Saturday, February 17, 2007

University Journalist Wrongs Elan Journo

As part of its ongoing commitment, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is regularly invited to come speak on college campuses across the country. By doing so, it hopes to spread a rational philosophy that will ultimately lead to a cultural change. There are over 120 campus clubs devoted to Objectivism and this past year the ARI participated in 39 lectures with a total of over 3,000 people in attendance. And just think, this is only one way in which they spread ideas.

One such campus event was recently held by the USC Objectivist Club. They had invited Elan Journo, junior fellow of the ARI, to give a talk entitled, "Islam's Role in the Terror War on America". I of course was not there, but those in the area obviously did attend and their school paper wrote an article about the event. After reading the article and from my past exposure to Mr. Journo's writing I can tell that his talk had strong similarities to his recent paper (subscription required) at The Objective Standard, "The Jihad on America". The summary of which states, the paper:

Elucidates the fundamental ideas behind, and the principal sponsors of, the Islamic assault on America by reference to the words and deeds of its adherents and supporters—words and deeds that westerners in general and Americans in particular must understand if we are to eliminate this anti-life movement before it eliminates more of us.
From the school article, it is evident the author is sympathetic to Islam or a Muslim herself. The fact that she bleeps out the word Allah as if it were blasphemous and when making reference to Muhammad offers blessings upon him illustrates this fact. This is revealing in light of her comments on Journo's speech.

Journo makes the point that it is obscene to call this a "War on Terror" because it evades the whole basis of the war. What one must first realize is the fundamental cause for the conflict and then identify its source. In the war we are faced with today, religion, and more specifically, faith is the fundamental cause. Faith being defined as the acceptance of an idea with no relation to or even in direct contradiction to the facts of reality. Therefore when no rational discourse is possible between two competing ideas the end result will be through the use of force. It is Islam's reliance on faith that drives Muslims to perpetrate these attacks.

From this, there are those who wish to impose Islam onto others via Islamic Totalitarianism. It is this moral ideal that Journo was talking about when he said that we must obliterate it. Those who wish to use force against us. He also pointed out the greatest supporters of this ideology, Iran and Syria. If these two were held accountable and brought to justice, it could be argued that this war would end rather quickly. Just as we destroyed Germany and Japan as the sources of collectivist ideology, so too Iran and Syria.

In short the article's author, Natasha Khan, fails to see the link between the terrorist's motivation (ideology) and their use of force. She merely hears, "Islam is to blame. The terrorists were Muslim. Therefore we need to kill all Muslims." Instead of making the connection that it is from a proper basis of self-defense that we should retaliate. It is not Islam as such that our government should fight but rather Islamic Totalitarianism. This is how she comes to grossly misrepresent Mr. Journo's views by stating that he advocates a second Holocaust.

Khan later goes on to try and dismiss Journo's credibility on the topic when he says that he's not an Islamic scholar, "That seems strange when much of the lecture was spent in telling the audience about Islam." However, I would argue that a complete study of Islam and its history are not necessary. All that is needed is to understand its fundamental characteristic, which is common to all religions, faith. All the other stuff helps to clarify but to a lesser extent. When questioned about military actions he responded by stating that he wasn't a specialist to which Khan replies, "that appears strange when battle plans formed the crux of this [sic] Journo's solution." This is just blatantly false. Journo's speech did make mention of action against Iran and Syria but his purpose was not to present a military plan of attack. It was to identify the root cause of the current war and the ideology supporting it.

I can only conclude that this article is a deliberate smear of Mr. Journo and his ideas stemming from an inability to understand his thesis. The Daily Trojan should be ashamed to have published this trash but from my reading of the USC Objectivist Club's past experience with them it seems to be common practice. Eck!


Anonymous said...

"However, I would argue that a complete study of Islam and its history are not necessary. All that is needed is to understand its fundamental characteristic, which is common to all religions, faith. All the other stuff helps to clarify but to a lesser extent. "

Yes! Thank you. I thought of this point before. Overall, I've avoided debating the "war on terror" too much, but have imagined arguing with someone who would tell me that everything i say is invalid because I don't know enough about Islam. Thanks for making that point.

z in jacksonville