In the aftermath of terrorist attacks a lot of dumb stuff gets written and said and a lot of good stuff. What you don’t get much of is new stuff. I don’t have anything particularly good or new to say on the subject. But I wanted to add a small and unimportant voice to those of the people who say the kind of thing I’m about to say anyway.
Terrorists kill people. They destroy buildings and infrastructure. They also attack our values. Values that form the background to everything we do and think. But that’s the thing: they form the background. We are so used to taking them for granted that we don’t even think about them. Values like open-mindedness, tolerance, and freedoms – freedoms of speech, of thought, of movement, of congregation, of religion, of assembly and so on.
When these values come under attack we need to to bring them from the background to the foreground. We need to forget that they are so firmly established that we can take them for granted. We then need to start again -committing to them, justifying them, implementing them, furthering them and promoting them.
So we need to counter closed-minded fundamentalism with open-mindedness. We need to counter intolerance by promoting tolerance, we need to counter attempts to reduce our freedoms by making the best use of them, broadening them out and making them available to more people. Because if we try to fight intolerance with intolerance, closed minds by closing ours and attacks on our freedoms by reining in freedoms, we lose. If good people think they need to fight evil with evil, evil wins.