Two bloody beheadings by Islamic militants in France shocked the world. The French government and the media are trying to frame the attacks as only the work of isolated fanatics exposed to radicalized Islam. Such an evaluation is a mistake. Something more ominous is contained in these ghastly deeds.
The crimes sent a message that the West’s political and socio-economic model has failed. They announce the breakdown of a system that once secured peace and cooperation, yet now delivers chaos and terror. These actions shake the certainties of a society that once believed it had found the formula for living well.
A Failed Model
The failed model is the liberal order that has long promoted a value-free manner of living outside the realm of set principles and defined morals. Inside a climate of economic prosperity and advancing technology, liberal adherents believed everyone could get along in a world filled with diversity and tolerance. People could passionately pursue freedom as they saw fit.
Such a society is doomed to fail since it contains the seeds of its self-destruction. When the liberal order goes into decadence, it turns upon itself and destroys the structures and institutions that sustain it. This is what is happening now with the civil unrest wreaking havoc all over the world.
The liberal West has generated a tolerance toward everything that cannot be tolerated in a healthy society, like radical Islam. Unbridled freedom is leading to slavery to the passions and hatred of order. A value-free society is cheapening life, virtue and all worthwhile things.
Thus, the promise of a peaceful, restraintless world now comes crashing down with events like the beheadings of a schoolteacher in Paris and a 60-year-old Catholic lady devotee in a Nice basilica. They were symbolic blows to the West that are becoming ever more frequent.
A Clear Message
These were no ordinary deaths. They were meant to send a message to a broad audience from the most militant murderers who chose the most peaceful victims. The manner of death involved the knife as a bloody instrument of terror against which there is little protection, especially at close range. This use of the simplest of weapons declares that anyone can become a terrorist by brandishing this most common implement.
The intention is also evident. Any place, even the most sanctified or innocent, can become a terror scene. No place is safe; not even a sanctuary or school. The act is a declaration of war upon the Christian West by all those who hate its rational order.
The decapitations were deliberately symbolic. The most symbolic aspect was the act of beheading. It is symbolic of the desire to sever society from its rational foundations. The brain is the organ through which the intellect guides the will and suppresses the unbridled passions. The decapitation in the Catholic Church points to the head’s symbolism. It represents the spiritual thought processes through which the soul contemplates and expresses its love for God.
Western Christian civilization was the fruit of the union of things material and spiritual. It combined the good, true and beautiful and produced a society guided by the light of the Gospels and oriented to the greater glory of God. The union of body and soul is the perfect image of how society should be.
By separating the head from the body, the West’s enemies know they destroy that essential rational and spiritual link that should guide all action. They interrupt that discourse of prayer by which the soul unites itself to God. Through these symbolic acts, they announce to the West that the age of faith and reason is over. The time for unbridled anarchy and irrationality has arrived.
Indeed, when the head no longer functions, everything is possible. Every moral can be overturned; every hierarchy overthrown. Nihilism alone remains since the body is nothing without its head.
Same Imagery in America
Curiously, beheading imagery is not limited to Islamic terrorists. On the other side of the Atlantic, the same burning hatred for the West is present on the streets of Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., and other places where Antifa-inspired rioters appear with guillotines to terrorize citizens.
Despite their differences, both groups send the same clear message with deliberate symbolism. The same revolt against the Christian West is seen in Oregon, albeit with burnt Bibles and American flags. In these terrorists/rioters, there is the same desire to behead society in America, albeit with the more efficient guillotine.
The Antifa people renounce all that represents hierarchy and moral order and parade about breaking the law and attacking the police officers, who represent order. The black-clad, foul-mouthed militants are ominous figures that augur ill for the country’s future.
A Need for More Freedom, Diversity and Tolerance?
Much of the governments’ reaction to the order-destroyers is to deny the problem or downplay its scope.
French Government officials crack down on extremists who are part of the “Islamist separatism” inside France. However, they admit that both targets and the number of individuals willing to attack them seem unlimited. Leaders have also appealed to the need to defend French identity and values—which is hard to define in postmodern, secular France.
In Portland, city officials defend the destructive violence of the “mostly peaceful” protests as protected free speech. They blame the federal government for provoking the nighttime violence.
The reaction of other liberal order officials in France and America is to declare the need for more unbridled freedom, tolerance and diversity. Some even blame the West for the beheadings because of its colonial past.
Such self-destructive thoughts and actions only make beheaders bolder. The only way to reply to this suicide of the West is to reject the Enlightenment’s absurd and liberal ideas that facilitate it and return to the rational and moral Christian order. Nothing else will save the West from destruction.
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