That the post-terror narrative is fundamentally about taming our passion and politics is clear from its sidelining of all issues of substance. We are actively warned against asking difficult questions about 21st-century society and why it has this violence in it, this nihilism in it. Question the wisdom of multiculturalism, of refusing to elevate one culture over another and instead encouraging people to live in their own cultural bubbles, and you’re racist. Wonder if the obsession with combatting ‘Islamophobia’ might have given rise to a situation where some Muslims, especially younger ones, cannot handle ridicule of their religion, and… well, you’re ‘Islamophobic’. As for immigration: this is the great unmentionable; you’re a fascist even for thinking about it. The post-terror narrative that barks ‘You must empathise!’ also says, implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, ‘You mustn’t think! You mustn’t ask those questions or say that thing.’ And so in their response to terrorism, they erect an intellectual forcefield around some of the problems that might, just might, be contributing to that terrorism.
We need unity, they say. Unity’s their buzzword. But this is substanceless, too. Unity around what? Unity against what? What are our values? Who is the enemy of those values? Don’t ask. Don’t think. It is wrong to have core values in a society built on diversity, apparently, and we mustn’t ever suggest that any particular ideology poses a threat to those values, because that might involve ‘punching down’, singling people out, etc. We end up with a unity of shallow feeling, a union of highly individuated mourners, not a unity around real ideals and things and vision. Their cry of unity is a lie. The fact is there are people in our society willing to attack us, others who will think those attacks are justified, and others still who will apologise for those attacks by saying they’re a product of ‘Islamophobia’ or Western intervention overseas. We are so far from united. We are deeply divided. But you cannot say that. ‘Weep, don’t think.’
Stop and think about how strange it is, how perverse it is, that more than 20 of our citizens have been butchered and we are basically saying: ‘Everyone calm down. Love is the answer.’ Where’s the rage? If the massacre of children and their parents on a fun night out doesn’t make you feel rage, nothing will. The terrorist has defeated you. You are dead already.