“Of freedom and of life he only is deserving who every day must conquer them anew,” goes the line in Faust.
On that criterion New Zealand deserves neither freedom nor life. Alas, she isn’t the only one.
Modernity encourages, nay demands, uniformity. Hence one can confidently expect that, mutatis mutandis, the same perversions that pervade politics in one Western country will also be prevalent in any other.
Thus, even though I haven’t been following New Zealand politics closely, I know what it’s like just by reading the accounts of yesterday’s mayhem in an Auckland supermarket.
I’ll leave you to decide which was worse, the action or the reaction. Both were appalling, yet neither was new.
A Sri Lankan immigrant grabbed a knife off a supermarket shelf and started lunging at everyone he could reach. Six people were wounded, three of them critically, before police shot the terrorist dead 60 seconds later.
How come armed police reacted so swiftly? I’ve heard of rapid response, but this was extraordinary. Less than a minute to arrive at the scene? Incredible.
Well, you see, they didn’t exactly arrive at the scene. They already were at the scene because they were tracking the murderer’s every move.
The man, who for some inconceivable legal reasons is identified only by the initial S, was a known ISIS sympathiser who was especially partial to hunting knives. He had bought two of them, leaving the readers of his tweets in no doubt about the kind of game he was after.
S stated his intention to kill “Kiwi scum” so credibly that he was put on terror watchlists, arrested and sentenced to a year’s supervision. “There are very few people that fall into this category,” explained Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after the fact.
Yet even those chosen few couldn’t be stopped before they actually killed someone. According to the NZ judges, the intention to commit murder isn’t “equitable” to actually committing it. Do they mean ‘equal’? One never knows with lawyers.
Perhaps I spoke too soon when singling out uniformity as a distinguishing feature of modernity. In every country I’m familiar with, conspiracy to murder is a statutory offence by itself, punishable by long prison terms (in England, up to life). New Zealand is evidently different.
Yet Miss Ardern’s reaction to the heinous act shows her country isn’t different in every respect. First, she said she was “gutted”, which, considering the nature of the crime, was an unfortunate choice of phrase.
But then she did acknowledge that: “What happened today was despicable, hateful and wrong.” But, and it’s an all-caps BUT, “It was carried out by an individual, not a faith or religion. He was gripped by violent and ISIS-inspired ideology that is not supported here.”
It’s comforting to know that Islamic terrorism doesn’t yet enjoy broad popular support in New Zealand. And it’s hard to argue that S wasn’t stabbing all and sundry by himself – after all, it would have been awkward for many people to wield the same knife at the same time.
But, if S was indeed primed by “violent and ISIS-inspired ideology”, then surely that ideology is complicit in the act, if only tangentially? Also, some clarification wouldn’t have gone amiss.
For ISIS doesn’t have exclusive rights to that ideology. Similarly inspired are any number of other Muslim groups, all those Talibans, PLOs, Muslim Brotherhoods, Al-Qaedas and so on, whose name is legion.
Judging by the battle cry they all scream, Allahu Akbar!, they believe they are doing God’s work, as prescribed in the Koran. And they take nothing out of that book that isn’t there.
Granted, the verses that explicitly call for violence towards Christians, Jews and any other infidels aren’t the only ones. But if there ever was any doubt that these verses directly inspire mass violence, it ought to have been dispelled over the past 1,400 years.
Yet each time a shooter, stabber or suicide bomber screams “Allahu Akbar” before killing, Western politicians fall over themselves to shout just as loudly that Islam has nothing to do with it.
Typically, they add that the murderer has “mental health problems”, making one wonder how deranged loners managed to conquer most of southern Europe just a few decades after their creed graced the world.
In this sense I feel let down by Miss Ardern. She did follow the pattern by exculpating “faith or religion” with that delicious taste for redundancy. But she inexplicably left out insanity as an explanation. I trust she’ll soon correct that oversight.
In addition to stating murderous intent, S got on those watchlists because he had downloaded numerous ISIS propaganda leaflets. That was sufficient for the police to keep a watchful eye on him, but not to send him to prison.
Just perusing calls to mass murder doesn’t seem to become an imprisonable offence in New Zealand unless those instructions are actually followed. However, downloading child porn does constitute an imprisonable offence even if the perversion remains nothing but a cherished fantasy.
I don’t get the logic of it. The justification for sending down child-porn downloaders is that they thereby encourage the crime to be committed by the uploaders. Such a proclivity is indeed despicable, but how is it any worse than downloading murderous instructions?
It isn’t, quite the reverse. But there exists a seminal difference between child pornography and Muslim terrorism. The former isn’t protected by wokery, but the latter is, to some extent.
Even the wokiest of individuals won’t admit solidarity with suicide bombers or serial stabbers. But neither will they have the courage to acknowledge what motivates such crimes, what causes them.
The causes are all coloured in the rosy hues of Third World virtue, which means they can’t be castigated unreservedly. And they are definitely off-limits for any preventive action, other than slipshod surveillance.
Goethe was right: those who deserve freedom and life must fight for them every day. The likes of Miss Ardern refuse to do so, leaving both freedom and life at peril.
Jumping from one classic to another, she should do a Macbeth and look at her hands. They’ll be bright red with the blood of those Auckland shoppers.