You’ve probably heard the saying “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Leaving aside the question of its relative truth, let me know if your brain hurts after trying to wrap it around what follows.
Radical Islam has a beef with the West. Sometime in the fairly recent past, certain Muslim sects that were perfectly content to hang out with their seventh-century beliefs since – well, the seventh century – came to the conclusion that moderating our society’s influence in the Muslim world was the only way to preserve their culture.
Even if you factor out the ones who’ve decided it’s acceptable to kill us and break our stuff in this pursuit, it’s no secret that Muslim fundamentalists do not believe we’re a positive force in the world.
Why is this? In short, they think our foreign policy is interventionist, imperialist and oppressive. This is hogwash, of course, but that isn’t the heart of the matter. What really disgusts the Osama bin Ladens of the world is our culture at large – specifically, that two things they detest about America are two things which are by nature given to proliferation: capitalism and Christianity.
The problem is they don’t particularly like what’s being exported to their neck of the woods. Libertine lifestyles, self-seeking decadence, substance abuse and criminality, promiscuity and sexual deviance, immodesty and irreverence – in their view – have corrupted and threaten to ultimately destroy their culture.
An oversimplification, perhaps, but it has given rise to the jihad which is currently being waged against us, leaving aside a few geopolitical intricacies and the fact that most of the jihadists are simply disaffected losers, propagandized by their own corrupt leaders and sexually frustrated old men in black dresses.
A point of contention amongst some Americans has been the fact that throughout the course of the war thus far, the mainstream American press has been downplaying the threat these jihadists pose and slanting their coverage to the detriment of the United States and to the benefit of our enemies. Similar sentiments have been expressed by the entertainment industry through their products, which are an intrinsic part of American culture and are consumed throughout the world.
Interestingly (and I know this will not have escaped the scrutiny of some of you) the politically active folks who harbor the aforementioned sympathies – “progressives,” Hollywood types, New York and D.C.-based intellectual libertines – are the first people radical Islam would kill were they able to storm our shores in a glorious wave of death (or rain gibbering ski-masked paratroopers into our major cities).
So, are these sympathizers stupid, insane, monumentally deluded or malignantly unpatriotic? Probably a combination of all of the above, but what I really find interesting is the parallel between the complaints of radical Islam and those of another group much closer to home: Religious conservatives.
Really – go back and look at the things I listed which fundamentalist Muslims claim to find odious with regard to America, and think of those that religious conservatives complain about.
Of course, conservative Christians aren’t the only religious group that addresses these cultural deficiencies – they just do it the most vocally. I am surprised, however, that more in the mainstream media didn’t latch on to this fact and start drawing sweeping parallels between conservative Christians and simply advocate eradicating those along with al-Qaida.
I consider myself to be among those conservative Christians, which led me to examine the question of how we can find the same things offensive, yet be on different sides, and how a jihadist paratrooper would probably find a lot of common ground with Pat Robertson philosophically – but after the discussion would probably still relish stuffing a grenade in Michael Moore’s mouth.
So how is it that radical Muslims despise Christianity and capitalism so much given that the former certainly has benefited the Middle East as well as the West, and that the latter has so many commonalities with their own religion?
The reason is thus: The brand of religion and capitalist adventurism advocated by people like me isn’t the one Muslims see making its way to their shores, primarily via the airwaves. Too many of us take it for granted that people in these Islamic regimes have the same access to information as we do, so even the religious conservative is apt to wonder: Don’t they see that’s not what we’re really about?
But there wasn’t a weekend from 1993 to 2000 that did not feature Bill Clinton on the national news leaving church on Sunday morning – yet he was also the one getting sexually serviced under his desk. Think about the percentage of garbage in our media compared to that which would have been socially acceptable 30 years ago – and what is likely filtering through overseas – and the perceptions of radical Islam may begin to make sense.
In conclusion: We’re at war with fundamentalist Muslims, who loathe the same aspects of our culture as many of the moral traditionalists among us. The home-front enemies of the latter group support the foreign enemy, who would sooner eliminate them than the traditionalists (their enemy’s enemy). We are compelled by constitutional obligation to suffer all of the folly and idiocy foisted upon us by the home-front enemy, but the foreign enemy – with whom we have a lot in common – we’ll probably end up having to nuke into the ionosphere.
Brain hurt yet? Mine does.