Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Read And Ponder

A Debate that Actually Matters: Peter Collier (via Mick Hartley).

"For all their differences, the participants in this debate believe that the world is intelligible, that wrong choices bring catastrophe, and that the West may be in peril."

I like to think that most people can agree on one and two, but three ?

The word “courage,” like the term “Islamofascism,” set Buruma off. He shot back at Bruckner (and Berman, too, was struck by this), asking where have we heard such talk before: “The need to defend Europe against alien threats; the fatigued, self-doubting, weak-kneed intellectuals . . .”

The allusion, of course, was to the intellectuals who became excited by the rise of fascism in the 1930s and made themselves its fellow travelers and outriders. But it was possible to hear in Buruma’s words a parallel echo from that time—this one coming from a different part of the intellectual class that reacted to the threat of their lifetime by blinking: how, as part of their failure of nerve, they derided the indiscreet candor of those who raised warning flags; and how the peace they thought they had secured in their own time turned out to be anything but.