Changes are deliberately not marked. Read the whole thing, this is
a final pre-publication draft. Most of the changes from version 4
are deletions of excess verbiage.
Counting email, this now reflects approximately 200 comments from
across the blogosphere. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions.
Since this process has to close sometime, I’m declaring that there
wuill be at most one pre-publication draft.
I will post a fair copy of the final version. For legal purposes,
this work is ©2002 by Eric S. Raymond. Email me for distribution
terms — I’m not especially interested in making money from it, but I
want some artistic control of how it’s used.
However, this may not happen for a week, as I am about to go on
the Linux Lunacy Caribbean cruise.
Brian O’Connell has supplied this excellent button for
alt="Click to Read" title="Click to Read"/>
And Erica from Sperari has suppiled a very tasteful static button:
src="http://www.catb.org/~esr/graphics/aim-button-thumb.jpg" alt='AIM button' />
These buttons will be included with the final version.
WHEREAS, the year since the terrible events of 9/11 has exposed
the vacuity and moral confusion of all too many of the thinkers,
politicians, and activists operating within conventional political
WHEREAS, the Left has failed us by succumbing to reflexive
anti-Americanism; by apologizing for terrorist acts; by propounding
squalid theories of moral equivalence; and by blaming the victims of
evil for the act of evil;
WHEREAS, the Right has failed us by pushing `anti-terrorist’
measures which bid fair to be both ineffective and prejudicial to the
central liberties of a free society; and in some cases by rhetorically
descending to almost the same level of bigotry as our enemies;
WHEREAS, even many of the Libertarians from whom we expected more
intelligence have retreated into a petulant isolationism, refusing to
recognize that, at this time, using the state to carry the war back to
the aggressors is our only practical instrument
WE THEREFORE ASSERT the following convictions as the premises of
the anti-idiotarian position:
THAT Western civilization is threatened with the specter of mass death
perpetrated by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons placed in the
hands of terrorists by rogue states;
THAT the terrorists and their state sponsors have declared and
are pursuing a war not against the vices of Western civilization but
against its core virtues: against the freedom of thought and speech
and conscience, against the life of reason; against the equality of
women, against pluralism and tolerance; against, indeed, all the
qualities which separate civilized human beings from savagery,
slavery, and fanaticism;
THAT no adjustments of American or Western foreign policy, or
concessions to the Palestinians, or actions taken against
globalization, or efforts to alleviate world poverty,
are of more than incidental interest to these terrorists;
THAT, upon their own representation, they will not by dissuaded from
their violence by any surrender less extreme than the imposition of Islam
and shari’a law on the kaffir West;
THAT, as said terrorists have demonstrated the willingness to use
civilian airliners as flying bombs to kill thousands of innocent
people, we would commit a vast crime of moral negligence if we
underestimated the scope of their future malice even
without weapons of mass destruction;
THAT they have sought, and on plausible evidence found,
alliance with rogue states such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea;
states that are known to have active programs working towards the
development and delivery of weapons of that would multiply the
terrorists’ ability to commit atrocities by a thousandfold;
THAT Saddam Hussein poses a particularly clear and present
danger in combination with them, a danger demonstrated by his known
efforts to develop nuclear weapons, his use of chemical weapons even
on his own population, his demonstrated willingness to commit
aggression against peaceful neighbors, and his known links to the
Islamist terror network in Palestine and elsewhere.
RE DECLARE that both the terrorists and their state
sponsors have made themselves outlaws from the moral community of mankind,
to be dealt with as rabid dogs are.
WE FURTHER AFFIRM that the `root cause’ of Islamo-fascist terrorism
lies in the animating politico-religious ideas of fundamentalist Islam
and not in any signicant respect elsewhere, and that a central aim of
the war against terror must be to displace and discredit those
WE REJECT, as a self-serving power grab by the least trustworthy
elements of our own side, the theory that terrorist depredations can
be effectively prevented by further restrictions on the right of free
speech, or the right of peacable assembly, or the right to bear
arms in self-defense; and we strenuously oppose police-state measures
such as the imposition of national ID cards or airport-level
surveillance of public areas;
IN GRAVE KNOWLEDGE that the state of war brings out the worst in
both individual human beings and societies, we reject the alternative
of ceding to the world’s barbarians the exclusive privilege of
WE SUPPORT the efforts of the United States of America, its allies,
and the West to hunt down and capture or kill individual members
of the Islamo-fascist terror network;
WE SUPPORT speedy American and allied military action against the
rogue states that support terrorism, both as a means of alleviating
the immediate threat and of deterring future state sponsorship of
terrorism by the threat of war to the knife.
WE SUPPORT, in recognition of the fact that the military and police
cannot be everywhere, efforts to meet the distributed threat with a
distributed response; to arm airline pilots, and to recognize as well
the ordinary citizen’s right and duty to respond to terrorist
aggression with effective force.
WE SUPPORT, as an alternative greatly preferable to future
nuclear/chemical/biological blackmail of the West, the forcible
overthrow of the governments of Iraq and of other nations that combine
sponsorship of terrorism with the possession of weapons of mass
destruction; and the occupation of those nations until such time as
the root causes of terrorism have been eradicated from their
WE DEFINE IDIOTARIANISM as the species of delusion
within the moral community of mankind that gives
aid and comfort to terrorists and tyrants operating outside it.
WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Left — the moral blindness that
refuses to recognize that free markets, individual liberty, and
experimental science have made the West a fundamentally better place
than any culture in which jihad, ‘honor killings’, and female genital
mutilation are daily practices approved by a stultifying religion.
WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Right — whether it manifests as
head-in-the-sand isolationism or as a a Christian-chauvinist political
agenda that echoes the religious absolutism of our enemies.
WE ARE MEMBERS OF A CIVILIZATION, and we hold that civilization
to be worth defending. We have not sought war, but we will fight it
to the end. We will fight for our civilization in our thoughts, in
our words, and in our deeds.
WE HAVE AWAKENED; we have seen the face of evil in the acts of the
Bin Ladens and Husseins and Arafats of the world; we have seen through
the lies and self-delusions of the idiotarians who did so much to
enable and excuse their evil. We shall not flinch from our duty to
confront that evil.
WE SHALL DEMAND as citizens and voters that those we delegate to
lead pursue the war against terror with an unflagging will to victory
and all means necessary — while remaining always mindful that we
must not become what we fight;
WE SHALL REMEMBER that the West’s keenest weapons are reason and the
truth; that we must shine a pitiless light on the lies from which
terrorist hatred is built; and that we must also be vigilant against
the expedient lie from our own side, lest our victories become tainted
and hollow, sowing trouble for the future.
WE HAVE FAITH that we are equal to these challenges; we shall not
be paralyzed by fear of the enemy, nor yet by fear of ourselves;
WE SHALL SHED the moral cowards and the appeasers and the
apologists; and we shall fight the barbarians and fanatics, and we
shall defeat them. We shall defeat them in war, crushing
their dream of dominion; and we shall defeat them in peace, using our
wealth and freedoms to win their women and children to civilized ways,
and ultimately wiping their diseased and virulent ideologies from the
face of the Earth.
THIS WE SWEAR, on the graves of those who died at the World Trade
Center; and those who died in the Sari Club in Bali; and those who
died on U.S.S. Cole; and indeed on the graves of all the nameless
victims in the Middle East itself who have been slaughtered by
terrorism and rogue states:
YOU SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN.
Eric S. Raymond 17 October 2002 ____________________ (your signature here)