Editor's Note, July 14, 2016: We extend our deepest condolences to the individuals and families affected by today's terrorist attack in France. 

America today is still the country that most fully embodies and symbolizes modernity. That fact is the deepest source of our tensions with Europe and our clash with political Islam.ISIS

If there were any doubt about this, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, should have removed it. "Nothing is more telling about the recent terrorist attacks in the United States than the nature of their targets," observed Luis Rubio, general director of Mexico's Center for Research for Development.

"The Twin Towers in New York City represented the future, modernity, America's optimistic outlook of the world and, more recently, of globalization. The terrorist attacks constitute a direct hit against those values, which is the main reason why the whole Western world immediately rallied in support."

Yet our enemies are wrong if they think American culture is consistently modernist. Indeed, in our domestic culture wars, modernity has hardly had a voice. Battles over issues like family values, the role of religion in society, sex and violence on TV, and political correctness have been fought between conservatives on the cultural Right and progressives on the cultural Left. Neither camp advocates the values of modernity. On the contrary, both are descendants of the counter-Enlightenment that rose up among intellectuals, artists, and social activists who opposed the values of modernity.

By reading the following articles you'll gain valuable insight into nature of the clash between modernity and radical Islam and you'll deepen your understanding what is at stake in this war on civilization, both at home and abroad.


The Party of Modernity

America today is still the country that most fully embodies and symbolizes modernity. That fact is the deepest source of our tensions with Europe and our clash with political Islam.

The Assault on Civilization

Our enemy is not Islam, which created one of the world's great civilizations, nor is it the Arab or Iranian or Afghani peoples. Our enemy is the nihilism of this subculture of radical, fundamentalist Islam.

Does Islam Need a Reformation?

Islamism is only the latest call for a return to the original vision and purity of Islam; there have been waves of such reform movements throughout the history of the religion.

The Ideas that Promote Terrorism

The Islamists, like the communist and fascist totalitarians, hate individualism. There is no room in their worldview for individual freedom of thought, or for the pursuit of individual happiness. Mawlana Mawdudi, founder of Jama`at-i-Islami in India and Pakistan and one of the most important and influential theorists of Islamism, advocated a theocratic state in which, as he said, "no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic state bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states." The Islamists want a society of rigid orthodoxy and censorship, just as communists sought to enforce Marxist dogmas and punish deviants.

 Position Statement on the 9/11 Attack

The values under assault are the core values of modern secular society.


View All Modernity & Terrorism Articles

Donate to The Atlas Society

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider making a donation. Our digital channels garner over 1 million views per year. Your contribution will help us to achieve and maintain this impact.

× Close Window

logo cymk 400x200

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive the most recent news and articles directly to your inbox.