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Distinction without a Difference

Reader comment on item: "We Free Them or They Destroy Us"

Submitted by Jim Ryan (United States), Apr 26, 2007 at 09:46

Dr. Pipes,

Lewis is right. What you offer is a distinction without a difference. The Lewis stance can easily allow that the enemy's will must be crushed by decisive defeat. But in the long term there will be more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil after the enemy licks his wounds and nurses his resentments. From the West's perspective, Islamism is the long-term problem, lack of its decisive defeat only the short-term problem. The only hope of eradicating Islamism is scrutiny and debate over its merits, as well as the wealth freedom creates and the various distracting interests wealth brings to a society that has it. This is not to promise that freedom will eventually cause the eradication of Islamism. It is merely to point out that freedom is the only viable path to its eradication. Decisive defeat alone will more likely feed the resentment than cause Muslims to become disenchanted with Islamism.

As for your point about Islamist cells living in free societies, this is no counterexample to the point that over the long term free societies will not prefer a dysfunctional ideology to its functional alternatives. There will always be cells of Islamism. The Lewis theory may easily predict this; it doesn't guarantee that everyone in a free society will embrace sanity. It only points out that free societies are the only kind that can marginalize and effectively police the cells inside them.

Submitting....

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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Reader comments (5) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Distinction without a Difference [234 words]Jim RyanApr 26, 2007 09:4690724
We Free Them or They Destroy Us [30 words]S.C.PandaOct 4, 2006 06:5058871
Cant understand Mr. Lewis' conclusion [102 words]Mike FinleySep 30, 2006 03:0758298
I would say [72 words]dayoontiSep 23, 2006 20:1457240
Just curious [237 words]Stephen D OliverSep 28, 2006 12:3057240

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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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