Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Why Liberals Don't Get It

I've been doing some serious thinking over the past few weeks about just why it is that most liberals (and many conservatives as well) don't seem to "get it" when it comes to the war on terror, and I think I've finally hit on at least part of the answer. Based on my observations, most liberals have little or nothing for which they are willing to die. For what, after all, do people willingly give their lives? I know of three things: religious beliefs, country, and liberty. And where are most liberals on these issues? Many hold no religious beliefs, or hold them weakly at best, and live their lives based on what "feels right" or what is comfortable for them. As for country, while they protest vehemently against having their patriotism questioned, most liberals have a far greater loyalty to "humanity" or the "world community" than to their own individual country. And what about liberty? Living almost entirely in free nations (primarily North America, Europe, and Australia), most have never experienced any kind of slavery or bondage. These people have no idea how precious liberty really is, nor do they realize how desperately those without liberty long for it. So the majority of liberals hold neither religious beliefs, country, nor liberty deepy enough to die for them.So when it comes to understanding Islamic fundamentalists - people who are willing to give their lives because of their religious beliefs - average liberals are at a tremendous disadvantage. They do not - in fact, they cannot - understand why these people would willingly sacrifice themselves. Thus, they assume that all we need to do is talk with them, communicate with them, let them voice their frustrations and oppositions, and be willing to negotiate with them, and we will resolve all the problems so everyone can get along. Combined with a typical liberal mentality that people are basically good, this results in a belief that it is the way the West has behaved toward them that has caused the terrorists' actions. It is difficult to underestimate how badly they misunderstand the terrorists.When a person has things they hold so dear that they would willingly sacrifice themselves for them, the way that person look at terrorists changes fundamentally. Many conservatives - especially those of us with deep religious beliefs and those who have served in the military - understand the depth of passion these deeply held values can engender. It seems to me we have a greater grasp of how the terrorists think and why they behave as they do. This grasp, in turn, results in a very different method of dealing with Islamic fundamentalism, one which recognizes that in spite of our desire for peace, the only way to achieve real peace is to provide people in oppressed nations with other values that are worth dying for - and thus other values that are worth living for.

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