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In Washington D.C., when you go to the main city subway station (Metro Center), you will be surrounded by numerous advertisements showing images of Washington D.C. destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. The source of these images is the same source as images promoted on Jihadist web sites in May 2008. On May 29, 2008, the Daily Mail and other media reported that "SITE also released a computer-generated image, showing Washington D.C. in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, which reportedly appeared on an Islamist forum."
In both the D.C. subway advertisements and the Jihadist web sites, the images come from a "game" being promoted by the D.C.-area based Bethesda Softworks entitled "Fallout 3." Bethesda Softworks is located in Rockville, Maryland, a mere 18 miles from the White House in Washington, D.C. Bethesda Softworks' new software "game" Fallout 3 portrays "the Capitol Wasteland in and around Washington, DC," which the government-funded Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has agreed to advertise in the DC subway system used by over 800,000 government workers and individuals every day. This is the same "game" that Jihadists have obtained an image from to post on their websites of a destroyed, crushed America. (Note: while the D.C.'s Metro Center ads are not the exact same Fallout 3 image referenced in reports about Jihad websites, they are very similar Fallout 3 images of a destroyed Capitol building and other D.C. landmarks. The Fallout 3 image of the destroyed Capitol building on Jihad websites is promoted as free "computer wallpaper" on the Bethesda Softworks website.)
Jihadists don't have to go to their websites to see their dream images of a destroyed Washington D.C., Bethesda Softworks will sell them a game with loops of such images to inspire them. Or Jihadists only need to visit the Washington D.C. subway for such "inspirational" images. At a minimum, one would think that such horrific images assaulting national capital subway riders would at least have been viewed as in poor taste and judgment, even without knowledge of the promotion of "Fallout 3" images on Jihadist web sites. But such common sense, like our values, is now "relative." This disgusting spectacle in the D.C. subway system is just the latest warning flag of out-of-control relativism among some of our public and our leaders.
Such "relativism" is the real problem. Relativism takes nothing seriously, no enemy, no threats, no ideology, no values. After all, any such threat, any such enemy is merely "relative." There is no end to those reports that will earnestly claim that our threat of an automobile accident is greater than a Jihadist terrorist attack, which ends up in the logical pretzel that our efforts at preventing Jihad are an unnecessary overreaction. Nor is there any end to those questioning why we are "demonizing" Islamic supremacist groups like the Taliban.
The growing problem of relativism is that some American companies, some American leaders, and a portion of the American people don't care about the threats to our nation (or find such threats morbidly entertaining or amusing), don't care about the Jihadist enemy, don't care about our values, and aren't willing to defend those values. Ideological relativism in America, the world's bulwark of equality and liberty, is nothing less than national suicide.
Americans must confront the challenge we face of the growing
shrug-shoulder relativism towards the survival of America and defense
of its values. But is relativism even on the radar as a threat to
America? This is the problem with the failure of American governmental
leaders to identify an ideological enemy such as Islamic supremacism
itself. In the absence of a defined ideological threat to America's
natural values of equality and liberty, a pervasive moral and
ideological relativism is growing in the American mainstream media,
academia, and parts of the U.S. government and military.
The essential argument by American moral and political relativists comes down to the question "who are we to say that our beliefs in equality and liberty are correct compared to other values?"
Such "American relativism" has played an important part in ideological challenges in our history. Such relativism was seen in the efforts by Charles Lindbergh and his non-interventionist "America First Committee" that the real threat was not Adolf Hitler's Nazis, but his claims that it was the Jewish people and the media that were "pressing this country toward war." Regarding calls to confront the Nazis, Charles Lindbergh said in 1939 that "[t]olerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength." "American relativism" was also been seen in the efforts by Alabama governor George Wallace who called for defense of white supremacist segregation laws. Who were the America people to criticize white supremacism?
In today's America, we now have those who call for relativism regarding the ideology of Islamic supremacy and those organizations supporting Islamic supremacism. Such relativists ask: who are we to challenge other ideas and values? They ask: why should Americans confront such an ideology, instead of engaging with it? After all, as Charles Lindbergh urged in 1939 regarding the Nazis, such "tolerance is a virtue." Senior government officials encourage "reconciliation" negotiations with the Islamic supremacist Taliban. Others seek to work with Islamic supremacists in Pakistan to promote "free and fair elections." Leaders in counterterrorism and foreign policy call for engagement with the Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood. America's mainstream media regularly gives high profile interviews to individuals with groups (such as CAIR and MPAC) associated with Islamic supremacism without providing context as to who they are.
But at the root problem of American relativism, we can find that relativists have a fundamental personal and national identity-crisis. Such relativists don't understand what it means to be an American. "American relativists" have lost their awareness that their democratic rights are dependent on upholding the natural human rights of equality and liberty.
Moreover, such "American relativists" don't understand America's Declaration of Independence that states that: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
America's founding fathers didn't claim equality and liberty as exclusively "American" rights or values. They asserted that equality and liberty are natural, "inalienable" rights of humanity. In the original version of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that these were "inherent inalienable rights," which provided more emphasis on the natural nature of these rights. As Thomas Jefferson also stated in 1774, "A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."
In fact, the phrase "American relativist" is itself an oxymoron. Such relativism is simply un-American. Americans have liberties that are dependent on human natural rights of equality and liberty that they must defend for their democratic survival. But relativists don't recognize any such "natural rights" of humanity. They view moral and political values inimical to the natural rights of equality and liberty as relatively equal for other cultures. Relativists view those ideologies that fear and hate equality and liberty as merely "cultural diversities" in other nations. In doing so, influential relativists in America undermine both their own freedom and jeopardize the ability to extend such freedoms to other parts of the world. Such American relativists' identity-crisis is a crisis for free people around the world. This identity-crisis is so deep and complete that relativists use their freedom (which they would not have in other parts of the world) to rationalize and legitimize anti-freedom ideologies that seek to destroy such freedom of thought, as well as speech, press, and choice.
We have seen the increasing influence of relativism in both the debate over the word "jihad" in America, and regarding Jihadist groups around the world. Without a defined enemy or acknowledgement of the ideological basis of Jihad in Islamic supremacism, relativists focus on a tactical discussion of jihad both in terms of lexicon and engagement.
Prior to the recent U.S. CENTCOM contractor and civilian red team report challenging efforts to ban the use of "jihad," we have seen efforts by the DHS, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the State Department, and others to end the use of "jihad" when discussing Islamic supremacist terrorism. Moreover, we have seen in recent comments by counterterror analysts arguing that some Jihadist groups can be negotiated with (or leveraged) based on a "jihadist revolt against Bin Laden" and that "jihadists can turn against Al-Qaeda in a meaningful way." From a relativist perspective, "engagement" with some Jihadist groups against other Jihadist groups offers a tactical value in "regionalized" areas of warfare. Even in the "war of ideas," James K. Glassman, the U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy tells the Washington Times how he is using the Al-Qaeda renunciations by Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif (aka Dr. Fadl) in a fight against "extremists," when Al-Sharif continues to call for jihad in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel, including the statement by Al-Sharif that "Jihad in Afghanistan will lead to the creation of an Islamic state with the triumph of the Taliban, God willing."
If there is no defined ideological threat, and political/moral relativism permits our leaders to refuse to acknowledge the ideological threat of Islamic supremacism, then we end up with those arguing that America could negotiate with some Jihadists against other Jihadists in "regionalized" areas of battle that they believe have no connection with each other. While they congratulate themselves on their "realistic" attitudes, in fact such amoral tactics legitimizing those who hate equality and liberty are nothing less than un-American, just as relativism itself is.
The naive ideological relativists represent a national security threat by blindly offering legitimacy to Islamic supremacist groups through calls to "engage" with them, through calls for political "reconciliation" with them in theaters of battle, and through denial of the threat of their supremacist ideology. However, from an American perspective, relativism regarding an activist, transnational ideology such as Islamic supremacism (that is against equality and liberty) is against American national security interests.
Relativist counterterror and foreign policy analysts call for American engagement with Islamic supremacism, engagement with the Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood, and consideration of negotiations with the Islamic supremacist terrorist groups of Hamas and Hezbollah. The simple and factual American response to such calls should be "that would be un-American." It is un-American to legitimize and support supremacist groups, including but not limited to Islamic supremacism, for the simple fact that supremacists (by definition) are against equality. Equality is a bedrock natural right that defines American freedoms. Relativists defend their positions based on self-denial and self-deception of what American freedom represents. Relativists think that being "open minded" to those against equality and liberty is a freedom. But such relativist "tolerance" for those against equality and liberty undermines freedom.
Relativist military and foreign policy leaders call for Americans to support "political reconciliation" with Islamic supremacist groups such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Once again, the appropriate American response should be "that would be un-American." Perhaps such military leaders have forgotten the priority of their mission in fighting to defend the natural rights of equality and liberty. Relativism by our military leaders in the face of a transnational Islamic supremacist enemy is a very serious national security issue for our nation. But it is precisely such relativism in American military and foreign policy leadership that sees no problem with negotiating with the Islamic supremacist Taliban, or with "tolerance" of Islamic supremacism in our so-called military allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
The most insidious threat of ideological relativism is found in the denial of the existence of Islamic supremacism itself in parts of the American government and throughout much of the American mainstream media and academia. Through an informed democracy, Americans could replace government leaders, policy advisers, and military leaders who hold a relativist view on Islamic supremacism. But while our nation's values are disgraced by relativist nonsense from such leaders, our media and academia force feed the American public with a steady stream of propaganda of denial on Islamic supremacism, keeping the American public in a full nelson grip to keep them from fighting back in the war of ideas. Those who challenge Islamic supremacism are attacked as "Islamophobes," while CNN, AP, and others promote members of organizations with links to Islamic supremacism as "representative" of grass-roots Muslim opinion.
Such relativists are the "useful idiots" that Islamic supremacist leaders and organizations manipulate as part of their efforts to influence and infiltrate the American government. They have manipulated members of the American legislature, executive branch, judiciary, and our military, law enforcement, and counterterrorism communities. The passkey in every case has been the cancer of relativism. Without defenders of the values of equality and liberty in charge of America, our democratic nation is a wide open target for those who seek to subvert our government, our laws, our media, and our values.
In addition to the destructive problem of ideological relativists, America faces the problem of governmental leaders who seek "relativist democracy." Those who promote "relativist democracy" view any group that has the right to "vote" on an issue is automatically a "democracy," and is therefore a good thing for the world. They ignore the 1932 and 1933 elections in Germany that gave Hitler's National Socialists the ability to ultimately negotiate a majority combined with the German Nationalists. They ignore the election by the terrorist group Hamas by Palestinians. "Relativist democracies" that do not respect the natural rights of equality and liberty are not democracies at all, but merely organized mob societies hiding behind the name "democracy" to promote ideologies based on hate and fear.
Government leaders who support efforts to develop "relativist democracies" claim that those who support equality and liberty need to "understand" that all democracies don't look the same. It is not whether or not all democracies look the same; it is whether they share a commitment towards the natural rights of equality and liberty. While that commitment may be uneven and incomplete, as with the United States itself before the Civil War, the commitment to such natural rights must be there for the existence of a meaningful "democracy." Tacticians labeling people voting as a "democracy" does not make them a "democratic nation." A wild-eyed, hate-filled mob voting to lynch someone doesn't make them "democratic organization." They are still nothing more than a mob. But the relativists would have us ignore the importance of equality and liberty in democracy to legitimize those Islamic supremacists who have a commitment to hatred and inequality.
Therefore, in the investment by American tax dollars in developing "democracies" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, the relativists consciously ignore and fail to address Islamic supremacist influences in the governments, politics, and people of these nations. A few months after then Pakistan President Musharraf called for the Islamic supremacist Taliban to join the Afghanistan government as a "mainstreamed" political party, U.S. President Bush praised Musharraf as "somebody who believes in democracy." In October 2008, multiple U.S. military leaders have praised "reconciliation" efforts between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban, while the "democratic" Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government has recently commuted a death sentence for a "blasphemer" to "only"20 years in prison for offending Islamic supremacists by questioning Islam's commitment to women's rights. Our other so-called "ally", the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, continues to poll with 75% of their people calling for implementation of "strict Sharia law," while the Taliban seeks to implement such Sharia law in Pakistan themselves. In Iraq, Islamic supremacist militias intended to watch for Al-Qaeda attacks have been used to watch the public to identify Islamic supremacist deemed infractions. Furthermore, our so-called allies in fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq make it clear their concern is more about foreign fighters rather than ideology. A recent "convert" in Iraq against Al-Qaeda has stated that he "never feel[s] sorry" for his past support for the Islamic supremacist Al-Qaeda group. So what ideological values can America expect of such "allies"? The tactical efforts to promote "democracies" in these nations have not made it a priority to address either the natural rights of equality and liberty or the ongoing problem of Islamic supremacism.
In the glaringly obvious Islamic Republic of Pakistan, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson recently reiterated America's desire for "democracy" in Pakistan, while the "democratic" Pakistan Parliament is calling for negotiations with the Islamic supremacist Taliban. This is the same Ambassador Patterson who a year ago was meeting with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a long-time supporter of the Islamic supremacist Taliban, as part of her efforts in promoting "free and fair elections." Who are America's leaders kidding about Pakistan, the same nation whose government calls for an international death penalty for "blasphemy" against Islam? If relativist American leaders think U.S. influence and tax dollars are building a "democracy" in Pakistan, what do they believe the values of a democracy are?
Relativists focus on materialism, "prosperity," "progress," and creature comforts. Such relativists play to the Islamic supremacist view of Americans as spineless fools who will do whatever you want them to do as long as they have their television, their jobs, their automobiles, and their creature comforts. Islamic supremacists see such relativists and believe that this is all that America is about. This is precisely why Osama Bin Laden thought that the 9/11 attacks would break America. Now, the recent financial crisis has Islamic supremacists excited once again due to their ongoing misconception of America's identity. Too many years of relativists in charge of our executive government, our legislature, and our military has convinced them that Bin Laden was right, and all that the Islamic supremacists need to do is be patient to see the ultimate destruction of their "Great Satan," America.
Without leadership that clearly defines the ideological threat of Islamic supremacism, such relativists are increasingly becoming the most visible voice of American leadership to the world. This includes leadership that would "engage" with Islamic supremacists, leadership that would seek "reconciliation" with Islamic supremacists, leadership that is not willing to defend the natural rights of equality and liberty that are fundamental to our identities as Americans. This includes American mainstream media that whitewashes Islamic supremacist groups as "victims." Such growing relativism is the exact opposite of what America needs in the long war against "Islamic supremacism." To Islamic supremacists, such relativists represent the surrender of America.
Let's come back to the initial example of the images of a Washington D.C. destroyed by a nuclear weapons plastered all over the Washington D.C. subway system -- by a government-funded transit authority.
A crushed Capitol dome doesn't mean anything to those who displayed this. It is just a picture, just a game. Just like the Capitol building itself and our nation's capital means nothing to them. Like life itself, everything is just a game.
The pathway of relativism is that America, its symbols of democracy, its symbols of freedom, its natural values of equality and liberty mean nothing to the cancer of relativism in America. Relativism towards America's values goes from the decadence that such values aren't worth fighting over and ultimately leads to the nihilistic view that our very existence is not worth fighting over. Nihilism leads to a "burn, baby, burn" suicidal decadence towards our nation and what it represents. Public promotion of a destroyed Washington DC by our national capital's transit authority is yet another warning flag in the ideological, moral, and existential decay in our nation. It illustrates how un-American that relativism truly is. Islamic supremacists know this, of course, and they view "American relativists" as their allies in undermining America and the West.
The relativist path of least resistance, of "engagement," of "reconciliation," is the path of defeat and surrender. It is a direction that no American leader, no American patriot should tread, no matter how difficult and how long the war becomes. While "American relativists" may have the world's attention for now, it is our responsibility and our obligation as Americans to ensure that those who would defend equality and liberty return to power and leadership in our country.
We must never forget that the true sum of all relativism is cowardice. Relativism is all about fear.
It takes no courage to be a relativist that believes that any ideology, any set of values, no matter how corrupted, no matter how decadent, no matter how evil, can be acceptable. It takes no courage to believe in no absolutes of right or wrong. It takes no courage to fear fighting those who oppose equality and liberty.
That is why patriotic Americans will ultimately defeat the relativists, even if the Jihadist dreams of a destroyed Washington D.C. someday come true. America is more than our capital, more than a city, more than individual souls. America is an idea that no Jihadist attack, no weapon of mass destruction can ever destroy. America is and always will be morally, ideologically, and individually the "home of the brave."
Fear No Evil.
See for Sources and Related documents for additional reading and background information.
This article was published October 28, 2008 by Family Security
Matters (FSM) and is archived on their website at
Jeffrey Imm, formerly of the FBI, has his own counterterrorism research web site at UnitedStatesAction.com and is a part of the Anti-Jihad League of America.
This article was published October 28, 2008 by Family Security
Matters (FSM) and is archived on their website at
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