The ruthless assault on a gay nightclub in Orlando illustrates a reality that those who have advocated reducing America’s activist role in the world fail to comprehend. The bitter hatred against the United States is not the result of anything America or Europe has done, not in the Middle East, not in Afghanistan, and not anyplace else. It is not the result of the size or reach of our formerly dominant armed forces. It is not the result of our economic system.
Indeed, if no U.S. or European soldier had ever set foot in the Middle East, if no oil had ever been drilled, if no interaction had ever taken place at all, the West would still be despised and targeted, not for what it does, but for what it is.
The Jihadist’s fury exists solely because of their extreme abhorrence of the essential nature of Western Civilization itself: the concept of individual freedom, of live and let live, of the triumph of reason over primitive instincts.
Yes, I did say primitive instincts, and that will probably infuriate most of the nation’s academics and the self-righteous chattering classes. For far too long, those in positions of influence in government, education, and the media have declined to emphasize the unique and wonderful accomplishments of Western Civilization. In the rush to be “multicultural,” they have relegated the achievements that have produced the greatest freedom, prosperity, health, and, yes, tolerance for all faiths that humanity has ever experienced to a par equal to that of other civilizations that are marked by substantial degrees of continued political repression, economic backwardness, and secular hatred that have been sharply diminished in the West.
No, the West is not perfect. But (and I realize that this will also anger many) it has done much, much better than the rest of the planet, despite its faults. By “Western Civilization,” I do not limit the definition to just a geographical or ethnic description. Consider the difference between North and South Korea. Between Israel and many of its neighbors. Even within the New World, nations that have followed western patterns of government and tolerance, such as the U.S. and Canada, have advanced, while those that have adopted, some recently, (like Venezuela) the philosophy (even though it started with western thinkers) of socialist government, which more closely resembles that of the rest of the world, have declined.
The assault on women, Christians, Kurds, and gays in and by the Islamic world was not precipitated by any casus belli. There has not been any attempted coup by women, gays, Kurds or Christian groups seeking to takeover current Moslem governments. Like clockwork, Jihadists and their apologists trot out litanies of alleged ancient wrongs. Of course, if we decided to refight ancient battles, the fighting would never stop. America would still be fighting the British Monarchy, not to mention Germany and Japan. More to the point, Europe would still have to be at war with the Islamic World; after all, the Islamic invasion of Europe predated the Crusades, that excuse which is trotted out by any terrorists looking to justify the latest incident of unjustified murder.
When terrible practices take place, such as the massive rape of females by ISIS, or the continued practice of slavery in certain parts of the world, it is not inappropriate for other nations, despite their own (far lesser) imperfections, to express horror at those heinous acts.
The typical response to Jihadi acts has been a study in self-delusion. Responding, for example, to the terror assault in San Bernardino by criticizing gun ownership or falsely claiming there is a widespread bias against Moslems in America merely encourages and emboldens those who cling to any irrational justification for their actions.
It is naïve to believe that all America has to do to avoid being targeted is to withdraw from world affairs. It is unrealistic to expect that Orlando-type attacks (or worse) can be avoided by appeasement.
The West is under relentless assault. Ignoring the crisis or blaming it on itself is a worthless and foolish response. If, indeed, the concepts of personal freedom are to survive, a far more viable and realistic response must be undertaken.