AL SIEBERT, author of Survivor Personality, said something interesting in his book, and I've been thinking about it for awhile now. The book is about what personality traits survivors hold in common. Siebert has studied survivors of POW camps, concentration camps, plane crashes, boats sinking, etc. He's made this study his life's work. Here's the quote, and then I'll tell you what I've been thinking:
"Bob Mitchell, a marine who fought first on Bataan and later on Corregidor, told me that many of the POWs who gave up were unable to cope with the cruelty and hostility directed toward them by the guards. He said that many prisoners tried to influence the guards by feeling upset, expressing pain, pleading, or trying to win them over. When this didn't work, they had nothing left. Many gave up and died."
Siebert's main quest with his research is to discover what survivors do that non-survivors do not do. In the case above, the non-survivors didn't change their strategy when they could see it wasn't working.
Now here's what I was thinking: Most people I know who don't want to believe Islam is a political and supremacist ideology are good-hearted people. They believe we should all just get along, that killing is a bad thing, and that even hurting someone is bad and it should never be done. They are kind to dogs. They recycle their trash so as not to make things harder for future generations, etc.
I am overgeneralizing here, but I'm not too far off with this characterization. These good-hearted people don't want to believe there are millions of fundamentalist Muslims in the world who would like nothing better than to cut off their heads. It's unthinkable. Maybe these fundamentalists just need some clean water and enough to eat. Maybe they've been abused in the past. Maybe they just need to be understood.
These are all perfectly good strategies for normal interactions between healthy people within a liberal democracy with a good police force and an overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens.
When you want to work out your differences with someone, and you have a disagreement or anger between you, it's a pretty good strategy to talk and try to come to some kind of mutually-acceptable compromise. That's one kind of strategy and it works very well in a particular context. The problem is, it doesn't work in every context, nor with every person.
One of the traits Siebert found common among survivors is the ability and willingness to change strategies. Siebert discovered it is one of the most universal traits survivors have that non-survivors do not have: They are flexible enough to see the strategy they're using isn't working in a particular situation, and they're able to come up with something else.
Those who can't do that in some situations die.
Flexibility means being able to be kind in some circumstances, and cold-blooded in others if it is necessary. It means being able to be cooperative with some people, and more competitive or even hard-nosed with others if it seems necessary.
A lack of flexibility means you'll run out of options for some situations.
I think that's what is happening with at least some blind multiculturalists. They don't realize that the strategies they might normally employ do not work with someone who is hell-bent on murdering us all for no other reason than we're not Muslims.
That kind of ruthlessness is hard to fathom for most people, I think, and multiculturalists seem even less willing to even entertain the possibility. They think there must be some other explanation. And because they think people can't really be that way, or that a large group of people or a religion can't be that way, they don't understand the why anyone would criticize Muslims.
If you can't understand the strength and intensity of the ruthlessness arrayed against western democracies, then you can't understand the need to defend against it.
Those who can fully grasp the ruthless intentions of orthodox Muslims will recognize how profoundly indifferent they are to pleading, expressing pain, feeling upset, or trying to win them over with appeasements.
We need to use some other strategy if we are to survive. My guess is that in a serious situation such as a concentration camp, the people who are now multiculturalists would be the kind of people who would die first. Peaceful, cooperative strategies don't work against ruthlessness, and those who aren't flexible enough to change their strategies are less likely to survive.
Even with ample flexibility, ruthlessness is almost impossible to deal with successfully. I squirmed while I watched a Frontline program called Target America. It showed the clumsy, incompetent attempts of one American president after another trying to deal with Islamic terrorism.
I said ruthlessness is almost impossible to deal with successfully, but that's not really true. Ruthless terrorists would be easy to deal with if you were willing to be equally ruthless yourself. But it is very difficult to deal with within the parameters of humanity and human rights.
The jihadis, of course, are aware of the West's ethical restraints and so they tailor their strategies for us. Their strategies are carefully designed to put us in double-binds where we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. And where we make a horrible mistake no matter what we do. Orthodox Muslims constantly do their best to give us Sophie's choice.
The most obvious response is against our code of ethics, and any other response is inadequate.
You can watch the Frontline program online. It is painful to watch the presidents try (and fail) to deal with the jihadis' double-binds. The presidents just wanted the problem to go away. They were all seeking a short-term, quick-fix solutions, and refused to see this for what it is: A global, long-term strategy of millions of orthodox Muslims who will do anything to gain a political advantage, with the ultimate aim being something that to most westerners is unthinkable: An Islamic world.
I like Western civilization. I like normal interactions between healthy people within a liberal democracy with a good police force and an overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens. I like not having to settle differences with my fellow citizens with violence. But I hope the island of civilization within which we live our lives doesn't blind too many of us to the fact that there are still people in this world who think differently and that different strategies than we're used to may sometimes be required.