"Faber est suae quisque fortunae" ("Man is the architect of his own fortune") - Roman statesman Appius Claudius Caecus (c. 340-270 BCE), in a speech vs. Cineas
"In general, it is necessary that true beliefs agree with reality; we should not deny reality in order to preserve our own beliefs." - Rabbi Levi ben Gershom (a.k.a. Ralbag/Gersonides, 1288–1344 CE), Milhamot Adonai
Global civilization in the Era of Terror is akin to a haemophile whose minor wounds may result in fatal bleeding. We the civilized have been hemorrhaging not only lives but, perhaps more dismaying, the will to do what it takes to live.
The barbaric, by contrast, seem to never waver or lose the will to endure. Their motivation is indissoluble, their purpose unquestioned. This above all accounts for their "gains" at our collective expense.
How disheartening it is when some of those in leadership positions advise us to get used to it. They would have us accept, acclimate, and become desensitized to routine massacre and slaughter. Their counsel betrays their capitulation, and their demission is their disgrace.
Just because they have abdicated their responsibility to lead does not mean the rest of us should adjust to terrorism according to schedule. When the civilized are resigned to the atrocities of the barbaric, then savages are victorious.
Every bleeding patient needs some type of styptic and anodyne; civilization is no different. Whatever has been done thus far has proven insufficient because ineffective. Assuasive salves are no substitute for potent curatives.
Do we implement merely the minimal because of a false belief in our personal immunity from terrorism? Do we forgo more rigorous actions because we have sedated ourselves with the trite mantra, "life goes on"? Life goes on, except for the myriad slain, their families, and their friends. Life may go on for most, but never quite as before. Life is thereafter cheapened for all who survive and realize how little is done in this world to protect the living.
Perhaps we believe that terrorism simply cannot be stopped; that we deserve what we get; that such determination in carrying out assaults worldwide evidences the desperation and righteousness of the assailants; that burying our heads in the sand is the more salutary alternative.
Fallacies, dear readers, one and all.
If terrorism is perpetrated through global networks, then a global counterterrorism network is needed to defeat it. Instead of token responses to terrorist attacks, counterterrorism activities must be proactive, preemptive, and coordinated. They must be unrelenting and decisive. They must counteract the hateful ideologies wherever they are promulgated and disseminated. We must hold accountable the miseducators and political figures who aid and abet barbarism.
If you do not support robust counterterrorism, if you hesitate or shy away from using force in self-defense, then you denigrate life—your own life, the lives of your loved ones, the lives of your friends and neighbors. The lives of people in the streets, on the bridges, at the airports, on the airplanes up above, in the subways down below, in community centers, cinemas, and houses of worship, on campuses and in schoolrooms everywhere.
If you do not insist on the regular practice of comprehensive scrutiny of all outsiders arriving on peaceful shores, thoroughly investigating their histories and values and intentions, then you woefully and shamefully disregard civilization's achievements and depreciate the value of our shared values. Our lives, lifeways, and cherished heritage deserve more vigilant guardians.
Only those who treasure life identify and undertake the necessary measures to preserve it.
It has been said by the wise that we are what we remember, and what we choose to be. Agreed. But to these poetic sentiments a more prosaic truth must be added: we are what we accept.
Let us never habituate ourselves to perpetual terrorism or victimhood; rather, let us resolve to unite in the defense of civilization and dispense with fatal halfheartedness in so doing.
After all, "enough is enough" was already a fitting refrain long, long ago.