In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Newsweek ran a cover study asking, “Why Do they Hate Us?” as if the cause of animosity to the United States lay in the object not the subject. They could use the very logic of that question to determine that gay-bashers are not to blame for attacking gay people because the fault lies not in their actions, but in our attitudes.
It seems hard for some on the left to grasp that hatred can often exist independently of the reviled object. It can be a product of the mind of the hater–or the ideology to which he subscribes. But, some wish to believe that the U.S. is responsible for all manner of ills around the world, including violence directed against our nations, its institutions and its citizens.
Writing 144 years before 9/11, the greatest English novelist of the Victorian Age, got what all too many leftists, blinded by their ideology, refuse to grasp. In “Janet’s Repentance,” the third of three stories in her 1857 collection, Scenes of Clerical Life, George Eliot offers this about an abusive husband:
Cruelty, like very other vice, requires no motive outside itself–it only requires opportunity. You do not suppose Dempster had any motive for drinking beyond the craving for drink; the presence of brandy was the only necessary condition. And an unloving, tyrannous, brutal man needs no motive to prompt his cruelty; he needs only the perpetual presence of a woman he can call his own. A whole park full of tame or timid-eyed animals to torment at his will would not serve him so well to glut his lust of torture; they could not feel as one woman does; they could not throw out the keen retort which whets the age of hatred.
Just as the cruel husband needed no motive to abuse his wife, so do terrorists need no motive to commit atrocities against civilians. Those who wish to blame America for the terrorist attacks against us are akin to those who would blame a battered wife for her husband’s abuse.