Cover image for The West and the rest : globalization and the terrorist threat
The West and the rest : globalization and the terrorist threat
Scruton, Roger.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Wilmington, DE : ISI Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 187 pages ; 19 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JZ1318 .S37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Since last September's terrorist attacks on the United States, a number of explanatory theses have been advanced. But few if any have matched the analytical depth and originality displayed by the noted English philosopher and cultural commentator Roger Scruton in The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat. In this important monograph, Scruton argues that to comprehend Islamist terrorism, one must understand both the unique historical evolution of the state and the dynamic of globalization.

Scruton contends that a fundamental gulf separates those nations that are in some sense the inheritors of the Roman-Christian political tradition and those that are not. Nations outside this political tradition are not really "states" -- which are characterized by the rule of law and the presence of representative political processes -- but fiefdoms secured primarily by power. Most Islamic nations are thus non-states, because Islamic jurisprudence typically rejects the notion that secular government has its own legitimate sphere of authority. Yet migration and other aspects of globalization have inexorably brought peoples living in Islamic non-states into constant contact with the images, products, and peoples of secular, liberal democracies. The West's projection of itself is as titillating as it is threatening and humiliating. Sure to generate debate, The West and the Rest is a powerful contribution to our national conversation about terrorism, civil society, and liberal democracy.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Last seen riding cheerily to the hunt (On Hunting [BKL S 1 01]), English philosopher Scruton turns to Islamic terrorism and the war against it, illuminating them by contrasting the West and Islam. The West has consisted of territorial nations, each defined by language and a legal system. Islam, however, is universal (hence, "the rest" --and more), bound together by the Arabic of the Koran and Islamic law. The West's religion, Christianity, discriminates sacred and secular realms of authority; Islam doesn't, regarding secular arrangements as conveniences, at best, and ultimately accepting no territorial state. Westerners' loyalties historically have been national-territorial; Muslim loyalty is nonterritorial--to Islam. The increasingly tolerant and multicultural West brims with evil in devout Muslims' eyes, which see Western-style globalism as sufficiently terrifying to justify such Muslims as the Ayatollah Khomeini and the destroyers of the World Trade Center in taking advantage of Western mores to mount reactive strikes against the West. Scruton concludes that U.S. retaliation against artificial, Western-created Muslim nations, and Israel's against Palestinian Muslims (and, inadvertently, Christians) supposedly controlled by Yasir Arafat, wrongly presume that borders and politicians control Islam. There is much more meat in Scruton's concentrated argument, which concludes not by suggesting how to fight terrorism successfully but by urging the West to reexamine its prejudices about immigration, multiculturalism, free trade, and religion. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

British philosopher Scruton offers a consideration of the philosophical and political differences between the West and "the rest," in particular Islam. Without taking a "blame the West" approach, he suggests that some of our "habits, beliefs, and prejudices" need to be reexamined, among them the unrestrained multinational corporation, and "our devotion to prosperity" and consumption and the resulting dependence on oil and other raw materials. In order to take on religious fanaticism, he argues, we must offer a coherent alternative and a means of putting our beliefs into practice. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved