Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nihilism with a happy face

Ed Driscoll on terrorist chic:

Weimar? Because We Reich You

He quotes Alan Bloom'sThe Closing of the American Mind:

We have here the peculiarly American way digesting Continental despair. It is nihilism with a happy ending.
That's so true is should frighten us. Philosophic despair tends toward narcissistic passivity. The American mutation produces a cheerful, energetic carelessness that can do much more evil.

Sort of like Tom and Daisy Buchanan in the Great Gatsby:

I couldn't forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done, was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they made....
in 1998 David Gerlernter wrote about the Unabomber in the Weekly Standard . Some of his points in "Unresolved Evil" are especially relevant given Driscoll's post and the reaction to the Boston bombing:

"What matters is our communal response to the crime. Evil is easy, good is hard, temptation is a given; therefore, a healthy society talks to itself"

"Such ritual denunciations strengthen our good inclinations and help us suppress our bad ones. We need to hear them, and hear good acts praised, too. We need to hear the crowd (hear ourselves) praising good and denouncing evil."

"Goodness is unnatural, and we need to cheer one another on"

"When a terrorist murders a man, it is a meaningless act. There are evil men in every society, and they do evil things; that's all."

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