EspañolFor those of use who defend individual liberties as a first order value, the brutal assault in a Florida gay club and the immigrant crisis in Europe put us in a dilemma to which we have to answer if we want to keep existing as a real alternative in the marketplace of ideas.
Neither passivity nor irrational proposals are an option.
Rulers like Barack Obama or Angela Merkel accept there is terrorism but deny its Islamic character. Their defense of human rights and tolerance move them to commit mistakes and deny the facts that are in plain view: they point out, for example, that most Muslims are peaceful — which is true — but close their eyes before the evidence that a radical minority is currently leading the way.
You can’t fight terrorism by closing borders or building walls
They want to protect the millions of peaceful immigrants escaping war and oppression, but don’t understand that among them there could also be hundreds or thousands of terrorists. They are open and tolerant towards difference, but don’t understand that some want to attack their current way of life and values.
Their opponents, like Donald Trump and several right-wing parties, see clearly the link between radical Islam and terrorism. They understand we can’t be tolerant with those who want to destroy our right to be who we are. They also underline the grave danger we are under, for we are the targets of a holy war spearheaded by the Islamic State, to which we are all equally infidels.
However, these populist right-wingers propose absurd and inapplicable policies guided by intolerance. You can’t fight terrorism by closing borders or building walls. The enemy, the fanatics that blow up bombs or carry out wild shootings are already within your borders and are sometimes as American or European as the rest of the population.
The kind of nationalism they trumpet is extremely dangerous because it is the most fertile breeding ground for wars. And even warfare, although devastating, wouldn’t eliminate the enemy: Islamic terrorism.
What can we take from each position? I believe values like tolerance and individual rights are non-negotiable. But I think tolerance has a limit: we can’t forever tolerate those who are intolerant. And the aforementioned values are not incompatible with a government that defends its citizens.
That is the proper reason why governments exist: to defend us from those who mean to destroy or subjugate us.
The first step for an effective defense requires politicians to understand whom they’re fighting — not to close their eyes before danger. The fear of political correctness cannot paralyze them because some harsh measures must be addressed.
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We can’t face enemies by excusing or justifying them. If we continue to deny reality, if we don’t face the facts, we will leave free way to those illiberal leaders who will lead us to the precipice of war.
The solution is neither expelling millions of innocents nor flashy but irrational and ultimately inapplicable policies. It’s about revising security policies and to adjust them to the threat we’re facing.
Today’s threat is different because there are no uniformed armies or guerrillas hiding in the woods. They are individuals who kill and terrorize in the name of religion.
It’s high time that we stand by our principles and denounce the atrocities of an enemy that attacks and mocks all our values.