Regular readers will know that I have been somewhat despairing about the West ever since reading Brad Gregory's magisterial "The Unintended Reformation." I do worry about secularization and the dictatorship of relativism. I do worry that switching from a substantive ethic of the good to a formal ethics of rights has robbed Western civilization of the intellectual framework to cope with a range of issues from abortion to global climate change.
BUT - the horrific news from Libya reminds us that the West has her achievements as well. In Libya, when someone speaks disrespectfully of the Prophet or of religious leaders, a murderous mob takes over. In the U.S., when someone disrespects religion, they get a press release from Bill Donohue. Two cheers for Western tolerance and the First Amendment.