Andrew C. McCarthy, former U.S. prosecutor.
I reply: Indeed, democracy is a flexible concept and recent developments have mostly been negative; think of the pseudo-democratic nature of the European Union. But I am not so much talking about a debased form of democracy as an evolution toward something civilized; I am not being technical about democracy but political about freedom and the rule of law.
I reply: I knew 13 years ago of non-violent Islamists; indeed, this was implicit in my 2001 assertion that while "peaceable in appearance, … they all must be considered potential killers." I now find that "these words ring archaic" because I now recognize that some Islamists are not potential killers. Some of them are truly political with no intention to use force. Andy has not come to this conclusion but I suspect he eventually will.
I reply: We agree. My seeing "a small ray of hope" does not mean Western states should go haring after Islamist movements, hoping they will moderate. No, this is indeed the ideology of our enemies that needs to be defeated and marginalized, as were fascism and communism in earlier eras.