Reason as the Leading Motive

The Islamic Militant’s Demand

Posted by Jerry on March 21, 2006

If someone points a gun at you and demands that you sacrifice your values or lose your life, exactly what are your options? Is it really a life versus values alternative? If a mother was forced to die or sacrifice her infant child, what are the alternatives she faces? Her life versus her value (infant’s life)?

The alternative of one’s life vs. one’s values has to be a false one because the concept of value is inseparable from the concept of life. Without life, there can be no values, and without values, there is no life. In fact, life itself is your ultimate value that makes all others possible.

Thus, when someone points a gun at you and demands that you sacrifice your values or die, he is really offering you death as your only choice. Existence without any possibility of values is like existing as an inanimate object. It is a spiritual, psychological, and also physical death. A state of stagnation and slow death.

So, when the Islamic militants and fundamentalist ideologues demand that we give up our absolute right to think freely, to put those thoughts into words freely, to draw or write our thoughts out freely, what they are demanding is our death – a death by slow decay. They first attempt to kill our minds, our spirit, and then they let slow decay take us to death.

If we only held the meaning of their demand in the clarity of their true essence, we would observe how precarious a situation our very existence in this world is if we let these subversive attacks go unchallenged without overt retaliation.

Back in 1989, Peikoff wrote an editorial about the Iran death threat against Salman Rushdie as signs of a religious terrorism that is subversively attacking our fundamental western values. Peikoff had said, “Terrorism unpunished is terrorism emboldened.”

He called for immediate retaliation against such threats of violence because if left unchallenged, the terrorists are not only emboldened by our pacifism, but more importantly, we begin to believe and succumb to their demands, their manipulations and lose our convictions in our core values. When we begin to secede our values and compromise on the absolutism of freedom, we lose them altogether in a matter of time.

Back in 1989, Peikoff called for the United States to take military action alone or with allies against Iran “until the Iranian government rescinds the Ayatollah’s death decree.” He called for military targets in Iran that include “known training camps where Iranian terrorists are being schooled and bred.”

That was back in 1989.

Now in 2006, the tepid American government is still trying to figure out how to deal with Iran and other Muslim fundamentalists without supposedly offending Muslims in general.
The physical, psychological, and cultural offense against the American people and their core values seem to not hold much importance in the eyes of its own government.

In the meantime, Iran keeps emboldening its rhetoric, it openly threatens Americans and Israelis, it builds a nuclear weapons program, and recruits Jihadis to fight American soldiers.

Even before Peikoff spoke about any of this, even before Islamic terrorism became a global forefront issue, Ayn Rand in one of her 1960’s essay in “Philosophy: Who Needs It” said,

“The conflict of reason versus mysticism is the issue of life or death – or freedom or slavery – or progress or stagnant brutality… Reason is the only objective means of communication and of understanding among men; when men deal with one another by means of reason, reality is their objective standard and frame of reference. But when men claim to possess supernatural means of knowledge, no persuasion, communication or understanding is possible.”


One Response to “The Islamic Militant’s Demand”

  1. Sulayman F said

    Now this is getting stupid. Are you referring to the Danish cartoons not being shown at NYU?

    Sheesh, who accused Muslims of banning freedom of thought? They asked that the cartoons not be shown on campus, not that they force all non-Muslims to praise Islam or ban criticism. Muslims are students too, and we saw it as just as bad as anti-Semitism.

    You give Muslims too much credit if you accuse us of wanting to “give up our absolute right to think freely.” Did anyone want to ban Pat Robertson from the airwaves when he bashes Muslims so often? No, let him think what he wants.

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