Please, Not Romney Again

The 2014 election is over and attention has already turned to 2016. Does the Republican success in this election portend a similarly favorable outcome in two years – as did the Democrat congressional sweep in 2006 herald the election of a Democrat President in 2008? Perhaps. But, of course, a great deal depends on whom the GOP nominates. And lately, there has been a lot of talk that one of the serious possibilities is Mitt Romney. Well, I am about to tell you why that would be an unmitigated disaster for the Republican Party and for our country.

First of all, Romney ran a terrible campaign in 2012. Barack Obama’s litany of failures in his first four years was clearly evident to the American people well before the election. Yet Romney was unable to capitalize on them. It is almost beyond imagination that he was unable to articulate clearly why Fast & Furious, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the Benghazi outrage were colossal failures that endangered the nation. Moreover, his equal inability to describe clearly and simply what he would do differently, what philosophy motivated him and how his policies would benefit the country was also a glaring failure. He came across as a wooden, detached, corporate-type with no flair, no charisma and no passion. The nail in his coffin was when he allowed Candy Crowley to intervene in the third debate in order to rescue Obama from a debacle on the Benghazi issue. If Romney could not stand up to Candy, how could he be expected to stand up to the Chinese and Russian presidents or to the Iranian ayatollahs?

Next, the Obama camp was able to cast Romney as a corporate stooge, beholden to big business interests and out of touch with the average American worker. The Dems portrayed rich Mitt as aristocratic, unsympathetic and heartless. Romney was unable to counter these impressions. In fact, he reinforced them with his ill-advised 47% remark. Moreover, he never launched any counterattack. Mitt was content to talk about what he’d done at Bain, but – like McCain – he made no effort to point out the unsavory nature of Obama’s history, associates or polarizing proclivities.

Third, there was the Mormon thing. It’s disturbing to think so, but it might have played a role in the vast number of evangelicals who declined to vote. That may be unfair, but Mitt should have anticipated it. Like Kennedy did with the Catholic issue, Romney should have gotten in front of it, argued strenuously that his religion would play no role in his presidency and thereby not turn off the evangelicals.

Finally, he never conveyed any sense of historical political understanding. He never discussed the increasing role that collectivism has been playing in our society, how it is a betrayal of the Founder’s vision and how it damages the nation – and why the continuation in office of Barack Obama would push us dangerously close to a transformation of the Republic into a Euro-style social welfare state. Yes he said “big government bad, free market capitalism good.” But it always seemed like the recitation of a mantra rather than an articulation of why progressives like Obama were destroying the nation.

Which leads to an even more devastating evaluation of Romney’s candidacy. Had he won, he certainly would have been better than Obama. But I seriously doubt that it would have made any difference in the long-term trajectory of these United States.

In the last century the progressive movement has captured the culture of the nation. Progressives now control virtually all of the opinion-molding organs of American society: the media, libraries, museums, public education, the legal profession, seminaries, higher education, foundations, the federal bureaucracy – and of course, the Democrat Party. A half century ago, very few – for example, Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater – understood what was happening. It is only since Reagan that more Americans began to catch on. And while a substantial part of the GOP has grown conservative and aware of the historical transformation, alas, many – especially those in the so-called GOP establishment – are either in the dark or worse, in agreement with the program. Reagan made an effort to thwart the leftward drift of the nation. And while he had great success in foreign and economic affairs, he had hardly any lasting impact on cultural or social matters. Furthermore, neither of the two Republican presidents since Reagan (coincidentally, both named Bush) made any effort similar to Reagan’s. They both came from a long tradition in the party – exemplified by Eisenhower and Nixon – of GOP leaders who apparently believe one of two things:

  1. The conversion of the US from a constitutional republic, practicing free market capitalism and devoted to individual liberty into a Euro-style social welfare state is a good thing. It’s just that we in the GOP can do it so much more effectively and efficiently than the hair-brained Democrats can; or
  2. The afore-mentioned is not a good thing, but it seems to be inevitable because that is what the people want. Repeat second sentence in #1 above.

Mitt Romney is, without any doubt, one of this type of Republican. Whether he comes from camp 1 or 2 is unclear – he governed Massachusetts according to #1, but his book paints him as #2. Whichever he is, it is irrelevant. If there is to be any hope of reversing America’s century-long slide toward socialist oblivion, we will need to experience a cultural counter-revolution. A key part of that movement would be a succession of GOP presidents who understand the issue and have the leadership skills to guide the country’s politics back to the ethos of the Founding Fathers. Mitt Romney is not such an individual.

This essay also appeared in The American Thinker

False Hopes

Numerous articles have appeared recently celebrating the GOP victory in this month’s elections and predicting future electoral success for Republicans. The reasons offered for the prediction usually run along the following lines:

  • The voters are thoroughly and permanently fed up with the mess that Obama and progressive Democrats have made of the economy, foreign affairs and the federal bureaucracy. The American people are so disillusioned that they intend to entrust the fix of the mess to the Republicans for an extended period.
  • Save Obama, the leaders of the Democrat Parity are old, tired, dispirited and out of ideas. At the same time the GOP has a surfeit of young, energetic and passionate candidates who are brimming with attractive ideas.
  • Contrary to intuition, it’s the demographics. While the Democrats have a lock on the minority, female and youth votes, the Republicans are laying claim to the loyalty of white, male and senior voters. Moreover, the former are concentrated in major urban areas in a few states. Those states (California, New York, Illinois…) are large with a significant tally of electoral votes, and so provide a huge advantage in presidential elections. But the GOP core voters are spread throughout the nation and provide an equally compelling (if not greater) lock on county and state elections, as well as for the House of Representatives and even the Senate. And though the minority vote is growing, it is offset by the also enpanding senior community.

There is a lot of truth to this analysis. But there are also some strong caveats. For example, there is no question that a great many Americans have had enough of the malfeasance, incompetence and dissembling of the Obama administration. But it was not so long ago that the public was equally fed up with a Bush administration that had the country mired in two bloody and seemingly endless wars in the Middle East. The bloom wears off every administration, and memories can be short.

Regarding the second point, yes, Hillary is a frumpy old hag, Elizabeth Warren is only two years younger, and Joe Biden is a doddering old fool. Moreover, the last few elections have catapulted to prominence quite a few young and impressive Republican Governors and Senators. But that sort of age discrepancy can change in as little as half a decade.

Finally, the demographic argument is more difficult to assess. Is the minority population growing faster than the country is aging? The GOP had some success peeling off the Asian vote from the Democrat ranks in the last election. Can that continue? Could it be expanded to the Hispanic community (as many in the GOP believe)? What about the black community? And are seniors really in the bank for the GOP?

These are legitimate questions and the uncertainty of the answers definitely should give pause to anyone arguing for a solid GOP majority. There is an even more compelling reason for those predicting a GOP majority to step back. It is the following.

The election and re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States is proof positive that Obama’s primary goal – the fundamental transformation of the US – had indeed already occurred before he took the oath of office. To wit:

  1. Obama was the least qualified person ever to be elected president.
  2. Obama’s mentors and life guides were all radical leftists; moreover, this was known to the electorate.
  3. Obama made no secret of his contempt for American history, traditions and ideals. He was a “constitutional scholar” who viewed that sacred document as fundamentally flawed.
  4. During his first term, he: added 60% to the already bloated federal debt; crippled American business via Dodd-Frank and extraordinarily stringent regulatory rules; essentially nationalized the healthcare industry (more accurately, he converted it into a public utility); betrayed US allies and coddled America’s sworn enemies; and repeatedly lied to and deceived the American people (Obamacare, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS, etc.). And yet, the American people re-elected him.

Here was/is a man who denigrates the founding ethos of our nation: limited government, separation of powers, free market capitalism, American Exceptionalism, strong morals grounded in religious faith. Nevertheless, the American people freely and willfully elevated him to the presidency; and then compounded the crime by reaffirming that choice in 2012. Given that, how realistic is it to expect that there is an emerging GOP or conservative majority arising among the same people?

The Progressives began their long march through the US culture, economy, education and politics a century ago. They scorched the landscape and the result is that over the last two generations, they have taken control of all the opinion-molding organs of American society: the media, public education, foundations, seminaries, higher education, libraries, museums, federal bureaucracy, etc. Miraculously, many have resisted the leftist indoctrination and brainwashing – as the results of the just concluded elections reveal. But the left’s chokehold on the nation’s cultural institutions has not been broken. Until it is – if it ever is – talk of an emerging majority that adheres to the classic American ethos, which has been under a withering progressive assault for generations, is rather unrealistic. It may take another hundred years to restore the United States to its founding deals. Foolish talk of a nascent conservative electoral domination only obscures the understanding of the long, arduous and critical task that lies ahead for what is left of conservative America.

This essay also appeared in The Intellectual Conservative

Are Parents Asking the Right Questions About College for Their Kids?

If you are the parent of a high school student, you are likely to be – or soon will be – caught up in the game of “where is junior going to college?” Many of you went to college twenty five or more years ago and the experience you had is likely the frame of reference you use in trying to decide – with junior’s participation, of course – whether and where junior should enroll. Actually, few of you will ask the question “whether”; and it is my thesis here that many of you will pose the wrong questions when attempting to answer “where.”

As you ponder the college question, you recall your experience and likely subscribe to the following axiomatic beliefs:

  • I want my children to be well-educated; high school does not complete the job; a college education is required for today’s young adults to be well-educated.
  • There are enormous economic and social benefits to going to college – salaries will be higher; many more job opportunities will present themselves; terrific social and business connections will be made; and my child might even find a suitable spouse on campus.
  • The alternatives are distasteful to contemplate – the military, the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA, a low-level job, or leave hearth and home to do heaven-knows what.
  • All my friends’ and associates’ kids will be off to college; how disappointing and embarrassing if my kid didn’t do likewise.

Armed with these beliefs, which you subtly – and not so subtly – imparted to your high school kid, you initiate the long, torturous and perplexing search for a suitable campus at which your child can reap all the benefits that you envision for him or her. The choices are legion and the possibilities bewildering. And so, in order to make the decision more manageable, you pose for yourself, your spouse and your child a set of critical questions. They probably run something along these lines:

  1. What is the academic level of any particular school under consideration and does it match my child’s capabilities?
  2. What will the cost be? Can I afford it or will Johnny have to take out student loans? Can we mitigate the cost through scholarships, grants, paid internships or part-time jobs?
  3. How far away am I willing to agree to? Is it better for Susie to be in a rural or urban environment?
  4. Will a degree from this school enable my child to readily find a good job after graduation? Does the school have a robust placement office?
  5. Is the student body one in which my son will make friends easily? Are there good opportunities for wholesome extra-curricular activities?
  6. Are there lots of choices for academic majors since my daughter is unsure what she wants to study?

Well, I have news for you. Things have changed drastically since you walked the leafy campus of your alma mater and these “things” are almost unrecognizable from what they were like 50 years ago. Which things? Among others: the academic curriculum (it is diluted, unfocused, and rife with speciously inauthentic subjects of study); the nature of the advice that faculty and administrators offer to students (it probably does not match yours); extra-curricular activities – to wit, sex, drugs and rock-n-roll; a highly politicized environment on campus with political vectors pointing in only one direction; the composition of the faculty (a surfeit of adjuncts replacing the tenured faculty with whom students are supposed to interact); employment options open to graduates (much lower level than in past generations); ubiquitous social media; the cost of the beast (astronomical); the racial and ethnic composition of the place, and a mindless obsession with so-called diversity; the pernicious effect of the feds (on students via loans, on faculty via grants, and on the whole place via a plethora of regulations that are strangling academic freedom); a disrespect for the military (although this has improved recently) and the acceptance of a derogatory interpretation of American history and culture; unchecked grade inflation on “elite” campuses; and the demise of in loco parentis – meaning that the university makes no effort toward and bears no responsibility for the rearing of your immature teen into a mature young adult.

These changes, of which you might not be aware, can wreak havoc in families that have just sent a child off to college. This observation applies especially to traditional or conservative families whose ideas and values are typically not reflected in the monumental changes that have transformed many colleges into hot beds of progressivism, nihilism and – in some cases – moral squalor. How many times have you heard the story of the college freshman who returns home for Thanksgiving and by the end of the weekend, the parents are thinking: “Who is this alien and what has it done with our child?” Well, if you want to avoid that experience, here are a better set of questions for you to ponder as you and your child search for the perfect campus:

  1. First of all, what is the prime objective in sending Johnny to university? Is it to ensure that he is well-educated, that is, for him to acquire a level of knowledge on many subjects that one associates with a learned person – one whose intellectual stature will garner the respect of his contemporaries? Or is it purely for him to acquire the requisite tools in order to get the best possible job? Or is it really mainly to aid him in his transition from a callow teen into a mature, independent, responsible and productive adult? The answer to this question should determine the best responses to the questions that follow.
  2. Will the college experience reinforce the values, ideals, goals and belief system that I have been trying to instill in him over the last 15-18 years; or will college subvert them?
  3. Will the exorbitant amount of money this adventure is going to cost me actually be money well spent?
  4. Do I have a good handle on Susie’s qualifications – how motivated and serious she is, how devoted to her studies, how intellectually fertile, and is she willing to work hard and stay focused?

If you can answer these questions honestly and definitively – and in a consistent way, then the selection of a few suitable institutions should not be difficult and you should be able to find a desirable institution that will accept her. But if you are uncertain of the answers, then here are some more questions you should ask.

  1. Do we have enough time to work with Johnny as well as with friends, relatives and school counselors in order to clarify our thinking and arrive at some definitive answers to questions 1-4?
  2. If that doesn’t work, am I willing to roll the dice, choose a college by throwing darts at a board and live with the uncertain consequences?
  3. Or should we consider alternate courses of action – e.g., military service; volunteer service (as in the Peace Corps); some sort of vocational school; employment; or relocation?

It has been suggested to me by a person, whose opinion I respect, that it is not enough to steer parents toward the more useful questions that I have suggested. Readers will also want some advice based on the possible answers that they might arrive at. So here are my “words of wisdom” along those lines:

  • If your child is mature, well-grounded and self-assured, and you are confident that she can retain the morals and values that you have instilled in her, then – aware that her core of belief will be severely tested at most universities – by all means, send her to the academically finest institution that accepts her.
  • But don’t go deeply in debt. The rule of thumb is you and your child (together) should never borrow more than your child’s expected first-year, post-graduation salary.
  • On the other hand, if your child is unsure of himself, easily influenced and shaky in his convictions, then you must be extraordinarily careful about where you send him. There are campuses – for example, Hillsdale College or Grove City College – where traditional values and unbiased scholarship are prevalent. You need to search very hard to find the right place for him.
  • Finally, if, together, you and your child have great skepticism about any campus being the right fit, then you should seriously consider alternatives. Perhaps a year or two of employment before setting off to college might result in enhanced maturity and self-confidence, and therefore a greater ability to succeed in college – without the surrender of personal and familial morals and values.

The university is a place of great opportunity for your child. But it is also a place of great danger. The latter is true in a literal sense as the occurrences of rape, muggings, severe hazing and theft are all too common on college campuses these days. But the more common dangers are: several semesters of floundering leading to a dropout and a demoralized youngster; or worse, a radicalization of your child as a consequence of the charged political atmosphere on campus; or worst of all – whether Susie graduates or not – enormous debt that cripples your child economically for decades, interfering with her ability to marry, have children or buy a home.

If you question your child’s ability to successfully navigate these dangers, then perhaps you need to go back and reconsider your answer to question #1. Also, revisit the advice offered above.

Sending Johnny off to college is not the same as dropping him daily at the local high school. At age 17 or 18, he is not an adult – although he will feel free to think of himself as one. More likely, he is immature, impressionable and uncertain of his own values. There are many campuses at which his head will be filled with ideas and “facts” that don’t square with the belief system and morals that you have been sewing into his DNA. There are other campuses at which his psyche will be reinforced with the kind of knowledge and behavior that you have been encouraging. You and he have a serious decision to make. In order to find the right college, you need to ask the right questions.

This essay also appeared, in abridged form, in ACTA (The American Council of Trustees and Alumni)

Oscillating Between Rage and Resignation: A Review of David Horowitz’ Book, ‘Take No Prisoners’

In David Horowitz’ new book, Take No Prisoners, there is a surfeit of rage and an undercurrent of resignation. Horowitz was a red diaper baby and one of the leaders of the radical left movement five decades ago. But he saw the light and remade himself into a bedrock conservative, which stance he has maintained for many years. In books, magazine articles and online journals, he has argued forcefully that his youthful leftist views were misguided and that his more mature conservative philosophy represents the correct view that Americans ought to pursue.

Indeed there is little in the book that Horowitz hasn’t said before – multiple times in multiple venues. This is not to diminish the fact that he says it very well – with passion, insight and clarity. He has the conviction of the convert and the literary skills to convey his convictions eloquently and convincingly.

In the book, Horowitz rues the fact that conservatives are getting their butts kicked in the election booth. Manifestly incompetent leftists, with little in the way of accomplishments and with radical philosophies far to the left of the average voter, routinely defeat sensible, thoughtful and experienced conservative candidates. Unethical extremists like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama – people whom Americans should reject outright – win election to the highest offices in the land. This in spite of the fact that their malfeasance and radically anti-American ideas are only barely hidden from the electorate. This drives Horowitz crazy. For example, of Obama, he says (among other delightful comments):

We have a Chief Executive who is determined to bankrupt this country at home and bring it to its knees abroad. He has deliberately lost two American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and betrayed the lives of the young Americans who sacrificed their lives there for what they thought was the cause of liberty and national security.

We have a commander-in-chief who has made America an international laughing stock through his cowardice in dealing with the Syrian dictator and a Russian aggressor in central Europe, who has set America on a course of enabling the Iranian Mullahs to acquire nuclear weapons. A leader who has made the world a far more dangerous place for his country and its citizens.

Barack Obama is a brazen, compulsive, serial liar about matters of the utmost gravity.  He is a habitual, pathological, calculated violator of the American Constitution, who has directed the IRS to use the taxing power of the state to crush his conservative opposition, and to remove the resistance to his plans for a one-party socialist state.[1]

I suspect that for Horowitz, as for this writer, the re-election of Barack Obama was a crushing blow. His reaction is to go into full electoral war mode. As such he has written a flaming manifesto on how conservatives need to assess the dire situation and reverse the slide by adopting the tactics he advocates in his book. In short, according to Horowitz: the Dems play dirty, while the Republicans play fair; the Dems call Republicans evil bigots who oppress women and minorities, whereas the Republicans call Dems liberals; the Republicans discuss policy, the Dems appeal to voters’ emotions.

The GOP is channeling its better angels, while the Dems are dirty street fighters. But, alas, sayeth Horowitz, the Dems’ strategy has proven far more effective. The only way to stop the horrible slide into a permanent electoral minority is to fight fire with fire. No more mister nice guy. The GOP should fight back by deploying all the duplicitous tools that the Dems use against them and “take no prisoners.”

Here is a small representative sample of his suggestions:

If the unhappy years of Obama’s rule have taught us anything, it is this: elections have consequences…In the 2012 election cycle, Mitt Romney had a good message and an obvious one: Obama’s economic recovery is a sorry failure; twenty-three million people are still jobless; many more are underemployed; if you want jobs and economic opportunities, support the job creators and innovators and deregulators, not those who are attacking them. This message should have worked. But a critical majority of the voting public never heard it. The reason? A $200 million television ad campaign successfully smeared the messenger as a heartless job destroyer, a mouthpiece of the selfish rich, and a person one couldn’t trust.

What was the response of the Romney campaign and the conservative PACs to this killer attack? They didn’t have one. There was no $200 million campaign exposing Obama’s lies, destroying his credibility, and undermining his message. Obama’s opponents never laid a glove on his character and failed to neutralize his attacks. Any effective counterstrategy to these Democratic offensives must take the form of an attack. The attack must expose the Democrats’ hypocrisy, tarring their character in the same way and to the same degree that current Democratic attacks taint conservatives. It must pack the emotional wallop that will neutralize the assaults. How can believers in individual rights and free markets expose this charade and repel the attacks? How can they neutralize the slanders and show that it is actually conservatives who defend opportunity and independence for minorities and the poor, for working Americans and the middle class? How can conservatives turn the tables on the Left? It’s not rocket science: Turn their guns around. Fight fire with fire.

Now here is the problem. The book has two parts. All of the above quotes are from the first part. In fact, Part Two is a verbatim reprint of essays that Horowitz wrote more than a decade ago. This makes for a jarring effect. As one reads into Part Two, the discussion seems to make little sense as he describes events from (say) 1999 as if they had just occurred. Of course they had when he wrote it. Reissuing his essays in 2014 without changing the words and with virtually no indication of what he is doing is confusing and dispiriting.

Why would he do that? Either he ran out of ideas on the topic he was developing. Or he ran out of energy. Or he never intended to say any more – he threw the second part in to fill out his excellent, but limited new essay in order to render the sum book length. Or he just got discouraged. Indeed there are subtle hints toward that direction here and there in Part One as Horowitz expresses his frustration that so many otherwise intelligent Americans remain bewitched by the left, beholden to big government and betrayers of the American dream. There are even a few places where Horowitz seems resigned to the loss of his country to the malevolent left. Like I said: oscillation between rage and resignation.

I have a great deal of respect and sympathy for Horowitz. Indeed I travelled a similar political path. But I cannot count the times that I have sat with the few lifelong acquaintances, who also followed that path, and wondered why the overwhelming majority of our former comrades never saw the light. Why did we few develop antibodies to the poisonous leftist philosophy that has infected America for a century while most of our youthful compatriots succumbed to the disease? I wish I knew the answer to that question.

The first part of Horowitz’ book is a passionate call to arms for conservatives to combat liberals in elections on equally brutal terms. But Horowitz’ despair comes through. He says:

If people simply voted with their pocketbooks, nobody with a taxable income would vote for a Democrat. But an awful lot of them do. If you think voters are too “low information” to be persuaded, you probably shouldn’t be in politics either. Politics is about winning hearts and minds. On the field of battle, armies have often won despite unpromising odds. If you are not up to this task, leave it to those who are.

Yet conservatives …[are]… depressed. [They] voice anxiety about the political future. “Do you see how big the deficit has become and how fast the debt is growing?” “Can you believe the dishonesty of this president, how he has encouraged our enemies and betrayed our friends and brought our nation low?” “How can we possibly stop this nightmare when there are all those low-information voters ready to believe what the Democrats say? Even if we could persuade them, Republicans will probably screw up the elections and return the culprits to power.”

Our democracy is built on the belief that, given the chance, the American people in the long run will do the right thing. If conservatives want to win, they need to embrace this faith.

But it not clear that he believes it. The liberal people of America – brainwashed effectively by the public schools, the media and all the other liberal-dominated opinion-molding organs of our society – will not read his book. What is also not clear is whether the establishment that controls the GOP will also pay no attention. Or whether they will take his advice if they do pay attention. And finally, whether it would do any good.

The first part of Horowitz’ book is an inspiring read – for me. Is anyone who needs convincing going to read it? I wonder what Horowitz thinks.

[1] Actually, this quote comes from the web site (takenoprisoners.org) created as a companion to the book.

This review also appeared in The Intellectual Conservative

What’s the Difference Between a Gunman and a Terrorist?

Compare the following reports – the first from the Ottawa Sun describing the recent terrorist attack in Ottawa and the second from the Jerusalem Post detailing the also recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem:

Two people are dead after at least one gunman stormed Parliament Hill on Wednesday morning. One of the dead is a soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist with Argylls of Canada – 91st Canadian Highlanders in Hamilton, Ont., who was standing guard at the National War Memorial. The other is the gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, born in 1982, who opened fire in Centre Block across the street. Two U.S. officials said that U.S. agencies have been advised that Zehaf-Bibeau was a Canadian convert to Islam. One of the officials said that the man was from Quebec. Police continued to search vehicles in downtown Ottawa, where blocks of the city’s core were locked down all day. Gunfire exploded shortly before 10 a.m., just outside where the Conservative caucus was meeting. The shooter was met with return fire — dozens of shots were heard — and was killed outside the parliamentary library.

A three-month-old girl, identified by her grandfather as Chaya Zissel, was killed and several US citizens and Israelis were wounded Wednesday evening when a convicted Palestinian terrorist from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people in the capital. The attack, which was captured by a security camera, took place at the Ammunition Hill light-rail stop a few hundred meters from Israel’s national police headquarters, situated across a densely traveled thoroughfare, shortly after 6 p.m., a senior police official said. The terrorist was shot by police and late Wednesday evening he died in hospital.

In both instances, a lone-wolf terrorist, motivated by his rabid Islamist ideology, committed an act of wanton and indiscriminate murder of an innocent person and then was killed by authorities. In the Canadian account, the perpetrator is identified as a gunman, as might be an armed intruder in a bank robbery. In the Israeli account the perpetrator is clearly identified as a terrorist. In the Canadian report, the murderer’s Islamist background is handled gently and nonjudgmentally. In the Israel report it is made clear that the murderer’s background included previous violent attempts. In the former, it is never stated explicitly that the gunman killed the victim; only that “two people are dead.” Whereas in the Israeli report, it is abundantly clear who killed whom.

The behavior of Muslim terrorists in the United States is treated even more gingerly by the American media than by the Canadian press. And in fact, the Israeli report is if anything on the more circumspect side than is usually seen in the Israeli press. All of us in the West are the object of a holy (in fact, unholy) war perpetrated by radical Islamists. Terror is the main weapon they deploy. If we cannot recognize that – as the Israelis do, then we are going to have a very difficult time galvanizing ourselves to fight and obliterate the Islamist menace that threatens our countries and our lives.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was not a gunman; he was a terrorist, on a mission to murder and maim in the name of his religion, or at least in some bloody interpretation of it that he had in his mind. Unfortunately, there are literally millions of his ilk out there. They have declared war on the US, on Canada, on Israel and on the entire West. The longer we try to pretend that this is not so, the longer and more costly will be our ultimate battle to defeat them.

This post also appeared in The American Thinker