Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What is freedom for?

The best thing I've read about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or rather about what she's saying (this distinction is often missed). It's by someone called Rod Dreher and comes to you courtesy of bellevillenewsdemocrat.com, which I assume would be somewhere west of here. As he points out, the real weakness in her thought is not what she says about Islam, it's what she says about the West.

Hirsi Ali's final tragedy is that what she preaches is leading to the triumph of what she most fears. Having escaped a cruel culture dominated by religion, she understandably despises faith. But religion per se was not what oppressed Hirsi Ali; it was a particular religion, Islam. The militant secularism Hirsi Ali advocates has already created a spiritual vacuum in Europe that Islam is filling...

There is something deeply admirable about this passionate African woman's stirring defense of Western liberties. But the question remains: What is freedom for? It cannot be an end in itself. There must be purpose beyond self-gratification. Europe is proving that materialism - the philosophical basis for the secularism and libertinism that is modern Europe's creed - is not sufficient to sustain civilization.

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