Julian Glover’s CiF piece, “Don’t turn a failed bomb plot into an al Qaeda victory“, trots out predictable Guardian tropes minimizing the threats faced in the West by Islamic extremism:
The failed bomb plot – in which incendiary devices designed by the top explosives expert working for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based militant faction, were intended to explode on passenger planes in mid-air – was dismissed by Glover as “a non-exploding printer cartridge packed in a box”.
He then devolves into classic boilerplate moral equivalence by actually suggesting that Western government officials and al Qaeda terrorists may be equally culpable:
“There is another danger we need to be aware of too: the symmetry of self-interest between the would-be bombers and the security services assembled to stop them. Both have a tendency to magnify serious but isolated incidents into one great interconnected global battle.”
Glover then devolves even further into classic Western self-masochism:
“The threat to the west lies in the west and from the west. It comes from cells of bitter and dangerous Islamist expatriates, in Bradford or Detroit, and from a foreign policy that has gone out of its way to allow them to believe quite wrongly that we want to destroy Islam.
The degree to which many in the West simply refuse to take the threats posed by radical Islam – a violent, theocratic, reactionary, misogynistic, racist movement – seriously can’t be overstated. The question asked after 9/11 in the U.S. by many on the far left, “what have we done to make them hate us so much,”continues to be repeated by otherwise smart and sober souls who apparently are unable to wrap their minds around the idea that there is indeed such a thing as good and evil and that, though not every issue in life is black and white, not every political challenge we face is morally gray. The idea that radical Islamist groups will cease in their malicious designs against Jews, America, and the West more broadly, if only we behave better is breathtaking in its naiveté – and reminds me of those, during the Cold War, who suggested that the West and the Soviet Union were both equally to blame for the conflict.
There is a generation of young Europeans and Americans who were raised to believe in immutable Western culpability – a reflexive self-loathing that passes off as “progressive” thought, but really has no resemblance whatsoever to what the word has historically meant. For, progressivism, if it means anything, refers to the belief that Western tolerance should end when faced with threats by those who are intolerant. There is a slippery slope from tolerance to moral relativism, and form moral relativism to outright nihilism. The inability of the Guardian left to morally distinguish between (admittedly imperfect) Western democracies (like UK, the US, and Israel) and undemocratic, illiberal terrorist movements (such as al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) represents a perversion of the progressive thought they supposedly subscribe to, and a profound threat to the future of freedom around the world.
While it is of course true that war and conflict should be avoided whenever possible, I long for the return of a progressive ideology similar to what existed during WW2 – a movement as passionate about their liberal values as they are about unapologetically asserting that such ideals are indeed worth fighting for.