On Friday evening, a friend of mine who usually stays up on the news sent me a screenshot from the CNN homepage with this article highlighted:
Underneath the image he had just asked, "Wait, what?"
I informed him that he had apparently missed the menagerie of addlebrained TikTokkers who were reacting to Osama bin Laden's post-9/11 "Letter to America," wherein they marveled at how "right he was." My friend noted that while nothing surprises him anymore, it's still remarkable to be standing at this "Bin Laden was the hero" moment just 22 years after the towers fell.
I would agree with his bewilderment for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that the letter is little more than psychotic rambling.
Raised by a father who was married 22 times (though as a Sharia-compliant Muslim never to more than four women at once), Bin Laden himself was radicalized from his childhood. Despite pretenses and media-driven facades, he never excelled as a student, and reading this now-infamous "letter," it shows.
As a high school teacher who from time to time assigns students to write persuasive essays on controversial topics, I would give the Bin Laden letter a passing grade for creative thought and effort, but certainly not anything above a C. It is strewn with logical errors and contradictions.
Honestly, I suppose that actually might be one of the reasons so many Gen-Z TikTokkers are impressed by the terrorist's rant. They themselves embrace a lifestyle of self-contradiction, prefer to feel rather than to think, and choose the self-immolating buffoonery of wokeness over the time-tested truisms of Western thought.
Consider how Bin Laden's letter mirrors today's woke ideology as it advocates for the illogic of "collective guilt."
Western thought rightly and righteously adheres to the assumption that responsibility can only be individually assigned - that a man can be punished for his own actions, not for the actions of those who look like him, talk like him, believe like him, or live near him. A man is not to be punished for the sins of his father or his neighbor.
But with a couple decades of grievance-mongering wokeness under our societal belt, many now applaud the Saudi terrorist mastermind for preaching guilt by association.
[T]he American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will … The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want … So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates ... This is why the American people cannot be not (sic) innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and the Jews against us.
That's some high-level moral reasoning, isn't it? "You're an American? Then you're responsible for every injustice perpetrated by other Americans. Thus, we will kill your babies and grandparents and office workers and hair stylists and anyone else until we get our way."
That's the logic that our college-aged social media brigades are enamored with.
Never mind the fairly obvious reality that this whole craze is being promoted and pushed into prominence on the social media platform controlled by the communist Chinese - an empire dedicated to eclipsing the might and moral authority of the United States.
Ignore that and just notice the glaring self-contradiction. Ask any of the pro-9/11 TikTok scholars if they believe that the country of Israel has a right to hold the Palestinian people responsible for the butchery of Hamas, and watch their "collective guilt" crusade screech to a halt. Recent polls have shown a staggeringly high percentage of Palestinian citizens approve of Hamas and feel the October 7th massacre was justified. Overwhelming majorities of Palestinians celebrate and admire the very terrorists who are using their children as bomb shields. They adore the terrorists who are fomenting a humanitarian crisis by ripping up their water mains to use as rocket launchers, confiscating all their fuel to fire those missiles, and baiting Israel into bombing funeral homes, children's playgrounds, and hospitals.
So, if Bin Laden and the wokesters are right in saying that "collective guilt" is a justifiable basis upon which to engage in wonton slaughter of supposed "innocent people," why is Israel not justified in doing so?
That's what I mean. The letter is not persuasive. It's dumb. It's poorly reasoned. It will appeal only to those who are already radicalized in their hatred towards the West.
It will only catch on as a cultural phenomenon in a society that is no longer able to think and slouching towards suicide.
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