The Islamic State has claimed credit for the bombing, which was carried out by a 'Briton of Libyan descent', but unlike others I am not going to blame the Islamic faith, even though I have written before about my concerns about the tenets of that religion. The fact that so many of these terrorists are home-grown, often second or third generation descendants of immigrants who came to the West in search of a better life, should tell us something about the roots of the violence. These killers are not the advance guard of an external enemy, they are fifth columnists who want to destroy their own societies from within. The problem is not Islam, the problem is us.
I believe we in the West have incited this wave of Islamic terrorism in our midst at least in part because we have become cringing apologists for our own way of life. We teach our children that Western nations are the cause of every grievance of non-Western people all over the world. We maintain we were responsible for slavery, even though slavery was a universal fact of pre-Enlightenment human society and it was Britain that led the world in stopping the slave trade. We maintain we are racists and misogynists, despite the fact that we have built our modern societies on equal rights for all and have emancipated minorities throughout the world. We maintain that we entrench inequality, despite the fact that it is the Western values of free enterprise, property rights and the rule of law that are responsible for the vast majority of the world's population being lifted out of poverty over the last century.
A few days ago I listened to an excellent interview by Mark Steyn of Hollywood screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd that shed some light on the nature of the problem. Chetwynd served in the Black Watch regiment of the Canadian Army before going on to write dozens of scripts for films and television series and he talked about Hollywood's need to internalise the enemy. Thus, Tom Clancy's novel The Sum of All Fears, which was about Palestinian terrorists getting hold of an atomic weapon, became a film in which the bad guys were neo-Nazis. If you are watching the current Netflix series, Designated Survivor, you'll see a similar transformation. Hollywood is a magnifying lens for our culture and the fact that it always makes us the bad guys simply reflects our societal self-hatred.
If we keep telling ourselves that our society is the root of all the world's evil, is it any wonder that a few of the children and grandchildren of those to whom we are supposed to have done evil will nurture those grievances to the point where they want to destroy us? If we don't believe our society is worth defending, how can we possibly expect them to value it?
I don't think I have ever listened to an Ariana Grande song and I dare say I would find her music a little too saccharine for my tastes, but her concerts are very much part of the culture I value and want to defend. She would never be allowed on a stage in Riyadh or Khartoum and that is an indictment of those societies, not ours. The fact that millions of people from Islamic nations want to come and live in our countries, but not the reverse, is all the proof we need that our society is better than theirs.
We need to stand up and defend Western society and values. We need to say that Islamic State and the like will never drag us down to their level and will never defeat us. Doing so won't necessarily stop the terrorist attacks, but at least it will make the battle lines clear and people will know what we are paying the price of terrorist attacks to defend. And it might just help a few of those second and third generation potential terrorists figure out who are really the good guys.