The dictionary defines the term "security" as a "condition in which you are protected or not exposed to hazards" – but also as "something that creates security, protection, protection, defense". This means a state that is organic and thus sealed once and for all.
The condition The term "security" refers to, to a great extent and without much problematicization, both appreciated and longed for by most users. Thus, the recognition this condition has in the audience is transmitted to guards of this condition. They also tend to be referred to as "security" or other synonyms of the word. All measures and efforts that have security as their purpose, bask in the splendor of the undisputed value of security. With this comes a fairly predictable pattern of action that is completely in line with all learned reflexes: Do you feel insecure? Then you require more public security services that can protect you, or you buy more security devices that will avert dangers. Do your voters complain that they feel insecure? Then you hire or hire more security guards, and give them the freedom to act in ways they deem necessary – even if it may involve conduct that is problematic or directly disgusting.
This is a sure recipe for creating a sense of exception, of the enemy standing at the gate.
Social "security». "Securityization" is a hitherto unknown concept in socio-political discourse, and is still not to be found in the dictionaries of bookshops. The word has recently emerged in several debates, and was quickly picked up in the political vocabulary. The term refers to the increasingly frequent redefinition of noe as an example of "uncertainty", followed by virtually an automatic transmission of this noe to the responsibility and oversight of the security agencies.
Learned reflexes do well without arguments and persuasions. As with what the German philosopher Martin Heidegger refers to as Mon- the community's general way of thinking and acting – "what to do" – they appear so obvious and self-evident that they are almost raised above
any problematization. The learned reflexes are thus left as something separate, safe and elevated above reflection – and out of the spotlight of logic. That is why politicians happily resort to the ambiguity of the concept: it makes their task easier, and their actions are secured a form of prior approval from the population.
One example among many is the Huffington Post's report shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13 last year:
"French President Francois Hollande stated that a state of emergency would be declared throughout France, and that the borders would be closed after the attacks in Paris on Friday night. "It's awful," Hollande said in a brief statement, adding that a cabinet meeting had been convened. "A state of emergency will be declared," he said. "The next measure will be the closure of national borders," he added. "We must ensure that no one can come in to commit any acts whatsoever, and at the same time ensure that those who have committed these acts of terrorism are arrested if they try to leave the country."
Latent and manifest. The Financial Times reported the same reaction from the president, with the headline "Hollande's Post-Paris Power Grab":
"The state of emergency gives the police permission to break into and search houses without a search order, to cancel meetings and seminars and to introduce house arrest. This order also paves the way for military troops to be deployed in French streets. "
The sight of doors being broken open, swarms of uniformed policemen interrupting meetings and bursting into homes without the homeowners' permission, and the sight of soldiers patrolling the streets – all this creates a powerful impression of a government going to the "core of the problem".
This form of demonstration of determination and determination is, to use Robert Merton's memorable conceptual distinction, the demonstration's. manifest function (i.e. the original, intended goal). It latent function is, on the other hand, quite the opposite. It involves promoting and encouraging security, and draws its nourishment from the population's economic and social headaches and worries that arise in an atmosphere of uncertainty. The uncertainty is created by the fragility of the existential conditions and the tendency of people to create divisions in groups. This is a sure recipe for creating a sense of state of emergency, of the enemy standing at the gate. Not only the country, but also "my own home" is in danger. In such a social climate, one puts one's trust in those "up there", those who play the role of providence's almost divine protection, those who prevent the father from falling for them both.
Whether the manifest function of the said police has been successful is a mildly controversial question. That it masterfully frees itself from its own latent function, however, is beyond doubt. The effect of Hollande (and the security forces he commands) showing muscle in public came so quickly that it surpassed all previous achievements on the current president's merit list. Earlier, polls showed Hollande was the least popular president in France since 1945. His popularity has now risen significantly: While 28 percent of French people in November thought he was doing a good job, the number rose to 50 percent in December, a month later. the brutal terrorist attacks in Paris.
The widespread sense of existential uncertainty is indisputable. Through its political leaders, society congratulates itself on its increasing deregulation of the labor markets and the "flexibility" of work. As a result, social positions become more fragile, and socially recognized identities become unstable. The new social class called Precariat – those who stand in quicksand and constantly have to move – are getting bigger and bigger. Contrary to many people's beliefs, this uncertainty is not merely a product of politicians looking for voices or media profiting from crisis-maximizing broadcasts. On the other hand, it is true that the existential uncertainty in which an increasing part of the population finds itself is welcome water on politicians' mills. The uncertainty is being transformed into a significant – perhaps even overriding – material that the current governing powers are cast after.
Governments call for unrest. Today's governments have little interest in making the population less troubled. Rather, they are interested in making people more worried about the future and uncertain times – as long as the uncertainty is such that it can give politicians golden opportunities to show muscle. At the same time, it is kept hidden that governing bodies are overwhelmed by challenges they are unable to handle. This is where security comes in as a magician's trick: It shifts anxiety from problems the government cannot or will not deal with, to problems that can be seen daily and on thousands of screens the government tries to deal with – with great zeal and occasional success.
Among the first type of problems we find essential human needs: accessible and good jobs, stable social positions and protection against both social dumping and loss of dignity. All this creates a basis for security and welfare that the governments – which once promised both jobs and comprehensive welfare services – are now unable to deliver. The other type of problem is, for example, the fight against terrorists who threaten the physical security of the people and their property. These problems tend to play first fiddle, primarily because they are so well-suited to legitimizing the use of force and measures that create political support – for a long time to come. The final victory in that match is a distant and dubious prospect.
"Military troops can be deployed in French streets."
Orbán and Orbi. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's laconic and captivating statement that "all terrorists are migrants" is a long-awaited solution to the government's struggle to survive. Such an interpretation goes against all logical sense – but faith does not need logic to change mindset. On the contrary – it increases in strength as it loses logical power.
For governments that want to regain their declining raison d'être, this must sound like the signals from a lifeboat sailing out of the heavy fog they have wrapped themselves in.
For the man behind this statement, the gains were immediate: a four-meter-high fence was erected along a 177-kilometer border with Serbia. When Hungarians in a poll in December last year were asked what they think of when they hear the word "fear", 23 percent more answered "terrorism" than "disease", "crime" and "poverty". The general sense of security of the population had fallen significantly. As expected, Orbán's fence has also proved to be extremely popular. 87 percent support his solution to the migration problem, and with it also – let it be said once and for all – his solution to the haunting ghost of general insecurity.
The new, social class called Precariat is getting bigger and bigger.
We can only imagine how fear is both amplified and becomes more durable if it is connected to a specific, visible and concrete enemy, rather than to an intangible feeling of insecurity of unknown origin. Worst of all, such a connection can even be satisfactory: Once we decide that we are ready for the challenge, we almost involuntarily grasp an unshakable interest in the pompous part of it. The more terrifying the challenge seems, the prouder and more flattered we feel. The bigger and more cunning the enemy is, the greater the heroic status of those who declare war on him. It is no coincidence that a large majority of Hungarians who responded to the survey supported the following statement: "Certain outside forces are behind the mass migration."
Declaring war on a designated enemy is a clear advantage for politicians looking for voters. It almost guaranteed to increase the nation's self-confidence, and thus creates a gratitude in the population – at least in the growing part of the population who experience their recognition and self-esteem threatened or weakened, and who therefore seek something that can compensate for the loss of their own dignity.
The policy of security contributes not least to suppressing our – the passive spectators' – conscience at the sight of its own victims. The policy of security "neutralizes" the migrant problem to become an indifferent matter. These victims, who in the public light have been branded as possible terrorists, are thus placed outside the realm of moral responsibility – and most of all outside the realm of compassion and the impulse to care. Many people feel – consciously or unconsciously – that they are relieved of responsibility for the fate of the suffering, and relieved of their moral duty which would otherwise be a burden on all of us. Many are also grateful for this liberation.
The victims' false guilt. One last comment is in order. Security can – in addition to being relentless, socially blind and deliberately misleading – also prove to benefit the real terrorist recruiters. A new study conducted by the security consulting company Soufan Group estimates that around 50 of those recruited as fighters to ISIS come from EU countries. Only two of the terrorists in Paris were identified as non-European. Who are these young people fleeing Europe to take part in terrorist groups, and planning to return with terrorist training in their luggage? One answer is that the majority of Westerners who join ISIS come from poor conditions. A recent study by the Pew Research Center finds that several young Europeans have suffered disproportionately from the economic problems their country has faced. That is why young Europeans often see themselves as victims. ISIS offers an experience of being important and having control, and thus has a strong attraction to this vulnerable group. Instead of equating migrants with terrorists, our heads of state must distance themselves from the "us versus them" attitude and the lake of fear of Islam. These are things that only benefit ISIS, as they use it as a recruitment tool.
Social exclusion is an important basis for the radicalization of young Muslims in Europe. We must remember that those who organize these attacks and those who commit them are exactly the same as the refugees from – not the other way around. I agree with Pierre Baussand from the NGO Forum Social Platform that although the Muslim community itself must play a crucial role in eradicating radicalization, only society as a whole can cope with this threat we all face. Instead of going to war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the most important weapons the West can use against terrorism are social inclusion and integration. This is what requires the proper attention of the world, and this is what requires acute but also resolute action.
This article is reproduced with permission from Social Europe, where it was in print January 6th.