The War of Worldviews

H.G. Wells could write about The War of the Worlds, in which Martians and earthlings battled for supremacy. But the real battles today really come down to a war of worldviews. Competing worldviews and ideologies are battling it out, and those which prevail will determine the course of history.

Several major players have slugged it out of late. In very general terms, in one corner is the Judeo-Christian worldview, which for many centuries undergirded and nurtured Western civilisation. It has had various contenders over the years. Godless materialistic Communism was a major rival for nearly eight decades.

During the Cold War the forces of secular totalitarianism sought global hegemony. The spirit and values of the Judeo-Christian West, along with military muscle, were needed to withstand this ferocious opponent, and by the grace of God the Soviet Empire finally was defeated.

Today the free West faces a similar totalist and anti-democratic threat, that of radical Islamism. Millions of Muslims are bent on destroying the West and subjugating the entire world under the iron fist of sharia law. This battle is also being fought on ideological, spiritual and military levels.

In both these major conflicts we have had many gullible Westerners promoting the myth of moral equivalence. This was the gravely mistaken notion that somehow the two sides were really just as bad as each other, and the West really had no right or moral claim to resist its assailants.

One of the earliest thinkers to use both the concept and the phrase was Jeane Kirkpatrick, the US ambassador to the UN during the Reagan administration. She popularised this for example in her 1982 volume, Dictatorships and Double Standards, and in a 1986 article, “The Myth of Moral Equivalence”.

Those pushing this silly concept would say stuff like this: “Well, yes, those Commies are not so hot, be we in the West are just as bad. We can’t condemn them because we have plenty of our own faults that need to be corrected. Who are you to say that the West is better than the Soviet bloc?”

This was common fare from many lefties, especially religious lefties, during the height of the Cold War. Indeed, many of these religious leftists were far more critical of the free and democratic West than of the totalitarian dictatorships warring against the West.

They in fact often found things to praise about the Soviet police state while condemning their own prosperous and free West. The easiest way to cut through all this moronic nonsense was simply to point out what was happening in the real world.

That is, we know that people will vote with their feet. During this period millions of people risked everything to leave the Communist hell-holes to get into the free and democratic West. And it was all one-way traffic. I am not aware of thousands of people fleeing the West to get into the People’s Paradise of Cuba, the Soviet Union, or North Korea.

This simple fact alone should forever put to rest this ludicrous notion of moral equivalence. The truth is, for all its faults, the West was light-years beyond the Marxist police states in every area: there was rule of law; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; the ability to peacefully remove one government and replace it with another; no political prisoners; no gulags; no one-party dictatorships; etc.

It was disingenuous and just plain malicious to suggest that somehow the free West and Communist tyrannies were in any way morally similar. Indeed, in the end, the entire ugly system fell in a heap, a victim of its own inefficiencies, injustices and abuses. That, and a strong response from the West at the time, especially in the person of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.

Yet sadly today we seem to have a new case of the poison known as moral equivalence. This time it is the leftists telling us that the free West is no better than the Islamists who wish to destroy it. Yes they blow up innocent people, but we Westerners are also terrorists. We are no better.

Thus they cannot see the difference between Saddam raping Kuwait, and the West seeking to liberate it. In their jaundiced and morally myopic eyes, the West, especially America, is just as evil as any jihadist, Taliban or al-Qaida outfit.

We hear this foolishness all the time. Indeed, several raving leftists just today assaulted me with such foolishness. Even if well meaning, these folks don’t seem to have a clue. Their intellectual shallowness seems to be matched by their moral mushiness.

They will argue for example that to resist the Islamists by use of force makes us no different than the terrorists. That is about as helpful as claiming that a policeman who uses force to stop a rapist or murderer is the moral equivalent of the criminal.

We certainly got this line of thinking all the time when the West sought to go after Saddam and the Taliban. And we are getting it now in things like the plan to develop a 13-story mosque just near Ground Zero.  Defenders of this, including New York Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama, opine about how we are an open and free country, and to resist this would make us just like the Islamists.

Critics have rightly pointed out that tolerance can only go so far. Imagine building a large Jewish synagogue in Mecca, or a Christian cathedral in downtown Medina. It just would never happen. While the West certainly does offer freedom of religion, there will always have to be limits of various sorts.

In Islamic thinking, the establishment of a mosque is, among other things, a symbol of the advance of Islam. It is an indication of taking territory from the infidels. And it is part of the advancement of sharia compliance, and the eventual establishment of a universal caliphate.

Thus Westerners, while extending religious freedoms to their guests, need also to be aware that not all such guests will reciprocate with the hospitality. Some come to bury the West, just as Marxists insiders sought to undermine the West a few short decades ago.

If Muslims want the right to freely practice their religion in the West – fine. They can, just as long as they extend the same right to other religions, especially Jews and Christians, granting them the same freedoms in Muslim-majority nations. At the moment of course this is strictly verboten.

Indeed, to dare to even preach the Christian gospel in many of these countries is to risk facing the death penalty. And for a Muslim to seek to leave his faith in these countries is also punishable by death. Why does the West need to bend over backwards, extending every benefit and favour to our Muslim guests, while expecting absolutely nothing in return?

Without some give and take here, without some reciprocity, all we are doing is allowing Muslims free rein here – including those Muslims who have dedicated their lives to overthrowing the West and replacing it with the totalist Islamic state.

To such people we have no obligations whatsoever. We are not compelled to extend complete tolerance and acceptance to such folks. Indeed, unless we want to commit national suicide, we must resist such people. And to do so does not mean we are morally equivalent to our enemies.

It simply means some things are worth defending, and that those who are sworn enemies of the free West should not expect us to welcome them with wide-open arms. To resist the Islamisation of the West is not to drag us down to their level.

There is nothing equivalent about those seeking to defend a free and democratic West – as imperfect as it may be – with those who have said that the West must go, and it must be replaced by the iron rule of sharia. There is nothing morally similar about these two competing ideologies.

This is a war of worldviews, and the battle will continue until one side predominates. Some things are worth fighting for. The Judeo-Christian West, and the freedoms and social goods it has engendered, is one such thing. It is far from perfect, and has many weaknesses. But compared to the dystopia of the Soviet gulag or the Islamist prison, I will go for the West any day of the week.

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20 Replies to “The War of Worldviews”

  1. I am young and admit my inexperience in the worldview battle you communicate so tenaciously. With that disclaimer I agree with your stance on moral equivalency but I do take issue with your fundamental befuddlement over why the free West need be hospitable to our “sworn enemies” when they are hell-bent on pillaging our over-tolerant land.
    I am confused Mr Muehlenberg, because I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus did when he let an infidel like me be his daughter. It is foolish to say that we will be nice to them when they’re nice to us because that’s not how grace works and that’s certainly not how love works.
    I hope I haven’t missed the point, but that’s the message this essay communicated to me.

    Why does the West need to bend over backwards, extending every benefit and favour to our Muslim guests, while expecting absolutely nothing in return?

    conclusion that in order to be proud of our heritage we must forcefully resist and remove competing

    Beth Reid

  2. “That is, we know that people will vote with their feet. During this period millions of people risked everything to leave the Communist hell-holes to get into the free and democratic West.”

    You know, I’ve recently realised how silly it is for religious lefties to complain that Western capitalism is a hive of greed, materialism and covetousness. For heaven’s sake Marxism was built on covetousness — the working class coveting the wealth of the upper class. And thousands of East Berliners so coveted what the West Berliners had that they risked life and limb trying to get over the wall.

    So tell me again: How is greed and covetousness any less of a problem under socialism than under capitalism???

    “The easiest way to cut through all this moronic nonsense was simply to point out what was happening in the real world.”

    yeah, like this:

    Jereth Kok

  3. Thanks Beth

    It looks like your comment may be incomplete? But yes, I think you have missed my point. Indeed, you are confusing two separate issues. Nations have a right and obligation to protect their own citizens from their sworn enemies. England was right to protect itself from Nazi aggression for example last century.

    And Western nations are not ‘Christian’ nations as such, dispensing grace and salvation. That is the job of the church, not the state. Yes, churches and individual Christians are called to show grace and acceptance of others. (But even a church or individual believer can protect themselves from attack.)

    So on a personal level, yes, we seek to love and win our Muslim friends to Christ, showing them grace and truth. But on a public policy level, the state has the responsibility for national defence and the maintenance of order and justice.

    But I discuss this at length here:

    So please have a look at that article and see if it clears up some of the questions you might have. Let me know thanks.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. The left remain as they have historically – ‘useful idiots’. This NY Times piece reports the controversy over Time’s front page picture of the young girl who had her nose cut off by Taliban barbarians. Many who want out of Afghanistan can’t handle the consequences;

    Also see here the medical missionaries killed by the Taliban

    Damien Spillane

  5. Has any previous president of America been accused of being a traitor and plant put there by the enemy?

    David Skinner, UK

  6. Bill, and Beth.

    In our family Bible readings we have just finished 2 Kings.

    In Ch 24 there is an assessment of the nation and it’s destiny:
    “2 Ki 24:3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done,
    2 Ki 24:4 including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.

    Is that last clause chilling? Does it send shivers up and down your spine?

    God’s forgiveness is NOT infinite, because there is still His justice to be met.

    And, lest you think I am picking a verse and hanging a doctrine on one peg, check:

    Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”


    Heb 10:30-31 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
    It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    So, Beth, as Bill said, there are limits to how far we can go in policy terms. There are things which governments are not called to do in exercising their God-given mandate: they are not to forgive too much. And as individuals we are not called to forgive too much either.

    Getting back to the original point of moral equivalence, the sad thing I notice is that the ‘useful idiots’ who charge the West with this sin, fail to see that it is not equivalent, as Bill and many others have pointed out – communist regimes did not have the same freedoms we enjoy here; nor do Islamist states.

    So I sometimes wish I was a judge sitting on the planning decision for Ground Zero, just to be able to say “You may exercise the same freedom to build your mosque on that site as Christians are allowed to exercise in promoting their faith in your home country.”

    John Angelico

  7. Hi David,

    I don’t think any other American president has been so accused, but such a situation is not without precedent. At the Doge’s palace in Venice, one of the portraits wears a black mask. He was the Doge found secretly working for Venice’s enemies and was, of course, executed. I wonder if the same fate awaits Obama.

    Mansel Rogerson

  8. Would the town planners of Coventry, or any number of towns blitzed during WW11, allow the Nazi party to build a Nazi complex in the vicinity of Coventry Cathedral as a good will gesture? Islam is a political ideology posing as a religion whose avoid intent is to subjugate the heathen, especially Christians and Jews.

    David Skinner, UK

  9. Dear Bill,

    Thank you for a very illuminating and thought provoking article; full as always with common sense, which of course is biblically based.

    Thank you also John. Your observations are spot on especially where you say

    So I sometimes wish I was a judge sitting on the planning decision for Ground Zero, just to be able to say “You may exercise the same freedom to build your mosque on that site as Christians are allowed to exercise in promoting their faith in your home country.”

    Bill and others here, you might like to look at these two opposite views regarding building the mosque. It would be great to hear your comments. (Against the mosque at Ground zero by someone not from America.) (In favour of the mosque at Ground zero by an American journalist.)

    Paul Copeland

  10. Not just or only Leftists but also those moral and economic libertarians who are also found on the ‘Right’.
    Michael Webb

  11. Speaking of those in the USA who foolishly think that those who object to the Mosque at ground zero, should be “investigated” and that their “funding” should be investigated, is no less a person than Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency. Well known commentator Charles Krauthammer opined quite succinctly that “Pelosi is either acting with vindictiveness or she is insane”. Charles continued “seeing that I am kind-hearted and prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, I think with her, the latter is the problem.” Pelosi, somewhat belatedly said those wanting to build the mosque (Cost $ 1 million) should also be investigated over the funding.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  12. Hi Frank

    It may be just a typo in your post, but the cost of the proposed mosque according to Wikipedia is $100 million not 1 million. Where is all that money coming from?

    Glenn Christopherson

  13. Thanks Glenn It was a mistype on my part. I meant to write 100 million. Re-read it and still missed my error. Last I heard, the money could be coming from Saudi Arabia (from where the assassins originated) and Iran.
    Thanks for pointing it out. I’ve had a busy day or getting old or both.
    kind regards,
    Frank Bellet

  14. Hello Bill,
    As a new convert to Culture Watch, I must say a big “thank you” for the many diverse subjects you cover, with Bible based knowledge and a big dose of common sense.
    As a Christian of nearly 24 years I now find I have had a huge hole in my knowledge re terms for much of the subject matter discussed. I have not read many of the quoted referenced authors, although I keep abreast of current news.
    Much of what I have learnt over the years has been given to me by the Holy Spirit. I have mostly attended churches where not much of the subject matter discussed has been taught.
    After reading many of your entries I now know what to call these revelations.
    May God bless you. Keep up the excellent work.
    Paul de la Garde

  15. Islam is the “disease”, but Secular Humanism is the “vector” or the vehicle or pretext upon which it is allowed to gain entrance to our society.
    Those on the left of the political spectrum, actually believe that Secular Humanism, with its much vaunted ‘pluralism’ is somehow able to meet & negotiate the entrance of medieval Islam into our western societies, much like Prime Minister Chamberlain waving his piece of paper in 1938.
    This is an absolute myth and a tragic miscalculation, that will most likely end in:
    1. Civil unrest & bloodshed or
    2. Massive Christian revival or
    3. Some combination of the these.

    Secular Humanism is no match for Radical Medieval Islam.
    Robert Phillips

  16. Great article, Bill. Common sense and reality are so refreshing! Thanks for your helpful contributions to defending the faith, keep them coming!
    Mark Burnard

  17. What is urgently required is intense worldwide prayer to the one true God to find answers to stop the brainwashing of children from birth to have hatred and intolerance toward others. Unless this brainwashing stops and until children the world over are free to make sensible choices, then the road to rational thought will be extremely tough. Tolerance is loving the Lord God with all your might, and all your strength, and loving your neighbour as yourself. Brainwashing a child to rob, steal and kill is far removed from educating a child about giving life and life in abundance.
    Dorothy Holmes

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