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October 24, 2006

How Reagan Would Handle Islamism

Topics: War on Terror

Joshua Trevino, writing at The Brussels Journal, recalls from an early age that Reagan's genius was to recall the American people, and to a lesser extent the West, to the need to proceed to engage the Communists from the premises of America's Founders: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as the inalienable rights of man, and government as existing merely to secure their just exercise. One did not win arguments with Communism when accepting Communist starting-points for those arguments. His rationale led inevitably to the Communist end, and appeals to humanity were steamrolled by appeals to inexorable logic.

And If you think about, the very idea of essentially buying in to the basic premises of our enemy - the Islamists, as the point at which we begin to engage his arguments is crazy; it's not at all the way to win arguments. To concede even rhetorically as our point of dialogue that Islam is inherently peaceful; that it is inherently sane; that it is inherently just; and that it is a welcome and benign participant in our post-modern public square - when "attendant to this (concession) are all manner of details that somehow fall outside the bounds of acceptable discourse in Muslim eyes, and hence in the eyes of any who fear violence."

... In dealing with Islamism in the present day, we make the very error that Reagan eschewed with the Communists. We proceed from Islamist premises -- namely, that Islam is inherently peaceful; that it is inherently sane; that it is inherently just; and that it is a welcome and benign participant in our post-modern public square. One may not accuse George W. Bush in particular of failing to render a full obeisance on these points. Attendant to this are all manner of details that somehow fall outside the bounds of acceptable discourse in Muslim eyes, and hence in the eyes of any who fear violence. Most recently, we see the shutting-down, by murder and by fire, of any critique or perceived disrespect of the Muslim founder. Reasonable people of any faith may find Muhammed an admirable figure. Or they may examine the historical record and conclude that Muhammed was a violent visionary who slaughtered the defenseless and violated a nine-year old; but state these things in public, and deathly ire stalks the speaker -- or, if he is not available, his co-religionists. What victory may we aspire to so long as the most basic freedoms are thus quelled?

... The excuses given for being soft on the horrors of Communism varied from era to era: there was a need to support the Popular Front; there was a need to stay united against the fascists; the Soviets sacrificed so much in the war; we have to focus upon our own (American) sins; and the top two -- the original intent was noble, and we must not alienate the moderates. In these last, we see an exact parallel with the apologists for Islam and Islamism today. We perform kowtow to the founding mythos of our opponents, and we indulge in the fantasy that some adherents of jihad and Islamism are more palatable than others.

Read more on the is the lesson of Reagan's war for ours against the Islamists.

Posted by Richard at October 24, 2006 12:39 PM



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