A Tweet For November 5

Tonight is Britain’s fireworks night, when the original religious terrorist, Guido Fawkes, was foiled in his attempt to blow up Parliament. As a kid, I used to love it, only faintly aware that my peers were burning the effigy of a Catholic terrorist, and sometimes burning effigies of the Pope, even as the fireworks exploded overhead. We sometimes feel as if we in the West are somehow beyond the use of torture and terrorism in religious wars. And we are, thanks to centuries of slowly accumulating liberal values. But we were once beset by the kind of terror that now traumatizes the Shia-Sunni conflict in the Middle East. And such impulses, as we saw under Bush and Cheney, are never banished for ever.