Most Americans are avoiding the idea [that we are at war with Islam] with all their might; that's why such obfuscations as "Islamofascism" are so useful and popular. No one wants to recognize the fact that we are at war. I sure don't. It is not a happy thought. If we are at peace, we can afford to be liberal with Muslims. But if we are in a war to the death, we simply cannot. If we are at war, then Muslims are simply our enemies, as the Nazis were our enemies, and the Japanese. If we are at war, then our policies must be shaped, not to support our enemies, not to welcome them, but to destroy them. In that case, all sorts of policies that would have seemed outrageous in time of peace become mere common sense; as Japanese internment during WWII was mere common sense; as Austerian separation is now mere common sense. […]
Adjusting to the idea that we are at war is difficult for anyone. But for a dyed in the wool liberal – i.e., for a normal modern American like [Robert] Spencer, or me – the confrontation with Islam is much more difficult even than that. For if Spencer's world-historical analysis is correct, our conflict with Islam is far deeper than our war with, say, Hitler. Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin, Mao: all these we could treat as morbid defects of civilization. It could have made some sense to say that Germany was "hijacked" by Nazism. It even makes sense to say that Russia was "hijacked" by Marxism. Once we defeated our enemies in those lands, once we destroyed the champions of those evil perversions of civilization, normal civilization could and did re-assert itself. Bonapartism was not essential to the French, as it turned out, nor was Marxism essential to the Russians. The Germans are getting on just fine without Nazism.
But Islam has not been "hijacked" by jihad. Jihad is essential to Muslims. They define themselves as utterly Other to us. And since the Muslim Other – unlike, say, the Inuit or Samoan Other – is inimical to our essential civilization, it forces an abandonment of Western liberality. We cannot afford to be liberal to Islam, or to Muslim nations, as we are liberal to Inuits, or as we were liberal to the Germans after WWII. The only long-run alternatives open to the West in respect to Islam are to convert Muslims to some apostasy or other, or to destroy them. Indeed, these are the very terms in which Mohammed framed Islam's long-run alternatives with respect to us. Thus they give us no option: they force us to the realization that one way or another, sooner or later, either Islam will be eliminated from history, or we will. […]
In order for the liberal to admit that liberalism is mistaken, in order to admit that some people and some ideas are evil, he must admit that there is an objective morality, and that nominalism is false. And if nominalism is false, so that truths are objective, the questions that then force themselves upon him are, "Where are these objective truths, and what is the mode of their objective existence?" The only satisfactory answer is somehow monotheist. So the abandonment of liberalism, when carried to its logical conclusion, just is the abandonment of paganism. For the liberal, that conversion to monotheism must greatly raise his stakes in his own actions; must make his sinfulness a really serious matter, a great personal danger, and force him to consider a different, more virtuous, and more difficult way of life. (Give up promiscuity and start attending Mass? How much fun is that?) For the West generally, apostasy from liberalism would raise the question whether our tanks should bear, not inverted V's, but white shields blazoned with red crosses.