice. Until erroneous thoughts are crushed and dissenting voices silenced, society will carry on making the ‘wrong’ choices and favouring the ‘wrong’ people. Life will be a gruelling assault course of crippling prejudice and thwarted ambitions.
Unlike Bullies, who covet material gain and heartless efficiencies, Saviours regard compassion as the proper measure of worth. The more they showcase their decency, the more good they do. The more people they emote over, and the more haters they hate, the better the world will be. Reality must be constantly reinterpreted to maintain a healthy stock of heros and villains, so Saviours can continue the good fight.
Viewed through a Saviour lens, Islamic terror attacks look like Victims punching up at Bullies. Saviours may be disgusted by all the killing and maiming, but they can identify with the rebellious sentiment. Appalled though they are, they don’t want to condemn the terrorists or defend Bully culture too much, because both are grist to their emotional mill. So they sympathise with the dead, warn against an Islamophobic backlash, and blame the West for provoking violence. It’s a fudged solution, but it preserves the narrative and rings some compassion out of the situation. Then they go back to sobbing over the mistreatment of Muslims and railing against white people.
Saviours have been in the ascendency in recent years. They have come to power across the Western world and set about undermining the pillars of Bully culture. They’ve actively supported multiculturalism and immigration (particularly the Muslim variety) because they weaken Bully influence and bolster their supply of Victims.
Saviour values are now so embedded in the public consciousness that when they are widely rejected, millions of people rise up in fury. Their virtuous self-image is so dear to them that any resistance to their agenda is taken as an affront - even if it's to protest the slaughter of innocents. Their message in the case of the Islamic threat is clear: keep calm, carry on, do nothing. And may God have mercy on our souls.