It’s time to file for a cultural divorce
Jim Geraghty is so spot on this morning that I don’t have anything much upfront to add. Save that the reaction from the left to the Marathon bombings has been so predictable that even many liberals are privately (and in some brave-ish cases publicly) rolling their eyes and letting out tiny, pained groans. So. From “They Always Blame America First”:
Jeanne Kirkpatrick had it right.
In Tuesday’s New York Times, Marcelo Suarez Orozco and Carola Suarez-Orozco, the dean and a professor, respectively, at the U.C.L.A. Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, wrote an op-ed entitled, “Immigrant Kids, Adrift.” It began:
The alleged involvement of two ethnic Chechen brothers in the deadly attack at the Boston Marathon last week should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.
Really? Really? These guys blow up a marathon and shoot a cop in the back of the head, and we have to look at ourselves to see where we failed? Where we’re not adequate?(By the way, after this piece appeared, the Boston Globe is reporting Little Brother Bomber* confessed, so we can drop the “alleged.”)You’ll be seeing this theme of the brothers as troubled immigrants, struggling to build a better life and failing to find acceptance in a cold-hearted, xenophobic American society a lot in the coming days. As one of my Twitter followers said, this is what happens when you’re absolutely determined to avert your eyes from a politically or culturally inconvenient conclusion — i.e., young Muslim men can be easy pickings for a radical imam who offers them a vision of themselves as noble warriors, earning vast celestial harems in the afterlife for struggling to defeat the evil infidel oppressor, offering them a channel for their anger that he assures them is morally just. After a while, you begin speculating about the bombing being prompted by boxing-related concussions, which, of course, would help explain why so many retired NFL players go on to become members of al-Qaeda.
(Oh, look, Time’s doing it, too.)
The initial biographical sketch of the bomber in the New York Times featured the headline, “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In.” The only thing these guys were trying to fit in that week was more nails inside the pressure cooker. (After considerable ridicule, the headline and top photo were changed.)William Jacobson assembles more examples over at Legal Insurrection, including a Slate writer calling for “an emotionally fraught conversation, a careful reckoning of the particular variety of welcome we offer to children from abroad” and the usual suspects on MSNBC going on about “demonizing the other.”Hey, doesn’t blowing up a marathon crowd count as demonizing the other? Could you spare some time to point out that the bombers’ refusal to grant us the right to walk the streets without being shredded to a pulp by incendiary-propelled shrapnel is pretty darn intolerant, too?Now, let’s return to the argument put forth by the dean and the professor.Do they realize that by drawing a connection between the Boston bombers and “immigrants who arrive in the United States as children and teenagers,” they’re suggesting that every one of those kids is a potential terrorist, if they have a life experience like the bomber brothers? Even the most vehement opponent of the DREAM Act wouldn’t make that claim.
The inanity of it all prompted me to throw a bit of a fit on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
The quasi-sympathetic “bomber brothers struggled with new identities in America” feature pieces are doing no favors for immigration reform. The notion that these two are somehow representative of some universal immigrant struggle to adapt to American life is weapons-grade horse[puckey]. Millions upon millions of immigrants made new lives for themselves in this country without feeling the need to bomb the Boston Marathon. If you think adaptation to American culture might cause you sufficient stress to make you commit mass murder, please leave immediately.By the way, this society was pretty damn kind to these two.
The terror-financing blog “MoneyJihad” assembles what we know of the brothers’ finances — and it includes a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge in 2011 and public assistance for the family.
Peggy Noonan points out that either they weren’t struggling . . . or somebody out there was sending them money:
The past few days I’ve looked through news reports searching in vain for one item: how did the brothers get their money? Did they ever have jobs? Who or what supported them? They had cellphones, computers, stylish clothes, sunglasses, gym equipment and gym membership, enough money to go out to dinner and have parties. They had an arsenal of guns and money to make bombs. The elder brother, Tamerlan, 26, had no discernible record of employment and yet was able to visit Russia for six months in 2012. The FBI investigated him. How did they think he was paying for it? The younger brother, Dzhokhar, was a college student, but no word on how he came up with spending money. The father doesn’t seem to have had anything—he is said to have sometimes fixed cars on the street when he lived in Cambridge, for $10 an hour cash. The mother gave facials at home. Anyway, the money lines. Where did it come from?
Acknowledging that young Muslim men could be particularly vulnerable to the demonic cajoling and propaganda of a radical imam would force too many people in too many high places to rethink their entire worldview. So we’ll be hearing a lot about how concussions and the mean, nasty, xenophobic culture of . . . Cambridge, Massachusetts can turn an otherwise happy immigrant success story into a child murderer.
Normally. this would be the point in my post where I harangue the leftist apologists for terror attacks who are bent on trying to suss from the evidence any plausible explanation for how those Muslims drawn in by the empowering propaganda of Islamist jihad were not so much drawn in as practically forced — usually in response to something we did (and by “we,” we of course don’t mean leftists, who abhor the “gun culture” or the hypermasculine, pugilistic sports culture, or the subtle and not so subtle racism and xenophobia of the typical American who is to be placed under the left academics’ sociological microscope until such time as the examination, as of insects, yields some evidence of their oftentimes unconscious, culturally-mapped bigotry or moral bankruptcy) — but frankly, I lack the desire, both to debunk what everyone on some level knows is an exercise in silly blame shifting, and to defend the US as one of the most tolerant places on the planet, ever, in the history of always.
Instead, my tack is not to assume a posture of defensiveness or even anger. Instead, I choose a combination of pity and disgust, a resigned amusement and the recognition that the people who are attempting to map their revisions and rewritings of clear motivations onto their alternate politicized reality are so far removed from me as human beings that I have nothing much to say to them and in many ways find them unrecognizable and alien.
And at the risk of being accused of intra-cultural political xenophobia — that is, a hatred of the Other within the mainstream of purely American politics, a risk I’m more than happy to take — I am here today to announce that I am through considering these people part of a greater national we. They, like the extremists they reward with teaching positions or defend against the yokels, the wingnuts, the small-government second amendment supporters and bourgeois small business owners they so vehemently and viscerally despise and seek to control and reshape, are the very Other they like to pretend they champion.
And having met their gaze — and having found it cold, cynical, manipulative, and tyrannical — I reject their claim to a separate and equal American authenticity. In fact, I reject them entirely.
They are my enemies and the enemies to my children, to children like Martin Richards and his sister. They are the enablers and the justifiers, the propagandists and the self-loathers, the liars and the fabulists.
What they want is power and control. And if it takes humanizing Marathon bombers while laying blame on American culture to shame Americans into malleability as a precondition for their re-education into collectivist economic units, they are willing to make that trade off. For the Greater Good. For their vision of Utopia.
Well, I don’t share that vision, and I will resist them. Not by battling them on their terms but by working to reshape the battlefield. And part of that comes from denying them legitimacy. They are the throngs that surround and fawn over a naked emperor; and I have no use for those who can’t see the asshole that winks at them daily.