The Idols of the Cave

The West in general, Americans in particular, have the bad habit of mirror imaging the world. Our civilization went through a renaissance and a reformation that channeled our intellectual thought towards reason and rationality. Despite the fact that Islam has had neither a reformation nor a renaissance, we sometimes believe that our constructs of reason and rationality apply to them as well. They don’t…reason and rationality aren’t universal.

The would-be builders of the new Islamic Caliphate certainly don’t see the world through the same prism that we do. It’s a more consequentialist approach whereby the present has little meaning, and the rewards are in the next world — and the rewards are derived from conflict with and the defeat of those who see the world as we do.

There is no negotiation with ISIS and their like. There are no appeals to their humanity, no common ground for discussions. If not stopped now, they will acquire the trappings of a nation state: international recognition, oil and gas revenues, and modern weapons. And then they will keep marching on like some terrible game of Risk. It is indeed a long war, and we’re not yet to Gettysburg.

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