‘Root causes’ of terrorism is terrorists and their wacky ideas

Justin Trudeau’s knee-jerk “root causes” explanation of the Boston Marathon bombing, “there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded”, certainly shows he’s not ready for prime time.

But the question of root causes would be interesting if the phrase were not clearly code for “it’s our fault.”

It is, to the point that New York City police commissioner William J. Bratton was deliberately provocative in saying in the 1990s “We’ve discovered the root cause of crime. It’s criminals.” But he was right, and his “zero tolerance” policy toward even petty criminals quickly reclaimed New York’s streets from the mess unleashed by sociologists. Likewise, the root cause of terrorism is terrorists and their ideas.

This explanation is shocking rather than controversial in liberal circles because it treats people as moral actors. It says we don’t simply respond to outside pressure through conditioned reflexes, breaking windows or blowing up bystanders because someone wouldn’t date or hire us just like Pavlov’s dogs drooling at a bell. We choose, and are accountable for our choices.

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