In his new book, John Elsom considers the drama of international politics from the viewpoint of a theatre critic, someone who sits in life's stalls and takes notes in semi-darkness. "Missing the Point" is a challenging and timely examination of the philosophical and ideological assumptions that underlie modern Western culture and politics. Here the author relates how grand narratives of human behaviour grew from the insights of Darwin, Descartes and the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, to become "the unacknowledged state religion of the West, High Modernity". He argues that the primary aim of most European ministries of culture, together with Western media companies, is to promote aspects of this faith.With a dazzling range of examples, from George Bush's new world order to the war in Iraq, the peace process in Northern Ireland and John Birt at the BBC, Dr Elsom describes how the faith in high modernity has permeated Western habits of mind. High modernity may alarm those who do not share its enlightenment beliefs, but it reassures others who want to believe that the future is something that "we can, and must, control", according to the mission statement for the Millennium Dome.