We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
- political, economic, and religious liberty - full citizenship for women - separation of church and state - freedom of inquiry - embrace of the free market as an engine of wealth Etc.
On their side we have:
- absolute submission to the will of Allah - religious intolerance - servitude of women - barbaric ritual punishments for crime - recourse to suicide bombers as an instruments of policy Etc.
Pace Mr. Buruma, I think that part of what makes “our culture” ours are the customs, values, and practices that have defined it. Some of those values are “Enlightenment values,” some long predate and even conflict with Enlightenment values. But we subscribe to it not because of any abstract inventory of merit but, on the contrary, because it is ours.