Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Show them the respect of believing what they say

There is a must-read piece (registration required) in the Los Angeles Times by Sam Harris (hat tip: Instapundit) about the reality of the threat to the West from Islamic extremism. What Harris focuses on is the inability of many liberals to accept the nature and seriousness of the problem. Here is a lengthy quote, but be sure to read the whole thing:

"A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a 'war on terror.' We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.

This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy. . .

At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. . .

Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities."

I don't agree with him on everything, but what is clear is that a lot of people don't understand what we are up against. I can understand their reluctance; knowing that many impassioned, irrational people want you dead is, well, at the least disquieting. Ignoring this problem won't work, though. These issues are all too real, rather than some figment of an overly self-indulgent imagination. Don't believe me? How about this, this, this, and this? (all via Drudge) And that for reading a quote.

Do we think these or other such threats are hollow? If yes, then why are we worried about trying to stem such reactions? If no, then when are we going to unite at least in the fundamental understanding of the scope of the problem we face?

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