“There is something wrong with a rights-based culture much more obsessed with catering for difference than with bolstering our common freedoms which really matter”
On Monday, David Cameron said that “it is not good enough to say simply that Islam is a religion of peace and then to deny any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists”. The following day, the US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Paris, was asked about the murderous attacks in that city the previous Friday. Mr Kerry said: “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo (the slaughter of the staff of the “blasphemous” French satirical magazine in January), and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularised focus (to the Charlie Hebdo attack) and perhaps even a legitimacy – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re really angry because of this and that.”
In these two remarks are contained differing beliefs about our civilisation. The argument about how the West should deal with Islamist terror and extremism turns on the difference. If Mr Kerry’s side wins, our civilisation will lose.