Over on the home page, I report on a man, Holland Taylor, and his organization, LibForAll, which are trying to nurture the more pluralistic strands of Islam, to fight Islamist aggression from within:
Taylor speaks of Islamic radicalism metaphorically as a health problem: “The patient is in critical condition and requires comprehensive treatment.” Roughly speaking, there are two responses to the disease. Where it is virulent, the disease must be contained, quarantined, and destroyed — through sanctions, drones, heat-seeking missiles, daisy cutters, and Special Forces. But long-term eradication requires prevention of its spread, by strengthening vulnerable populations’ immunity. The U.S. Armed Forces have the first task covered; LibForAll is trying to do the latter — through pamphlets, conferences, and debates, intended to refute Islamic extremism from within Islam. Taylor doesn’t discount the importance or efficacy of the War on Terror. But in the long run, he says, “ideology is more dangerous than bombs.” And by the same token, ideology is a more efficacious force for reform.
That conviction has led Taylor to a study of intellectual history — of the conception and gestation of the ideas that eventually led to the birth of the open society in the West, and its failure in the Middle East. “What happened to make the West different from all previous civilizations?” he asks. His tone suggests the question has been on his mind for a couple of decades.
Liberalizing the Muslim world is certainly an ambitious task. Read the whole thing here.