The Terrorist, the Mob Mentality, and the Delusion of Normality


Ever wonder what it must have felt like when “normal” was a life with little communication with the rest of the world, periodic monster storms that arrived without warning, such rudimentary medicine that relatively minor wounds and illnesses could be fatal, and the perpetual threat that some invading force might sweep through and upend everything that gave people a sense of meaning in the world?

I think that sense of reality must have been in some ways opposite to the modern experience.  Sure storms, illnesses, and attacks can still occur, and sometimes they can overwhelm us, but we’re able to have so much more foresight, and we have options when threats arise.  We’ve almost reached the point of being able to be largely ignorant of the world around us because we’re protected.  It’s not that we can’t know about the world beyond our field of vision, but that we don’t have to.

If it must have been difficult to have a sense of “normal” in a less predictable and less manageable world, it may be too easy to hold on to a sense of “normal” in our lives these days.

That thought is in line with a recent op-ed from Michael Morse in the Providence Journal:

So, what to do? Do we isolate, and ignore the dark tide that is rising? Or do we live and let live, and try and make sense of a world going mad? The fact that I’m tempted to pull the blankets over my head and stick my head in the sand scares me more than mobs or terrorists. The fear of surrendering to a group mentality of aggression and oppression keeps me fighting, and speaking my mind.

Morse’s examples are the British-accented terrorist beheading people for snuff-film propaganda videos and the riots and sometimes-violent activism stoked by the Obama administration and the news media in response to a police shooting.  There are many more he could have used, from the massive financial bubble created through public policy to the fabricated fear campaign warning about rape epidemics to the collapsing international order.

Through it all, we can just go about our lives, expecting the ship to right itself, because the world will always return to “normal.”  Or maybe we hold a secret, even subconscious, hope that we’ll be gone before everything falls apart completely.

What’s disconcerting is that we can still repair most of what’s damaged in our world today and return to a path of expanding global normality with just a little bit more discernment and a little bit of discomfort in the face of those who would use our desire for a normal life as a means of steering us toward a corral and lock us in.

  • patriot

    I think if people have belief in God, what built this country and why, then you can never fall for the brainwashing, mob mentality, terrorist themed, evil conquering of others. I have too much self respect to put my head in the sand. If you can’t “care” that other are getting murdered for their faith – then it will get to you too eventually – even with your blinders on. I had someone say to me “I wish they would stop showing that beheading film over and over.”.. I said “Really? those are your fellow Christians, women, children, and each film is a new film. It continues every day. It is another Holocaust enlarged.” they were shocked….

    • Warrington Faust

      I agree, “preemptive strikes” are sometimes called for, even if that is not the “American Way”. But, against who? They are a “gang” they are not a uniformed army with supply depots. THey do not have an industrial base. We seem to have little actionable intelligence. Do we just turn a swath of Middle Eastern desert into glass? War has changed. We killed more civilians in Dresden by fire bombing than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Nobody even blinked. We wiped the slate clean for Werner von Braun, and his pals, who oversaw the death of tens of thousands of slave laborers. Some people blinked. His book should have been titled “We Aim for the Stars (but, sometimes we hit London)”.

      Incidently, those Coptic Christians are probably the last people remaining in Egypt who are actually descended from the people who built the pyramids. The Arabs killed almost all the rest when they took over the country, about 800 AD.

  • Warrington Faust

    When I hear people refer to being “isolated” I think of the medieval period
    when soldiers returning from the Crusades could not find their way home. There
    were no roads and their “peaceful” villages didn’t even have a name.

    Perhaps we have to reconsider “normality”. A review of history will quickly
    develop the opinion that war is normal. Perhaps “the poor are always with
    us”.Perhaps it is false that “greed is good”, but it is always present. The
    world is not as we are led to believe it should be, nor does it desire to

    Since America is essentially an insular nation, we have forgotten the
    effects of invasion (some might see unfettered immigration differently) and
    tended toward isolationism. I also think we are suffering from “information
    overload”. We instantly see video of a child abduction in California, another
    three days later in Ohio, this is tragic for the families and a stain on our
    society. But, in a country of 320 million, it is not an epidemic. The Pied Piper
    abducted 130 children in one day, and inspired a children’s rhyme.

    As a personal course of action, I recommend finding a non-sensational news
    source and then vote. Terrible things will continue to happen, what we require
    is rational response and preparedness.

    Things will not go as we planned them, but that is “normality”. We allied
    with the Russians in WWII and brought on the Cold War, we forced an end to
    “apartheid” in South Africa and now the country teeters on the brink of
    collapse, we “gave the Jews a homeland” in Israel and laid the ground work for a
    50 year war. But, should we have done nothing? Are we deluded by our desires?