The world was a little off kilter when, hours after Al-Qaeda jihadists flew passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, British commentator Simon Jenkins sat down to write a sober analysis of what it all meant.

What he said has a bearing on the steadfastness of sound ideas in any time of crisis that comes to test them. In a very different way, now is such a time — not the health crisis, but the crisis of intolerance born of moral puritanism, and the failure of popular conviction in the merits of argument and of winning adherents by reason...

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