Keith Ablow, MD for Respvblica | September 12, 2017
September 11, 2001 signaled the beginning of a war with a new kind of enemy: Al Qaeda functioned as a rogue nation, but without initially laying claim to any land. Absent the infrastructure of a traditional state, but with cells distributed around the world, Al Qaeda sought to advance its murderous ideology, much like cancer might invade the body by metastasis.
Later, the jihadist militant group ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq), perpetrated horrific terrorist acts while claiming the status of a caliphate with dominion over Muslims around the world. At the time ISIS began in 1999, it held no land, either.
The strategy of advancing an ideology by inspiring people around the world—terrorist cells in the cases of Al Qaeda and ISIS—is one that America has sought to neutralize by deploying its intelligence resources to find and destroy these malignant cells and by attacking Al Qaeda and ISIS wherever they have eventually claimed actual territory.
CIA and American military personnel have acted like the T killer cells of the body’s immune system, heroically hunting for cancer and obliterating it, anywhere they find it.
What has yet to occur is the mirror image of the Al Qaeda and ISIS strategy—namely, the recruitment of cells around the world comprised of individuals who love freedom and autonomy and self-expression, just like Americans do. To me, this spread of healthy cells would be one good and natural response to the spread of sick and destructive ones.
To use a metaphor: A good way to prevent weeds from growing in soil is to plant healthy ground cover that spreads even faster, because it loves light and is favored by nature, for which one can substitute God.
Respvblica, beginning now as a forum for opinions and ideas rooted in truth, aspires to become that constellation of freedom-loving cells—another nation state without land, but with millions of citizens who might live in the United States, or Great Britain or Iraq or Russia or China or anywhere else, but who aspire to live as free people—people of the light. These citizens of Respvblica would embrace the liberty to express themselves, to pursue their dreams and to contribute to a bright future, one without undue influence upon the individual, from any entity.
I once called for an American Jihad—the strategic, unapologetic spreading of the best of our ideology around the world. [It’s time for an American Jihad] That can happen—one human being at a time—via an Internet nation that becomes a powerful force for good all over the world.
It sounds almost too bold. It sounds almost unattainable. That’s why I love the idea. Because it requires dreamers who begin taking steps, one at a time, despite there being an untold number of steps to take. What great project begins any other way?
I have agreed to devote some of my energy to help Respvblica grow from a site of healthy, truthful ideas and ideals, into a worldwide nation of healthy, truthful ideas and ideals—ones like the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion and the right to bear arms.
And what better day to launch Respvblica than the day after September 11, when Americans awakened to their grief, but also to their unwavering resolve to never yield our way of life to any dark force.
Why not spread that light?
As John Kennedy once said, “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days . . . nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
Keith Ablow, MD