Yglesias

Terrorists and Anarchists

CREDIT:

I recorded a BHTV segment with superstar New York Times columnist Ross Douthat earlier this week. I believe this segment is the one in which I bust out my pet “al-Qaeda are the anarchists of the 21st century” analogy:

I really mean that analogy to be read in two directions. On the one hand, I think people drastically overestimate the extent of terrorism risks and the extent to which Muslim immigration to Europe is some unsolvable nightmare. But at the same time, I think part of what gets people confused here is a tendency to underestimate how severe the problems of the past seemed. Catholic (and Jewish) immigration to the United States really was, at the time, seen as a major dilemma involving the integration of ideological, religiously, and racially alien people. And people living before World War One really were living in an era marked by a frightening upsurge in anarchist violence, particularly a volume of major assassinations that would be unthinkable today.