Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Islam's Long War Against the West

Jonathan Last writes a column in The Philadelphia Inquirer about Islam's centuries-long war against the West. Last offers some good perspective on the nature of the conflict, and he begins with this:

Soon after 9/11, the Bush administration labeled the conflict into which it plunged this country the "war on terror." But this is no more descriptive than calling the fight in Iraq a "war on IEDs." The more pressing question is: Are we, or are we not, engaged in a larger clash of civilizations?

If the answer is "We are," the clash long predates 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and George W. Bush. It predates America itself. It is a clash between Western civilization and the Islamic world.

Harvard professor Samuel Huntington first made this case in 1993, in his famous article "The Clash of Civilizations" in the journal Foreign Affairs. "Conflict along the fault line between Western and Islamic civilizations has been going on for 1,300 years," he wrote. After the founding of Islam, Muslims spread their faith by the sword. Islam conquered North Africa and pushed into Europe, where it ruled in Sicily, Spain, Portugal, and parts of France. Twice, the forces of Islam laid siege to Vienna. For 1,000 years, Islam advanced and Christendom retreated.

As Pope Benedict XVI explains in his book Without Roots, the very concept of "Europe" emerged as a reaction to the surge of Islam. Not until the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 did the Islamic tide recede definitively. For the next 300 years, Western civilization was ascendant and the Islamic world stagnated.

But the conflict between the two cultures never fully abated. Throughout the 20th century, Western countries tussled with Islamic states or their non-state proxies. And, as columnist Mark Steyn points out, when you gaze at conflicts around the globe today, the one constant is Islam. Muslims are fighting, or have recently fought, Jews in the Mideast, Hindus in Kashmir, Christians in Nigeria, atheists in Russia, Buddhists in Thailand and Burma, Catholics in the Philippines, and Orthodox Christians in the Balkans.

The rest of the essay is very much worth reading.

Liberals And the Foley Fiasco

Left-wing blog The Daily Kos and its readership are in a righteous stew over Mark Foley's "despicable" behavior. This has led me to wonder what it is, exactly, that they find despicable in Mr. Foley's pederast fantasies.

Are they outraged that Mr. Foley is a homosexual? That can't be it, of course, because they're deeply commited to the liberal doctrine of moral equivalence between homo- and hetero- sexuality.

Are they incensed that his lubricious attractions are directed at subordinates? That can't be it either since they weren't upset at all about Bill Clinton's similar attractions for his subordinates.

Perhaps they're furious because the boys Mr. Foley was instant messaging were only sixteen years old. Indeed, this is the high ground liberals on the talk shows are trying to occupy, but I don't think it works. Attraction to young boys is a common aspect of gay culture. If the Kos Kids are upset about that then they're essentially rebuking or renouncing the Left's entire history of facilitating and championing sexual deviancy and libertinism.

Not every liberal, of course, supports laws that would make it easier for adult men to have sexual liaisons with adolescent boys, such as lowering the age of sexual consent (which, by the way, is sixteen in Washington, D.C.). Even so, virtually everyone who does favor them is on the political Left and everyone who strenuously opposes them is on the political Right. Sexual freedom and the abolition of laws limiting sexual expression are Left-wing issues, so it's a little unusual to see Lefties condemning the very behavior they or their ideological allies think should be legal.

Maybe their moral "outrage" is simply a convenient ploy to try to make political hay against the Republicans whom they hate, in part because Republicans stand in the way of the emergence of the kind of society in which laws against sex with minors would be a thing of the past.

New ID Site For HS Students

There's a new site for high school students interested in Intelligent Design called Overwhelming Evidence. It's a site that enables high schoolers to network and communicate their views on Intelligent Design and evolution.

The site managers write that they believe that "today's students are smarter than they are given credit for, and that rather than being told what to believe, they have the ability to explore the range of possibilities and figure out what to believe on their own. The site is meant to encourage students to explore the facts, report the facts, and debate the facts."

If you're in high school, or just out, and interested in the controversy swirling around ID and Darwinism, give this site a look.