It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that the average North American considers themselves very well informed. Our generation in particular is inundated with a variety of information services, from internet news on mobile apps to television news and magazines. For the first time in human history, nearly every person is privy to the collective wealth of mankind’s knowledge.
Despite this advantage, and perhaps even because of it, many of my generation have developed below average critical thinking skills. They are prone to believing anything they are told; unfortunately this mindset is enhanced and promoted by post secondary institutions, which proceed with education by rote programming and the opinion of professors, some of which hold little to no life experience outside of a school.
This generation holds a high opinion of themselves as knowledgeable people, the champions of democracy and freedom. They participate in the anti-establishment, anti-military, anti-police activities. They riot without a definable cause and buy into conspiracy theories that pit the government against ‘everyman.’ Military and government personnel are now frequently the villains of movies and shows, portrayed as corrupt, bumbling and selfish. Of course the irony is nearly palpable. The very ones that they rage against are the founders of our free society, and the ones who protect their right to spew pseudo-intellectual propaganda.
One of the flashpoints that have illuminated the gap between young people’s counterculture and the rest of the country is the debate surrounding Islamic Extremism. Following the shocking attacks of September 2001, the entire nation was united in solidarity, and international attention was drawn to the spectre of radical Islamic terrorism. Of course, the term shocking is only loosely applied. Several intelligence agencies suspected a threat towards the west, and Islamic Terrorism had already reared its head in instances like the attack on the USS Cole. However the average citizen of Canada or the United States saw it to be of little consequence to their everyday life. As such, western citizens were thrown into a state of horrified surprise when confronted with terrorism imported to their shores. No sooner had the hurt and rage faded into a dull ache, then left wing idealists and conspiracy theorists began to crawl out of the woodwork. While America reeled from the blow, movies and documentaries surfaced accusing the government of orchestrating the attack, quoting theories such as ‘controlled demolition’ to support their argument. Young people who had no more experience then watching a one sided documentary spoke as though they were experts in architecture, foreign policy and home-grown terrorism. The Black Eyed Peas went so far as to classify the CIA as terrorists, along with the Bloods, Crips and KKK. To some degree this was a knee jerk response to the rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment that accompanied the terrorist attacks. Human rights activists scrambled to remind the American populace that discrimination against a particular religion was unacceptable, while Islamic Americans and left wing journalists trumpeted that Islam was first and foremost ‘a religion of peace.’ As such the American political and social landscape began to swiftly polarize.
The anti-Islam sentiment is not limited to North America. Following the Madrid and London bombings, and the assassination of figures who spoke out against radical Islam (Theo Van Gogh) a right wing group of political figures began to openly criticize multicultural values and the failure of ethnicities to assimilate into their way of life. Geert Wilders was shown to be the leader of a fringe movement in the satirical movie Religulous. Today however, he is recognized to be one of the most powerful men in the Netherlands, and is beginning to export his brand of beliefs to other countries in the EU.
So began a tug of war over the hearts and minds of Western Culture, with much of the media and educational institutions blaming worldwide unrest on foreign policy and warning against discrimination and profiling. Meanwhile, Intelligence Analysts and high ranking government members warned that radical Islam still posed a very real threat. Even the Prime Minister of Canada, who spends hours of every week being briefed by intelligence officials, was criticized for saying that the number threat to Canada was still radical Islam. Sixty percent of Canadians in a recent poll disagreed with this statement.
An excellent analogy to the current state of events is of cavemen. A strong man with a spear and torch is placed at the entrance of a cave to protect the weaker members inside. Over time those inside of the cave make themselves very comfortable and move deeper into the dark recesses. Soon they begin to question the validity of the man at the cave’s entrance. They see his back, and ask, why are we providing for this man to stand at the entrance of the cave? Of course, they cannot see the wild animals that would love to instantly tear them to shreds.
Most recently Westerners have been confronted by the so called ‘Arabic Spring,’ a series of uprisings among the traditional governments in the Middle East. Arabic citizens, suffering underneath mostly secular dictatorships have decidedly had enough. Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and even to some extent Syria and Iran were rocked by violent protests, in some cases leading to a revolution. Two important pieces of information need to be taken from these circumstances.
Firstly, it was absolutely appalling for young Canadians (such as Brigette DePape, a spoiled university student) to ask for a ‘Canadian version of the Arabic Spring.’ Canada may need to tweak its electoral system, but in no way can one deny that the government is elected through a fair and transparent process. While quick to proclaim the beginning of a police state, these deluded teenagers would barely recognize a dictatorship if they saw one. Burning with an earnest desire to ‘spark change,’ they protest against government gatherings without a single coherent message, sometimes resorting to vandalism and looting. Canada has no need for a revolution or uprising. What it needs is a future generation committed to working hard for their country.
Secondly, there is no cause to assume that these states will simply fall into a pleasant state of democracy shortly after they depose their former overlords. In the wake of the revolution, even with the aid of NATO powers, one should not expect an orderly transition into an organized republic. At best the transition will be protracted, and convincing military members and militia to throw down their weapons could be challenging.
At worst the West may be faced with the creation of one of two evils. The first would be a failed state, broken into armed factions and plummeting into civil war. Similar to Afghanistan, such a state would be the perfect breeding ground for radicals; in the case of Libya it has already been found that several ranking members in the rebellion have ties to Al-Queda.
Secondly, and arguably worse, would be the creation of another Islamic republic. In the vacuum that follows a revolution, the people will look for a strong leader, to guide them through uncertain times. As was the case in Iran, that leader could be a Mullah or other religious figurehead, that would unite them under the cause of Islam. At first, as testified in the book ‘A time to Betray’ by Reza Kahlili, hopes ran high in Iran for the creation of a democratic, progressive state. However, this hope was soon betrayed as the Mullahs united the people under a misguided hatred of Western Civilization and ‘Zionism.’ Egypt, a known bastion for the Muslim Brotherhood, has already shown signs of a similar outbreak, evidenced by the recent storming and looting of the Isreali embassy.
As it stands the West cannot win the war against Radical Islam. This is primarily because its people lack the will to fight, to stand wholeheartedly behind the destruction of the enemy. The need to be on a moral high ground has crippled our chances at victory in the idealogical war. Even worse, homegrown terrorism will continue to be perpetuated while socialists and left wing think tanks demand ‘politically correct’ solutions which hamper the nations ability to effectively target those who stand against us. As members of society we must wake up and take a stand, cut through the PC message and bring about the rebirth of a national will to fight.
First Published on Facebook 2011