By Lee Harris
Forgetfulness happens whilst those that were lengthy inured to civilized order can now not take note a time within which that they had to wonder if their vegetation could develop to adulthood with out being stolen or their young ones offered into slavery by means of a positive foe. . . . They put out of your mind that during time of possibility, within the face of the enemy, they have to belief and speak in confidence one another, or perish. . . . They omit, briefly, that there has ever been a class of human adventure known as the enemy. "That, sooner than 11th of September, used to be what had occurred to us. The very thought of the enemy have been banished from our ethical and political vocabulary. An enemy was once only a good friend we hadn't performed sufficient for but. or even there have been a false impression, or an oversight on our half - anything that lets right. . . . "Our first activity is consequently to attempt to know what the concept that of the enemy particularly potential. The enemy is an individual who's keen to die with a view to kill you. And whereas it truly is actual that the enemy regularly hates us for a cause, it truly is his cause, and never ours". So starts Civilization and Its Enemies, a unprecedented journey de strength via America's "reigning thinker of 9/11", Lee Harris. What Francis Fukuyama did for the top of the chilly struggle, Lee Harris has now performed for the subsequent nice clash: the struggle among the civilized global and the foreign terrorists who desire to ruin it. each one significant turning element in our heritage has produced one nice philosopher who has been capable of step again from petty disagreements and notice the larger photograph - and Lee Harris has emerged as that guy for our time. he's the one that has helped make feel of the terrorists' fantasies and who forces us such a lot strongly to confront the truth that our enemy - for the 1st time in centuries - refuses to play by means of any of our ideas, or to imagine in any of our different types. we're all certainly reluctant to stand a real enemy. so much folks can't quit the parable that tolerance is the nice
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Additional resources for Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History
The fact that they had done nothing themselves, and were incapable of doing anything themselves, was irrelevant. This is how mankind has always thought of the enemy— as the one who, if you do not kill him first, will sooner or later kill you. And those who see the world in this way see it very differently from those who do not. This is the major fact of our time. We are caught in the midst of a conflict between those for whom the category of the enemy is essential to their way of organizing all human experience and those who have banished even the idea of the enemy from both public discourse and even their innermost thoughts.
And it is the position Americans have been placed in by the quite different fantasy ideology of radical Islam. The terror attack of 9/11 was not designed to make us alter our policy but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves and on those who share the same fantasy ideology: it was a spectacular piece of theater. The targets were chosen by Al-Qaeda not for their military value— in contrast, for example, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor— but entirely because they stood as symbols of American power universally recognized by the Arab street.
No outcome is assured by any deep logic of history or by any iron law of human development. Individual civilizations rise and fall; in each case the fall was not inevitable but due to the decisions— or lack of decision— of the human beings whose ancestors had created the civilization for them, but who had forgotten the secret of how to preserve it for their own children. We are ourselves dangerously near this point, which is all the more remarkable considering how close we still are to 9/11. It is as if 9/11 has become simply an event in the past and not the opening up of a new epoch in human history, one that will be ruled by the possibility of catastrophic terror, just as previous historical epochs were ruled by other possible forms of historical catastrophe, from attack by migratory hordes to totalitarian takeover, from warrior gangs to the threat of nuclear annihilation.