From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”

Full article here.

“Wherever the Western vision of political order has gained a foothold, we find freedom of expression: not merely the freedom to disagree with others publicly about matters of faith and morality but also the freedom to satirize solemnity and to ridicule nonsense, including solemnity and nonsense of the sacred kind.”

Scruton argues that here in the West, such freedom is maintained by secular government and the rule of law.  Both have created a platform of economic opportunity and personal freedom found attractive to people around the globe in the form of citizenship.  Citizenship is a contract of consent that carries many duties and responsibilities…and is kind of a grim business full of moral sacrifice (after Kant).  It also can not meet the demands that either religious nor secular idealism demand of it (from the Muslim Brotherhood to communists):

“What is needed is not to reject citizenship as the foundation of social order but to provide it with a heart. And in seeking that heart, we should turn away from the apologetic multiculturalism that has had such a ruinous effect on Western self-confidence and return to the gifts that we have received from our Judeo-Christian tradition.”

I think he’s correct in pointing out the excesses of multiculturalism and extreme egalitarianism (probably at a higher watermark in Britain right now), but in doing so, his solution seems to be to return to the virtues of Christianity, virtues which he suggests Islam does not possess:

“The Koran, unlike the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament, is a joke-free zone.”

Is it a false choice to have to choose a return to our civilization’s roots in Christian virtue against an Islam that has no such roots?

Scruton offers a deep analysis of the situation:

“There is nothing we can offer the Islamists that will enable them to say that they have achieved their goal. If they succeeded in destroying a Western city with a nuclear bomb, or a whole population with a deadly virus, they would regard it as a triumph, even though it conferred no material, political, or religious benefit whatsoever.”

and the threat of attack:

“…comes from individuals undergoing a traumatic experience that we do not fully understand—the experience of a déraciné Muslim confronting the modern world, and without the benefit of the two gifts of forgiveness and irony.”

Through the pursuit and defense of our Christian virtues (underlying our secular government and rule of law) we must use force if necessary against the radical muslims defending (get the infidel out of Arabia, attack them in any way necessary) theirs?

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