November 23, 2015
"Reality-concealing rhetoric" and our responses to terrorism
The terrorist attacks on September 11 provoked, immediately afterward, an assertion of civilizational identity and solidarity. A small group of criminals and fanatics did not pose a mortal threat to the most powerful and wealthy societies in history. Still, the collective affirmations of certain Western freedoms and privileges—“we must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion,” Rushdie wrote—seemed a natural emotional reflex at the time.