Saturday, December 11, 2004

home invasion and Islamic terrorism

The Belmont Club links to this article in which a British writer, Dr. Ian Stephen, gives advice to people whose homes are broken into:
When individuals are confronted by intruders there are some actions they should follow. Direct contact should be avoided whenever possible. If unavoidable, the victim should adopt a state of active passivity. In most cases the best form of defense is always avoidance. If this isn’t possible, act passively, be careful what you say or do and give up valuables without a struggle. This allows the victim to take charge of the situation, without the intruder’s awareness, through subtle and non-confrontational means. People can cooperate but initiate nothing. By doing nothing there is no chance of inadvertently initiating violence by saying something such as "Please don’t hurt me".
What strikes me about this advice is how much it reflects the reaction of many in our society to terrorism. Try to avoid (that is, run away). Failing that, don't resist because that will just make them mad. Don't even complain about them because you never know what will set them off.

It even has the feature of pretending that you are in control of the situation while you cower submissively. That's what's implied by the oxymoron, "active passivity" and the claim that by letting the intruder do whatever he wants, you are "taking charge of the situation". The plan, apparently, is to behave like an abject coward while telling yourself that you are really in control of the situation. That isn't as ridiculous as it sounds: the lie you tell yourself helps to control your fear, so it is perfectly in keeping with the overall theme of cowardice.

One thing that may strike you as you read this is the advice against even begging for mercy or doing anything at all to make the intruder see you as a human being. People who give advice about hostage situations often say just the opposite, that if you can get the hostage taker to see you as a human being, you will be safer. But that is a different situation: a hostage taker typically has his motivation and awareness outward-based. The hostages are merely tools to an end, and it is arguably in your interest to be seen as something more than a tool.

By contrast, a home intruder has nothing to think about other than the victims in the house. And more and more home intruders in Britain are deliberately choosing times when the house is occupied. This implies that having victims is part of their reason for being there.

This isn't historically unusual. Millions of people have lived for generations at the mercy of cruel and violent brigands. For these people it was a survival trait for a man to be able to stand passively while thugs vandalized and stole his property, humiliated and abused him, and raped his wife and daughters (and perhaps himself and his sons too, if the notion took them), and then to go on with his life producing more wealth for the brigands to steal so that they would let him continue to live, and probably raising the bastard children of the brigands as well. People once had to live like that. In some parts of the world, they still do.

In such situations it is reasonable to believe that you are better off if the brigands do not see you as a human being at all, but rather as a cow or sheep, an animal to serve their purposes. You don't want them to think how much they would enjoy making another human being suffer. And you certainly don't want them thinking that you might be considering ways to avenge yourself. No, much safer to be a sheep.

(According to reports, it hasn't gotten this bad in Britain yet, but if trends are allowed to continue, it will. Home intruders will become more bold and more cruel as they find that there are no consequences for their actions. And homeowners will become more frightened and more passive as they realize that they can do nothing to help themselves --in this case, not from fear of the brigands, but from fear of the their own government. This isn't historically unusual either. Very often the brigands that abused a population were officials of a larger government or otherwise protected by a large military force. That larger government prevented the private citizens from mobilizing a militia to put an end to the brigands.)

Perhaps this tendency toward actively passive behavior (also known as "cowardice") is partly genetic. If so, there have been powerful environmental influences to make it a common trait and such a genetic trait would help to explain the European/leftist approach to terrorism. They are in many ways mimicking a helpless homeowner confronted by a cruel and brutal foe. They speak bravely when they think the foe cannot hear. They cower in silence when the foe is threatening them. They give the foe whatever he wants and avoid even criticizing him. They tell themselves they deserve the abuse to make it easier to take and to excuse themselves from self defense. They take the part of the foe against their neighbors, terrified that if the neighbors are not passive enough, the foe will be angry at all of them. They make cowardice a virtue and courage a vice. No matter what successes their neighbors have in attacking the foe, they only fear that it will make the foe more angry.

It seems not to matter whether you are a householder in a small village or a nation on the world stage. Some of your neighbors will want to band together for self defense, and other neighbors will want to submissively give up their wealth and women (as in allowing Muslim immigrants to abuse women) to appease the attacker. And when the courageous men of the village actually fight back, the cowards will hate them for it.

This has all happened hundreds of thousands of times before. There is nothing new under the sun.

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