Relativism and Religion vs. the Lives of Americans

by | Sep 10, 2006 | Terrorism

With the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, here are a few facts worth circulating...

With the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, here are a few facts worth circulating:

That over 6,000 Americans have been killed by or in pursuit of Islamic terrorists since September 2001–and that we still have not even attacked, let alone destroyed, the regimes most responsible for their deaths–is a consequence of the relativism of the Left and the religiosity of the Right. How many Americans actually needed to die in order to solve our terrorism problem? Zero. We easily could have and morally should have destroyed the Iranian and Saudi regimes long before 9/11–and without sending soldiers in to fight on foot. But: “Who are we to judge?” ask the relativists. And: “Isn’t it wrong to kill the faithful?” wonder the religionists. And: “It would be profoundly selfish and unjust to use the full force of our weaponry and to risk no American lives,” muse both.

That known Islamic terrorist leaders are now to be sent to Guantanamo Bay and tried as “criminals” is also a consequence of the relativism of the Left and the religiosity of the Right. “How can we be certain they’re guilty?” assert the relativists, while the religionists–embracing a morality based not on observation and logic but on revelation and faith–are rendered effectively speechless in the face of such skepticism. What should we do with captured Islamic terrorists? We should torture them to extract any useful information they might have and then shoot them. But that would be “extreme,” absolute, and un-godly.

That the debate over what America should do about terrorism continues to ping pong between whether we should a) run away because our desire to live and the Islamists desire to kill us is a rationally and militarily irresolvable dispute, or b) “stay the course” and sacrifice more Americans to bring democracy to savages who want to kill us–is, again, a consequence of the relativism of the Left and the religiosity of the Right. According to relativism, we’re incapable of objective judgment; reason is invalid, and we are thus utterly ignorant of what is true or false, good or bad, right or wrong; consequently, we must assume that all cultures and all desires are equally amoral. According to religion, we’re not supposed to act selfishly or as though we’re better than others; we’re supposed to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3); we’re supposed to “not resist an evil person” but “turn the other cheek” and “love our enemies” and “pray for those who persecute us” (Matthew 5:39–45) and so on.

The reason why so many Americans have been and will continue to be slaughtered by and in pursuit of Islamic terrorists is that so many Americans accept the false alternative of relativism or religion. If Americans want to put an end to this gray, godly slaughter, we must reject that false alternative; we must repudiate both relativism and religion; we must discover and embrace a reality-based, rational, morally absolute, self-interested philosophy–namely: Objectivism. Only then will we be able to solve our terrorism problem and stop the needless deaths of Americans.

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Craig Biddle is the editor and publisher of The Objective Standard and the author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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