That would be liberalism in relation to the demands of radical Islam. According to Robert Reilly, if the contest is really between Islam and secular society, freedom without meaning, Islam will win. So he proposes a return to an overtly religious society:
Islamists are not the problem; we are the problem. Were we still a healthy culture, the challenge of Islam in any of its forms would not be major. We need to recover some sense of ourselves based upon our Judeo-Christian faith; and it is our faith that ultimately undergirds the integrity of reason. The crisis of self-confidence in the West is due to the disintegration of belief, which leads to lack of will. It is the sacred which gives meaning to our lives. Evacuate the sacred, and you evacuate the meaning. What happens then?
The regnant multiculturalism in Europe makes it impossible for most of the people there to understand this problem. Perhaps the only thing that European multiculturalism can help explain is why, according to research by the Washington Institute, the Islamic State enjoys more support in Europe than it does in the Middle East.
But would a Judeo-Christian society — whatever that is — be any more appealing to Muslims than a secular one? Maybe a Judeo-Christian society would not welcome the mocking in which Charlie Hebdo engaged. But isn’t Reilly remembering that Christendom warred with Islam?
In fact, Peter Leithart reminds us what blasphemy looked like in a Christian society:
Christendom had a consistent view of blasphemy because it confessed that there is only one God. Blasphemy of this one God was blasphemy indeed; insult to others gods was no blasphemy, because other gods are idols. Other gods and their worshipers were considered the blasphemers, because they dishonored God by worshiping what is not God. Insulting the Christian God was a sin; insulting Allah was considered almost an obligation. Many today disagree, vehemently, but it has the virtue of being consistent because it doesn’t dodge the question of truth.
Leithart agrees sort of with Reilly in regarding liberalism as religiously and morally bankrupt, and so unable to sort of Islam or blasphemy:
Secular liberalism aims and claims to be beyond the possibility of blasphemy. Blasphemy can only exist where there is a sacred to violate; we are supposed to be beyond blasphemy because we have given up on the sacred.
But Leithart also knows that liberalism is the best option available:
For all its contradictions, liberalism is definitely preferable to many, if not most, of the alternatives.
That should be a sober assessment for any believer — evangelical, neo-Calvinist, Roman Catholic — who thinks culture only goes better with cult.