How Not to Win the War on Terror: Keep Exporting Abortion and Sex Education

Steven Mosher
PRI Weekly Briefing
15 March 2007
Vol. 9, No. 11
Reproduced with Permission

Dinesh D'Souza's new book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, has Michael Moore frothing at the mouth. For D'Souza's thesis is that Moore and others of his ilk have "fostered a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world, that are being overwhelmed with this culture." Moreover, they are "waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values in non-Western cultures." Thus they are -- in part -- responsible for the rise of Islamic terrorism against the West.

The Cultural Left, without apology for its relentless promotion of abortion, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, divorce and other "rights" at home and abroad, has dismissed his book out of hand. If you want to talk culpability for terrorist attacks, Moore and others say, it was America's "lust for oil" and "neo-colonialism" that were responsible. These ridiculous assertions -- America doesn't import its oil from colonies, but buys it on the open market -- have nonetheless hardened into Leftist dogma.

The Right, which might have been expected to embrace D'Souza's thesis, has reacted coolly as well. Libertarians, who in general have little time for tradition, are unlikely candidates for cross-national coalitions in support of the natural family or life. Even cultural conservatives, who may be just as angered and repulsed by what they see issuing from Hollywood and their television sets as a devout Muslim, are skeptical. Many, such as Robert Spencer, believe that terrorism is latent within Islam. Spencer argues that statements made by Mohammed about Christians and Jews, the whole notion of jihad that he set in motion, and the historic relegation of non-Muslims to dhimmi, or second-class, status, all contain the seed of violence, which can sprout at any time. Islamic aggression, which several times took it into the very heart of Europe, occurred many centuries before America, much less the cultural Left, even existed.

But it is possible to agree that radical Muslims hate us based on their reading of the Koran, and at the same time acknowledge that the recent and widespread antipathy towards America among Muslims in general gains strength from other currents as well. In pointing out that the Cultural Left's unceasing advocacy of abortion, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality and divorce at home and abroad has raised hackles in the Muslim world, D'Souza has illuminated an important truth.

Most Americans don't understand that this advocacy is not merely an incidental byproduct of the private sector, but is part and parcel of our foreign aid program. If Egyptians, for example, chose to patronize trashy Hollywood productions noteworthy primarily for their sex, violence, and bad language, then they have no grounds for complaint. But when Iraqi youths turn on their radios and listen to the vulgar lyrics of rap songs broadcast into their country by Radio Sawa, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, then we as a people can rightly be blamed.

The worst abuses are found in government-funded population control programs. The United States, both directly and through international institutions like the World Bank, has been exporting various social pathologies into relatively innocent and untouched corners of the world for going on 40 years now under the guise of "family planning" and "reproductive health." Billions of dollars a year are being poured into programs that promote abortion, fund coercive sterilization and contraceptive campaigns, reach into the schools with pornographic sex education programs, fund anti-family and anti-child radio and television programs, undermine primary health care, and encourage governments to intrude into the private lives of their citizens. Such programs create bitter resentment in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike, as we at PRI have documented over and over again.

Let me be clear: It is not because women in the West have abortions and premarital sex that bin Laden and his pals attacked us. They were bent on violence in any case.

But the promotion by the U.S. and other "modern democracies" of abortion, divorce, adultery, and premarital sex in Muslim countries cannot help but generate sympathy and new recruits for those who would attack the "Great Satan." One can understand the resentment of even moderate Muslims when Western-funded population controllers come knocking at the door of their houses, bearing their human pesticides and insisting that their wives be rendered sterile. Or their righteous anger when their young child arrive home from school with a pornographic sex ed booklet, funded by a grant from USAID.

If our foreign aid programs have been hijacked by the Cultural Left, what is to be done? D'Souza writes that, "As conservatives, we should export our America. That means introducing in places in Iraq the principles of self-government, majority rule, minority rights, free enterprise, and religious toleration. But we must stop exporting the cultural left's America. That means we should stop insisting on radical secularism, stop promoting the feminist conception of the family, stop trying to promote abortion and "sex education," and we should try and halt the export of the vulgar and corrupting elements of our popular culture."

One can deplore the burka and at the same time recognize that we as a nation are doing deliberate violence to the values and family structure of developing countries. If we want to win the war on terror, we'd better stop making enemies in this way.