Second Nature


David Brooks can't seem to decide whether terrorists are overcoming human nature or giving in to it. In his September 7 New York Times column, he says terrorism is "about experiencing the total freedom of barbarism–freedom even from human nature, which says, Love children, and Love life." In the next paragraph, he says we don't want to face the truth about terrorism because "we don't want to acknowledge those parts of human nature that were on display" in the Beslan massacre.

To recap: It's human nature to love children, and it's human nature to murder them. Unlike "too many people have become experts at averting their eyes," Brooks has the courage to express a strong preference for the first option.