Why do our leaders treat us as though we were children, unable to face the truth? Because we let them.
There is almost a ritualistic quality to it. There is an Islamic atrocity committed in some Western city, followed immediately by a sense of shock. Next there is an outpouring of sympathy manifesting itself in the laying of flowers, ‘Je suis Charlie…’ etc. Then we have the political and religious leaders assuring us that ‘Islam is a religion of peace, this has nothing to do with Islam’. Finally some civic leader, politician, police chief, or the like will tell us that their greatest fear is a rise in Islamaphobia.
And so it continues until the next atrocity, and the ritual is undergone again.
Even well respected people like Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, are drawn into the dance. Welby is not just a thoroughly decent man, he is to be admired for his ability and commitment, if anyone is capable of holding the Anglican communion together it is Welby. And yet he too joins the dance of denial.
Social cohesion is a laudable goal, but wilful blindness can lead to exacerbating social divisions. When the genuine concerns of ordinary people are dismissed by those in positions of leadership we will find a growing disillusionment with the political process and a rise of populist solutions to complex problems.
By denying there is a problem in the name of social cohesion our elites are furthering the conditions for social disruption.