Thursday, January 14, 2010

En route . . .

From the Los(t) Angeles Airport, let me pass along this from Roger Kimball, co-editor and co-publisher of The New Criterion magazine. It's the conclusion of his recent rambling but intermittently insightful post on Pajamas Media. enroute
The crossroads we face demands something else, too. It demands that we abjure panic rooms, real and metaphorical, and begin again to muster that “timeless American spirit of resolve” the president invoked. That means standing up for our vision of the world. We do not require leaders who traipse around the world apologizing for America’s supposed sins. We need people who can articulate the values that made America a beacon of freedom and a bastion of prosperity. We need people who recognize and are willing to criticize ideologies whose success would destroy those freedoms and that prosperity. The bottom line, I said in my reflections about Major Hasan, is that

"Islam confronts the liberal democracies of the West with a critical existential test. Islam is Janus-faced. It presents itself as a religion, but one with explicit and uncompromising political ambitions. It faces not only the hereafter, but also the here-and-now. The West can strive to make a place for Islam’s inward aspirations. The West, if freedom is to survive and prosper, must also strenuously deny Islams political claims.

"Islam presents the West with a boundary case, testing the limits of religious freedom. Unlike Muslims, we believe people should be allowed to worship unmolested as they see fit. But in order to protect that commodiousness, the West must be intolerant of doctrines, like Islam, that preach intolerance.

"Doctrines that have a religious dimension must not be allowed to draw on the prestige, the privileges, the immunities we accord to religion when they do so in order to deny those privileges and immunities to others. Such movements Islam is one should be regarded as what they are: activist political organizations whose aims are destructive of our institutions.

"Back when he was capitulating to the dwarfish tyrant that rules North Korea, President Obama said “Words must mean something.” He was right about that. Its a pity that, here as elsewhere, his actions do not live up to his words."

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