Today is an important day in history.
No, I am not referring to the inauguration of President Obama. Of course, every Presidential inauguration is a matter of historical importance, but the fact that this is trumpeted as a particularly historical day because of the President’s skin color does little to indicate progress in race relations. (Note 1.) If anything, it emphasizes the prolonging of racism. True progress will be indicated when nobody notices or gives a damn about skin color, gender, or any other unchosen characteristic.
The historic event I am referring to is the release of the fifty-two remaining American diplomats on 20 Jan 1981, after they had been held hostage for 444 days by Islamist students. The attack on the American Embassy signaled the virulence of the Iranian Revolution and the coming of a new age of Islamist theocracy and totalitarianism.
It has been twenty-eight years since the release of those hostages. In the time that has passed, how has the West, with its moral imperative of defending individual rights and its indisputable military, cultural, economic, and technological superiority, fared against its medieval, homicidally irrational antagonists? Here is a link to a list, courtesy of Dr. John Lewis, that will give some indication of the state of our self-defense. (Note 2.) Skip down about a third of the way down the list to see what has happened since 1981.
1. This insightful point was made by another Objectivist blogger recently, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who wrote it. If any readers know who it was, please let me know so I can credit the author.
2. The list of Islamist attacks can be found on Dr. John Lewis’ web site, http://www.classicalideals.com/chronology.htm.