Thursday, September 21, 2006
Sam Harris... As he is wont to do, his essay in the LA Times on September 18th brings a sparkling set of insights to the American response to "terrorism" when he takes the very reasonable position that both major political parties are fumbling the issue badly. While we agonize about the roots of terrorism and look to poverty, repression, hated military occupation or a lack of assimilation to explain them, Mr. Harris' analysis is simple: We are dealing with a "death cult" coming to ascendancy within Islam. The promise of paradise in a future world is the motive for destroying increasingly larger pieces of the present one, along with oneself. American liberals are unwilling to criticize religion; consequently the extremist threat is intellectually unopposed and the Left comes to deserve the designation, "soft on terror". The Right, for their part, has long demonstrated a kinship and solid working relationship with cultists of their own, who likewise look forward to their own idea of paradise--in the next world. Mr. Harris, in his crystal-clear and passionate way, is calling to account all faith-based madness, whether of the East or the West, in this dangerous nuclear age.