Thursday, September 01, 2011

Liberalism's Archdruid, Scourge of Islamism & Its Apologists, Glances Over His Shoulder.

The progressive thinkers from Muslim backgrounds, the people who have chosen to retain their religious identity and the people who have chosen to foreswear it, the people who have experienced for themselves the atmosphere of the Muslim Brotherhood and its fraternal organizations, the jihadis who have contemplated their course in life and have elected to become thoughtful and articulate exjihadis, the people who know what it is to be locked in an Egyptian jail, the people who find no difficulty in invoking in a single breath their own experiences and the principles of John Stuart Mill, the people who know how to distinguish a genuine feminism from the Islamist variety—these people, the Muslim liberals (or liberal ex-Muslims, as the case may be), will turn out to be the counterparts of the Soviet and Eastern Bloc dissidents. All the efforts of American commandos and drones notwithstanding, they are the ones who will bring the movement down.

. . .In the visible zones, the Arab Spring has aroused in the Western countries almost none of the enthusiasm that greeted its Eastern Bloc antecedent. We will lift a pinky. In Syria, perhaps not even that much. Is it true that, militarily, we and our allies are stretched to the limit, or beyond, or worse? It must be true. The news from different fronts aches the heart. Still, the longer the tyrants of Libya and Syria go on murdering their own pe, the more disastrous for everyone, and not just their own people. I know that President Obama has other problems. But why he is so reluctant to try to influence the international mood? Once upon a time, huge crowds of Germans assembled to hear him speak. Today even his oratory leads from behind. Perhaps the Obama administration’s hard-nosed experts on the Middle East are instructing the president that liberalism is a doomed cause. . .

Magisterial. You'll want to put your feet up.

If I have come under any major intellectual influences at all these past few years, or if there are ideas that have in any way guided me in my own pedestrian inquiries, I would have to name Paul Berman and the ideas I encountered in two of his books, Power and the Idealists and Terror and Liberalism.


Blogger James Dalglish said...

What no comments on such timely controversial stuff as this? Maybe I shouldn't feel so bad. I found this very paragraph of Berman today at in an old article/review. My search words were "Paul Berman on Syria". After just finishing Terror & Liberalism" I was trying to get his views of the situation.Why am I so far behind the times? I live in one of those
ME principalities where no one talks about anything. I too have a high opinion of the Berman book the only truly thoughtful response to 9/11. It holds up well, too, so that my tardiness as a reader wasn't fatal. The sad thing is finding out that only rightwingers agree with him on Syria.

1:03 AM  

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