The emotional falsity of the age

It is a consequence, Dalrymple points out, of

the decline of religious belief and cultural confidence.

These days, he writes,

we have come to expect the lighting of candles whenever anybody loses his life in an unusual or spectacular way.

It is necessary to pour out kitschy emotion,

there being no point in having an emotion unless you can show it in public.

Candles come out, and are lit in prominent places at what are called vigils.

People at these vigils—mainly women—stand around and look mournful, and I daresay they hug one another. They shed tears.

Dalrymple asks:

Do people have vigil candles at the ready at home, and joss sticks, just waiting for the occasion to demonstrate to the world the depth of their feeling and their inner goodness, or do they have to go and buy them and, if so, from where? 

No sooner had three people been murdered by a Muslim terrorist in Strasbourg than

out came the candles, as if they had been held in waiting precisely for such an event.

Dalrymple comments:

With what contempt must sympathisers with such terrorism view this response; how much encouragement it must give them that their opponents, though overwhelmingly numerous and wealthy, have no stomach for a fight and have all the courage of mice!

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