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Keep on, keeping on!

Reader comment on item: My Gloom: Back to September 10

Submitted by Robert Odean (Canada), Dec 22, 2005 at 12:21

Dear Daniel:

I share your sense of concern that the political elite and the mainline media have downplayed the threat of militant Islam. As far as the academic world is concerned, it is hopeless.

Perhaps because the conflict was from the beginning, for reasons of political correctness, erroneously defined as a "war on terrorism" rather than a "war against militant Islam," it is difficult for many to understand the nature of the threat we face. Others are so ideologically constrained or conflicted by an anti-Americanism they cannot recognize the reality of the threat we face.

The academy and liberal media has succeeded in promoting its simplistic multiculturalist and relativist reading of reality. This ideology is totally ingrained in Western thinking making any attempt to question it almost impossible or a sign of intellectual backwardness.

I may be wrong, but I sense even among liberal friends and some government types caught up in the multiculturalist and relativist camp, a growing suspicion that the violence of militant Islamists are not simply those of a fringe group. I definitely hear this from ordinary working folk. Recently, a Lebanese-Canadian who reupholstered two chairs for us said, "Teaching the Qur'an is dangerous." A young Iranian-Canadian, ADT technician, left Islam as a teenager because it didn't make sense. He openly challenges friends that argue for jihad against the West. His mother has become a Pentecostal Christian; he and his father are now agnostics. Though my sample is small, perhaps there is some cause for hope that below the surface there is an awareness of the nature of the challenge we face.

For too long the academic world has held to a belief in the perfectibility of man. Their unrealistic trust in reason is obviously the foundation for this belief. They have preached that personal human problems, the problems of a society, and relationships to other societies, etc., can all be either solved or significantly ameliorated through the exercise of reason. History and reality challenge this false doctrine, yet their actions seem to suggest they continue to believe their high-minded and tolerant approaches contrary to "reason" will dispel the venom of the "terrorists."

So, we are led in confusion toward a greater crisis by the political elite, the liberal media, and the academy because the reason they worship doesn't function within their circles.

I cannot believe that politicians failing to deal forthrightly with the militant Islamic threat are doing so out of fear in losing the Muslim vote. It must therefore be their fear of being seen as unreasonable and intolerant by those imbued with simplistic multiculturalist and relativist sensibilities.

It is obvious the political elite and the liberal media lack any sound intellectual backing to overcome and stand up to these multicultural and relativist sensibilities. Without an intellectual grounding, even those with questions and convictions to the contrary, lack the strength and courage to face militant Islam for what it is: Western Civilization's most serious challenge.

I'm sure you get discouraged. I'm glad you are doing what you do. The work you are doing through the Middle East Forum, Campus Watch, etc., are invaluable. Carry on.

Robert Odean, Retired Spouse
American Embassy Ottawa
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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