Interests and Identity

“What rules in this universe is interests. Sometimes they are individual, at others collective, but interests are what are at stake. What is missing is identity. Identity is always a group phenomenon. It comes laden with history, memory, a sense of the past and its injustices, and a set of moral sensibilities that are inseparable from identity: loyalty, respect and reverence, the three virtues undermined by market economics, liberal democratic politics and the culture of individualism. As one who values market economics and liberal democratic politics, I fear that the West does not fully understand the power of the forces that oppose it. Passions are at play that run deeper and stronger than any calculation of interests. Reason alone will not win this particular battle. Nor will invocations of words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. To some they sound like compelling ideals, but to others they are the problem against which they are fighting, not the solution they embrace.”

Not in God’s Name, pp. 22-23