Basic Books £9.99
The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's threat to the West, By Lee Harris
Sunday 31 August 2008
In addressing the failure to date of the project to spread Western liberal values to the Middle East, Lee Harris doesn't argue as others have that the project is ill-conceived; merely that it is naive on two counts: it overestimates the potency and appeal of liberalism, and underestimates the effectiveness of Islamic fanaticism as an alternative cultural paradigm.
The problem is that we in the West have come to think that man's natural proclivities, if allowed, will tend towards reason, rationalism and enlightened self-interest, when in fact tribalism and the rule of the jungle might as easily be thought of as our "natural" state. Our delusion leaves us weakened in comparison to radical Islam, and no less than the future of Western civilisation as we know it is at risk.
Harris constructs his a priori arguments with a cold but subtle logic, and they deserve to be both heard and heeded. But he sidesteps so many real world complexities that thankfully you needn't be as scared as he intends you to be.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 San Francisco TV news crew attacked by armed robbers during live broadcast
- 4 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
- 5 Miami defendant sobs in court as he realises he and the judge attended the same school
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Britain's best outdoor cinemas to visit this summer from Somerset House to Luna Cinema
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture