Rebirth of Reason

The Enemy
by Joseph Rowlands

If this is a war of ideas, who is the enemy? This question is important not just because it's important to identify clearly what you're up against, but also to identify what you're not up against. In other words, by understanding who our enemies are, we can avoid classifying others in that category.

The line I want to draw is between those that believe bad ideas, and those that promote them. In a war to win men's minds, the former are the people we are trying to reach and persuade. The latter are the ones we have to counter and disprove. Or to keep with the war analogy, the former are the battleground, the latter are the enemies.

The distinction is important. Ideas matter, and those that promote them have a moral responsibility to make sure they're right. This is especially true in the area of politics, where ideas translate into the use of force. This is because ideas drive actions. They are a guiding force that shapes our lives. Their impact is real.

The people that promote violence and destruction are morally responsible for the outcomes they preach. Those that promote faith and subjectivism are no less responsible, although the causal link to the actions is longer. When someone decides to promote ideas, they are also deciding to promote the actions that will result from them.

This should help differentiate the enemies from the victims. Just holding bad ideas does not automatically make someone an enemy. But when they raise arms (ideas) against us, they cross the line. We must emphasize the importance of moral responsibility in promoting ideas.