Joseph Heath on Western self-confidence

One of my favorite Joseph Heath quotes:

I happen to agree that some women who wear a niqab are doing it in order to engage in some kind of symbolic rejection or resistance to Western values. But here's the thing ... I don't care. I am completely unperturbed. I have lots of colleagues who go railing against "the West" and its values all the time. That doesn’t bother me either. Why? Because of my serene self-confidence as a Westerner. Simply put, I believe that the basic structure of liberal- democratic societies, which includes a market economy, welfare state, individual rights, electoral democracy, and separation of church and state, obviously and self-evidently dominates all known alternatives ("dominates" in this context means "is better in every respect"). The fact that people want to flail around a bit before accepting the inevitable is not something that troubles me very deeply. The ability to tolerate niqabs, hijabs, turbans, or whatever else people want to wear, is a sign of the profound strength of liberal democratic societies.