Thermidor

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The Brazilification of the West

One of the constant refrains heard after every act of Wahhabist terrorism in the West is the sentiment that while we must mourn the victims we also should carry on about our business, as usual, otherwise the "terrorists win."

This idea has a long pedigree and can be found as far back as George W. Bush's admonishment to the American people after the 9/11 attacks that the best way to fight back against terrorism was to go about their normal lives and "head down to Disney world.” The premise behind the muttering of such banal platitudes is that the main goal of the generic terrorist is to literally spread terror. Thus, if one denies them their aim by "refusing to be terrified" one can, in a sense, defeat them.

The problem here lies in the concept of a generic terrorist whose sole nihilistic goal is merely to spread terror for its own sake. With the exception of a few obscure anarchist sects in the 19th and early 20th centuries, this has almost never been the case. Rather, by and large, Terrorism is a political act, which has political aims. This is especially true in the case of Islamic Terrorism, whose contemporary practitioners stated goal is the literal conquest and subjugation of The Middle East and Europe under an Islamic Caliphate. A Caliphate which is now a political reality that is only too real for those living under its rule in Iraq and Syria.

The truth rather is that the absurd calls for inaction and normalcy which are disseminated after every bloody slaughter are products, not of reasoned analysis, but of panicked cognitive dissonance.
This dissonance is a product of the clash between the modern liberal narrative of how the world should work vs. how it actually works. The liberal narrative posits that liberal values (democracy, individualism, equality, therapeutic religion, human rights etc.) are concepts which are universally appealing to all rational beings. The fact that these values are being rejected, not only by large swaths of the Islamic world proper but also by significant minorities within Western societies themselves (who have chosen to self-radicalize and participate in suicidal acts of terror rather than submit to the life scripts of late modernity) creates a profound problem for liberalism's true believers. As it undermines liberalism's own eschatological pretensions of being the inevitable "end of history."

The problem, in a nutshell, is that since, in a strict sense, the narrative structure of liberalism is an atheistic one, it thus can only derive its legitimacy from non-metaphysical premises. Hence why the eschatological belief in the eventual universal triumph of the liberal system is so important, as liberalism can only be legitimate if it is also inevitable (if it is, as they say, on the "right side of history"). Take away its inevitability, however, and you take away its legitimacy as well.
This is why facts which undermine the liberal narrative of inevitability are suppressed and obscured with such zeal by the high priests of the Cathedral. As allowing their reality to flourish freely in the public imagination would potentially do irreparable harm to the narrative of liberal inevitability.

However, the problem remains that while the recognition of such facts may be suppressed and obscured from the public consciousness, the facts themselves cannot be. Regardless of how many times the media labels acts of Islamic terrorism mere "extremism", the acts themselves do not cease to be inherently Islamic in character. Nor do the social media filters or candlelight vigils against "hate", which are employed like magical charms designed to ward off evil spirits, ever succeed in preventing the "hate" from continually reappearing, like some Lovecraftian monster, to once again deal violence to liberal society.

Thus the situation in the Western world begins to degenerate into the kind of dark farce which was portrayed in Terry Gilliam's brilliant 1985 dystopian black comedy "Brazil." The world Gilliam presents in Brazil is one in which a society of mass consumerism and social alienation is overseen by a byzantine bureaucracy which is simultaneously omnipotent and incompetent. Gilliam's vision represents a kind of synthesis of both Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's 1984 and thus is an almost pitch-perfect satire of the contemporary state of the Western World.

In one particular scene, the film's protagonist Sam is at lunch at a high-end restaurant with his insufferable mother when a terrorist bomb explodes in the dining room sending blood and bodies flying. While this causes a brief interruption of service, both diners and staff quickly resume their previous activities and conversations as if nothing significant had happened, all while fires burn and the injured continue to moan in the background.

In 1985 such a scene would be easily recognized as a piece of cinematic fantasy but in 2017 it is has become a part of everyday reality for many of those living in the great metropolises of the Western World. Detached and cold behavior not only occurs on a regular basis but is now being actively promoted by the powers that be, such as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who suggested that residents of London would have to simply get used to the idea of regular acts of brutal Islamic Terrorism and accept them as inevitable parts of city life, like pigeons or traffic jams.

The problem with this sentiment is that such acts of self-delusion don't actually change the reality of events. Much in the same way that refusing to open your mail doesn't change the fact that you have a massive overdue balance on your credit card. Until Western elites find the courage to confront reality as it is and not as they wish it to be, children will continue to die in concert halls while they eat gelato, blissfully unaware.

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