Not Saussure

September 14, 2006

Not letting the terrorists win

Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Neo-conservatives, Politics, usa, War on Terror — notsaussure @ 11:09 pm

Mr Jon Swift , the man of letters and eminently reasonable American conservative, has been moved by the anniversary of 9/11 to contemplate what contribution he can best make to fighting the War on Terror;

Perhaps the best way to make sure the terrorists don’t win is to figure out what they want and do the exact opposite no matter how difficult, painful or even self-destructive that might be. Lately, I’ve been wondering if there is anything I’m doing that might help the terrorists win and I’ve been trying to live my life by doing the opposite of what the terrorists would want me to do. I have to admit it has been very difficult, especially since I’m not always sure what it is that the terrorists do want.

He finds this surprisingly difficult, even though, as he rightly explains ‘Since the media is biased I get all my news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues’. As he explains,

As I pulled into the parking lot I was surprised by how many cars were there. Apparently, a lot of people had come to the same conclusion as I did, that the best way to fight terrorism was to go shopping. Some people are supporting the idea of making September 11 a national holiday . I think giving people the day off so that they could shop at September 11 sales might be the perfect way to send a message to the terrorists that they can’t change our way of life.

However, as his thoughtful analysis shows, it isn’t quite that simple, particularly if you’ve read about a new book by Dinesh D’Souza that comes out next year. Since Professor D’Souza’s book, to quote the Amazon blurb,

argues that it is not our exercise of freedom that enrages our enemies, but our abuse of that freedom—from the sexual liberty of women to the support of gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce, to the aggressive exportation of our vulgar, licentious popular culture.The cultural wars at home and the global war on terror are usually viewed as separate problems. In this groundbreaking book, D’Souza shows that they are one and the same. It is only by curtailing the left’s attacks on religion, family, and traditional values that we can persuade moderate Muslims and others around the world to cooperate with us and begin to shun the extremists in their own countries.

this causes Mr Swift some difficulties in deciding what movie he go and see:

So, seeing a movie the terrorists wouldn’t approve of actually increases the risk of making the terrorists more angry and gives them an excuse to attack again. So maybe I should see a movie they would approve of. Then again, if I made sure I saw a movie they approved of wouldn’t I be letting the terrorists determine what I should and should not do? Wasn’t I, in a sense, letting the terrorists win?

The whole article has much to commend it, even to those who, like me, tend to favour moderate progress within the bounds of the law.

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