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“History must be made to march in the direction of genuine human progress; world affairs have no intrinsic momentum that necessarily results in the victory of decency. Maintaining the morale necessary to achieving progress in history requires us to live our lives, today, against a moral horizon of responsibility that is wider and deeper than the quest for personal satisfactions. The future of our civilization does not rest merely on the advance of material wealth and technological prowess; the future of the West turns on the question of whether our spiritual aspirations are noble or base.”
—from Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism
More than half a decade after 9/11, safe passage through a moment of history fraught with both peril and possibility requires Americans across the political spectrum to see things as they are.
In this incisive, engaging study of the present danger and what we must do to prevail against it, George Weigel, one of America’s foremost public intellectuals, does precisely that: he sees, and describes, things as they are—and as they might be. Drawing on a quarter century of experience at the intersection of moral argument and public policy, he describes rigorously and clearly the threat posed by global jihadism: the religiously inspired ideology which teaches that it is the moral obligation of all Muslims to employ whatever means are necessary to compel the world’s submission to Islam. Exploring that ideology’s theological, social, cultural, and political roots, Weigel points a new direction for both public policy and interreligious dialogue, one that meets the challenge of jihadism forthrightly while creating the conditions for a less threatening, more mutually enriching encounter between Islam and the West.
Essential reading in a time of momentous political decisions, Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism is a clarion call for a new seriousness of debate and a new clarity of purpose in American public life.
Addressing Islamic terrorism and America's response as a global leader, Catholic commentator Weigel (senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, and author of Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II) argues that "he great human questions, including the great questions of public life, are ultimately theological." This short book, comprising 15 "lessons" in sections entitled "Understanding the Enemy," "Rethinking Realism" and "Deserving Victory," covers such topics as key strands of Islamic thought, the dangers of Western "appeasement" of terrorists and the case for regime change in Iran as well as the development of alternative transportation fuels and the elimination of nuclear weapons. Weigel asserts that jihadism arises not from poverty or the existence of the state of Israel but from Islamic fundamentalism's "theological roots." He presents a cogent case that winning the war against terrorism means winning the war of ideas: America must overcome its "self-contempt" because cultural confidence, he insists, is key. Unsurprisingly, Weigel rejects so-called postmodernist relativism and uncritical multiculturalism; his idea of what constitutes realism such as President Bush's post 9/11 foreign policy or the existence of objective moral truths may not be shared by those with different political convictions, but this book contains thought-provoking analysis.