Terrorism isn’t the scariest part

The terrorists are losing their edge. Although the recent London attack was as horrific and mindless as any other terror mission, it failed to provoke fear in me.

Instead it made me grateful. Grateful to live in a democracy, grateful to be a healthy skeptic, grateful I wasn’t robbed of a childhood of discovery and open-mindedness. I am extremely lucky, and so are you if you are reading this. Whenever such idiots strive to divide, we should try to reflect upon and celebrate how great our society is.

We don’t kill, we argue.

We don’t censor, we listen and consider.

If we want to make an impact, we talk, campaign, vote. There is no need for violence.

Over the last year I admit to becoming very cynical and disheartened at the state of Western ideas, policies, media, people. I have never felt so lonely in my quest for objective truth. Society seems so partisan, and people seem to think the truth is whatever suits them, whatever paints them in the most virtuous light. I fully expect the “not all Muslims” posts (we know!), and then will come the inevitable denial that terrorism has anything to do with religion. I’ll post stuff on Facebook about how Islam must always be open to criticism and then come off feeling like a racist because people can no longer distinguish the scrutiny of ideas from the misrepresentation of Muslims.

My anger and disappointment doesn’t have anything to do with westernised Muslims, it comes from the obsession people have with constantly being in the right. The most close-minded individuals I know are those who claim to be liberals, yet they don’t want to hear any opinions which conflict with their own, and I feel like I can’t say shit to them without taking care to police my every word. It’s come to the point where I feel hesitant to state basic fact without being labelled hateful, and with every new terror attack it seems to get worse.

So here are the facts. 1. Most Muslims of the West are good people. 2. The London attack was committed by a fundamentalist Muslim because of the way he was brought up. You will find liberals admitting 1 and completely denying 2. You will find people on the far right embrace 2 and completely deny 1. I accept both because that’s the reality, but it feels like a very lonely place to be.

The thing that scares me isn’t the actions of a brainwashed idiot, it’s that nobody wants the truth anymore. Every topic I hear discussed seems so black and white, with one side angelic and the other evil. Pick a side, get emotionally invested and defend your view with your life. Why must it be this way? Why can’t the brain be open to nuance, to switching opinions when its position is proven wrong?

People are so obsessed with their own righteousness that it’s causing them blindness. Canada seems to be getting closer and closer to introducing a law against so-called Islamophobia. Know what this means? It’ll be illegal to criticise a religion, to criticise a set of ideas. Imagine if Theresa May suddenly announced that it’s suddenly bigotry and illegal to criticise the ideas within Christianity or Buddhism. There’d be uproar. What if she said the same about Islam? I’m quite sure that the majority of the nation would embrace it. Imagine how virtuous we’d all look! Unless we start aligning our emotions with reality, our freedoms are on the edge – and it’s not the terrorists that will take them away.

So why not mark every terror attack by celebrating tolerance, diversity, openness, debate, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, FREEDOM. Every one of these is wonderful, not to mention the pure hero that is PC Keith Palmer. Embrace them, protect them because without them life would be truly terrifying.

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