See also Paul Krugman, Fearing Fear Itself.
Like millions of people, Iâ€™ve been obsessively following the news from Paris, putting aside other things to focus on the horror. Itâ€™s the natural human reaction. But letâ€™s be clear: itâ€™s also the reaction the terrorists want. And thatâ€™s something not everyone seems to understand.
Take, for example,Â Jeb Bushâ€™sÂ declaration that â€œthis is an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.â€ No, it isnâ€™t. Itâ€™s an organized attempt to sow panic, which isnâ€™t at all the same thing. And remarks like that, which blur that distinction and make terrorists seem more powerful than they are, just help the jihadistsâ€™ cause.
It would be really nice if the next President is someone who can find the Middle East on a map and recognize that all those Ferrin’ places over there are not just alike. For example, in the recent Republican debate, Toast! actually said Â â€œIf youâ€™re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon or Iraq or Syria, youâ€™re gonna be beheaded.â€ To which some Lebanese responded, “Um, no, we’re not.”