Friday, August 17, 2007


Peggy Noonan has been reading the NYPD's report "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat" and she has her own thoughts about why someone in America might turn radical:

...all modern young people come from two environments. The first is the immediate family, which is human and therefore by definition imperfect, sometimes to a serious and destructive degree. The other is the broader culture in which we all live, and which includes everything from schools to the neighborhood to the media. It's not a new thing to say but it's still true that the latter, which is more powerful than ever, is wholly devoted to the material. People are money winners or luxury item enjoyers. They just want stuff. It is soulless.

The view we show of life to ourselves, and to whatever lost young men are watching, is not broad and inspiriting. It is limited and dispiriting. It is every man for himself.

We make it too easy for those who want to hate us to hate us. We make ourselves look bad in our media, which helps future jihadists think that they must, by hating us, be good....

Yup -- by maintaining a soulless culture, we make the terrorists want to kill us. It's our fault.

Noonan's in Dinesh D'Souza territory here.

An interesting sidelight to this is that Noonan's view of American culture was cited in a Mitt Romney campaign ad last month:

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: "I'm deeply troubled about the culture that surrounds our kids today.

"Following the Columbine shootings, Peggy Noonan described our world as 'the ocean in which our children now swim.'

"She described a cesspool of violence, and sex, and drugs, and indolence, and perversions.

"She said that the boys who did the shooting had 'inhaled too deeply in the oceans in which they swam.' ..."

So, Mitt, do you think the next 9/11 will be our fault?


(Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo.)

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