Friday, July 27, 2007

Shorter Geras


"If I'd foreseen what a terrible disaster the Iraq war was going to be I wouldn't have supported it. But I supported the war for good moral reasons, whereas the people who opposed it opposed it for morally despicable reasons. So even though they were right and I was wrong about what would happen, I'm still virtuous and they're still vicious."


Blogger ejh said...

Is it their fault (yet) that it happened though? I imagine that will be the Decent theme as the disaster proceeds: the Stoppers drained the nation's will, that sort of thing.

7/27/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I'm excited by the fact that Nick has written a 'really strange' reply to Hari's review. I know people who have had such things before, and apparently they're corkers.

7/27/2007 07:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Cohen wrote it after lunch it's bound to be very strange indeed.

The squeals of 'unfair play' from the Decents is cracking given their predeliction for distortion as recorded here.

And, my god, Kamm is boring. I know that's not an original point, but it really can't be said too many times.

7/27/2007 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From JH

"I know Nick has written a really strange response for Dissent (in which he surreally accuses me of being "Maoist"."

"Maoist", eh? That's nearly as good as "Cookist."

7/27/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oliver Kamm: UPDATE II: The autumn issue of Dissent will carry Nick's extremely telling response to the review. I know the seasons are all mixed up these days, but I assume that the Summer issue has just come out (like everyone else, I read the Hari piece on his site, not in Dissent). Conducting an argument in a quarterly publication seems a very leisurely pursuit - not to mention that no one will remember the original by the time the reply comes out. Does anyone suppose NC will be good enough to publish this on his blog before we all die of old age?

In OK's second review of JH's review he says It is impossible for any careful or honest reviewer to infer, from the passage I've just quoted, that jihadism "has no root causes at all". Now, NC actually uses the term "root causes" in scare quotes - which I think does imply that "root causes" are tendentious at best, and quite possibly fictional. The unfathomable abyss looks to me quite fathomable if you just call it 'human nature' or 'group psychology'. All society is pretty much a cigarette paper away from barbarism. Given enough of a breeze, things fall apart ... the blood-dimmed tide is loosed and all of that. OTOH, contra Nick, my 'reasonable liberal belief' is something like, take away the breeze and you take away the 'great crime'. Further, I'd argue that Western society has been predicated on something similar since WWII: the unwritten commands of government now include don't let unemployment rise above a certain level; don't allow grievances against the state to fester; don't let ethnic tensions grow etc. By doing that, we've pretty much kept fascism at bay. It's not because people are nicer in Europe. History is pretty clear that they're not.

7/28/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I used to think the only thing the Decents believed has root causes, rather than "root causes", was anti-semitic violence's root cause which is the Guardian's editorial page.

However, reading this Nick Cohen column, I found out that the root cause of the Iraq war was the $200m or so we still owe the Americans (sorry, "Yanks", in Nick's world) from Keynes' loan.

7/29/2007 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...,,673014,00.html

7/29/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good find Matthew. I liked this:

Fay Weldon loved her copy of the manuscript, while Rory Bremner said that all who found the 'self-righteousness and paranoia of Blair' sinister would rush to buy the book.


The insincerity extends way beyond the arts. Rory Bremner will tear into Tony Blair, but not Mohammed Khatami.

Here. (The one comment is priceless. Not that I encourage spam.) Wonder when Rory Bremner joined the Islamonazis?

7/29/2007 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norm's opinion depends on the assumption that he can have a nice little war of the type that he wants, with the results that he wants, that will all be over by Xmas, in the same way that he can order a tin of baked beans. That in turn depends on assuming
- that the US military might actually gives it the tools to fight this sort of war
- that the US is actually capable of (or really interested in) the kind of "nation-building" that would be necessary to stop Iraq from turning into a failed state.

Norm didn't think about any of this, because he had his brain switched off and was indulging in wishful thinking. There was never a space to debate all this because of the tick fog of WMD arguments that smothered the whole debate before the invasion.

7/30/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cohen's response. Strangely unimpressive and certainly doesn't deal with the meat of Hari's article.

7/30/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Hari's reponse to Cohen's reponse.

7/30/2007 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Oh it gets better and better and better.

(if anyone cares, the great legal minds at HP had said that Johann Hari was "acquiring a reputation for making things up" which "ought to be curtains for his career".)

7/30/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Hari just went up several million per cent in my estimation...

7/30/2007 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The HP comment was particularly outrageous, and a sign of the viciousness of these people when you denunk them. Hari hjas reported from warzones in Africa and elsewhere, and won the Amnesty International Journalist of the Year award for it the other week; what has Cohen ever done for human rights except bleat about them from Farringdon?

7/30/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still, everyone can agree that those postmodernists are all idiots, can't they?

7/30/2007 08:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruscetta Boy, they didn't go that far... they said "anyone who acquires a reputation for making things up ought to suffer career-death". It was much more opaque, it wasn't even clear if they were talking about Johann. But perhaps we shouldn't talk about it in case we get a writ!

7/30/2007 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

No, it was worse than that. The post, which was giving us David T's thoughts on Hari's review, reluctantly as 'he hadn't really wanted to join in, concluded:

However, if you aspire to be a serious academic commentator or journalist, a
reputation for making things up should spell career death.

i.e, the 'you' doesn't really mean 'anyone', but Hari. I don't know whether they could justify the claim (I doubt they could) but I don't think it would be easy to claim it was a general statement and nothing to do with Hari.

7/31/2007 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

The old 'I am a morally superior idiot' argument.

8/01/2007 01:09:00 AM  

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