As Notre-Dame cathedral was burning, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro made what should have been a rather bland and unobjectionable remark on Twitter. He said: “Absolutely heartbreaking. A magnificent monument to Western civilization collapsing.”

Catholics could have quibbled that Notre-Dame is actually a monument to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her son Jesus Christ, or at least that it is only secondarily a monument to Western civilization. But it was liberals who objected to Shapiro’s use of that phrase, “Western civilization,” and later, his invocation of “Judeo-Christian heritage.” Online critics immediately pointed to all the terrible things French Catholics did to Jews in the Middle Ages, as if to argue against the very notion of a unified Judeo-Christian heritage, or to suggest that Western civilization is nothing so much as a series of crimes against oppressed and marginalized peoples.

Despite its absurdity, the exchange was a perfect manifestation of what’s gone wrong in Western civilization: liberals becoming outraged at the suggestion that Notre-Dame—even as it was engulfed in flames—is anything but a symbol of oppression, and especially outraged that Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, would have the chutzpah to say otherwise. (Next we’ll no doubt be hearing about how the Louvre is a monument to income inequality and the Eiffel

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