Recognising the source of evil

isis.jpgThere is always so much going on in the world, and particularly the parallel universe of politics, that it is sometimes difficult to know where to start.

But this week, I want to write about something that someone else has written about.

In today's Australian newspaper, columnist Janet Albrechtsen has belled the cat when it comes to the need to protect our values.

The comment is subtitled "Our values are better than those of Islam's extremist madmen, and it's time we said so."

The headline alone is reason for optimism as in years past I have been hounded, pilloried and badgered for even daring to suggest the same thing.

Of course it wasn't the Australian majority who went on the attack when I made my comments about our values being worth defending. It was the vocal minority, many of whom didn't let the facts get in the way of their opinion.

They were outraged by my concerns about the incompatibility between many of our cherished democratic ideals and those taught by Mohammad many centuries ago.

A few years later, it's amazing to see how things have changed - albeit too slowly at the political level.

Albrechtsen quotes UK author Melanie Phillips who said on Australian radio last week that "unless we understood the wellspring of religious fanaticism, we could not defend ourselves."

"Phillips lamented how Western leaders spoke as one, saying Islam was not the problem. She said that, while millions of Muslims didn't subscribe to violence or extremism... it was lazy thinking to pretend the violence was not a legitimate interpretation of their religion."

These sentiments were similarly reflected by Graeme Wood, writing in The Atlantic. His cover story - "What ISIS really wants" - details his investigations into how these barbaric sub-humans justify their cult of death.

Wood wrote "I picked through every spoken or written word in search of signals of what ISIS cares about and how its members justify their violence. I also asked a small group of its most doctrinaire overseas supporters for guidance, and they obliged."

Wood concluded that "Islamic State is very Islamic... the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam."

Albrechtsen herself concludes that "unless we identify the source of this evil, whether it’s perpetrated in Syria or Iraq, or in the US , France, Canada, Australia, Belgium or Copenhagen, we cannot hope to confront and defeat it."

The fact that such a refreshing analysis can now appear in one of our major dailies without the usual hysterical apologists frothing at the mouth is very encouraging.

I would encourage everyone to read Albrechtsen’s column and also the analysis by Graeme Wood.

I have written before that the two greatest threats facing the West are levels of global government debt and cultural relativism. There are no real signs that these threats are being tackled in order to redress the damage that has been done.

Until there is, we face potential financial and societal chaos. The difference is that a financial balance sheet can be fixed much more easily than a flawed cultural one.