Work's had me all over the country this past week, and I'm still not home, but I can't pass up the opportunity to comment on Mark Steyn's piece, "It's The Demography, Stupid." As Hugh Hewitt notes, Steyn's piece makes for gloomy reading:
Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it's not what this thing's about. Radical Islam
is an opportunistic infection, like AIDS: It's not the HIV that kills you, it's the pneumonia you get when your body's too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose--as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there's an excellent chance they can drag things out until Western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.
Steyn's long piece is well worth a read. I have never been a big advocate of predicting the decline of the West, not because I don't think it's happening (I do) but because I don't think people listen when one starts talking that way. Steyn's argument is exceptional, however, and carefully reasoned. One Steyn point caught my eye: The notion that we in the West are so tolerant of intolerance (in the form of radical Islam) that we have assumed a suicidally supine position with respect to those who would like to end our freedom-loving way of life.
A well-known organizational behavior author I respect, Stephen Covey, teaches that it's important in all human interaction to balance courage and consideration. In other words, respect and understand the views of others, by all means; but also stand up-- and stoutly-- for your own views and values. It's the second half of that equation that we in the West seem to be neglecting. Tolerance for "the other" seems to be everything, without demanding (or even expecting) any tolerance in return.
Who would have thought that the failure to observe such a simple and inoffensive principle could lead to such a disastrous consequence as the loss of an entire society?