We ARE Losing

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published May 25, 2017

We ARE Losing

Another attack.

More carnage. More dead people. More grievously wounded people. More videos of screaming, terrified people. More young people targeted at an entertainment venue. This time, they were young girls at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Another suicide bomber. Another "lone wolf." Another young Arab male, "radicalized" by traveling between England and one of the countries where young Arab males go to be radicalized.

More meaningless social media posts. More tributes to the fallen. More flowers and chalk messages left where loved ones were killed.

More pious platitudes from government leaders. More stern pronouncements that "the terrorists will never win." How little consolation that must be to parents burying children this week.

This whole notion of "win and lose" is an anachronism; a perspective borrowed from another time when wars had clear sides, armies, start dates, end dates, the triumphant and the defeated. Our enemies don't have to "win." They just have to destroy our way of life. And they are succeeding. Every cafe is a target now. Every church. Every soccer stadium. Every theater. Every auditorium. Every airport. Every train station. Every open plaza where a truck can mow people down.

Everyone is a target. Every police officer. Every mum pushing a pram. Every passenger on public transport. Every kid at a concert. Every political cartoonist. Every young woman in modern dress.

ISIS claims responsibility for every "lone wolf" attack, because ISIS and the rest of the Islamic jihadists of one stripe or another view every "lone wolf" attack as a victory.

And by ISIS' calculations, they are "winning." Why? Because our governments refuse to implement the policies necessary to protect their own people. They are more afraid of being called nasty names than they are of the repercussions of picking up bloody body parts from public venues and public streets.

Look once again at the photos and videos again of the migrants streaming into Europe last year. Where were the women? The older people? The children? Those streams were overwhelmingly young men. Interviews with refugees revealed that the journeys were too dangerous to bring wives, children or aging parents. Fair enough. But in an era where the "wars" are waged by "lone wolves," how many "lone wolves" are in that mass of humanity? How many need to be, to wreak unimaginable carnage?

How has France responded? By electing someone who says calls terrorism an "imponderable problem" that "will be a fact of daily life."

How has Sweden responded? By covering up sex crimes, and forbidding the release of identifying information about perpetrators.

How has Germany responded? By insisting that EU countries must continue to take in migrants.

How has the United States responded? By calling terrorist attacks "workplace violence" and "man-caused disasters." Now that we have a president who is willing to call terrorism what it is, we have judges who overlook the clear statutory power given to the president of the United States to restrict the entry of foreigners. They have shut down President Trump's legal and constitutional efforts to restrict persons coming in from six countries with known ties to terrorism, failed or crippled governments, and therefore inadequate records. And so while smug judges knock down lawful orders and the press engages in a lovefest with like-minded Trump haters, how many "lone wolves" have entered the United States? How many born here have been allowed to travel to and from hotbeds of terrorism as the Manchester bomber did? How many have brought radicalized spouses here, as San Bernardino mass murderer Syed Rizwan Farook did?

These government "leaders" are so afraid of losing support for their precious concepts of globalism and multiculturalism that they've lost sight of the fact that these abstract concepts are only valuable to the extent that they make people's lives better. It is useless if there's no differentiation between concepts that promote human freedom, human happiness and human flourishing, and those which bring ignorance, destruction, injury and death and in their wake.

Historically, the United States has done a truly remarkable job of inviting people from other countries and cultures here, and insisting that they integrate into our culture, our legal system, our way of life. In so doing, immigrants have not lost their cultures; we have incorporated the best and most wonderful parts of many of them: food, music, art, fashion, architecture, literature.

The West is not perfect. We have our share of problems. But our flourishing civilizations, technological advancement and (relative) peace are proof that we have done some things right. We must continue to insist upon a system that adequately screens potential immigrants, and then insist that they adopt our ways. No one can call himself or herself a "progressive" if they are unwilling to characterize western civilization as "progress" in the advancement of human civilization.

Perhaps the most vital underpinning of any flourishing civilization is the ability to know — and say — the truth. And the truth is that we are letting ourselves be destroyed from within, by our cowardice and our reticence.

They don't have to "win." We can just lose.

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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.