Terror and religion are joined at the hip. The analysis this week after the attacks has been focused on religion: the role of France's limiting of Islam in making it a target, the role of targeting Muslims in protecting us from terror, and how the US should treat its Muslim population. All of these things strike to the relationship between the state and religion.
It is time the US defined the worldwide separation of church and state, with simultaneous protection for all religious practice, as a core interest. In the Middle East, we need that to restrain Israeli and Muslim governments from favoring certain religious populations (and persecuting otherS). In the US we need it to stop people like Kim Davis from applying their views to the execution of state work. And in France we need to protect the rights of Muslims who wish to practice their religion from being marginalized.
Until people are free to worship as they choose, and interact with a state neutral in the support of religion, we're going to fight a losing battle against extremism. Step one is:
We must stop the countries that fund terrorism.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and other countries that allow their citizens to support ISIS or Al Qaeda need to be told: no more. No more military support and no more money until it stops. Terrorism is a binary issue: you're against it, or you're not. The countries who are not actively cracking down on supporters of terror are not friends of the United States, and need to know that behavior will not be tolerated if they expect to continue benefitting from our largesse.
How Twitter converted Megan Phelps
Megan Phelps Roper was a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, and almost wholly cut off from the outside world. The New Yorker dives into how social media created an opportunity for her to engage with differing viewpoints, change her worldview, and think critical. It's a terrific anecdote for the power of the Internet to take those who are marginalized or excluded and draw them into the mainstream.
Abenomics works, but it isn't fixing Japan
Growth in nominal GDP, lower unemployment, higher workforce participation, and inflation are all signs of... an economy in recession. Abenomics has worked beautifully, but the declining population of Japan means that it will be a country that continues to bounce in and out of recession, no matter how well the economy is managed.
The revenge of the coddled
Jonathan Haidt follows up his great Atlantic article from earlier this year (also linked to here) with an interview about the strife on college campuses recently. His assessment is things will get worse before they get better, as the generation of people coddled from their birth makes it to college. At least they've managed to unit conservatives and liberals on one issue?
China's communist rule is coming to an end
People have predicted impending doom for the Communist Party of China since the fall of Soviet Russia. The American Interest this week asserts a tired thesis, but argues this time is different. The economy is finally slowing, but that is just a revision of the argument that capitalism was going to topple the party during growth. What makes this article compelling is the look at how Xi Jinping has totally changed the power dynamic among China's elites, and how that is the real harbinger of trouble to come.