Andrew Bostom takes observance of the stark similarities existing between the periods of 1930’s and 50’s and the present time, noting the work of Robert Conquest to help discern exactly what kind of mental gymnastics are at play here. It’s a fascinating essay on the willful delusions of the intellectual, past and present, whose names and subject material have changed, but the malady remains the same.
The emergence of the Sharia in our modern times is gaining acceptance with kind of ease intellectuals showed (still do) during the rise international socialism. The parallels are stark as they are staggering. KGS
NOTE: The full essay, below, is posted at Pajamas Media
See No Sharia Mindslaughter
Robert Conquest, the pre-eminent scholar of Soviet Communisttotalitarianism, in his elucidation of Western vulnerability to totalitarian ideologies, wrote that democracy itself is, “far less a matter of institutions than habits of mind”—the latter being subject to constant “stresses and strains.” He then notes the disturbingly widespread acceptance of totalitarian concepts amongst the ordinary citizens of pluralist Western societies.
Many in the West gave their full allegiance to these alien beliefs. Many others were at any rate not ill disposed towards them. And beyond that there was…a sort of secondary infection of the mental atmosphere of the West which still to some degree persists, distorting thought in countries that escaped the more wholesale disasters of our time.
But Conquest evinces no sympathy for those numerous “Western intellectuals or near intellectuals” of the 1930s through the 1950s whose willful delusions about the Soviet Union, “will be incredible to later students of mental aberration.” His critique of Western media highlights a cultural self-loathing tendency which has persisted and intensified over the intervening decades, through the present.
One role of the democratic media is, of course, to criticize their own governments, draw attention to the faults and failings of their own country. But when this results in a transfer of loyalties to a far worse and thoroughly inimical culture, or at least to a largely uncritical favoring of such a culture, it becomes a morbid affliction—involving, often enough, the uncritical acceptance of that culture’s own standards.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich delivered a singularly astute and courageous address this past July 29, 2010. Reactions to that speech across the political spectrum, whether immediate ordelayed, illustrate the contemporary equivalent of what Conquest appositely characterized as “mindslaughter”—a brilliantly evocative term for delusive Western apologetics regarding the ideology of Communism, and the tangible horrors its Communist votaries inflicted. What did Newt Gingrich have the temerity to discuss? In defiance of our era’s most rigidly enforced cultural relativist taboo, Mr. Gingrich provided an irrefragably accurate, if blunt characterization of the existential threat posed by Islam’s living, self-professed mission—to impose Sharia, its totalitarian, religio-political “law,” globally.