Jihad, Terror, and Utopia Part II

This article continued from Part I.

I wrote before that force is a poor way to handle the terror problem. I wrote that jihadism is a parasitic ideology: it needs an enemy, a Great Satan, a "them" for "us" to fight. In this way I don't think that a complete withdrawal from the Middle East would satisfy terrorists—I support it anyway, but I don't think it would eliminate attacks against the West completely. Shia and Sunni terrorists fight each other's territories when there's no one else around: witness Pakistan.

I think, in Rand's jargon, that the fundamental problem with terrorists is the philosophical corruption of their bases of support. Jihadists do not appear out of thin air.

One common response to condemnations of terrorism as a Middle Eastern/Muslim affliction is that the IRA are Western/Christian terrorists; another is that the Crusades were an example of mass Western/Christian brutality. I should say that I have no affinity for religion, so I believe my reflections on this are more objective than many. I have great affinity for the West, that I should also admit. With these in mind, these examples always strike me as weak. The IRA are radicals without mass popular support, as their recent pledge to disarm demonstrates. How many news reports has Google News brought me about mass Palestinian support for their extremists? Moreover, the Irish conflict largely follows religious lines but is primarily a political conflict. (This is less true with Palestine, because significant factions on each side absolutely cannot untangle the two.) And as for the Crusades, there's no denying their injustice but we've made a few steps in the last thousand years. We've put behind us the impulse to fight for religion en masse.

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