Monday, March 05, 2007

Buruma disappoints - Hitchens redeems

I was profoundly disappointed to read Ian Buruma's review in this weekend's New York Times Book Review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel".
Hat tip to Allahpundit for pointing me to Christopher Hitchens, with a very nice Slate essay on Buruma's review and one from Timothy Garton Ash, pointing out quite well how their once rigorous standards appear to be slipping.
For me his key passage is:

Garton Ash and Buruma would once have made short work of any apologist who accused the critics of the U.S.S.R. or the People's Republic of China of "heating up the Cold War" if they made any points about human rights. Why, then, do they grant an exception to Islam, which is simultaneously the ideology of insurgent violence and of certain inflexible dictatorships? Is it because Islam is a "faith"? Or is it because it is the faith—in Europe at least—of some ethnic minorities? In neither case would any special protection from criticism be justified. Faith makes huge claims, including huge claims to temporal authority over the citizen, which therefore cannot be exempt from scrutiny. And within these "minorities," there are other minorities who want to escape from the control of their ghetto leaders.

The last sentence is for me the issue that distinguishes a 'multiculturalism' I can respect (which I believe today we largely have in Canada) from one I cannot; and steps by the state to limit the ability of members of 'minorities' to reject and leave those 'minorities' and build new lives for themselves are illiberal and not to be defended.


At 8:21 AM, Blogger rondi said...

There was a particularly silly review of her book in Newsweek, as well. Roger L. Simon links to it if you go to his blog.


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