Wednesday, July 19, 2006

National Priorities

(Crosspost from Redstate)

Your nation, the land you call home, is divided. It has for longer than anyone can remember been controlled mostly by two parties, each of which knows, in its heart of hearts, that the land must be reunified if you are to deal with the threats facing you and to seize the opportunity to lead the human race into a new era.

The worlds you may discover will have to wait until you deal with the cancer of militant Islam. At least, that's what Ferdinand and Isabella decided.

The year was 1492. For the people and rulers of Aragon, Castile, and Leon, seven centuries had passed since the Muslims had invaded -- seven centuries of hiding in the Pyrenees and beginning the slow Reconquista. They built castles to stake out the territory they slowly won back (whence the name "Castile"). They had succeeded in reclaiming all of the Iberian Penninsula except for the Christian Portugal and the last remaining Muslim stronghold, Granada.

Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile were cousins, whose marriage would eventually result in a unified Spain. In early 1492, however, while their union and unity was a powerful force, the country remained divided among Aragon, Castile, Catalonia, and Valencia.

When Genoan sailor Christopher Columbus came to Ferdinand and Isabella wanting ships to sail across the sea to find a trade route that didn't require dealing with the Ottomans or the desert, they thought it was a good idea that would have to wait. They had a more pressing priority: defeating Islamic militants.

Only forty years earlier, the Islamic Ottomans had finally ended the Roman Empire (in one of its many incarnations, before and after) by conquering Constantinople. What solace it must have been to the Spaniards when, in 1492, they did in fact drive the Muslim Moors out of Granada.

But once the threat of an Islamic state on their soil was ended, Ferdinand and Isabella could sponsor this Columbus fellow. National priorities now allowed exploration and expansion, rather than merely purification. But purify they would, and through the disgrace and painful decades of Inquisition, their country became Spain.

And what of our national attention, dear reader? We had begun exploring the frontier of space, but our priorities are swayed mightily by the spectre of Islamic militarism. The space program goes on, but our government knows that its first responsibility is not to explore, but to defend. Once the threat of militant Islam is ended, we may again start the search for new worlds.

While history seldom repeats itself, the drag and waste that is the Global War on Terror will only end when we kick the terrorists off the pages of history. It would be entirely foolish to allow them to gain a foothold in space, and to that end we must crush them before any further exploration ourselves.

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