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How to Respond to ISIL

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How to Respond to ISIL

Post by dean jacques on Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:45 am

How should advocates of Chivalry-Now respond to the terrorist attack in Paris and the rise of ISIL in the Middle East?

There are probably as many answers as there are our members in our fellowship. Nevertheless, I'd like to share my own.

The secret power of terrorism is no secret at all. Its power is the ability to generate fear. Those who use it believe that the weak can overcome the strong by taking away, not their military strength, but their ability to think clearly and act decisively.

A few horrendous attacks, the more grisly and inhumane the better, and they take control of their enemies' imagination. They are not an army to meet on the battlefield. If they were, they would easily be defeated. Their battlefield of choice is the human psyche. Once properly established, they can issue a threat and cause people to tremble thousands of miles away, completely out of their reach. By leaving a fake Syrian passport at the scene of the terrorist attack in Paris, they can make even America afraid to take in homeless Syrian refugees. In this way, they further separate us Westerners from our own moral convictions and cripple us with irrational suspicions.

They know that they cannot match our military might, but they think they can sap us of our resolve. They can provoke us to make stupid mistakes. They understand the power of irrational fear, the overconfidence of hubris. They understand the insecurity of even the mightiest nations at the mere suggestion of a threat once blood has actually spilled. In this way, they are the proud beneficiaries of 9-11, the Boston Marathon bombing, Paris attacks, and media generated barbarity - and we make that possible. Our perception of them now approaches that of Nazi hordes overrunning Europe, giving them power they otherwise would not have.

ISIL is not, nor ever could be, an existential threat to the West. Unfortunately, they could serve as a catalyst to an existential threat that we create from our own imaginations. President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned us about this when he said β€œthe only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Chivalry-Now reminds us that our ideals are strong, and that is where our greatest strength lies in the face of this threat.

While politicians and media hosts play into the hands by ISIL by generating popular fear on their behalf (ISIL knows how to play them), it is up to us to stand up amid the chaos unafraid. We must think clearly. We must hold on to our values and protect them from assaults that are now coming from all sides – even our own! We must never, ever, allow the orchestrators of terror to control our thoughts and values, whether they are foreign aggressors or domestic fear-mongers.

We cannot bomb extreme ideologies out of existence – not as long as they appeal to the imagination of the disgruntled and disaffected. To win this war will require work on the part of all of us, and may challenge some of the ways we do things.

Western culture needs to reinstate its highest values, no longer tainted by greed which has always held us back. If we can do that, it will present to the world a realistic vision of progress, compassion, inclusivity, and spiritual achievement that, as a way of life, will be compelling to people everywhere.

No leader can do this for us. We have to do it ourselves, starting with you and me. When we do this, when we take that first step, and embrace the vision of what is possible, we will find the strength we need to resolve any problem that comes our way.

--Dean Jacques, KCN
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