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Sometimes the best new ideas are actually quite old. Last May, Standpoint was launched: a monthly transatlantic magazine dedicated to defending and celebrating Western civilisation. What could be less of a novelty than Western civilisation? The Guardian denounced us, the BBC tried to ignore us and even those who welcomed us were sceptical that such a highbrow title could survive on the newsstand. That was before the recession began to bite.

A year later, however, we are flourishing. Why? The answer is that Western civilisation is still threatened, perhaps more so today than ever before. The external threats are more visible - Somali pirates, Islamist terrorists, nuclear-armed rogue states - but the internal ones are at least as dangerous. Along with a collapse in confidence in the free-market economy is a more insidious disintegration of Western values, traditions and beliefs. The intellectual and political elites have enthusiastically connived in this process, blaming the West for all the world's ills. Those who should be the secular priests of our civilisation have long since lost their faith in everything it stands for - they are "hollow men", in Eliot's resonant phrase - but our societies have been sustained by the silent majority and by the institutional structures that survived from a more self-confident past. Now these structures too are falling apart and the no longer silent majority realises that it has been betrayed by its leaders.

So where do we go from here? Back to a politics that reaffirms values rooted in classical, Judaeo-Christian and Enlightenment thought. We need a nation state, proud of its identity and history, independent and sovereign, free and democratic, living under the rule of law and capable of protecting its way of life. We need limited government, lower taxes, fewer subsidies and a smaller state: not just because these things are good in themselves, but because the ever more absolute power now concentrated in the hands of our elite is corrupting them. The gentleman in Whitehall never did know best. And his boss isn't much of a gentleman at all.

We also need to inculcate a sense of belonging, especially among those who have come to live among us. We cannot do that until we stop apologising and start listening to voices such as those of Lionel Shriver and David Coleman in this month's Dialogue, who urge our rulers not to make us strangers in our own homelands.

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