The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. But, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and the war aims and operating plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play. There is no more appalling caricature of freedom of thought. –Oswald Spengler
The New York Times is concerned about the terror attack that Islamic Fundamentalists launched against an anti-Islamic political magazine Charlie Hebdo. They are not concerned that 12 people were killed. They are not concerned that the group carrying out the attack had vastly greater organization and fire power than the police assigned the task of protecting the people of Paris. They are not concerned that a journalistic operation got told to STFU in the most jack-booted and thuggish fashion imaginable.*
What really has the NYT concerned here is the narrative? What sort of meme could result from this? You see, this is a dangerous moment for European societies.
“This is a dangerous moment for European societies,” said Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. “With increasing radicalization among supporters of jihadist organizations and the white working class increasingly feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled from elites, things are coming to a head.”
So our cognitive elites on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean react to this dangerous moment in a manner reminiscent of the British Nobility upon hearing the plaints of Watt Tyler and his band of peasants. America, Home of the Gawdallmiddy First Amendment; questions the judgment of Charlie Hebdo Magazine. French intellectuals claim that publishing satirical cartoons against Islam is tantamount to an act of war. In other words, as far as the Parlor Pinks are concerned; Charlie Hebdo had it coming.
Why the Islamic terrorist attack must be politically sanitized before it is dealt with. It’s because of what the people in France, and in other European Nations, might conclude from this series of events. According to Camille Grand, it could have consequences the official French Left would rather not confront.
“This attack is double honey for the National Front,” said Camille Grand, director of the French Foundation for Strategic Research. “Le Pen says everywhere that Islam is a massive threat, and that France should not support attacks in Iraq and instead defend the homeland and not create threats by going abroad, so they can naturally take advantage of it.”
Paris resident Annette Gerhard explained why people in France are more willing to listen to Marine Le Pen and others who the “respectable” French Intellectuals consider beneath contempt. When asked about the attacks, Gerhard explained her fears. “It’s like Kristallnacht,” Ms. Gerhard said, noting that her family had died in Nazi deportations. “There’s no respect for human life.”
Unrestricted immigration, economic inequality, social condescension, and a total lack of concern about the value of people’s lives are the fundamental characteristics of most Post-modern Western Democracies in the second decade of the 21st Century. It is these fundamental characteristics that are feeding the Far Right. Our elected leadership, top-level intellects and corporate CEOs see the average citizen as a sub-par, cretinous Moorlock. When Jonathan Gruber jokes about “the stupidity of the American Voter” the Thinking People all laugh. To them, all good humor has at least some kernel of the truth.
So we don’t want this terror attack to be a liminal event. It can’t be a factor when people make political decisions. Otherwise, the rank-and-file European may turn away from Democracy. They may follow a philosophical process similar to this “The media pundits seek scapegoats for the failure of liberal capitalist democracy in the West. We do not need scapegoats; we need to look at the problem: liberal democracy and its partners equality, feminism, multiculturalism and civil rights are themselves part of a failing model that has also failed throughout history.” –Brett Stevens, Amerika.org
So European Society, and eventually the United States, will have to solve a very serious paradox. Democracy is supposed to be government by and for the people. However, the leaders we elect take it as a politely humorous given that the voters that send them to office are stupid. Either Jonathan Gruber’s attitude or Democracy will ultimately have to go. The New York Times, and many in the chattering classes that actually still read it, like to think they embody both sides of this untenable paradox. This is why this particular terrorist attack in France is an event that The New York Times needs to journalistically manage from afar.
*-One could almost imagine Charles Blow or Maureen Dowd lamenting the fact that the attack wasn’t carried out against Rush Limbaugh and the EIB Network.