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There is an old Roman phrase –
‘Let them hate, so long as they fear’.
It was said to be a favourite of the Emperor Caligula, to whom it is often attributed, but no-one is sure of its origin. It means simply that the hatred of an enemy is inevitable and irrelevant, so long as that enemy fears you enough that they will not make a move against you – thus “Let them hate, so long as they fear”…
This notion still has relevance today if one thinks about it. Notice how much of the reaction to Donald Trump’s announcement of a US Muslim-ban sought to draw concerned attention to the ‘feelings’ of Muslims themselves, with many speculating that the believers might feel alienated, persecuted, unfairly maligned and nervous about their futures. With Caligula’s logic, I suggest that is precisely the virtue of Mr Trump’s approach.
I strongly believe that the threat of removal (or of terrible inconvenience) will cause Muslim would-be terrorists to do what is best for their community and stop committing acts of violence. Indeed, the trouble with the Western Muslim community these past few decades has been that they have hated freely, but have had little reason to fear. Perhaps this imbalance has been the real cause of perpetual Jihad? It sounds reasonable enough to me.
Alongside the liberal condemnations, a few reactions to Trump’s initiative have been surprisingly encouraging. Denunciations of terrorism have been issued by various Islamic authorities (some more believable than others), including from rebel forces in Syria. Clerics around the world have been forced onto the back foot, panicked into disowning the most radical members of their herd. This plainly would not be happening without the Trump-shaped gun being held to their heads.
We should commend the taking of tougher positions on Western Muslims. Even if there are true ‘moderates’ among them, in what way would they be harmed by security measures designed to root out extremists? Surely they would be among the beneficiaries along with the rest of society? There is a suicidal illogic in the arguments of the do-nothing Lefties on this issue. We are all vulnerable to random violence. Indeed, that is the point of random violence – it sends an equally severe message to everyone. What makes the Leftists think they will always emerge unharmed?
Mr Trump deserves our utmost respect. He has dipped his toe in boiling politically correct hellfire, opening up a debate most people wouldn’t have the guts to begin. If terror is to be defeated, and if ISIS is to be contained, we will inevitably have to take measures that rattle Muslim minds; to do things that make suicide bombers think twice before assembling a suicide belt, or strapping on an Ak-47.
Good on Donald Trump for making a bold start.