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(as seen in SHTFplan.com)

Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

Ten years ago, a major Hollywood film entitled “Idiocracy” was released, and it was an excellent metaphor for what would happen to America over the course of the next decade.  In the movie, an “average American” wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that he suddenly finds himself in.  Sadly, I truly believe that if people of average intellect from the 1950s and 1960s were transported to 2016, they would likely be considered mental giants compared to the rest of us.  We have a country where criminals are being paid $1000 a month not to shoot people, and the highest paid public employee in more than half the states is a football coach.  Hardly anyone takes time to read a book anymore, and yet the average American spends 302 minutes a day watching television. 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East, but they sure know how to find smut on the Internet.  It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet today, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

What in the world has happened to us?  How is it possible that we have become so stupid?  According to a brand new report that was recently released, almost 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni publishes occasional reports on what college students know.

Nearly 10 percent of the college graduates surveyed thought Judith Sheindlin, TV’s “Judge Judy,” is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Less than 20 percent of the college graduates knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than a quarter of the college graduates did not know Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during World War II; one-third did not know he was the president who spearheaded the New Deal.

It can be tempting to laugh at numbers like these until you realize that survey after survey has come up with similar results.

Just consider what Newsweek found a few years ago…

When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

Even worse were the extremely depressing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Of course survey results can be skewed, and much hinges on how the questions are asked.

However, even studies that are scientifically conducted confirm how stupid America has become.  In fact, a report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans are falling way behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.  The following comes from CBS News

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

Out of 22 countries that were part of the study, the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency, dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

So why has this happened?

Why have we become such an extremely stupid nation?

Well, at least a portion of the blame must be directed at our system of education.  The following is an excerpt from an article written by reporter Mark Morford.  In this article, he shared how one of his friends which had served for a very long time as a high school teacher in Oakland, California was considering moving out of the country when he retired due to the relentless “dumb-ification of the American brain”

It’s gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

Now, you may think he’s merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it.

And of course things don’t get much better when it comes to our college students.  In a previous article, I shared some statistics from USA Today about the rapidly declining state of college education in the United States…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I spent eight years studying at some of the finest public universities in the country, and I can tell you from personal experience that even our most challenging college courses have been pathetically dumbed down.

And at our “less than finest” public universities, the level of education can be something of a bad joke.  In another previous article, I shared some examples of actual courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

Could you imagine getting actual college credit for a course entitled “What If Harry Potter Is Real?”

This is why many of our college graduates can barely put two sentences together.  They aren’t being challenged, and the quality of the education most of them are receiving is incredibly poor.

But even though they aren’t being challenged, students are taking longer to get through college than ever.  Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of all full-time students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and only 77 percent of all full-time students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.

Of course our system of education is not entirely to blame.  The truth is that young Americans spend far more time consuming media than they do hitting the books, and what passes for “entertainment” these days is rapidly turning their brains to mush.

According to a report put out by Nielsen, this is how much time the average American spends consuming media on various devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into some form of media.

And if you allow anyone to pump “programming” into your mind for 10 hours a day, it is going to have a dramatic impact.

In the end, I truly believe that we all greatly underestimate the influence that the mainstream media has on all of us.  We willingly plug into “the Matrix” for endless hours, but then somehow we still expect “to think for ourselves”.

There are very few of us that can say that we have not been exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of conditioning.  And all of that garbage can make it very, very difficult to think clearly.

It is not because of a lack of input that we have become so stupid as a society.  The big problem is what we are putting into our minds.

If we continue to put garbage in, we are going to continue to get garbage out, and that is the cold, hard reality of the matter.

We have an election coming up.  And many of these folks vote.

I weep for our Nation.

 

h/t Doc in Yuma

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Spoiled

The brilliant and beautiful Tamara posted recently the dearth of correct tactics and technique with regard to television shows and weapon technique.

She, of course, is correct.

I’ve posted in these pages regarding the same stuff – the guy in the show 24, for example.  Cup-and-saucer does not Weaver or Isosceles make…

But these martial faux pas go back decades.

jbThe Untouchables, M Squad, The Detectives, The FBI (in color!)  And don’t even bring up the spy genre – The Man From UNCLE (for example).  And the movies!  James Bond to Dirty Harry…

And thousands of other TV shows and films.

Weapon technique is terrible!  Cup-and-saucer.  Or worse yet, grabbing one’s wrist with the off hand.  Or supporting the shooting arm with the other under the forearm!

Shooting rifles and submachine guns from the hip!  Because it looks cool…

And the gun hand up next to the face.  Because it frames our hero with a gun next to their face, NOT because it’s a good idea!

And the ubiquitous fingers on triggers!

And many of us (mostly male) took their initial learning ques from these ‘techniques’.  This is why women are generally better students.  They don’t have to unlearn as much.

We do need to be reminded that these media are for entertainment, and are not documentaries or training aids, however.

But sometimes some of these Hollywood presentations are just too ludicrous to be able to suspend disbelief and enjoy.  Remember T.J. Hooker?

Having been a semi-professional magician in my youth, I’ve had much the same reaction to watching magicians on television.  Either I know the secret (or know something) and the performance loses it’s entertainment value.

Spoiled?  Sometimes.

♫ Istanbul, Not Constantinople ♫

Constantinople (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις, ΚωνσταντινούποληKonstantinoúpolis, Konstantinoúpoli; Latin: Constantinopolis; Armenian: Կոստանդնուպոլիս, Kostandnupolis; Ottoman Turkish: قسطنطینیه, Kostantiniyye; and modern Turkish: İstanbul) was the capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire. It was founded in AD 330, at ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great, after whom it was named. In the 12th century,[1]the city was the largest and wealthiest European city.[2]

Eventually the empire of Christian Eastern Orthodoxy in the east was reduced to just the capital and its environs, falling to the Ottomans in the historic battle of 1453. (The Free Dictionary)

This showed up the other day in my daily read of Ref Desk.

Constantinople Becomes Istanbul (1930)

The city now known as Istanbul was founded as the Greek colony of Byzantium in the 8th century BCE. Eventually passing to Alexander the Great, it became a free city under the Romans in the 1st century CE. Emperor Constantine I made the city the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire in 330, later naming it Constantinople. It remained the capital of the subsequent Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome in the late 5th century and then changed hands several times. Why was it renamed Istanbul in 1830? More…

Of course, my mind, working as it does, went to this…

Because I’m in need of a guffaw!

More History ‘They’ Didn’t Tell Us About

USA: Mysterious Nazi submarine from WWII discovered in Great Lakes

Niagara Falls| Divers from the U.S coast guard took part this morning (in January, reportedly), in a delicate wreck recovery operation to bring to the surface a Nazi submarine discovered two weeks ago at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

The U-boat was spotted for the first time by amateur scuba divers in late January and they had contacted the authorities. Archaeologists associated with Niagara University of  and master divers from the U.S Coast Guard were mobilized on site to determine what it was, and they soon realized that they were dealing with a German submarine that sank during World War II.

A wreck recovery vessel  of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society was mandated to refloat the ship and bring it back to Niagara Falls, where it must be restored before becoming a museum ship. The delicate recovery operation took nearly 30 hours to complete, but the submarine was finally brought down on the bank with relative ease.

http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/plongeurs.jpg

The divers of the U.S. Coast guard braved the frigid water temperature to go attach cables to the wreck for the recovery operation.

The submarine was identified as the UX-791, a unique experimental German submarine, based on the U-1200 model, and known to have participated in the “Battle of the St. Lawrence”. It  was reported missing in 1943 and was believed to have been sunk near the Canadian coast.

Professor Mark Carpenter, who leads the team of archaeologists, believes that the U-boat could have traveled up the St-Lawrence River, all the way to the Great Lakes, where it intended to disturb the American economy.

A report from the dated from February 1943 suggests, that the ship could have attacked and destroyed three cargo ships and two fishing vessels, even damaging the USS Sable (IX-81), an aircraft carrier of the U.S. navy that was used for training in the Great Lakes, before finally being sunk by anti-sub grenades launched by a Canadian frigate.

“We have known for a long time that the Nazis had sent some of their U-boats in the St-Lawrence River, but this is the first proof that they actually reached the Great Lakes,” Professor Carpenter told reporters. “This could explain the mysterious ship disappearances that took place in the region in 1943, and the reported “Battle of Niagara Falls” which had always been dismissed as a collective hallucination caused by fear.”

The restoration of the submarine could take more than two years, but once completed, the museum ship is expected to become one of the major tourist attractions of the region.  (WND)

….

I remember my Father telling me about the German saboteurs captured on Long Island, and, of course the attacks against Alaska and California – when popular media largely ignored or pooh-poohed these stories.  (During WWII)

It occurred to me that we have a different flavor of the same thing in much of the media, now, what with attacks by Muslim extremists sometimes being reported as ‘workplace violence’ or outright being ignored by them.

There is ALWAYS an agenda, whether promoted or enforced by government or unseen forces, with regard to how ‘the public’ is informed.  Or not informed.

And it’s up to us to separated the wheat from the chaff.  With diligence, not paranoia.

WELL, MY FRIENDS – BURNED AGAIN.  THIS WAS SENT TO ME BY A FRIEND (UNKNOWINGLY, I’M CERTAIN) AS FACT.  TURNS OUT THE ‘SOURCE’ (YET AGAIN) WAS WORLD NET DAILY.

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SOURCE MATERIAL!

tin_foil_hat_area

A Must-Read From The Patrick Henry Society

(via Wirecutter – in part)

In the book Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, John Nagl includes the following quote:

“When there are no economic and political foundations for the guerrilla movement, there will be no guerrilla movement. The bulk of any guerrilla movement joins out of belief in what it is doing; the hard core of leaders keeps going because of political beliefs…If the great mass of the population knows that they will be protected by a strong, just government, it has no reason to cooperate with the guerrillas, and the system of intelligence and supply that sustains all guerrilla movements breaks down. Without popular support the mopping up of the hard core die-hards is fairly easy.”

Before you scream “but the government IS NOT JUST,” you need to read that again. People like to pick out the one thing they don’t like and camp out on it but miss the rest of the idea. The government doesn’t have to be just. The unwashed masses just have to think it is. They just have to believe that the government will keep them safe–even if it’s keeping them safe from you. In a guerrilla war (even a cold one) every step, every action, every word becomes propaganda that can be leveraged by one side or the other. Ask yourself what will be remembered about the Malheur takeover—not what YOU will remember about the coverage, but what the public will remember. You may remember the sight of LaVoy Finicum lying in the snow, but the public will remember David Frye complaining that he couldn’t have his marijuana and ranting about UFOs while holding a gun to his head. They’ll remember Blaine Cooper’s viral YouTube video, waving a sex toy sent to him by trolls. At some point between “Amazing Grace” on the Hammonds’ front lawn and David Frye being coaxed out, it stopped being about the message. It became a joke, and the public was laughing.
EXCERPTED FROM HERE

(…)

The government already holds most of the aces with the education/indoctrination system and media under their control, as well as military might. Once they start restricting transportation and controlling food distribution, they’ve got 90% or more of the population under control because the people will be grateful for tidbits instead of realizing the government is corralling them in tighter and tighter.

A side note for those who think a ‘revolution’ will be popularly supported.  Those folks also forget that roughly 51% of the gen pop support Hillary and/or Bernie.

A nasty, messy, bloody slog comes to mind.  With much of the population clueless as to the issues or in league with the totalitarian teat off which they feed.

Do we want history to mention a IIIper Day as Guy Fawkes Day is mentioned in Britain?

Think long and hard before you take any action which might be deemed inappropriate by those in power.

Democrats AND Republicans

Taking Care of Business

Some of you may remember I often wear a built-up shoe, due to my leg disability.  ( AKA ‘Ed’ – the really big shoe!)

And I wear ‘diabetic’ socks (because I’m diabetic) and use a ‘sock thingy‘ to put them on (because some ‘normal’ body bending is prohibited.

In recent years, because of my various limitations, I’ve discovered I prefer the use of a raised toilet seat.  When it is necessary for me to, uh, sit.

I had one at the old house, but it was made for a round toilet.  J’s home has the elongated model toilet.  So, when I moved in here, it was necessary to purchase a properly-sized version.  Which I did, at a pharmacy in East Phoenix.

Time has passed, as has much bathroom use.  And, in spite of repeated attempts to keep the new device clean and sanitary, it has become worn and not-so-much. (I know – TMI!)

It became time to purchase a new version.

Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds!

First, a visit to the many (five) local drug stores didn’t work.  Either they only stocked the round models, or none at all.

AHA!  How about Amazon or Ebay?  The purveyors of all things via shipping to one’s home?  Numerous choices, brands, models and prices abounded.  Some marked ‘may fit some elongated seats’, others round only.  And some cleverly worded to advise they fit the round models, but may fit some elongated with some modification.  Further research was required.

And the current seat wasn’t getting any cleaner!  😦

I spent many hours reading purchaser commentary.  Many of which were of no help.

And pricing, unfortunately, was also a consideration.  I am on disability, and spending over $200 to raise the whole commode with a shim was not an option!

But, my patience and research skill were finally rewarded!  We received the new, properly-sized (and clean!) seat yesterday!  Obtained at a reasonable price.

I will just have to be more diligent about keeping it clean…seat

Having ‘The Talk’

No, not the birds and bees with your children, or the inane TV show.

(from the USCCA and Kevin Michalowski)

Kevin_ITF_Email_VideoPlayer_3-14-16

Sooner or later you will have to talk to your non-gun-owning friends about why you carry. You might be asked not to carry at someone’s house. Or you might be grilled on gun safety at your house when people come to visit. I can’t give you the exact words; they are your friends, not mine. But understand that…

Read More

SO…it’s NOT just about Safety.

It’s about rights, and protection, and so much more.

There have been a few places I’ve chosen to not carry, and not by government edict, either.  It’s been about respect, perceived security, and sometimes plain ol’ convenience.

But sometimes having a civil Talk is just what seems appropriate.

The Ferguson Effect Gets Worse

(from Bayou Renaissance Man)

At the end of last year we discussed ‘Terrorism, thug culture and the entitlement society‘.  In that and other articles we mentioned the so-called ‘Ferguson Effect‘ – the chilling effect on police and policing of the largely unwarranted (you should pardon the expression) accusations of deliberate police brutality against the black community.

PJ Media claims that the ‘Ferguson Effect’ is getting worse by the day.

As crime soars in Chicago, the city’s police officers are burdened with further disincentives to respond. An Illinois state law that took effect this year requires all police officers to complete a report on every person stopped for any reason and to give the person a receipt. In Chicago, the requirement is even more onerous: the form used by Chicago P.D. is two full pages, this owing to an agreement between the city and the ACLU. And now Rahm Emanuel claims to be surprised that his officers are making fewer stops. If you want cops to do less of something, make them write more paper about it.

There are similar developments in Los Angeles, where as of March 6, murders were up 27 percent and arrests down 10 percent when compared to the same period last year. The LAPD’s rank and file had already lost faith in the department’s command, and a decision by the police commission on Tuesday will only worsen matters. In a unanimous vote, the five commissioners adopted a recommendation to change the LAPD’s use-of-force guidelines in such a way that officers involved in shootings will be judged on whether or not they did enough to avoid using deadly force.

. . .

… the result will be higher crime when officers choose to disengage rather than take action that will be judged according to the naïve, utopian standards of the police commission’s social justice warriors. There is the further danger … that cops will end up dead or wounded when, rather than defend themselves, they pause for the type of reflection these proposed changes would seem to require.

Already this year, twelve police officers have been shot to death in the United States, including one on her very first day on patrol.   That’s three times as many as at this time in 2015. Yes, there is a violence problem in this country, but it’s not the police that are causing it. Things will get much worse before they get better.

There’s more at the link.

I’ve already pointed out that police misconduct is a very real issue, and sometimes justifies distrust of, greater scrutiny over and more stringent restrictions on actions by law enforcement personnel.  Nevertheless, when such distrust, scrutiny and restrictions actually impede normal policing to the point that public safety is impaired, they become a liability rather than an asset.  There has to be a balance, but at the moment there appears to be little or no effort being made to find one.  The pendulum isn’t just swinging from side to side:  it’s being pushed – sometimes violently – from one extreme to the other.  This makes for very unstable policing, which contributes to the worsening instability in society.

The article mentions the Los Angeles “police commission’s social justice warriors”.  The same naivety is visible in many other centers.  I encountered it in Nashville not long ago, when Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a major interstate highway running through the city center.  Instead of clearing them out of the way, as happened yesterday (the other day-Ed.) in Arizona, Metro PD provided them with water and portable toilets while they ‘negotiated’ with them.  Many, including myself, were outraged at such over-the-top, bending-over-backwards political correctness.  I don’t believe that law and order can survive such pandering, and I believe it’s almost always out of place.  If I were a typical Nashville police officer, I’d have been disgusted at the moral spinelessness of my leaders . . . but I’d also have received and understood the message, loud and clear, that if I enforced the law no matter what (even if I did so impartially and fairly), those leaders would not ‘have my back‘.  They’d hang me out to dry in a skinny minute if it benefited their department and themselves to do so.

That’s a very uncomfortable place for any police officer to be.

Peter

Does Europe Have A Better Sense of What’s Happening?

Or are they just closer to the Front?

(courtesy of Free North Carolina)

“The Time Has Come for Opposition and Resistance”

gdnctr

They are NOT ‘migrants’. They are NOT ‘refugees’. They are NOT ‘immigrants’. They are NOT ‘asylum seekers’. THEY ARE FERAL, 7th CENTURY, TRIBAL muslim INVADERS. They will not assimilate, and are coming to take over your countries, your way of life, and kill you. The flood of rapists, mutilators, molesters and murderers is just beginning. It will get many times worse this year. The murderous islamic caliphate, and its subhuman, lowlife tribal muslim trash, are on the move, worldwide. Wake-up Europe, Greece & America!

Last Tuesday (March 15) was a Hungarian national holiday: the commemoration of Hungary’s independence from the Austrian Empire. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave a speech in the rain that day, electrifying his compatriots in the audience — and anyone else who is permitted to hear or read a translation of the speech that has not been filtered, redacted, or expurgated by the legacy media.

His words were tougher even than those spoken by Geert Wilders. However, when Mr. Wilders becomes prime minister of the Netherlands, perhaps he will say something similar in his first address to the nation. He, too, may well proclaim his determination to resist the multicultural regime that has been imposed upon his country by the iron fist of the European Union.

Peter On Belgium

With regard to the latest coordinated attacks in Europe, anger and sadness aside, I’ve nothing much more to say.  Europe has brought this upon herself, and we are doing the same.  In the name of inclusion and political correctness.

But Peter (Bayou Renaissance Man) brings it!

Bombs in Belgium

So ISIL has done it again.  According to news reports as I write these words, more than 20 people have been killed and dozens injured in bomb explosions in Belgium, almost certainly in retaliation for the arrest of Salah Abdeslam and the killing of one of his accomplices there last week.

I’m very surprised that the suburb of Molenbeek in Brussels, long known to be a hotbed of fundamentalist Islamic tendencies and support for terrorism, has not been ‘cleaned out’ yet by security forces.  I suppose that’s European political correctness at work, as the Canadian Globe & Mail pointed out last year.  (Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.)

After the [Paris] attacks, the world’s media descended on the Muslim neighbourhood of Molenbeek in order to probe the causes of the problem. They found that Belgium is a mess – a tangle of overlapping and warring political factions that are completely unable to manage the country’s security issues. This fragmentation is also cited as a major barrier to Muslim integration. Disaffected young people can’t develop a Belgian identity, because there isn’t one.

. . .

The belief that the modern progressive state can socially engineer its way to harmony – if only it tries hard enough – is a dangerous delusion.

Another view of Belgium is offered by Teun Voeten, a photographer who witnessed the aftermath of the Paris massacre. He lived in Molenbeek for nine years, but was eventually driven out by crime, disorder and intolerance. Places to buy alcohol disappeared, and Islamic bookshops spread. “Nowhere was there a bar or café where white, black and brown people would mingle,” he wrote on Politico. “Instead, I witnessed petty crime, aggression, and frustrated youths who spat at our girlfriends and called them ‘filthy whores.’ ” The Jewish shops, which were terrorized by young kids, moved away. So did openly gay people, who were harassed in the streets.

Mr. Voeten agrees that the messy state is a problem. But the more important factor is Belgium’s culture of denial. “The country’s political debate has been dominated by a complacent progressive elite who firmly believes society can be designed and planned. … The debate is paralyzed by a paternalistic discourse in which radical Muslim youths are seen, above all, as victims of social and economic exclusion. Most people in Molenbeek are decent people who want the best for their families. But we should not close our eyes to the fact that it is also home to a very deep and very dangerous undercurrent of radical Islamism.

. . .

Why are so many home-grown young Muslims (as well as a few converts) attracted to such a virulent form of faith? The common liberal answer is because they feel excluded. That answer strikes me as pathetically inadequate. A better answer would include a quest for meaning and purpose in a secular, postmodern world, and the attraction of an absolutist faith that offers certainty, structure and a chance for martyrdom and glory.

Job training and better transit aren’t going to fix that problem.

The attacks in Paris were a watershed. This time the terrorists’ targets were not cartoonists, Jews, or people openly critical of Islam, but anyone who happened to be in range. The target was secular society itself. And in its aftermath, many more people are daring to openly question whether some values simply cannot be reconciled with Western values. For all its faults and flaws, Europe is not the problem.

There’s more at the link.

The Paris attacks in November last year revealed a high degree of technological sophistication on the part of the terrorists.  That sophistication has enabled their accomplices to respond rapidly to last week’s arrests by conducting further acts of terrorism at short notice.  A French police analysis of last year’s attacks shows how they probably did it.  Here’s an excerpt from a news report.  (Again, bold, underlined text is my emphasis.)

Investigators have come to realise that the Paris attackers, sent by the Islamic State’s external operations wing, were well-versed in a range of terrorism tactics – like suicide vests, gunmen in various locations and hostage-taking – to hamper the police response, the report shows. They have exploited weaknesses in Europe’s border controls to slip in and out undetected, and worked with a high-quality forger in Belgium to acquire false documents.

. . .

French officials have repeatedly warned citizens that more attacks are possible, saying security and intelligence officials cannot track all the Europeans travelling to and from Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq. And western intelligence officials say their working assumption is that additional Islamic State terrorism networks are already in Europe, with more being formed.

. . .

The [Paris] attacks marked a subtle shift in the Islamic State’s external operations branch, which was first publicised in the group’s French-language online magazine, Daral-Islam, last March. In the previous small-scale attacks, the Islamic State, much like al-Qaeda before it, had taken aim at symbolic targets, including police and military installations and establishments with clear links to Israel or Jewish interests, like the Jewish Museum in Brussels. But in an interview published in the online magazine, a senior operative for the Islamic State, described as the godfather of French jihadis, advised his followers to abandon the symbolism. “My advice is to stop looking for specific targets. Hit everyone and everything,” he said.

. . .

New phones linked to the assailants at the stadium and the restaurant [in Paris] also showed calls to Belgium in the hours and minutes before the attacks, suggesting a rear base manned by a web of still unidentified accomplices. Security camera footage showed Bilal Hadfi, the youngest of the assailants, as he paced outside the stadium, talking on a cellphone. The phone was activated less than an hour before he detonated his vest. From 8.41pm until just before he died at 9.28pm, the phone was in constant touch with a phone inside the rental car being driven by Abaaoud. It also repeatedly called a cellphone in Belgium.

Again, more at the link.

Europe is simply going to have to learn – if necessary the hard way – that one can’t treat terrorists as poor misguided children who only need to be shown the ‘right way’ in order to change.  One can certainly take steps to address imbalances in society, but religious fundamentalism is another thing entirely.  That can’t be reformed by political means.  (Europe has many examples of that reality, most recently the Northern Ireland ‘troubles’.)

There’s only one way to stop a terrorist – and that’s permanently.  Until Belgium (and all Europe) learns that lesson, and deals with its domestic terrorism problem accordingly, it’ll suffer more attacks.  What’s worse, unless and until such terrorism is dealt with comprehensively, it’ll engender an ever more vicious backlash against anything and anyone deemed (in popular opinion) to be associated with it.  In other words, Europeans are going to become less and less tolerant of all shades and forms of Islam.

As Tamara so aptly puts it, Europeans can go from ‘zero to jackboots‘ faster than you’d believe possible.  They’ve done so many times in the past . . . and I strongly suspect that ordinary Europeans (with or without the support of their current political leaders) are about to do so once more.

Peter

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…