VFR on Bernard Lewis: a selection
A Swedish blogger named Political Junkie has picked up on my discussion of Hugh Fitzgerald’s criticisms of Bernard Lewis, of whom I said that virtually no one else on the American so-called right will criticize him. Instead, the “conservatives” almost literally worship at his feet. The extraordinary honors and praise Lewis constantly receives from “conservatives” represent the precise inverse of his actual worth. In reality, his worth is less like that of a great historian than it is like that of Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent in the 1930s who covered up the nature of Stalin’s Russia and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts.
Below are two past articles by me summarizing Hugh Fitzgerald articles on Bernard Lewis, followed by a selection of my own pieces on Lewis, arranged chronologically. The last article concerns his recent Irving Kristol lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, in which he concluded with the remark that our best and maybe our only hope of survival was that Muslims would embrace our notion of freedom.That infinitely fatuous remark won him the standing applause from the neocons in attendance.
I had forgotten that Lewis had stated the same appalling idea in a lecture on a Hillsdale College cruise that was reprinted in the September 2006 issue of Imprimis, and discussed at VFR last October. What Lewis said on that occasion was:
Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.Never has the neoconservative insanity been stated more succinctly.
Here are some of my articles on Lewis:
Lewis continues his whitewash of Islam [preview of PBS program with Bernard Lewis]
Bostom versus Lewis on Islamic anti-Semitism [Robert Kaplan of Cornell supports Bostom, eviscerates Lewis for excusing Muslim anti-Semitism.]
Another piece in the Iraq puzzle [Argument that Lewis must have been behind belief that Iraqis were middle class, secular, technical, and thus ready for democracy.]