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ISIL Threat - A Different Perspective

Every once in a while unfortunate events converge on the world stage that result in violent revolution where thousands and even millions of people are killed. Sometimes the onsets of these revolutions are morally justifiable. Sometimes not. The chaos of revolution often opens doors to leaders who are at the best ideological extremists, and at the worst maniacal psychopaths.

History points to the French Revolution, with its Reign of Terror, where public beheadings were common. The communist revolutions in Russia, China and Cambodia each resulted in millions of deaths and untold suffering. There were many others as well. The larger of these nations sought to expand their philosophies through war. The smaller ones could not. They were too busy trying to survive.

Eventually, all these revolutions passed and something else took their place. Before that happened, each suffered mightily from internal struggles for power, a failure of their original premise to produced anticipated results, external powers applying economic and military pressures, and the desire of every day people for a better, more compassionate way of living.

Despite all the media hype, ISIL would fall under the category of being a small revolution. Yes, it is especially and purposely brutal, and markets that brutality toward civilized populations who are susceptible to fear.

They are gambling that their sophisticated media productions will not only attract supporters, which it does, and weaken the confidence of more powerful enemies. Like us.

They believe that, despite our great military, we are spoiled by our comforts and easily frightened. They believe that our heroes are fiction, our values false, our resolve empty bravado, our history meaningless, our wealth decadent, and our life-principles godlessly selfish.

What they don't realize, but will eventually learn, is that they are wrong - deadly wrong.

While Western culture is far from being what it should, it is almost universally recognized as being the midwife to many of humanity's highest aspirations. While they might look upon our vices and inevitable hypocrisies with disdain, today's Western values, even partially achieved, shine brilliantly compared to ISIL's intolerance, demonic contempt for human life and regressive goals. Everything they do and say will, in the end, lead to their demise.

Unlike the architects' of ISIL's dream of a Caliphate, I would never assume to speak for God, or claim to know exactly what God wants. But if we are to believe that God is a moral Being, it seems impossible to think that he would prefer the sick, unconscionable barbarity of ISIL over a culture whose search for truth has done more for humanity in every sphere of conscience than any other. We are from perfect, but compared to the monstrous atrocities they have committed in God's name, Western values, minus greed of course, remain humanity's greatest hope.

It would do ISIL well to know that Western nations have fought and defeated dictators and armies the size of which ISIL could scarcely imagine. And after we did, Western values then kicked into play to assist those previous enemies to take their place among the progressive community of nations. Surely this is much closer to some divine plan than public beheadings, systematic rape, oppressions of women and criminal punishments that were outdated in the Middle Ages.

What we must do, as civilians united by reason and conscience, is inspire a popular enthusiasm of our ideals. Indeed, this is how we become worthy of them. By embracing the best parts of our legacy, we will easily resist and conquer the irrational fears that ISIL works so hard to employ.

And as their soldiers fall or quit the field, the lie that motivates them will lose its power as well. It will then be our obligation to make sure that our ideals remain intact in order to teach them a better way.


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