Special Report

Coddling Killers

The liberal root-causes racket.

By 12.28.04

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Will Victoria Jo Stinnett ever celebrate a happy birthday? I very much doubt it. As soon as she is old enough to understand, she'll be haunted by the trauma of her birth -- ripped from her dead mother's womb by alleged killer Lisa Montgomery. Yet monster though she undoubtedly is, Montgomery is already reaping the benefits of the insidious root-causes racket.

Root causes are the rationalizations liberals give -- usually after the fact -- for their immoral actions or for the immoral actions of others. The paradox at the heart of the root-causes fraud is that causal theoretical explanations are invoked only after bad deeds have been committed. Good deeds have no need of mitigating circumstances.

Thus liberals find no need to explain why Bill Gates behaves benevolently, but somehow, they require a theory to explain why Montgomery, after a good deal of premeditated scheming, gained access to the Missouri home of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, strangled her, sliced open her abdomen, and then made away with her child, later passing the girl off as her own.

In the months to come, you'll see the dog-and-pony psychiatric show and its media claque pose such questions as: "What drove Lisa Montgomery to mug, murder, and mutilate Bobbie Jo Stinnett." That's because, after people perpetrate evil, liberals toss free will to the wind. Since Montgomery did a monstrous thing, liberals attribute her actions to causes. You see, to perpetrate evil, one must be "mentally ill." Since Bill Gates does good things, those of a liberal mindset attribute his actions to choice. They acknowledge free will and human agency if -- and only if -- adaptive actions are involved.

"Progressives" make some exceptions to the rule. Never once did the punditariat ponder what drove Scott Peterson to murder his wife and unborn child. Peterson's sex made it easy for liberals to accept that he chose to act on his inherent evil impulses. Liberal misandry guarantees that female offenders are more likely to benefit from root-causes "reasoning."

FEMALE OFFENDERS AND JIHADISTS, to be more precise. Western Liberal "intellectuals," not Jihadists, are behind the root-causes theory of terrorism. Ask any Islamic terrorist why he desires to kill Americans and Israelis, including innocent civilians, and he'll reply with candor and conviction. The Islamic criminal, unlike the common criminal that inhabits Western jails, lacks psychological savvy, a fact that increases his believability. He hasn't yet imbibed the teachings of Western progressive psychotherapists, eager to help him excavate the "root causes" of his depraved deeds.

Not given to the-camel-ate-my homework excuses, the Islamist will disclose that he desires to kill us because he hates us. And why does he hate us? 1. Because America's government prefers democratic Israel to the despotic Palestinian Authority. And 2. Because America's military, as he sees it, meddles in Muslim affairs.

Now, Islamic propagandists assure us that the Muslim disdain for the "infidel" Jew is a recent phenomenon based entirely on the continued existence of the tiny "Zionist entity," i.e., Israel. But over a cup of thick Arabic coffee, the Islamist will concede that, while his contempt for the dhimmi, as the Jew was derogatorily termed, has gathered Nazi detritus along the way, its origins are purely Islamic. What does this have to do with America? As our candid Islamist will argue -- and most of the "Muslim Street" will agree -- America is a puppet whose strings are pulled by a Jewish/Israeli cabal.

Liberals, of course, know any man's mind better than he does himself. According to their lackluster logic, which has come to dominate debate, the "Three P's" -- patriarchy, poverty, and powerlessness -- are responsible for terrorism. Never mind that Osama bin Laden is a millionaire. Or that the September 11 killers were scions of privilege. Or that Al Qaeda is hardly manned by illiterate peasants. No matter that from Russia's Bolsheviks to South America's Tupamaros and Montoneros, from Germany's Baader-Meinhof Gang to Italy's Red Brigades -- terrorists have always been middle-class.

The typical terrorist is prosperous and self-righteous, writes Michael Radu of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. "The elite flocks to Islamist ideology," seconds Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes. "Militant Islam is not a response to poverty or impoverishment but results more from success than from failure. Not only are Bangladesh and Iraq [before the war] not hotbeds of militant Islam, but militant Islam has often surged in countries experiencing rapid economic growth."

Forget all that. Rather than face facts, liberals opt to libel the poorest of the poor, and that includes most sub-Saharan Africans as well as the slum-dwellers of Brazil and India. Last time I looked, however, these paupers were not mounting a global terrorist offensive.

Liberals are especially vigorous in applying root-causes "reasoning" to female suicide bombers. To liberals, Chechen suicide bomber Zarema Muzhikhoeva is not a criminal who conned herself into a corner as tight as the corset of explosives she tried to detonate. Instead, they regard Muzhikhoeva and her Palestinian cohorts as mere pawns in a patriarchal game.

To discuss these doyennes of death, Scarborough Country rounded up Dr. Drew Pinsky and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Both told host Pat Buchanan that while women were capable of violence, they enjoyed "a natural nobility of character." Boteach insisted, "To get women to be that aggressive, they have to be brutalized by men or their society."

The Rabbi's chivalry runs counter to the facts, not least anthropologist Ilsa Glaser's research into female aggression in the Palestinian Authority. Glaser discovered that women's gossip and nagging play a crucial role in the instigation of one of the most wicked of crimes: the "honor killing." In defaming the targeted women and goading the men to act, Arab women are the prime movers behind these murders.

Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud is a typical Palestinian woman, but boy, does she defy the liberal stereotype of Arab woman as victim of male hegemony. Qaoud's daughter Rofayda was raped and impregnated by her own brothers. When the girl refused to commit suicide, Mommy Dearest hacked away at her own child's wrists -- ignoring pleas of "No, mother, no!" -- until the poor girl expired. Qaoud's kinfolk (and she concurs) see in her not a murderess but rather a woman driven by devotion to community, family and Allah.

THE SIRENS OF SUICIDE are viewed in much the same light. "She is a hero. She is a martyr," brayed the mother of Palestinian suicide bomber Wafa Idris. These people are proud of the ghastly deeds they say their faith commands. They demonstrate no consciousness of guilt nor do they exhibit the urge to adorn their barbarism with a respectable pedigree. That's the job of patronizing Western liberals. "In dealing with crime," wrote political philosopher Murray Rothbard, "liberals are concentrating on the wrong root causes. That is, on 'poverty' or 'child abuse' instead of a rotten immoral character."

Nothing causes ordinary Palestinians to strap on belts of razor blades and dynamite and then blow up innocent Israelis. And nothing causes ordinary Israelis to not respond in kind. These are respective choices. Since so many Palestinians choose to commit evil, liberals invariably attribute their actions (after obligatory and perfunctory denunciations) to Israeli-engendered oppression. Since just about no Israeli civilians respond in kind, liberals fail to credit their moral choices. Similarly, Lisa Montgomery has reasons -- not causes -- for killing Bobby Jo Stinnett and stealing her child.

The philosopher and distinguished psychiatrist Viktor Frankl said this of his experience in Auschwitz: "In the camps one lost everything, except the last of the human freedoms, to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." You can see why liberals have always preferred Freud to Frankl. They retain a totemic attachment to the Freudian idea that traumatic toilet training is destiny.

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About the Author

Ilana Mercer is the author of Broad Sides: One Woman's Clash With A Corrupt Culture.