Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Knee Jerk Cynicism!

The carnage in Paris has provided a new excuse for a spate of Knee Jerk Cynicism.

Knee Jerk because it is a predictable reaction by those who look for any reason to promote their favorite opinions.  Cynical because the reaction is driven by an unashamed manipulation of the facts to suit the purpose being promoted.

Rushing to get to the front of the line are governors looking for any excuse to stem the flow of refugees/immigrants coming into this country and specifically to keep them out of their state.  One of the terrorists was a Syrian or had been to Syria?  “No Syrians will cross my border.  And while we’re at it, none of those other dangerous brown or black undesirables either.”

Then we have the hard-nosed patriots who believe civil liberties and privacy are inconsistent with keeping this country safe.  “What good is freedom if we allow it to be taken away?  Better we temporarily compromise our values than let others do it for us.”  The problem is that the short-term compromises become long-term erosions of what we say we stand for. 

In our zeal to get the bad guys and prevent further damage we look for quick fixes and forget that violence begets violence.  We are in a war, yes.  But this is a war of ideas that will not be won on the battlefield.  Military action has a role to play, but it is not the answer.  Our strength is the moral high ground we occupy.  If we give that away we are indeed in peril.  


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