In Australia in recent days there has been some controversy over a Quadrant editor’s response to the obnoxious remarks of someone on the ABC’s Q&A panel that an American has more chance of being killed by a falling refrigerator than by terrorists. This happens not to be true. As far as I can tell, the only source of this bon mot is a US Consumer Product Safety Commission report that found that, between January 2000 and December 2011, toppling television sets, furniture, refrigerators and all other domestic appliances killed a total of 349 Americans – or 29 people per year.
For purposes of comparison, in Britain Islamic terrorists have just killed 28 people in 12 days. [SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: it’s now 29.] More to the point, your refrigerator is not trying to kill you, and not eternally seeking new ways to do so. You don’t have to worry about your fridge getting hold of an automatic weapon, or a dirty nuke. The Islamic supremacists want to kill as many infidels by whatever means are to hand. Nor are statistics relevant: If you’ve lost your only child because she went to an Ariana Grande concert, that’s 100 per cent of your kids who are dead. When it comes to deceased loved ones, the only statistical pool that counts is your family, not the nation or the planet.
This is a heartless sophistry from, in large part, the very same people who supported the policies that imported these pathologies to the west. It seems, at a certain level, incredible that you can have two major terrorist attacks in Britain’s capital and second largest city in the days before a general election – and yet it will make no difference to Thursday night’s result. For who among the major parties is offering any alternative to the disastrous, destructive conventional wisdom?