Sunday, July 01, 2007

Going Visiting

In the land of unthinking fear. I read the comments section of this post tonight. It is worth wading through, despite the nastiness of doing so, because it tells much about the reasons for the wingnut behavior and how well the terrorists' policies are working. Note how many of the comments advocate wholesale killings of large numbers of Muslims? Note how many explain that liberals, progressives and others with similar views are the real enemies, because they don't allow this mass killing to defend "our values"? That those values appear to include the slaughter of yet more innocents doesn't seem to be noticed. When you read the comments remember that the three recent attacks killed exactly zero people (unless the terrorist who was hospitalized died).

It was helpful for me psychologically to read those comments, though also upsetting. Mostly, because the impact of these (pretty clumsy) U.K. attacks in the U.S. seems to be exactly what bin Laden would desire: fear is growing and so is the desire to start a world war against Islam. If you read about bin Laden's plans you will find out that this is exactly what he intends. He wants to unite the Muslim countries into one unit which will fight the west, and he wants to destroy the open societies of the west. Well, the open societies are closing pretty rapidly already.

But the strongest impression I got from those comments was how they were written from the lizard brain, with the exception of a few reasoned ones. The lizard brain is my term for the times when we act out of some very primal emotion: hate or fear or lust, and when we send the logical part of the brain out drinking. The lizard brain hates liberals, too, because liberals don't write about these topics from the lizard brain. Or most of them don't.

I think the British police operations are the proper response to real terrorist attacks. Treating terrorism as a crime takes away some of the glory it gets when terrorists are given the honor of having a war waged against them. We don't wage wars against criminals; we put them behind bars.

There is much more I want to write about this topic, especially about the values angle, but that will have to wait. Also about the hopeless feeling I get in trying to think how to debate issues with someone who is that afraid. Fear makes us stupid, sometimes.

For now, I hope that most of those frightened-to-death comments were by a handful of sock puppets.