Yes, the radical Islamists really do want to kill us, and the moderate Muslims, much like the Catholics, think our consumer culture is perverse which is why neither opposes too forcefully the violent Islamists, so long as they only blow up the icons, residents and proselytizers of the Protestant consumer cultures of America and Europe. And all our fulsome hand wringing and progressive sensibilities will not help us a jot until we actually decide who we are, morally that is. Yes, the big armies of the centuries have finally come out again; it’s the Imams vs. the Popes. The Muslims and the Catholics, who together speak for nearly 4 billion people (more people than ten USA’s), are now getting ready to go head to head again. And this time it is not at all about terrorists killing consumerists. The Muslims, it seems, have also been killing Catholics as Catholics. And these guys each know exactly who they are. They each really have moral clarity, and have had moral clarity for around one-thousand-five-hundred years. We spoiled puritanical Americans are merely their arrogant children; we are the small fry in the big one that is coming. After all, there is not much a few smart bombs or other fancy military toys can do to change the minds of the waves of billions and billions people who are intent on overthrowing Western Culture as their protesting children have recently conceived it. We Americans may have the best guns in the battle but they have the divisions that count. The blunt reality is we really are not the dominant world power we imagine ourselves to be. Their divisions are fully composed of self-guided smart bombs, billions of humans guided by God in heaven above and crystal clear morality within. Our little bombs are only guided by littler satellites. And our nukes have no clear targets. All we really have is Madonna, Fifty Cent and Viacom.
So yes, this certainly is a world war, and do not delude yourself for even a second, this is a world war like no other, this world war is the “World Moral War,” the war for moral clarity on earth. The Pope’s divisions beat the communist military handily, but it is not so clear they will beat the Muslim divisions so easily. And the side with the toughest morality will win this war. And we in the land of complaining Protestants, Busch Gardens and imminent rapture have not got much of a horse in this race, yet. As a consequence, I fear that unless America is willing to define the moral core of liberal democracies we whiners of the Mayflower will be entering a time that will be known as the twilight of liberal democracies. Hume is speaking my fellow philosophers. Muttering in your academic beds, prostrating yourselves for professorship will only leave your children dead. Philosophy is again relevant; the question is whether we philosophers are up to our duty to define a moral order of liberal democracy that can protect us in the moral wars ahead. Be sure, the frame of “warfare” is infinitely more apt than the politically correct frame of “nurturing families” sticky with cotton candy at the amusement park. There is no cotton candy in Mogadishu.