Don't Give the Charlie Hebdo Attackers What They Want

Terrorism isn’t madness. That’s the true lesson that the West keeps refusing to learn.

Standing up to fear.

Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

A decade or so ago, in his book “Terror and Liberalism,” the social critic Paul Berman derided the West for repeatedly making the conceptual error of refusing to understand “that, from time to time, mass political movements do get drunk on the idea of slaughter.” Our mistake, he wrote, is “expecting the world to act in sensible ways” -- that is, “without mystery, self-contradiction, murk, or madness.”

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