They Can’t Win

So everyone must know by now about the terrible attack that took place in Paris last night. First of all I’d like to express my sympathies for the people of France, and hope that all my readers there are safe. I know I’ve had a few French people comment here on my blog, so if you’re reading this, drop me another comment and let me know you’re okay.

As always happens during a tragedy, people start to lose hope in humanity. But I’m here to tell you that yesterday’s attack only gave me more hope for humanity. Not because of the attack itself obviously, but because of what the attack represents and how humanity has chosen to respond to it.

The perfect response to terrorism.
The perfect response to terrorism.

The attacks in Paris is the last desperate flailing of a dying monster. What ISIS wants is to make us as violent, savage, and xenophobic as they are. They see a city like Paris, filled with people from all over the world come to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world and welcomed with open arms, and it frightens them. They’re terrified of a world where we no longer divide each other by race, nationality, or gender. But that day is coming, sooner than they’d like, and it scares them.

We’re living in the most peaceful era in human history.  There has literally never been a time where there has been less wars, less violence, or more equality, and more peace. There has never been a happier, more peaceful time to be a human being living on Earth. A scant seventy and some odd years ago, Germany was invading France. Today they’re pledging their support. That’s how much as changed in such a short time.

Yes, you can look around the world on any given day and see horrors beyond imagining. Extreme poverty, starvation, civil wars. But we’re getting better at solving each of those problems with every passing day.

A graph of the incredible progress humanity has made.
This is humanity getting better-

And yes, people like the members of ISIS will continue planting bombs in shadows and shooting at unarmed civilians. But again, those are the last desperate actions from people who can see a world of unified global peace approaching, and are utterly terrified by it. Their time is quickly running out and they know it.

And you know what frightens them the most? What they’re afraid everyone is going to do?

They’re afraid everyone is going to go out there and do exactly what they did yesterday.

And that’s exactly what most of you did today without even thinking about it. I myself went to go eat some delicious pancakes this morning and didn’t think twice about it.

And this frightens ISIS because it means their most desperate acts, their most powerful blows… ultimately amount to nothing. It reminds them of a single, inescapable truth that frightens them to their very core:

They can’t win.

Barring a third world war that blasts us back to the stone age, ISIS simply can’t win. Humanity has evolved beyond them. Whereas they desperately try to hold onto a past world that ran on violence and cruelty, the rest of us are marching toward a world of unprecedented peace and prosperity, where everyone is equal. We’re getting so close to Star Trek levels of utopia that you can practically hear the Warp Engines powering up.

This is how I know in my heart that ISIS, and others like them, can’t possibly win:

New York
New York, The United States
Mexico City, Mexico
Shanghai, China
Sydney, Australia
New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
My home city of Seattle
My home city of Seattle

That’s just a fraction of the world’s monuments that have been lit up to show support for France. Across the world, millions of people have taken to social media to voice their support. An entire planet’s worth of people have stood up and said that the death of 129 civilians is unacceptable.

That’s how I know that national, racial, religious and every other flavor of extremism, whether it be from terrorists like ISIS or blustering fear mongering politicians, can’t win.

Because against an entire planet determined to make a better future for itself…

They simply can’t.


  1. Thank you. I’d been thinking ‘they can’t win’ in the sense of ‘can’t be allowed to win’ but I think your assessment is absolutely correct. The tide of solidarity shown from around the world is inspiring and reassuring and restores my faith in humanity. Thanks again for your article.

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