I have been active in the weblog community since May 2002. For five months after that I listened to and participated in the debate over anti-terror policy that has been a central concern of that community since 9/11.

It seemed to me that I detected a number of recurring themes and stances in that debate, an emerging consensus, that could not adequately be subsumed within conventional political categories; not least because one of those themes was the extent to which the institutions and sages of conventional politics have failed us.

Symbolic of all this was the invention of the term "idiotarian" and its rapid propagation through the blogosphere. The implicit meaning of the term was clear from the beginning; it was a condemnation directed both at the dogmatic Right and the doctrinaire Left, both of which proved so preoccupied with their own parochial concerns and historical baggage that they neither anticipated the monstrous threat of Islamo-fascist terrorism nor were able to come to grips with its implications after the fact.

The aftermath of 9/11 seems certain to wreak tectonic changes on the map of U.S. and world politics. It has already motivated one full-scale war, probably the first of several. U.S. and Western foreign policy are, of necessity, shifting in a neo-imperialist direction. In the realm of ideas, left-wing postmodernism has been exposed as a form of apologism for atrocities; right-wing isolationism has been shown inadequate to cope with asymmetrical warfare; and the very notion that state action is a sufficient defense against terror is being questioned in places that would before 9/11 have dismissed the relevance of citizen militia with contempt.

The Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto is my attempt to put my skills as a rhetorician and propagandist at the service of the war against terror. The age-old struggle between those who build and those who can only destroy is with us again; by distilling the moral and pragmatic arguments that were hammered out in the blogosphere during 2002, I hope to help as many as possible of the fractious interest groups within our civilization find common cause in the struggle against barbarism, and to take pride in that struggle.

I posted five drafts on my weblog, Armed and Dangerous, and benefitted from over 200 comments and emails. I am grateful to too many people to be named here. Though I elected to be the focus of this effort, I think the result should be considered a collaborative work of the blogosphere.

There is, however, one bit of personal invention in the manifesto. Previous definitions of `idiotarianism' have been implicit and extensional, requiring the reader/hearer to construct a model from examples. I have attempted to supply an intensional definition. I hope this will be useful in framing future debate.

December 2003 update, version 2.0: Following the liberation of Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein, I have deleted a paragraph about Iraq that victory has made obsolete.