Thursday, June 30, 2022

On fanaticism........................

       All this is to say that we should not ignore the fanaticisms and the appeal of fanaticisms within the West, even in the (so far) victoriously defended Anglo-American sphere.  Some of this fanaticism is little more than a comfortable anti-Americanism or anti-plural society attitude, which it would be overprecise to call adolescent, as with the teenage appeal of posters, beret at a becoming angle, of Che Guevara.  It might be suggested that as one section of the human brain grows, this diverts nutrients from other sections, which are therefore stunted, and perhaps that in adolescence, under a different physiological mechanism, toxins are produced from which recovery is slow and sometimes never takes place.

      In much of the supposed liberal world, there was, and is, alas, a sympathy for such critics of the consensual, manifested at its worst in toleration of student-activist actions that silence free speech, disrupt universities, and so on.  There are examples almost daily, as informed readers know.

      Clearly, one of the mental conditions we can discourage is righteousness.  This may afflict left and right wing alike, as we all know.  It is fair to point out that in some cases it emerges only on a particular issue or two—though in others almost the whole mental approach seems warped that way.  In certain types of public oratory this is more or less acceptable.  But when it is presented as an argument, moderate or mature minds simply switch themselves off.

-Robert Conquest,  The Dragons of Expectations (2005)

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