Friday, April 09, 2004

Yes, It Is a War Against Islam

"The problem of modern terror--terror that combines an apocalyptic ideology and a yearning for destruction--demands honesty with ourselves about the nature of the threat and honesty in politics. Capturing the top leaders of Al Qaeda is a necessity, but terror is not a threat that will end with decapitation. Nor will it end with the ordinary politics of negotiation and concession... The radical Islamists are at war with modernity itself. Their sense of difference is encapsulated in the declaration of an alleged Al Qaeda spokesman: “You love life, and we love death.” Transnational terror cannot be combatted in an atmosphere of international distrust. At the very least, the terrorists have proved themselves to be as good as their word. Governments that hope to resist them must be, too."

The radical Islamists are at war with modernity itself. Meanwhile romantics and postmodernists in the West bash the Enlightenment imagining buccolic tribal villages of happy peasants in local costume producing traditional crafts.

Today is Good Friday, and I remember my own romantic fantasy: a Byzantine world saturated with religiousity, icons and chant, legends of the saints, processions in the streets, churches encrusted with mosaics, stinking of incense. Of course I wanted the sanitized Episcopalian version, without the superstition, squalor and violence.

There is no free ride. It is a pity that the only viable alternative to Jihad is MacWorld, incarnate in Southern California. The price for security, fairness and opportunity is high--the loss of aesthetic value, romance and charm--but it's worth it.

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