This year I marked the anniversary of Sept. 11 by driving through Massachusetts. It wasn't exactly planned that way, just the way things panned out. So, heading toward Boston, I tuned to Bay State radio talk-show colossus Howie Carr and heard him reading out portions from the official address to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony by Deval Patrick, who is apparently the governor of Massachusetts: 9/11, said Gov. Patrick, "was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States."Steyn goes on to point out the insanity of this, and observes that the reason that Islam is making such inroads into the West's most privileged youth:
"Mean and nasty"? He sounds like an oversensitive waiter complaining that John Kerry's sent back the aubergine coulis again. But evidently that's what passes for tough talk in Massachusetts these days – the shot heard around the world and so forth. Anyway, Gov. Patrick didn't want to leave the crowd with all that macho cowboy rhetoric ringing in their ears, so he moved on to the nub of his speech: 9/11, he continued, "was also a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other."
I was laughing so much I lost control of the wheel, and the guy in the next lane had to swerve rather dramatically. He flipped me the Universal Symbol of Human Understanding. I certainly understood him, though I'm not sure I could learn to love him. Anyway, I drove on to Boston and pondered the governor's remarks. He had made them, after all, before an audience of 9/11 families: Six years ago, two of the four planes took off from Logan Airport, and so citizens of Massachusetts ranked very high among the toll of victims. Whether any of the family members present Tuesday were offended by Gov. Patrick, no one cried "Shame!" or walked out on the ceremony. Americans are generally respectful of their political eminences, no matter how little they deserve it.
We should beware anyone who seeks to explain 9/11 by using the words "each other": They posit a grubby equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim – that the "failure to understand" derives from the culpability of both parties.
Fritz Gelowicz. Richard Reid. The Australian factory worker Jack Roche. The Toronto jihadists plotting to behead the Canadian prime minister. The son of the British Conservative Party official with the splendidly Wodehousian double-barreled name. All over the world there are young men raised in the "Multi-Kultur Haus" of the West who decide their highest ambition is to convert to Islam, become a jihadist and self-detonate.The need to have a deeper purpose in life is very strong. For those who have raised their children with no deeper of a significance than materialism, and no deeper concept of truth than "Does it make you happy?" (the whole Marin County mentality that gave us John Walker Lindh), the Islamic statement of purpose fills that hole.
Why do radical imams seek to convert young Canadian, British and even American men and women in their late teens and twenties? Because they understand that when you raise a generation in the great wobbling blancmange of Deval Patrick-style cultural relativism – nothing is any better or any worse than anything else; if people are "mean and nasty" to us, it's only because we didn't sing enough Barney the Dinosaur songs at them – in such a world a certain percentage of its youth will have a great gaping hole where their sense of identity should be. And into that hole you can pour something fierce and primal and implacable.