Acton Institute Powerblog

The road to London Bridge is paved with self-loathing

The day after Thanksgiving, the world saw a murderous terrorist prevented from maximizing his death toll by desperate people armed with nothing more than personal courage, a narwhal tusk, and a fire extinguisher. As I write at The Stream, unless the West jettisons its paralyzing doubt of itself and its historic faith, that scene threatens to become an “epoch-defining event.”

Naively believing that all religions are alike, and that Western capitalism is uniquely exploitative, renders European culture incapable of understanding those who kill in the name of God – or even of daring, in Douglas Murray’s phrase, to “take its own side in an argument”:

The 2019 London Bridge attack took place at the intersection of a myriad of policies that show the West’s lack of confidence in itself. Those policies include denying their citizens any form of self-defense while maximizing prisoners’ rights, losing sovereignty over its immigration laws, turning a blind eye to hostile religio-political extremism, and a prevailing hostility to its own institutions and culture. It has uniquely demonized its own history (blithely unaware that self-reflection and acts of penance and atonement are distinctive marks of Western civilization). It has equalized all truth claims — and assumed everyone else shares our indifference about ultimate things.

The story continues, “Without a new era of cultural self-confidence, this terrorist attack provides a glimpse into the future of a faithless, graying Europe, slowing losing the battle for its own survival.”

Read the whole article here.

(Photo credit: Screenshot.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson is Executive Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty and edits its transatlantic website.