In the previous essays, the Islamist ethos of conquest was exposed. We must honestly face this threat to human liberty.
Confronting totalitarian ideology requires military and political courage and wisdom. The policies since 9-11-2001 have been haphazard at best and utter failures at worst.
But there is one more resource needed in the battle for liberty: humility about the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of the West. The battle against fanaticism will never be won without integrity at the core of the fight. At first this sounds counter intuitive. Often folks say that if our opponents fight dirty, so must we. While there may be moments of compromise and subversion in any war, at the heart of success must be an unflinching faith in the values and vision for the civilization we are defending.
One of the Islamists’ most destructive and divisive tactics is their blistering critique of Western decadence, including our materialism, narcissism and racism. Each of these self-centered characteristics creates fertile ground for the poison of ideological extremism.
History loudly exposes the darker side of the West.All of these events embolden radicals with long memories:
• 15th-19th century conquest and exploitation of the Americas;
• 19th and 20th century European “mandates” in Africa and the Middle East;
• The conquest of the North American continent at the expense of indigenous rights;
• And the 20th century American domination of her empire acquired in war.
For the past six decades, the West has struggled to atone for prior evils and bring aid to the world, with mixed results. One thing does ring true, in spite of all the mistakes made:
Everywhere there is freedom of conscience and economic opportunity in the world, there has been some form of Christian and Western influence encouraging values that lead to human flourishing. And Islam has never produced a truly egalitarian democracy. These values include more than “freedom.” Religious faith, personal responsibility, access to markets, property rights and the rule of law are all part of this liberating ethos.
Time for Truth
Courage and humility, joined with reverence for the Almighty and respect for all persons, provide the moral and spiritual core strength for the long battle we must face with the global jihadists. If we continue to waste our energies in amoral and immoral entertainment and cultural distractions, there will not be the energy and focus needed for wise confrontation and defeat of determined enemies.