If 9/11 was the start of a moral panic in the West that the “clash of civilizations” was now underway, the tragic killings at Charlie Hebdo may have driven this panic to a new high. After all, Hebdo has a unique symbolic significance. Its satirical anti-clerical journalism represents the most valuable cultural assets of the West—freedom of speech and secularism. Moreover, Hebdo is French, and the French nation historically played a pivotal role, with its bourgeoisie revolution and laicite, in the making of Western civilization.
After half a dozen years of economic decline and political hardship EU measured its demos in the elections to the European Parliament. The result was just about expected, though probably not at all what the ”Europeans” — whoever they are these days — were eager to see. Given a choice between a commitment towards the globalization of world politics and going home, going home, by and large, won.