Ed Hudgins

September 11 And The Need For Enlightenment

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September 11 and the Need for Enlightenment

By Edward Hudgins

September 10, 2013 — Twelve years after the attacks on America by Islamist mass murderers, mass murder proceeds apace in the Muslim Middle East. Unfortunately, the real nature of the bloodshed still eludes many American policymakers and the public as well.

The dictators

Consider the three forces that have been involved in that region for decades. First, there are the traditional dictators: the now-dead Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the now-deposed Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and the always-despised Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Their corrupt, brutal regimes have been relatively secular because they haven’t wanted challenges to their power; to the extent they’ve used religion, it has been to keep the masses in line.

But in this region there have never been the values, culture, institutions, and practices of a free, open society. It’s always been kings and strongmen ruling servile subjects.

The Islamists

Second, there are the theocrats: the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the ayatollahs, and the mullahs. They are the medievalists, the pre-moderns, infused with the ideology of Islam, with the goal of even more repressive and brutal dictatorships under Sharia law.

Americans are wrong to imagine that the Islamists and their program, which brought down the World Trade Center towers twelve years ago, are simply blowback for real or imagined recent U.S. government foreign policy slights. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, who hated everything modern. Its slogan: “Jihad is our way; and dying in the way of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Its goal: to make the savage past the future. Islamism is a virulent ideology just like Communism and Fascism and its acolytes are not motivated by traditional geopolitical logic.

Everyone else

And third, there is everyone else. There are the masses in Egypt who were frustrated by poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and political corruption of dictatorship. They helped overthrow Mubarak and then, facing Islamic repression, helped overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood, hoping that the new military dictatorship might be better than the old one.

There are the masses in Syria who were frustrated by poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and political corruption. They rose against Assad and 100,000 of them have been slaughtered. Sadly, their ranks are becoming dominated by Islamists. So the Syrian civil war now pits a traditional dictator against the partisans of theocracy. It’s a no-win situation.

The need for Enlightenment

What is clearly needed and clearly lacking in the Muslim Middle East are strong voices for Enlightenment, modernist values: a respect for human reason as opposed to blind faith; individual liberty and autonomy; free markets; and honest governments limited to protecting life, liberty, and property.

Those voices might come from Muslims in the West. But too few do. Since the 9/11 attacks, there have been no masses of American Muslims in the streets of American cities denouncing Islamists and making the promotion of Enlightenment values among their coreligionists Job One.

Europe is worse. When a Danish paper in 2005 published cartoons of Mohammed, thousands took to the streets of European cities demanding death to the infidels. Increasing numbers of Muslims choose to live in the West and enjoy what life there offers. But the vast majority of them fail to uphold the values on which the West is based.

The Muslim Middle East is going through a wrenching transformation from pre-modern to modern, a process that took many bloody centuries in Western Europe. What it needs most desperately are strong advocates for the philosophy of reason and freedom that underlies the modern world.
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Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.

For further information:

*Atlas Society Select Articles on 9/11 and Terrorism.

*Edward Hudgins, “Islam’s Dreary Cultural Darkness.” September 14, 2013.

*David Kelley, “Does Islam Need A Reformation?” September 2011.

*Edward Hudgins, “Are The People Of The Middle East Fit For Freedom?” May 14, 2004.

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Yes, a raped, tortured and shot person needs nourishing soup -- if she survives.

What does the Atlas Society think she needs right now?

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The hell with empathy, that panacea that has 'saved' only a tiny minority of 'victims' from reason-less mankind.

Until the next time, and the next, and always the next.

Ed's good overview contains the simple recipe to "never again".

After which, and only then, the empathy can flow for any suffering and unfortunate people.

Leo Rosten (Leftist writer): " I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."

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The hell with empathy, that panacea that has 'saved' only a tiny minority of 'victims' from reason-less mankind.

Until the next time, and the next, and always the next.

Ed's good overview contains the simple recipe to "never again".

After which, and only then, the empathy can flow for any suffering and unfortunate people.

Leo Rosten (Leftist writer): " I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."

Empathy? Where is that mentioned in the article?

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Leo Rosten may be leftist (I am not familiar with him) but dividing individuals into the weak and the strong, is a superficial and pointless exercise.

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Yes, a raped, tortured and shot person needs nourishing soup -- if she survives.

What does the Atlas Society think she needs right now?

And a raped, tortured and shot person needs nourishing soup -- if he survives...

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The entire human race has been in need of enlightenment for the last 10,000 years. How do you propose to provide it?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Folks - Missing your points about rape and soup. By the way, I'm against the former and in favor of the latter.

And my point indeed is not to offer empathy but, rather, analysis of what in philosophy and culture needs to change is the Muslim Middle East is to change, so we don't always find ourselves in the position of having to empathize with people who are regularly subject to the repressive and murderous designs of their rulers.

Baal - Try a good overview book on the Enlightenment. A couple of Will Durant volumes might do the trick!

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The hell with empathy, that panacea that has 'saved' only a tiny minority of 'victims' from reason-less mankind.

Until the next time, and the next, and always the next.

Ed's good overview contains the simple recipe to "never again".

After which, and only then, the empathy can flow for any suffering and unfortunate people.

Leo Rosten (Leftist writer): " I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."

Empathy? Where is that mentioned in the article?

Not. But the previous post by Carol gives a clue.

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Leo Rosten may be leftist (I am not familiar with him) but dividing individuals into the weak and the strong, is a superficial and pointless exercise.

Dividing? No, defining. You know what he means, Carol.

The principled realist - or, the dreamy idealist.

The selfish capitalist -or, the caring progressive.

Germany -or Greece.

USA -or...

Insert any version of strong and weak you like.

Who always comes to the rescue?

Rosten's words beg the question: Who, ultimately, is the more caring?

Is it in fact the Left that doesn't give a fig for humanity?

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As you know I take heart from the existence of the pro individual freedom movement which has manifestations and now are involved in a network.

There are individuals around the world who value freedom and they are being nurtured by Students For Liberty and Young Americans For Liberty.

It must be an ordeal to be one such person in the midst of Middle Eastern countries in which the Islamists prevail.

ALthough it is a relief that a diplomatic way has been found in Syria but the WSJ yesterday suggests that there will be a severe price to pay for leaving Assad in power and the next horror beyond chemical attacks may be nuclear.

In the meantime I support the movement SFL and YAL which promise to grow exponentially and includes Objectivist groups on campuses and an alliance with the ATlas Society assuring an exposure to AYn Rand's ideas.

gg

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Folks - Missing your points about rape and soup. By the way, I'm against the former and in favor of the latter.

And my point indeed is not to offer empathy but, rather, analysis of what in philosophy and culture needs to change is the Muslim Middle East is to change, so we don't always find ourselves in the position of having to empathize with people who are regularly subject to the repressive and murderous designs of their rulers.

Baal - Try a good overview book on the Enlightenment. A couple of Will Durant volumes might do the trick!

Read them. The Enlightenment has pretty well been trashed, forgotten or ignored.

Proof? Read the daily newspapers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Yes, a raped, tortured and shot person needs nourishing soup -- if she survives.

What does the Atlas Society think she needs right now?

Carol, correct me if I'm wrong, but my interpretation of your comment is that enlightenment takes a long (or long-ish, it's all relative, I reckon) time, but there are people suffering today who can't possibly benefit from that. If this is a correct interpretation, are you asking then, what immediate action does The Atlas Society propose?

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TAS - the philosophical soup kitchen. Heh.

Good one Tony!!

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