It's Religion and Altruism, Stupid - The Objective Standard

In an article titled "It's an Islamic jihad, stupid," Diana West wonders why the Bush administration "keep[s] things vague and indirect," pursuing a "war on terror" rather than a war on "Islamic jihadists." Ms. West notes that

without understanding the religious nature of jihad (holy war), along with its sister institution of dhimmitude (inferior status of non-Muslims under Islam), there can be no triumph over jihad and no avoiding dhimmitude. There can also be no understanding of the religiously rooted attitudes toward jihad movements among even non-violent Muslims, generally ranging from a tacit ambivalence to wild adulation.

This is true, and it points to a deeper fact that Americans need to face. Either faith—i.e., the acceptance of ideas in support of which there is no evidence—is a valid means of knowing the truth, or it is not. The Islamists have faith that they are right and good and that Americans are wrong and evil. If faith is a valid means of knowing the truth—as many Americans continue to believe—then how can anyone say that the Islamists are wrong? What Americans need to face is the fact that faith is invalid. Man's only means of knowledge is reason. The true and the good and the right can be known only by means of observation and logic and recognition of the requirements of human life on earth. If Americans want to name and defeat their actual enemy, they must lose religion; they must embrace reason.

Ms. West further wonders why "we repeatedly send our military on dangerous house-to-house missions with restrictive rules of engagement rather than using air power." The cause of this insanity is another sacred cow that Americans need to reject: altruism. Either being moral consists in being selfless, or it does not. If it does, then such policies are perfectly moral. After all, what could be more selfless than sacrificing our sons and daughters to the enemy? If sacrifice is moral, then losing loved ones is virtuous. . . .

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