What’s Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way

In January 2007, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, played host to a daylong
conference under the title ‘A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations.’
It was a singular business. The allusion in the title betrayed a misunderstanding
that the political scientist Samuel Huntington, author of the thesis of the clash
of civilisations, was prescribing Western universalism. It gave, however, the patina
of intellectual inquiry to an obviously exhortatory event. A set of prefabricated
conclusions concerning the alleged moral imperialism of Western Enlightenment
values – on whose behalf I was one of the fall guys invited to speak – was served at
public expense to a self-selecting audience of political activists.

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