Monday, July 25, 2005

Back to the Drawing Board?

Paul Cella asks what may be the most important question facing the free world in the decade to come:

By now, every free nation in the world still possessed of its senses knows it must face this self-interrogation: Are we or are we not going permit (or perhaps continue to permit) the emergence, within our midst, of totalitarian Islam? Again I deliberately leave open the question of whether "totalitarian Islam" really means "Islam in the modern world" or merely "a perversion of Islam in the modern world." But to repeat: The people of the free nations of the world, the citizens of the West (or her descendents if in fact the West is no more), are now confronted with sufficient evidence that the efforts to call totalitarian Islam into existence in every free nation are well underway; that such efforts will be materially supported from the home bases of totalitarian Islam, and may be spiritually supported by the very nature of Islam as such*; and that those efforts can, at least to some degree, be encouraged or discouraged by the actions of our own governments.

The instinct of most of us is not even to face the question, to decline the self-interrogation altogether, and get on with our barbeques and reality shows; but face it we must, because ultimately the threat it signifies is neither fleeting nor mild, but rather persistent and existential.

The terrorist attacks of 7/7 have confounded every explanation offered as a "root cause" of terrorism, as well as the current attempt to stop terrorism by spreading democracy. The perpetrators of the London bombings were not impoverished third world Arabs; they lived in what was once the heart of the Western world, and what is still a bulwark of liberal democracy. Whatever we decide to do to combat terrorism, one thing is certain. We cannot reject the idea of going back to the drawing board.


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