Ross Douthat had an interesting article in the New York Time Monday concerning the clash between Islamic immigrants and secularized or nominally Christian citizens in Europe.  He notes specifically a referendum in Switzerland, long famous for religious tolerance, in which 57.5 percent of voters chose to ban the nation’s Muslims from building minarets.

The problem, according to Douthat, is one of a lack of democracy and poor political leadership. Ignored by a condescending political elite, confronted with a clash of civilizations which said elite refuse to truly address, the people are scorning moderate parties and groups in favor of extreme, usually fascist-leaning affiliations. Underlying these discussions, of course, is a question of very basic principles, not the least of which are the nature of equality, the legitimacy of government, and the role relgion plays in the lives of men and states. The shadow, too, cast over all of this is the French Revolution married to a particular post-modernism. Fascinating and troubling.