What is needed is not to reject citizenship as the foundation of social order but to provide it with a heart. And in seeking that heart, we should turn away from the apologetic multiculturalism that has had such a ruinous effect on Western self-confidence and return to the gifts that we have received from our Judeo-Christian tradition.
…Forgiveness and irony lie at the heart of our civilization. They are what we have to be most proud of, and our principal means to disarm our enemies. They underlie our conception of citizenship as founded in consent. And they are expressed in our conception of law as a means to resolve conflicts by discovering the just solution to them.
Forgiveness, as Scruton argues, is central to how Christians live in the world. It is the heart of redemption and reconciliation; it is what halts war. His discussion of Irony is more novel. It undermines the timber of certainty that grounds most faith. I’m not sure if I buy his distinctions with Islam just yet; perhaps “forgiveness” is under “mercy” in Islam. And I’m generally skeptical that irony is a grand virtue, especially in the midst of suffering. That said, all is vanity.