The New York Times Magazine has a long profile of the Karl Marx of Islamism. The conclusion is powerful:
The terrorists speak insanely of deep things. The antiterrorists had better speak sanely of equally deep things. Presidents will not do this. Presidents will dispatch armies, or decline to dispatch armies, for better and for worse.
But who will speak of the sacred and the secular, of the physical world and the spiritual world? Who will defend liberal ideas against the enemies of liberal ideas? Who will defend liberal principles in spite of liberal society’s every failure? President George W. Bush, in his speech to Congress a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, announced that he was going to wage a war of ideas. He has done no such thing. He is not the man for that.
Philosophers and religious leaders will have to do this on their own. Are they doing so? Armies are in motion, but are the philosophers and religious leaders, the liberal thinkers, likewise in motion? There is something to worry about here, an aspect of the war that liberal society seems to have trouble understanding — one more worry, on top of all the others, and possibly the greatest worry of all.
I feel privileged to have lived in a liberal society. Certainly, unlike many of my readers, I am just one generation removed from the ancient autocracy that characterizes the human condition. The modern day Left rarely speaks up for liberalism. The Right is of many minds on the subject (ranging from George W. Bush’s incoherent multiculturalism to Jared Taylor’s White Nationalism). But I see in the modern day American Right some who might champion a liberal conservatism, the preservation and conservation of freedoms hard won against the tides of retro-progress.