There are roughly 300 million people in America. Let’s say 1% of them, only 1 in 100, are composed of those who might fairly be called emotionally unstable—the mentally ill, those who have limited or no ability to govern their actions, those who act out, as they say, physically or violently. That’s three million people.
Looking at her article through different lens, however, I believe Ms. Noonan has the right idea, but the wrong group of mental deficients.
It’s true that political discourse may seem like the wild west these days, due to the passing of the old guard, new frontiers in media opening wider every day, the silent majority showing up at protests with signs and teabags, and millions of citizen journalists expressing their opinions in public. But it’s also true that the vast majority of these people, whom she labels “Ranters”, are really just We the People, finding our voices. And we are most decidedly not the enemy.
No, the enemy is, as it has been for at least 40 years, radical Islam. And it it still a potent, formidable enemy with hordes of those who wish us ill.
Using Ms. Noonan’s calculus, let’s make a new equation from her set of “people as a whole” (population of the U.S.) and subset of “people to be feared” (loonies, kooks, cranks, Ranters) and apply it to the population of Muslims in the world.
Our new set is “all Muslims“, mostly peaceful, happy to co-exist with other people, countries, religions: 1.5 billion.
Our new subset is “unstable Muslims”: 15 million (1% of 1.5 billion=15 million).
15 million “unstable” Muslims. Radical Muslims. That oft-bandied about “only a small percentage of Muslims” who wish us harm comes out to about 15 million people. That’s the entire population of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, with Houston thrown in for good measure. But even our extraoplation of Ms. Noonan’s equation may be far too conservative.
Last month, the Pew Research Center published a study which reported that support for suicide bombing is declining in many Muslim nations. That sounds like good news, right? But a simple look at the chart below leaves us with a few questions.
In the best-case scenarios of Pakistan and Turkey, 13% of Pakistanis and 26% of Turks believe that suicide bombing is sometimes or always justfied. Looking at the rest of the entries, it just gets worse. So while support for suicide bombing has presumably diminished, the number of those who approve of it is still unacceptably high.
And where is Saudi Arabia in this list? It’s probably best not to ask.
Oh, and just out of curiousity, how much aid does the United States give to these nations?
It seems as thought the Ranters that Peggy Noonan fears aren’t even in the same league with the real villains. Villains who will behead you for being gay or getting raped. Villains who will strap on a bomb and detonate themselves at wedding parties. Villains who will murder a daughter for having a boyfriend. Villains who will send another daughter to a Muslim country for genital mutilation.
Face it. We know The Enemy of our time. It isn’t Ranters, loonies, kooks, illegal aliens, Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Beck, or Barack Obama. The Enemy is, as it has been for the past 40 years or longer, Radical Islam. And until it has been conquered for good, we will continue to need strong borders, long airline check-in lines, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, and all the othe things that do or should be done to keep this nation safe.
I just hope it’s enough.