Draft for an Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto (version 4)

Substantive changes from version 1 to 2 are marked in red; changes from 2 to 3 are marked in blue; changes from 3 to 4 are marked in purple.

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
will be at most one more 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.

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 of self-defense;

WE THEREFORE ASSERT the following convictions as the basis of
the anti-idiotarian position:

  1. 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;

  2. THAT the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attack, and its lesser
    sequels, are motivated by a combination of religious fanaticism and
    a smoldering resentment of the West’s success and by their own culture’s failures;

  3. THAT the terrorists 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

  4. 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;

  5. 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;

  6. 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 their future malice even
    without weapons of mass destruction;

  7. 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 mass destruction
    that would multiply the terrorists’ ability to commit atrocities by a

  8. 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 Islamic terror network in Palestine and

WE THEREFORE AFFIRM that both the terrorists and their state
sponsors have made themselves outlaws from the moral community of man,
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, discredit, and destroy
those animating ideas.

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 peacible 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 force;

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 obligation 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 overthrowing 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
until such time as the root causes of terrorism have
been eradicated from their societies.

WE DEFINE IDIOTARIANISM as the species of delusion
within the moral community of mankind that gives
aid and comfort to terrorists and dictators 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 both to
make their evil possible before the fact and to deny and excuse it
afterwards. We shall not flinch from our duty to confront that

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 in the process of fighting the enemy we
must not stoop to the enemy’s level of contempt for human rights and
dignity, must not become what we fight;

WE SHALL REMEMBER that in this struggle more
than previous conventional wars, the West’s keenest weapons are reason
and the truth; that it is our obligation as citizens to insist on
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, leaving root causes unaddressed
and 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

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:


			Eric S. Raymond
			17 October 2002

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