Are Westerners misanthropists? A few, perhaps. But, the dramatic contrast in the way we respond to human fetal suffering versus animal suffering unveils a striking dilemma that most secularists, the vast majority of whom are materialists of some kind (whether naturalists, existentialists, nihilists, or postmodernists), would rather not think about.
What always made me uneasy with this neat, clean distinction between the intolerance of the religious and the cheerful tolerance of secular Enlightenment thinkers was this question: From whence did Enlightenment philosophers derive their concepts of tolerance? Joseph Loconte is the latest scholar to offer a clear answer to that question in God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West (2014).